Facebook recently announced Social Graph Search, a new kind of semantic search engine that allows you to query Facebooks social graph data structure by using natural language queries. Facebook specifies some interesting but harmless samples for social graph queries, such as search for ‘People who like Cycling’, ‘Photos i like’, ‘Photos before 1970’, ‘Restaurants in London my Friends have been’ and so on. These queries seem to offer real potential for natural language processing in the area of social graphs. to use natural language processing for query large data graphs is not new, as it was already introduced by WolframAlpha, in order to query for all kind of general knowledge, from local weather to mathematical questions etc.
Facebook goes a little bit further by introducing a natural query language to search for quite personal information within a global available social graph. It of course depends on the type of queries that transforms Facebook’s social graph search into an informative personal tool for everyday life, or into the nightmare for every privacy activist. Some already published queries, such as ‘People working for Facebook’ or similar searches are quite scary and will for sure lead to misuse and dubious apps.
From business perspective the use of social graph queries allows advertisers to specifically select their target groups, even better than existing context- and location sensitive solutions already allow it today. Facebook’s social graph search will lead to a new level and quality of advertising, no matter if this means more or less advert annoyance for the future.
At this year CES, Lego just announced the next generation of Lego Mindstorms Educational robotic invention kits. Lego Mindstorms robotic educational kits are used by a large community of robotic hobbyists and the release of the next generation of their invention kit was a logic step. The new generation of Lego Mindstorm Kits is called Lego Mindstorms EV3 and will offer a deeper integration into the users consumer electronic, such as smartphones or digital cameras. Lego enhanced the new Lego Brick by adding more (16 MByte) Flash-Memory and (64 MByte) RAM, to offer the user more space for complex programming. In order to store sensor values or images on the Lego-Brick, Lego added a SD-Card slot. Lego also improved the 3D engineering experience by offering a new Creation software that is based upon the popular Autodesk suite, which enables the 3D engineering of Lego models and to provide a perspective view on your designs.
TabShop POS is a lightweight POS kiosk cashier solution for small and medium sized stores, kiosks and individual shops. Convert your Android Tablet into an intuitive and easy to use POS cashier system that saves you time, money and trouble. This Android Tablet POS software offers full configuration of local taxes, individual discounts and products.
Easily scan products by using the normal EAN or QR barcodes on your Android Tablet or click on an item to add it to your invoice list.
TabShop POS main features are:
– Manage Products and Product Categories
– Manage Taxes
– Manage Discounts
– Select Products by Scanning EAN or QR Barcodes
– Create Invoices with unique Invoice Number
– Print Invoices as PDF
– Print ASCII Invoices to Network Printer
In his 8th tutorial video, Massiomo Banzi explains how to build a touch sensitive lamp, by using the electronics parts from his Arduino Starter Kit, which is available on RS Components (see my Arduino Starter Kit unboxing article). Banzi also explains how to use libraries within your own Arduino development project, in order to speed up development of Arduino program code. External Arduino libraries are available for many different purposes and since the Arduino community is larger than any other maker and DIY electronics community there are a plenty different libraries available for free.
“Spatially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly,” a work by Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, was presented at IROS 2012 in Vilamoura, Portugal. The video shows their research on swarm robots that team up even with a flying AR-Drone, in order to fulfill combined tasks together. A really nice aspect is that the drones working together as a group are highlighted by using different light colors. As the ground drones are not able to scan large areas, they are directly cooperating with the flying AR-drone to get a detailed overview on the sourounding area. You can find details on this work on Spacially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly within their recent paper.
In this weeks episode of Massiomo Banzi’s official Arduino tutorials he shows us how to build a magic crystal ball by using his recently released Arduino Educational Starter Kit (The Arduino Starter Kit). Banzi’s electronic version of a Magic 8 Ball is built by using an LCD screen and a tilt sensor. Everytime the user is shaking the tilt sensor, the Magic 8 Ball will return a randomly generated answer.
Today i purchased the RealVNC VNC Viewer for Android based devices, in order to test the compatibility with my MobileVNC Windows CE based VNC server. RealVNC takes €7.55 for this piece of software, which is quite high compared to the typical prices within the Google Play marketplace. Despite my initial fears, the RealVNC VNC Viewer successfully connected to my Windows CE 4.1 embedded thin client device without any complains and i was able to remote control my embedded device by using the touchscreen of my Samsung Nexus Android smartphone. The movement of the remote mouse pointer is shown by a small pixel on the smartphone, according to the fact that every touch is converted to a relative mouse movement, which works really good. See some screenshot of my experiment with RealVNC Android Viewer App in combination with our MobileVNC server and a HP t5000 Windows CE 4.1 thin client.
In his latest Arduino tutorial video, Massimo Banzi explains how to control a motorized pinwheel without damaging your Arduino board. As DC motors can generate power spikes, that can damage electronic circuits, Massimo Banzi explains how to use a diode to overcome this issue. A DC motor works at a higher voltage than the Arduino. This means that it requires more current that an Arduino pin can provide. Within this video tutorial Massimo will also explain how to provide enough current to drive the DC motor.
Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).
Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit
The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:
Arduino Projects Book
Arduino UNO Board
LCD screen 16×2 characters
Lots of LEDs
H-bridge motor driver
Diodes and resistors
Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.
Today, the new version 2.0 MobileVNC was released! MobileVNC now comes with full Win32 support and Websocket HTML5 client included (noVNC). MobileVNC implements a tiny, copy to install, VNC server that offers remote control for your Windows CE and Win32 based devices. The range of supported devices ranges from mobile barcode scanners, Point-Of-Sales terminals, industrial terminals and smartphones. The MobileVNC server offers tiny footprint and low prices (9.95€ for full commercial license/device). MobileVNC represents an easy solution for remote control and maintenance of a large number of distributed Point-Of-Sales (POS) or logistics terminals.