On a recent trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., I got a quick peek at one of the test rooms Google uses to track user interactions with its products. Gmail's product manager Todd Jackson told me it was just one of the many other user testing facilities the company had, and that collectively the testing had given the team important feedback of how people were using Gmail. Enough to change where entire features like user chat took up residence on a user's screen.
Did you catch Bruce Springsteen's halftime performance on Sunday? Turns out, you were listening to The Boss sing to a prerecorded backing track.
As Neuberger correctly explains, it's impossible to set up a rock band for a live performance in five minutes and have anything approaching decent sound. Either you sing to a prerecorded backing track or you accept that millions of viewers are going to hear a crummy performance.
In fact, … Read more
I've dug through countless services to find some interesting, loopy, and just plain cool tools that allow you to do more than talk to friends. From receiving tweets when your clothes are clean to tracking packages, Twitter is a great place to solve many of the day's tasks.
While I love going to large events like Giants games or the circus, I hate dealing with the traffic afterward. Finally though, some good has now come out of the frustration of after-event traffic.
Engineering students at Purdue University have come up with a new method to track traffic: Bluetooth. The students tracked Bluetooth signals from cell phones and other devices carried by football fans as they drove home from a recent Penn State game.
The method uses each signal to constantly update how long it takes vehicles and pedestrians to travel from one point to another. Darcy Bullock, professor … Read more
Google on Tuesday unveiled a new site to track the progress of the common cold.
Using the same keyword tracking technology found on Google Trends, it keeps an eye on people searching for queries involving the word "flu" and tracks them both by date and location.
What makes the technology so fascinating is that its data set goes back to 2003, and has been cross-referenced with the last several years of survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Google says that because its own system is based on a constant flow of searches as … Read more
Up until this point, The 404 has tried to remain nonpartisan (untrue), never officially endorsing a candidate, but that rule is chucked out the window on today's show. It's a big announcement that's literally no surprise to anyone, but we make it anyway. Lots of election talk today, mostly about free corporate-sponsored junk food you can get for voting. We also talk about GPS chastity belts, marital affair enablers, and the best position to take while docking your iPod Touch. Wilson, you dirty birdy, you.
I had every intention of forcing you to listen to today's show for our official political endorsement, but screw it, I'm going to do it right here and now. The pundits at The 404 have unanimously decided that Professor Charles Xavier is the best hope we have for our nation's successful future. His not-for-profit work with our world's gifted youngsters prove his social skills, his political prowess, and ultimately his potential to be an extraordinary leader in these desperate times. It's time for a change, and we completely believe that Charles Xavier's innate telepathic powers can grab us by the coattails and pull us our of our eight-year rut. Too long has Erik "Magneto" Lensherr been allowed to employ his Brotherhood of Mutants at the political expense of our fair country. We need a juggernaut in the oval office, and Professor X is our man.The 404 is delighted to support Professor Xavier and also very pleased to see him choose Peter Nikolaievitch Rasputin as his Vice President. Peter, or "Colossus" as we've come to know him through the years, has proven his executive talent, toughness, and ability to knock through several layers of brick time and time again. The Prof X/Colossus team is an unstoppable one and we're excited to see what they can do in 2009. If you care about the welfare of this nation, please cast your vote for Charles Xavier and Colossus today. Episode 220 Download today's podcast … Read more
If you have a fancy car with integrated OnStar service, good for you, but if not, there are different ways to make your vehicle trackable. One of which is the Seeker that BlackLine GPS introduced on Thursday. Seeker is a GPS-based vehicle recovery and tracking device that a car tech savvy person can install without professional help.
Slightly larger than the size of a car remote key, once installed and armed, the device continuously monitors its automatically configured GPS security perimeter. If an unauthorized individual moves the vehicle outside the security perimeter, it instantly notifies the owner via SMS or … Read more
I'll never forget my online correspondence with Comcast's Frank Eliason earlier this year. The small Twitter message I sent chronicling my woes in setting up my new Internet connection got an immediate response from him. As "Director of Digital Care" for Comcast, Eliason frequently goes above and beyond the call of duty by tracking and responding to nearly all mentions of his company on social networks and blogs (you can track his efforts here).
Microsoft's Live Labs team has just released a new way to track political discourse on the Web. Called Political Streams, the tool tracks news stories on both blogs and traditional-news sites, and ranks it based on velocity and overall coverage.
What's really neat is that it also keeps track of mentioned names and places in each story, to show how much coverage that person or part of the world has received within the last 30 days.
Each item can be drilled down into a little further, which is where you can see a small one-paragraph summary and the … Read more