WolframAlpha – Making the worlds knowledge computable for everyone – Amazing!

Think about how this can transform your knowledge, training, and provide people with instant access to knowledge. This is something if you have to play and experience, it’s incredible and will get your mind racing. 

First watch the screencast:

Some things I tried:
What is pizza

Find the answer to word patterns: 

Some interesting items from their FAQ’s

How much data is there in Wolfram|Alpha?

Many trillions of elements, continually growing through a large number of feeds.

Does Wolfram|Alpha get its data from the web?

No. It comes from Wolfram|Alpha’s internal knowledge base. Some of the data in that knowledge base is derived from official public or private websites, but most of it is from more systematic primary sources.

Where does Wolfram|Alpha’s data come from?

Many different sources, combined and curated by the Wolfram|Alpha team. At the bottom of each relevant results page there’s a “Source information” button, which provides background sources and references.

Can I find the origin of a particular piece of data?

Most of the data in Wolfram|Alpha is derived by computations, often based on multiple sources. A list of background sources and references is available via the “Source information” button at the bottom of relevant Wolfram|Alpha results pages.

What is the closest precursor to Wolfram|Alpha?

In concept, perhaps Leibniz’s characteristica universalis from the late 1600s???or the science-fiction computers of the 1960s. Technologically, many pieces of Wolfram|Alpha have precursors, but the ambitious scope of the whole project is believed to be unique.

Sw

From Stephen Wolfram’s Blog

And this is what inspired me to believe that building Wolfram|Alpha might be possible.
As a practical matter, many algorithms in Wolfram|Alpha were found by NKS methods???by searching the computational universe for programs that achieve particular purposes.

And there is a curious sense in which the discoveries of NKS about computational irreducibility are what make Wolfram|Alpha possible.
For one of the crucial features of Wolfram|Alpha is its ability to take free-form linguistic input, and to map it onto its precise symbolic representations of computations.

Yet if these computations could be of any form whatsoever, it would be very difficult to recognize the linguistic inputs that represent them.
But from NKS we know that computations fall into two classes: computationally reducible and computationally irreducible.
NKS shows that in the abstract space of all possible computations the computationally irreducible are much the most common.
But here is the crucial point: because those computations are not part of what we have historically studied or discussed, no systematic tradition of human language exists to describe them.

So when we use natural human language as input to Wolfram|Alpha, we are inevitably going to be describing that thin set of computations that have long linguistic traditions, and are computationally reducible.

Those computations cover the traditional sciences. But in a sense it is the very ubiquity of computational irreducibility that forces there to be only small islands of computational reducibility???which can readily be identified even from quite vague linguistic input.

If one looks at Wolfram|Alpha today, much of what it computes is firmly based on OKS (the ???Old Kind of Science???), and in this sense Wolfram|Alpha can be viewed as a shining example of what can be achieved with pre-NKS mathematical science.

Flip MinoHD Camcorder – Great Portable Video Camera

I’ve owned a Flip Camera since Christmas, Santa delivered it into my stocking and I haven’t stopped being blown away by the gadget. This video camera is amazingly small, compact and easy to use. The best part for me is it doesn’t freak people out if you start using it at an event or with the family because its not large and doesn’t have that fright factor “you are recording video of me.” Recording can be started quickly by pushing the power button on the side and then clicking the record (red button) on the back and you can start in less than 3 seconds if the unit is off. The camera is so simple, my 3 year old was able to start using it right away.

The HD model runs about $200 and captures 1280 x 720, up to 60 minutes of content, on the built in 4gb memory chip. Sliding a lever on the side exposes the USB Arm and easily plugs into a Mac or PC to upload the content to your hard drive. Using a Mac, it couldn’t be easier, the content comes right into iPhoto and you can start editing with iMovie or with QuickTime Pro. The video is saved in H.264 codec so the quality is incredible. The USB arm also allows you to charge while plugged in and the built in monitor and speaker allows you to review clips, delete or view while recording.



