Occassional reader – Camera clues, misplaced revenge, drunk dialing, ExtraGeek – Feb. 2, 2008

Yes, yes, I know. I’m behind. The new job, a coast-to-coast commute, moving and trying to maximize time with my DC friends have taken their toll on my reading and blog writing time.

  • Photo Clues Lead to Camera’s Owner (AP) – A New York City woman finds a camera in a cab and returns it. Shocking, I know. She, her fiance and family did a bit of detective work, analyzing the pictures on the camera to find its rightful owner in Australia. I keep meaning to put a locked image on my cameras with my contact information, just in case it falls into the hands of someone like that New Yorker. I could stand losing a $300 camera, but the images from a trip are a much bigger loss.
    Another use for digital cameras: using it to find people you’ve lost. I lost my friend Pam in an Italian museum. I didn’t know the language and the docent didn’t speak English. Flipped my camera to a picture of Pam, handed it to the docent and she pointed the way.
  • Police: Woman Thinks She’s Being Fired, Sabotages Boss (News4Jax.com) – She gets the wrong idea after reading a classified ad that had her boss’ phone number in it and destroys seven years worth of architectural drawings. Wow. People still look at classifieds? Lesson for employers: back up data. Lesson for disgruntled employees: use multi-pass deletion. via Wanita Niehaus
  • Dip Once or Dip Twice? (New York Times) – Just in time for the Super Bowl, a report concludes that double dipping is bad. I do have to question the methodology: “The team of nine students instructed volunteers to take a bite of a wheat cracker and dip the cracker for three seconds into about a tablespoon of a test dip.” Three seconds is an awfully loooooong time. But then this is the same group that debunked the five-second rule. (It depends on what you dropped and the surface it was dropped onto.) via Sree Sreenivasan
  • Drunk driver dials 911 (CNN, video) – Drunk dialing and drunk texting are bad. Drunk dialing 911 while you’re driving is really bad. The cops don’t want to escort you home. Meanwhile, a Minnesota legislator is trying to ban ladies’ nights with free drinks for women.
  • ExtraGeek Luis von Ahn: Human Computation (Wired Science) – This week, I’m introducing a new feature that will highlight stories that are extra geeky. Carnegie Mellon computer scientist von Ahn discusses CAPTCHAs — those annoying things you have to decipher and type to sign up for accounts, buy tickets at Ticketmaster and other assorted tasks. von Ahn is trying to harness distributed human intelligence to help computers learn. The reCAPTCHA project tries to use CAPTCHAs to digitize books. Google licensed von Ahn’s ideas for its Image Labeler.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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1 Response to Occassional reader – Camera clues, misplaced revenge, drunk dialing, ExtraGeek – Feb. 2, 2008

  1. Doris says:

    Y’know, I have address-label stickers inside the battery casing for most of my electronics, but this presupposes that whoever finds them will think to look! There’s got to be an easier way to label our possessions so that do-gooders can return them easily.

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