New Job

I don't often talk about personal matters. But this time I will, as it may have some impact on my life.

I've signed for a new job at Ateme to work on video codecs on DSP (and all the related stuff). I don't know exactly when I will start this new job (and quit the current one) but I hope it will be some time around may.

I got this job because of my involvement in Matroska, because I know quite a bit about digital video. That was also the subject of my university studies. And I'm glad I can get a job closer to what I like to work on.

That doesn't mean my involvement in Matroska will stop. There are still plenty to do. And I don't think this baby is old/mature enough to live alone in the wild world. It will need a little bit more care to make it grow and reach a stable status. Time will tell how much time I'll be able to give it in the future. So in the mean time I'll try to do as much as possible to add key features here and there.

PS: A big thank to Philog, my former employer. I've learned a lot and always enjoyed the people there.


Kurzweil interview

OK, I admit. I really like Ray Kurzweil. He has this ability to feel how the future is going to be. And he often makes very valid points on his theories. This article is quite long and covers a lot of what he's working on now. I'll be waiting for his next book in fall "singularity of the near" which is about reverse engineering the brain into computers...

Already companies need to reinvent themselves in order to succeed. There’s a shock when an industry resists changing its business model. The recording industry resisted changing its business model; they tried to keep the same business model that was around when my father was a kid. Selling an album with maybe only one or two songs that someone wants for a pretty expensive price. The bottom line is that industries have to change the structure of their business models. Very often it’s a new set of organizations that adopt a business model that’s consistent with disruptive change that displaces the old ones. But people aren’t necessarily going to keep the same jobs or careers for their whole life -- especially when we change the concept of the human life cycle.

M-TRAN robots

This is a new kind of robot build to change its shape. Its movements are also chosen using genetic algorithm for better efficiency. The interresting part is the conclusion : it has bigger potential than the (current) human body because it can evolve/grow during its lifetime to do things unpredicted at its birth... As one know, nature smiles to the ones with best adaptation skills...

Palm founders jump on AI

The 2 persons responsible for the success of the Palm PDA have created a new company (Numenta) to work on AI projects, based on knowledges of neuroscience. This is probably not the first one, but given their background and probably the money they can generate, it could give a good boost to all this nascent industry.


Capitalist Research

A survey shows that companies tries to bias research results and also try to get short-term revenues on research, rather than substantial results. It was expected but never so obviously and openly...


Scientists asking questions

It's always refreshing to see scientists being puzzled by their discoveries. That they find limits to what they can explain/understand yet.


Jon did it again !

DVD Jon ( Jon Lech Johansen) has just released a new software that will make Apple very unhappy ! You can now buy music on iTMS without using iTunes and without any DRM !

I still consider the price on the iTMS too high. But I'll probably have a look to see if there is anything rare I could not find on AllOfMp3...


Wireless Consciousness

McFadden, author of Quantum Evolution, argues that human consciousness is actually the brain's electromagnetic field interacting with its circuitry.

This idea is simple enough to make good sense. In the other end, would that mean that our consciousness disappear when we encounter very strong magnetic fields ?

"Some have been saying that if computers are powerful enough, they'll become conscious, but it hasn't happened," McFadden said. "It's time they realize there's something missing. You have to design an artificial brain using field effects."

Again, some people thinking that the human/biological way is the only way to achieve the same result.


Shakti headset

This is a machine that will stimutale regions of one's brain with electro-magnetic waves, the same way they are when one experience so-called "paranormal" experiments, like other presence, out of body experience, etc. It is based on another similar experience that took place in a room in the 80s.

What others have experienced in Room C002B depended on their cultural or religious beliefs. Some saw Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Muhammad, or the Sky Spirit. Others, with more than a passing faith in UFOs, tell of something that sounds more like a standard alien-abduction story.

That tends to fit my idea that hallucinations are usually caused by an altered state of the brain (mostly through chemicals) and thus is totally related to what is already inside our brain, ie a physical object. That would confirm that the brain is not really a metaphysical machine, but just a (complex) chemical, magnetic and electric machine.

“However, it is quite clear that the brain is also able to construct a version of reality that is quite unlike the survival-orientated ‘normal’, one. Now why on earth should it have evolved to do that and why is our culture so dead set against exploring it?”

Semantic Web

The Semantic Web is discussed these days in San Francisco during a W3C seminar.

Apparently a lot of people don't understand why it is important, or what it is exactly. But it's just what the name suggests, the web but with a meaning. A meaning that could be usable to a computer without human intervention. The technology in itself is quite simple. But it probably takes much more time to create Semantic content rather than the traditional text. We'll see how things evolve.

A mouse with a human brain

Genetic science is progressing and pushing the limits of what people are ready to accept. This funny experiment is already considered as close to the limit.

Last week, however, the university's ethics committee approved the research, under certain conditions. Prof Henry Greely, the head of the committee, said: "If the mouse shows human-like behaviours, like improved memory or problem-solving, it's time to stop."

So when it gets really interresting, it has to be stopped :(
As expected, humans are not ready at all to share their dominance...



As in Personal Digital Intelligent Assistant.

This AI software developped at Microsoft decides for the importance of messages you receive and can decide to contact you if a message is very important.

The 14-person group is working on software that senses the world around it and learns from experience to adjust to situations and to reason in real time.

AllOfMP3 declared legal (again)

Russian prosecutors have decided they are unable to take legal action against controversial online music provider Allofmp3.com

I'm glad the situation hasn't changed, and we can continue to buy music from the best online music shop (best business model so far).


Next Generation Computing

The article presents a few new research directions on what the future of computing will be. The interresting part is that they are all based on observation of the nature. But in the end I'm not sure the way the brain works (trinary instead of binary) is a real advantage. Computers will evolve differently than the way our brain works. Of course with enough computing power, the trinary system could be simulated with a binary system. But it may not replace all the existing binary systems. (seems like some people still consider the brain as the ultimate computing machine)


Intelligent plants

Apparently plants have a kind of intelligence, more than just growing.

The ground-hugging mayapple plans its growth two years into the future, based on computations of weather patterns. And many who visit the redwoods of the Northwest come away awed by the trees' survival for millenniums - a journey that, for some trees, precedes the Parthenon.