They just introduced a new model, the Flip Ultra HD which includes 8gb of internal memory which means up to 120 min of content and its sells for $199. The 4gb Ultra is $149. The new model also has an optional HDMI output for plugging right into a HD monitor or TV.
If you are looking to add video to your web site or start a video blog this is the perfect camera to get started with and record great quality content. It can also be used to record possible locations of a video shoot, interviews or testimonials.
Learn more on Amazon:

Social Media Presentation Resources & Links

Below are a list of resources and links to web sites from the presentation.

Download Presentation – Zip File: http://tr.im/jXEj

Build a Community
NING for all Communities http://www.ning.com
CrowdVine for Conferences http://www.crowdvine.com

Join a Community
http://www.twitter.com  and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/nickfloro
http://www.linkedin.com and link with me at Nick Floro
http://www.myspace.com

Project Discussion Chat with Logging
37 Signals CampFire http://www.campefirenow.com

Twitter Tools
Application for Mac and PC to write, review and monitor tweets http://www.tweetdeck.com
iphone or Touch for tracking basics stats on Twitter or Google Analytics http://ego-app.com
Monitoring or Reviewing Hashtags from an event or discussion http://www.hashtags.com
Create a URL and monitor how many clicks based on a tweet you create http://www.tweetburner.com
Review your twitter grade http://twiter.grader.com
Mac Application for Tweeting – http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-mac/ 
iphone or Touch app for Twitter http://www.atebits.com/tweetie-iphone/

Books
Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schawbel

Designing for the Social Web (Voices That Matter) by Joshua Porter

Upcoming Conference on eLearning DevCon 2009 in Salt Lake City June 17-19
http://www.elearningdevcon.com/

Community for the Conference
http://community.elearningdevcon.com/

Resources:
Allows you to add a mini controller for easy links to your page contents by visitors.

Customize portal for your content and communities under one roof.

Social Media Demystified for eLearning DevCon 2009 – June 17-19. Presentation Download.

Attached you can download a copy of the Social Media Demystified for E-Learning presentation that was presented this afternoon. There are several great links in the presentation and I would love to learn more about how you might use the new tools and technologies. Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all learn and grow from the community. If you were part of the webinar today, thanks for joining us.
 
As I mentioned in the webinar, the eLeariningDevcon.com conference, is one of my favorites. The attendees and presenters to a great job of sharing and discussing the latest tools and technology and I always come back ready to build the next generation of tools. Hope to see you there and please introduce yourself if we don’t tweet before. I’ll be presenting 3 sessions at the conference: Design 09 with Web 2.0, Introduction to Games & Simulations and Quick Prototyping Techniques.
 
Don’t forget to join the online community http://community.elearningdevcon.com to start discussing sessions you are interested, questions you might have, or ideas that might inspire us!

Join me on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/nickfloro

Download Presentation – Zip File: http://tr.im/jXEj

134537444522951285

http://www.elearningdevcon.com/

Great Book: Designing for the Social Web by Joshua Porter

If you are looking to expand your knowledge on Social Media, check out this great book Designing for the Social Web. It discusses how social media has evolved over the past several years, what works and what doesn’t and how to best integrate into your web site whether for sales, marketing or training. It also discusses the evolution of Social Media with Amazon, MySpace and how the web has evolved. Also looks at the psychology of users and how they think during the business process. On Amazon at: http://bit.ly/RwrHL

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PANMA Learning Event: Tomorrow on Web Hosting Demystified 4/21 in Philadelphia

If you are involved in web development, you don’t want to miss this event to learn the latest about hosting, selecting a provider and different technologies that you may need to consider. Space is running low, so register today!

Join us for an in-depth look at the state of web hosting in 2009. We’ll discuss the latest technologies, options and how to choose the right hosting partner. If you build, recommend or have a web site you won’t want to miss this great event to make sure you are getting the best solutions from your provided. We have some great giveaways, please tell a friend to improve your chances of winning. You must be at the event to win.

