Today's Mighty Oak

One of the blogs I read all the time is JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization).  He was live-blogging a talk given by a CMU professor, and I was drawn into this awesome use of Captchas:

He says that about 200M captchas are typed every day. He was proud of that until he realized it takes about 10 seconds to type them, so his invention is wasting 500,000 hours per day. So, he wondered if there was a way to use captchas to solve some humungous problem ten seconds at a time. result: ReCAPTCHA. For books written before 1900, the type is weak and about 30% of the text cannot be recognized by OCR. So, now many captchas ask you to type in a word unrecognized when OCR’ing a book. (The system knows which words are unrecognized by running multiple OCR programs; ReCAPTCHA uses those words.) To make sure that it’s not a software program typing in random words, ReCAPTCHA shows the user two words, one of which is known to be right. The user has to type in both, but doesn’t know which is which. If the user types in the known word correctly, the system knows it’s not dealing with a robot, and that the user probably got the unknown word right.

Pretty cool use of everyone’s time!  Check out the entire article here

Two quick links for today:

Slate looks at FCC’s plan to improve the internet infrastructure.

And Joho takes a look at manners online:

The opposite of the screaming matches on the Net is not screaming back and is not staying quiet, but is hospitality.

Somehow, without me even realizing I fell into this category, I’ve become “the guy who is always taking all the pictures wherever we go.”  And I generally fine with this.  Typically I can amuse myself by taking pictures of random signs and things that are funny out of context.  However, I’m not a photographer.  And more importantly, I’m not a good photographer.

However, a couple items were passed my way that I felt I should pass on.  Citizen journalism includes not only researching and writing, but can be greatly enhanced by decent photography.  This article by PC Magazine goes over a lot of basic information, and it’s goal is to get you to a place where you don’t rely on the auto settings.  Get ready to read and understand words like ISO, aperture, shutter speed and f-stops.

I discovered this article while reading JOHO, and this entry has more information to share with you, including use of flashes and diffusers.

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