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Horizons

Horizon highlights – July 18 weekend

By / July 18, 2008



Our regular roundup of noteworthy sci-tech stories from the web includes: bye-bye computer mouse, 50-megapixel digital cameras, and turning cellphones into interpreters.

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If you think I missed a great story, feel free to post your links as a comment down below. Let’s kick it off:

Online videoJoss Whedon's Wacky Web Experiment
"Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer likely will flock to Whedon's new Dr. Horrible online project. His business plan may be just as interesting." [Via BusinessWeek]
From the Monitor's archiveTV networks vs. social networks: "The median age for TV viewers hit 50 last season. To paraphrase Variety, that means that if today’s TV audience were a person, it wouldn’t even be a part of the target demographic anymore."

PredictionsSay goodbye to the computer mouse
"A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years. Taking over will be so-called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices." [Via BBC]

Business/Big ideasWhy Chris Anderson's theory of the digital world might be all wrong
"Just in time for The Long Tail's paperback release, the book has fallen under critical scrutiny. Anita Elberse, a marketing professor at the Harvard Business School, recently examined several years' worth of American movie- and music-sales data." [Via Slate] (Anderson, editor of "Wired," posited that the Web's ability to serve niche interests was a way for art and commerce to thrive together on the Internet.)
From the Monitor's archiveFive years, 5 billion downloads: iTunes, one of the classic examples of the "Long Tail," hits a massive milestone. And it's still gaining speed.

PhotographyPushing Pixels
"Last week, Kodak launched the first ever 50-megapixel camera sensor. While such high resolution goes beyond the needs of most consumers, for professional photographers the new sensor will enable photographs to be taken at an unprecedented level of detail." [Via Technology Review]

GadgetsMaking Yourself Understood in Beijing
"If you find yourself lost in translation while traveling abroad there are the usual fixes – gesturing wildly as if playing the game charades, using a trusty phrase book, or hoping for the help of a bilingual bystander. But interpretation companies are hoping you use another tool: your cellphone. These services aim to give you access to a 24-hour bilingual interpreter; you call the service on your cellphone, explain your dilemma in English, then hand over the phone to whomever you need to speak with – cab driver, waiter, police officer, doctor, or the object of your affection in a bar." [Via The Wall Street Journal]
From the Monitor's archiveLingro: Foreign-word widget: "When Artur Janc attempted to read 'Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal' with his rudimentary Spanish in 2005, he grew so frustrated at constantly referring to a dictionary that he decided to perform some wizardry of his own. Mr. Janc, then a Polish student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, created Lingro, a widgetlike online dictionary for budding linguists who want to put aside their Berlitz and master a tongue."

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