Tim Dodd from Hostmysite.com will be presenting on:

1. Second Generation Cloud Systems: What do they mean, how do they work and how you can take advantage of the technology. Discussion will include a look at Amazon, Mosso from Rackspace, Microsoft Azzure And HostMySites EEC

2. Optimizing Content Delivery: If you site includes video, pdfs, large files and you want to offer the best scalable delivery options, we’ll discuss solutions from Limelight Networks and Akamai

3. Selecting a Server for hosting, shared, virtual and managed servers, what does it mean and how to make the best choice.

4. What to look for when choosing a hosting partner. We’ll discuss what you should know before signing with a provider. 

Location: University City Science Center,  3711 Market Street, 8th Floor
Date: Tuesday, April 21
Time: Program: 7:00 – 8:30pm, doors open at 6:30pm. 

Register Today: The event is free, pre-register here: http://www.panma.org/

Visit us on Facebook! http://tr.im/panma  Our Facebook event page: http://tr.im/panmawebhosting  (Your can sign up there, if you’d prefer.)

Sponsors:
Pizza & Light refreshments will be provided by HostMySite http://www.hostmysite.com
G2 Computers is providing some giveaways, including 2 iPod shuffles. http://www.go2g2.com.

If you are making a presentation, check out this cordless remote to help free you from your laptop.

If you find yourself making a couple presentations a year or a month, I would recommend purchasing the Logitech 2.4ghz Cordless Presenter. It run’s under $45, Amazon: http://tr.im/iTm9, and frees you from being in front of or near your laptop. A USB connector, neatly pulls out of the back and plugs into your computer and sliding the on button on the remote to On allows you to connect with PowerPoint, Keynote or your favorite presentation tool. It allows for forward and backward movement as well as a built in laser pointer to assist in focusing the audience’s attention and parts of your screen. There is also a built in timer, which you can preset for a time limit and the remote will buzz to make sure you know you are running low on time and its time to wrap-up. I’ve plugged it into Macs, PCs with XP and Vista and no software is installed for quick use in case you are presenting from a client site. The display also displays how much battery life is left and it lasts approx 6 months based on your usage.
 
I’ve tried several other remotes over the years and found this to be the perfect size, feature set and ease of use to be able to quickly use during daily presentations.

8 gigabytes of RAM makes a difference.

I’ve been using Apple based laptops for several years now and I migrated to the 17″ model when they were originally announced by Apple. One thing I have noticed is that with the last 2 generations of the unit the high-res screen of 1920 x 1200 is a must have when working with several applications or windows. The extra real estate makes it easier to multi-task or move data around while brainstorming or wire framing. I ordered the new 17″ when announced at the January Macworld and got my hands in early March. Shortly after getting the unit I added the 8 gigabytes of RAM, from http://www.transintl.com/, which cost about $750 but wow was it worth it. My previous units had 4 gb’s which I always thought was enough but the 8 gb’s has made for a smoother experience especially running VMWare. I can now easily have Windows XP Home and alternate open or even Vista open with XP. Now Vista is slow and goofy but it runs comfortably now while running several mac apps at the same time and dare I say its usable.

 So if you been debating adding more memory to your workstation or looking at a new laptop, check out the Apple MacBook Pro 17″. The higher end MacBook Pro 15 also now supports 8 gb’s of ram as well.

 Update, last week I got my hands on the 7200 rpm 500gb hard drive and its nice to have some breathing room on the hard drive again. Great drive, quiet, and have not notice any additional heat or hit in battery life. Now, just have to find the budget to upgrade my team’s systems.

 Next on my wish list is a 30″ monitor.

Free Lunchtime Learning Session: Hollywood Storytelling 101 – April 21

Looks like a great online event:

April 21, 2009 – from 12 to 1PM
Hollywood Storytelling 101
presented by: Gordon Lewis

Gordon???s Hollywood storytelling 101 has 10 rules for using storytelling techniques to engage learners: know your audience, appeal to the emotions, show, don???t tell, know what???s at stake, let plot flow from premise, open with tension, keep it moving, up the ante, highlight the turning point, and end with tension resolved . Gordon will show you how to engage your learning audience by creating and producing interesting and engaging e-learning scripts. He will use stories to create an environment that supports learning. Using several styles and techniques, he will show you how to light up the screen and peak your learner???s interest.

