In today's Remainders: headaches. Microsoft's browser ballot is a headache for the little guys; CereProc talks about the painstaking process of rebuilding Ebert's voice; WiMax taxis in Taiwan get me a little steamed; a magical migraine-diminishing wand, and more.
Talk To Me
Since we first read about the Scottish company CereProc and their effort to give Roger Ebert his voice back, we've been eager to get the scoop on the tech behind the scenes. Ebert's computerized voice was debuted on Oprah earlier this week, and while it was far from a perfect recreation, no one could deny that at some points the voice was distinctly his own. Now, CNET has an in-depth talk with CereProc which sheds some light on the process behind their incredible product. It has some interesting bits, like how they usually require 15 hours of recordings to recreate a voice, though they rebuilt Ebert's from only four hours of clips. If you have even a passing interest in Ebert's incredible story, the interview's worth a read. [CNET]
Analysts! You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. Actually, you could almost certainly live without them, but then you wouldn't have little nuggets like this to consider before you toss them into your mental recycling bin: Apple, who already commands 1/3 of the entire supply of NAND flash memory, might eat up even more of that supply with all these iPads of theirs, delaying the greater PC migration to SSD in the process. The thinking is that with iPad grabbing all the NAND memory, their prices could be driven up and those of SSDs would go up along with them. Maybe, maybe not, but for now there are too many unknowns in this equation—iPad demand being a big one—to worry just yet.[DigiTimes]
Secunia, a security firm, released the results of a new study that might give pause to Windows users. It suggests that if you use Windows and have software from more than 22 different vendors, you need to install a security patch every five days to keep your computer safe from all those nasty viruses. That's pretty often. Here's what gives me pause, though: Secunia, the company issuing this warning, conveniently has a program called Personal Software Inspector that presumably protects you from just these threats. Hmmm. OK, sure, their software is free (for now), but you can't imagine that it'd hurt their business to drive a whole herd of panicked users to their inspector software. In either case, I guess there's something to raise an eyebrow at here. [BoingBoing]
Stuffing the Ballot Box
We recently got our first look at Microsoft's browser ballot, a new system that gives European Windows users the chance to choose their own browser as opposed to being force-fed Internet Explorer from the get go. The system, which arose from an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, was the source of much confusion and consternation throughout the whole process, but we figured that everyone would be happy with the final screen we saw the other day. We were wrong. The ballot offers new installers with 12 choices, but only the five most popular—IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera—are visible on the screen from the start. To take a look at the other seven—AvantBrowser, Flock, K-Meleon, GreenBrowser, Maxthon, Sleipnir, and SlimBrowser—you have to scroll your way to the right. As Ars Technica explains, "The unpopularity of horizontal scrolling is well-known," and "the importance of this ballot to minority browsers is hard to overstate," (I think they just did). The ballot screen will be rolling out in the next 90 days, and in the mean time you can bet that the little guys will be fighting against the clock to save themselves from sideways scrolling obscurity. [Ars Technica]
Here we have an Apple-centric parody of Old Spice's wildly popular The Man Your Man Could Smell Like ad. Often times, parodies grow to eclipse the original item they riff on. That will not be the case here. 1. the spoof uses CGI where the original did not. 2. It is less sort of funny where the original was not. The original was extremely funny. So just watch the original. But watch this one too, because it will make you love the original all the more. [The Awesomer]
"Neuralieve Headache Management System," Redferret's headline reads for this particular gadget, "is this the beginning of the end for migraines?" No, no it isn't, because even if the Neuralieve does rid people of their headaches, there's no way anyone's going to use this ridiculous, gigantic piece of machinery to alleviate them. The Neuralieve beams a "single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation" into your brain, supposedly halting the headache in its tracks. While it may provide some relief in the short term, I'm not sure that letting some sketchy handheld gizmo pump magnetic pulses directly into your head is necessarily going to pan out so well in the long run. [Red Ferret]
Starting March 9, 1000 taxis in Taiwan will be equipped with free WiMax. Great. Whatever. Taxi WiMax I can live without. But is it took much to ask to just get it somewhere in my city? Somewhere in the state of New York? [UberGizmo]
Four Point Oooooh
Bluetooth 3.0 is old and busted; Bluetooth 4.0 is the new hotness. The improvements will supposedly let the technology work with devices that consume less power, and today's news is that it could make its way into those types of devices by the end of this year. Well, a Bluetooth-enabled pedometer doesn't seem too cool to me to begin with, so having one by the end of the year doesn't get me all that excited either.