The Raspberry Pi mini computer won’t be blind for much longer: a video camera unit shown off last month that will allow Pi owners to build video applications is expected to go on sale in April, according to the Pi Foundation’s Liz Upton.
“We’ve sent the first camera boards to production, and we’re expecting to be able to start selling them some time in April,” she writes on the Foundation blog.
In the meanwhile, in a Google Glass style contest (but without the extortionate $1,500 price-tag — an entirely free giveaway in fact), the Foundation has 10 camera boards to gift to testers who will put the Pi’s Eye through its paces.
The boards will go to folk who “have a magnificent, imaginative, computationally interesting thing you’d like to do with a Raspberry Pi camera board”, as Upton puts it, to help the Foundation do “extra-hard testing”.
The reason we’re giving these cameras away is that we want you to help us to do extra-hard testing. We want the people we send these boards to to do something computationally difficult and imaginative with them, so that the cameras are pushed hard in the sort of bonkers scheme that we’ve seen so many of you come up with here before with your Pis, and so that we can learn how they perform (and make adjustments if necessary)… We want you to try to get the camera doing something imaginative. Think about playing around with facial recognition; or hooking two of them up together and modging the images together to create some 3d output; or getting the camera to recognise when something enters the frame that shouldn’t be there and doing something to the image as a result. We are not looking for entries from people who just want to take pictures, however pretty they are. (Dave Akerman: we’ve got one bagged up for you anyway, because the stuff you’re taking pictures of is cool enough to earn an exemption here. Everybody else, see Dave’s latest Pi in Space here. He’s put it in a tiny TARDIS.)
Pi owners hankering to have an eye to play with should email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain exactly what they want to do with the board, backing up their application with example of prior project work (with or without cameras) and GitHub code or the like, says Upton.
The Foundation also needs your postal address should you win. The competition is open worldwide until March 12.
Editor’s note: Taylor Buley is a senior developer at Conde Nast’s PARADE. He’s a former staff writer at Forbes and graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Stanford. Follow him on Twitter @taylorbuley.
On Thursday Lars Rasmussen, Google Maps co-inventor turned Facebook Graph Search guru, took to Reddit for an “ask me anything” open thread. The Australian native avoided questions about the competitive landscape for Graph Search but spilled a near complete history of its development inside Facebook.
The Facebook engineer had a good time doing it, too, judging by the 18 smiley faces he riddled throughout.
Graph Search is Facebook’s foray into the search market. Instead of matching pages to search terms like “San Francisco + sushi restaurant,” Graph Search instead takes natural-language sentences like “my friends who like sushi” and finds results expressed through your social network. Facebook is betting that by using personalized data, they can provide more relevant search results than can mechanisms such as Yelp reviews or Google Page Rank.
Rasmussen writes that he was interviewed by Facebook in late 2010, around the same time Google announced the shutdown of Google Wave, a product launched by Lars and brother Jens. But it wasn’t until a half-year later that he was pulled onto the Graph Search project.
“Zuck asked me to work on search in the late spring of 2011,” he writes, recounting the first of three walks with Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder “had a very strong vision for what he wanted and how compelling a structured search product over the content people have shared on Facebook could be.”
In another answer regarding the timing of releases, he explained how his team “showed the original prototype of what we much later named Graph Search in the early summer of 2011.” This prototype only took a few weeks to build, he said, but the project did source code from “previous prototypes of structured search products that were not based on natural language.”
Thus we know Facebook had played with the idea of a non-natural-language search product at least some point before the summer of 2011. This lends credence to rumors that circulated in 2010 of a search project built atop the freely indexable Open Graph tags standard it launched in summer of 2010.
What held up Graph Search development between the early prototypes and the January 2013 launch? Too many smart people at Facebook, perhaps. In a question regarding the “best and worst” of working at Facebook, Rasmussen discusses the pitfalls of having a company “chock full of passionate, brilliant, opinionated people.” The problem? “Sometimes it takes longer than I’d like to arrive at an answer.