Gordon

Gordon???s screen credits include TV comedy hits such as AmenFamily Matters, and In Living Color, as well as documentaries (Small Steps,Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood) and animated fairy tales (Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child). He is a member emeritus of the Writer???s Guild of America. In the late 1990s, in the interest of shorter hours and career longevity, Gordon transitioned to instructional design. He has since developed interactive courseware for United Airlines, Price-Waterhouse, Cisco Systems, Traveler???s Insurance and other corporations. He is now employed as a content strategist for the University of Toyota, where he designs online courses for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion.

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http://www.lasalle.edu/schools/cpcs/content.php?section=grad&group=it_manage&page=lunch

TweetDeck .25: The Twitter Desktop Tool and so much more….

If you are using Twitter and looking for a desktop tool, take a look at TweetDeck. It’s in beta, it’s free and it’s available for both mac and windows.

The interface can be used as a simple 1 column feed and tweeter or you can customize it to include groups of friends, Facebook Status, Direct Messages and include several columns of information based on the size of your monitor and your needs.

http://www.tweetdeck.com/
 
For a quick tutorial, check out this getting started video by Cali Lewis/Geekbrief.tv <a href="http://www.geekbrief.tv/gbtv-517-how-to-tweetdeck-like-a-pro.

http://www.geekbrief.tv/gbtv-517-how-to-tweetdeck-like-a-pro.</p>

Great Web App to check if your sites are up? AreMySitesUp.com

If you are looking for a tool that can help you track your web sites and alert you if your site is having a problem then you need to check out http://www.aremysitesup.com. The site offers several options, including a free service. Based on your needs they offer an iPhone app for monitoring as well as e-mail, Twitter and SMS support for getting an alert if your site goes down. You also get a follow-up alert once the site is back-up and running to confirm the service has returned. I had been running an older Mac based service which no longer is support and we had tested several web based solutions over the last several months and I loved the options, pricing and solution here. Monitoring can be setup to test a particular url or for a word on a particular page. You can also get warning if the site times out or does not respond.

A look at services:

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/Ae2mFpSDDw]

If you need a quick site checker, try the Instant Site Checker at: http://aremysitesup.com/sitechecker

Great Example of Learning and building Tutorials

Guy Kawasaki posted The Art of the Tutorial, an article for his American Express Blog . In his article, he discusses how companies, or any web site should be able to explain their business in under 2 minutes to a new client, customer or visitor. He show cases some examples for his newer startup AllTop, which I’ve posted about before as well as the production company who designed the tutorials and has produced all 3 examples he demonstrates.

They do a great job of showing, in this case, how to cook something using still shots/photography, a voiceover and simple directions. It’s a great example of how designers, instructors and everyone involved in e-learning should take into account on how to teach our audiences. I love the treatment and its effective. This technique can be applied to any business, idea, or training, think about it when you start your next production. Would love to hear your thoughts. Web Link: http://www.startcooking.com

Looks interesting – The Wharton Evolution of Learning Symposium, Philadelphia, May 13 – http://tinyurl.com/dey32h

If you are in Philadelphia are, check out this conference. Looks great and only $60. The keynote is Daniel Pink. Great writer and speaker. Check out A Whole New Mind @Amazon > http://tinyurl.com/b4jrd8

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About the conference: http://tinyurl.com/dey32h
The world is increasingly interconnected, the face of employment is rapidly changing, and the economic upheavals roll on. Education is at a crossroads. Have we as educators kept up with this evolution of global consciousness, and have we considered the possibility that our current status quo no longer meets the challenges of today???s world? And are we prepared, if necessary, to transform an entire system of pedagogies and administrative infrastructures?
Conference-banner

Have you seen the great content on TED? http://www.ted.com/

I was first introduced to the TED talks, about 2.5 years ago, when Al Gore created his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds.  The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). One of the greatest assets for web users is they have moved more and more of their content to the web for everyone to see. There’s a lot to learn, some fun, some serious and inspiring content. If you are not familiar with the content, I would recommend checking out a clip at least once a week. http://www.ted.com/