Exciting speech to text cell phone demo

I can’t wait until our cell phones can do this.

Is this a smoke and mirrors demo? Or something that’ll get delivered this year? I met these two guys at the Charles River Ventures partner meeting. They’ve been funded to build this system.

This is the first public demo of the system they call Mobeus (they say the name will change by the time they ship).

It’s good to see that there’s lots of innovation left in the cell phone space. What do you think? Do you want your cell phone to do this?

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Fortune: AppleTV is a dud — Apple smacks back with YouTube videos

Fortune Magazine says that AppleTV is a dud.

Apple hits back and says they are bringing YouTube to Apple TV.

UPDATE: Engadget’s Ryan Block covers Steve Jobs’ announcement at the D Conference. Jobs says that Apple TV is “a hobby.” But says lots of other things too.

How did Fortune disparage it? By calling it “Zune like.” Ouch!

Personally Fortune is right, but doesn’t quite expose the elephant standing in the middle of the room.

The elephant in the room? Simple: Apple could have really taken over the HDTV world and held it for decades. Instead it has left the door open to its competitors.

Microsoft loves competitors like Apple who leave doors open.

What am I talking about?

Do we have a wide-screen iPod yet? One that matches the form factor of my 60-inch HDTV? No. Microsoft executives say that a wide-screen, 16:9 form factor, Zune is on the way this fall.

Do we have a 16:9 1080-full-res MacBookPro out yet? No. Dell has one. So does Acer. Just look for an WUXGA screen. But Apple hasn’t shipped one of those yet in a laptop.

Do we have HDTV iTunes yet? No. But ABC.com is giving us HDTV Lost. Stage6.divx.com has tons of close-to-HDTV content. Joost is going to bring us close-to-HDTV content. Where’s Apple?

Do we have an entertainment system that joins our computers and our big screens? Microsoft has Media Center and Xbox. Plus Xbox Live now joins gamers on PCs with those on Xbox. Why hasn’t Apple made a deal with Sony yet to bring PlayStation 3 to MacBookPros?

But, actually, the AppleTV +is+ going in the right direction. Apple should take over the HDTV market. The fact that it’s not is emboldening its competitors. It’s just that AppleTV’s reliance on HDTV, without having the other parts of the ecosystem in place, is exposing Apple’s weakness in dealing with HDTV.

That said, I love my AppleTV. If you actually get some high resolution stuff into iTunes it works really well. I watch tons of stuff on my AppleTV. It’s just that folks who have a big HDTV screen expect a lot more than Apple’s delivering currently.

BoingBoing reader demonstrates misunderstanding of privacy

A BoingBoing reader is worried that Google is infringing on his privacy by taking pictures of his cat in a window in his house. In the United States, if you can see something from a public street you are allowed to take pictures of it. A lot of people don’t understand privacy law. I had one guy tell me once that he could keep me from taking pictures of him (he was in a public street). Now, I don’t recommend arguing with people, but he’s wrong.

If we’re going to protect our privacy, we need to understand where current law already is and where we need to write new laws. This isn’t one of them.

For more, look at the reactions of bloggers on TechMeme. “Creepy” says one headline. CNet asks for more examples of such “spying.” No, sorry, it’s not spying and it’s not creepy. If you can see it from a public street it’s not private and you should not expect ANY privacy.

These reactions demonstrate we need to have a new discussion of privacy in the industry, though. First we need to understand what privacy is and when we should expect it, and when we should be worried about infringements. We also need to understand the technology used here. One blogger seemed to think that this data is taken off of live cameras. It is not. It’s taken off of a truck driving around.

Hint: if you can see it from a public street it is NOT “private.” This is journalism law 101 folks. Geesh.

Your Minis, cool widgetized start page

If you haven’t been over to Goowy’s YourMinis yet, you might check out the videos we just put up on ScobleShow. Widgets? Why, yes, they have Widgets. Really cool stuff. What do you think? Do you like YourMini’s approach best? Why or why not?

Here’s an interview with the execs. Here’s a demo (also embedded on this blog post).

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More on Microsoft’s Surface Computing initiatives…

I talked with Microsoft’s Surface computing team today. Here’s some more details I learned.

1. Price. Will cost $5,000 to $10,000 and only be available to commercial customers (hotels, casinos, etc). Price depends on number of units purchased.
2. Consumer availability? They are working on other surface computing products, but didn’t have anything to announce yet. There are a few roadblocks to getting one of these in your home. First, it’s expensive to build one because it needs holographic glass, an enclosure, a projector, two cameras, and a computer. Second, they still are working on software so that it actually does something beyond the whiz-bang demos they showed off this morning on stage.
3. Demos won’t all work the way it seems in the videos. The demos you are seeing of photos flying out of a digital camera when placed on the device? That requires that digital camera to be synced and “tagged” with a bar code. The table can see bar codes on things, but you’ve gotta stick a bar code on them first. My cell phone hasn’t been tagged. Neither has my digital camera. So, if I put them on the table they wouldn’t do anything.
4. Microsoft isn’t writing all the software. I asked whether we’d be able to play Blackjack on a table. They (the Microsoft team) couldn’t answer. That part of the functionality will be left to third-parties to write. So, a table that is in a Sheraton property might have completely different functionality than one somewhere else.
5. Can’t scan paper yet. Some of the scenarios I saw demoed included scanning of paper and documents. That isn’t yet included in the current version.
6. When will it be out? It should be installed at first customers by the end of the year. First public demos (other than at this week’s “D” conference) will be in June in New York at a Starwood property. I’ll try to get more info on that.

I’ll keep trying to get more answers and I encouraged the team to come over and answer the questions people left in my comments.