“I think it is fair to say the project took longer to get to the beta stage than I predicted when we started,” the engineer candidly confessed. “Pretty much all projects I have ever worked on have had this property Time flies when you are behind schedule!”
But perhaps the delay was for the better. A vanilla search engine built atop Open Graph tags would have done little to innovate in the search space. Instead, in January Facebook rolled out a novel breed of search powered by natural-language queries and social data at a scale not available to, or indexable by, any competitor.
So what about Graph Search’s competitors? Members of the press have fingered Yelp and Google, among others, as possible competitors against Zuckerberg’s search vision. But when asked which companies Rasmussen and his team view as direct competitors, the engineer held back and merely proffered a smiley face.
Facebook Graph Search has yet to roll out to all users, and Rasmussen writes that part of the reason for the partial rollout so far was to allow live A/B testing on real users — a process that circumvents the possibility of endless internal discussions. “Without live usage we’d just be arguing all day,” he writes.
The company is apparently now discussing the future of Graph Search. According to Rasmussen, his third and latest walk with Zuckerberg came just last week and its purpose was to discuss the future of the search product.
The rest is here: The History Behind Facebook’s Graph Search
The Wii U’s GamePad is essentially the console’s secret weapon, so it’s good to see YouTube arrive on Nintendo’s latest hardware with built-in support for its tablet-style controller. The Wii U version of YouTube is available now, following hot on the heels of the long-awaited version for the Wii, and it allows you to both browse and playback videos on your GamePad as well as on the TV.
This is a pretty timely addition for the service addition, which also follows the introduction of Amazon’s Instant Video app for the Wii U. There may be more than one family huddled around a TV as Thanksgiving rolls on across the U.S., and everyone agreeing on one thing to watch isn’t likely. But with at least one family member free to watch YouTube or other content on their GamePad without monopolizing the TV… well, the commercial writes itself. You can have that idea for free, Nintendo.
Continue reading here: YouTube App Comes To The Wii U, Viewable On GamePad Or TV
Google just announced that it has added Cherokee as Gmail’s 57th supported language. While Google has continuously expanded its language support for Gmail and its other services, this marks the first time that Google has added a Native American tribal language to its repertoire.
Google, of course, isn’t doing this because of the large number of Cherokee-speaking Gmail users who are demanding support for their language. Indeed, the company points toward a 2002 survey of the Oklahoma Cherokee population that found that “no one under 40 spoke conversational Cherokee.” Because of this survey, however, the Cherokee Nation decided to explore the use of technology to encourage a new generation to use the language.
The Cherokee Nation worked together with the Gmail team to make today’s announcement a possibility. Google writes that by working together with Durbin Feeling – the author of the Cherokee-English Dictionary – the teams “were able to find and implement the right words for hundreds of Gmail terms, from “inbox” (ᎧᏁᏌᎢᏱ) and “sign in” (ᏕᏣᏙᎥ ᎰᏪᎸᎦ) to “spam” (ᎤᏲᎢ).”
As part of this effort, Google also added Cherokee to its recently launched virtual keyboards for Gmail. This, says Google, will enable Cherokee students to “easily contact their tribal elders, e.g., “Joseph wants to chat” (“ᏦᏏᏫ ᎤᏚᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ”) and connect instantly.”
Facebook announced in a blog post today that they are doubling the site’s release speed, rolling Facebook onto new code twice per day.
“Last week, in conjunction with the opening of our engineering office in London, we decided to double the release speed of facebook.com and indeed “ship often,” release engineering manager Chuck Rossi writes.
First, there will be a push driven by Facebook’s New York office, followed by the social network’s regular daily push from the California team. Rossi says the developers are producing six times the amount of code per week as Facebook was in 2008, when he joined.
“It’s exciting and I think it crushes what anyone else of our size and impact is doing. Ship early and ship twice as often,” Rossi writes to close the post, firing a shot at Facebook’s competitors.
Here is the original post: Facebook Doubles Release Speed, Will Roll New Code Twice A Day