Why elite marathoners don’t (yet) wear wristwatch mobile phones

GPSwatchesThirty years and 50 pounds of blubber ago, between various teaching jobs and being fired from computer companies, I wrote for a New York-based magazine called The Runner, which was long ago absorbed by Runners World. I took the gig to force myself to get in shape and it worked, which is why one year I ran the Boston Marathon. Understand that my editor at the time, a guy named Amby Burfoot, had won the Boston Marathon, so my finish well back in the pack was professionally meaningless, but that memory gives me some sense of the scene yesterday in Boston when those bombs went off. I know what the air was like, what the […]

Siri’s big brother from Google

With today’s introduction of Apple’s iPad 3 or iPad HD or whatever the hell they end up calling it, I think we’ll be entering a pretty Siri-ous phase when it comes to mobile Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Apple has a winner in Siri, its iOS digital assistant app, and knows it, so we’ll soon be seeing all-Siri, all the time in Apple products to come this year including, no doubt, Cupertino’s own big-screen TV. But this is not to say that Google’s Android will be far behind. There are stories popping-up about Google doing its own Siri-like app. But I expect Google to go significantly beyond Siri capability and I base that belief […]

By |March 6th, 2012|2012|82 Comments

Siri may infringe old Excite patents

I was watching this Bloomberg video the other day featuring Shawn Carolan, the venture capitalist who backed the Siri electronic personal assistant startup then sold it to Apple. His was the closest I’d heard to a technical explanation of how Siri works and it surprised me because it sounded a lot like technology I remembered from years ago at Excite, the long-defunct search engine.  Please look at the video and then meet me in the next paragraph.  The part that excited me (no pun intended) is about four minutes in.

Okay, he said they used linguistic techniques to map blocks of words against 10 possible domains of expertise to figure out what the heck you are asking Siri to do, with the real […]

By |January 14th, 2012|2012|73 Comments

Damage Control

Note — Reader consensus below seems to be that I’m the one drinking the Flav-r-ade in this post, so proceed at your own risk. That’s not how I see it, of course.  CNN asked me about this issue yesterday and I think it is pretty clear, but that may be in part a reflection of my background, who knows? Just as readers expect me to take responsibility for my words, I expect Apple to take responsibility for the performance of its products. The issue isn’t so much abortion clinics as what other big gaps exist in this service? When you call your doctor the recording says “If this is an emergency hang up and call […]

By |December 1st, 2011|2011|113 Comments

Apple gets Siri-ous about TV

Walter Isaacson, in his new biography of Steve Jobs, reveals that Apple is planning to introduce its own televisions, attempting to revolutionize that space in the same way it did mobile phones with the iPhone. He quotes Jobs as having said that he had finally cracked the technical issues of controlling such a TV, though giving no details. This has led to a lot of speculation, but it seems obvious to me that Jobs was referring to IOS 5’s new Siri personal assistance capability. We’ll control our Apple TVs by telling them what to do.

Apple has tried to do TVs before. A few years ago, inspired by the TV success of Gateway and then Dell, […]

By |October 29th, 2011|2011|120 Comments