Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

X-box blamed for child’s death

December 4, 2010 5 comments

Cast your mind back to February 1993. The Bulger case ruled the media. The story was a tragedy that shocked the nation. The newspapers at this time caused moral panic about films. The film Child’s Play 3 was being used as a scapegoat by (the boys and media) for the murder of Jamie Bulger. However, there was no link found between the film and the murder.

Yet again in 2010, another tragedy has hit the headlines and this time the connection is with an electronic console. The X-box.

Gary Alcock has been sentenced a minimum of twenty-one years in prison after killing his 15-month year old daughter. The Telegraph, said he “flew into a rage” after his daughter started crying whilst he was playing the X-box. See the full article. Due to the sensitive nature of this article I do not wish to write endlessly about this horrific incident.

However, it is important to recognise the media’s blame on an electronic device for such a devastating murder, instead of looking at the real problem.

Yet again, perhaps more should/could have been done to prevent this from happening. Alcock had a history of violence and it was reported that Alcock had attacked the daughter three weeks prior to her death. This draws attention to  how was this crime (three weeks before) left unnoticed by anyone?

The sad underlying issue in this story also lies with the girl’s mother. She put her relationship before her daughter’s safety, and in this case, life. It is heart wrenching to read such a horrific case like this and it yet again emphasises the lack of communication in society. How did this go unnoticed by anyone? What measures need to be put in place to ensure this does not happen again?

To start, the media need to help society and stop constructing misleading/mocking headlines:

‘Bully’ Killed Girl For Interrupting Xbox Fun [Sky News]

Man killed tot who interrupted X-Box playing [Cnews]

Life for thug Gary Alcock who battered girlfriend’s baby to death after her crying kept interrupting his computer games [Mirror]

Gary Alcock gets life in prison for brutally beating baby who interrupted his video game playing [NY Daily News]

Google is going where perhaps no search engine has gone before…

“Where are we going?”

“Where they went.”

“What if they went nowhere?”

If you are a fan of Star Trek, you will be a fan of the prosperous future Google has in store. With a keen interest in technology Google have acquired Phonetic Arts and plan to expand voice output.

“Captain, life is not a dream.”

Speech to text is no longer being considered a dream or an idea seen in films, but is travelling closer to the ‘planet of reality’. Okay, I will surrender the Star Trek based semantic field. However, for those of you out there, far, far and beyond remember, resistance is futile.

Anyway returning back to Google we can see that on a small-scale, speech technology already exists at Google, with Google translate which offers translations between 57 languages using statistical machine translation. However, this new acquisition by Google seeks to expand text to speech with this new company that generates natural computer speech using recorded speech samples.

This investment is an exciting adventure into a more advanced technological future and could benefit many people and appliances, such as mobile phones.

Related links

Official Google blog

Business Insider – Companies Google have acquired

Is Google abusing its position?

November 30, 2010 8 comments

Google is the subject of talk again on Rebecca’s World and in the media. You may have read a previous Google article ‘Morality on the internet’ or ‘Fashionable Google’; however this post is questioning Google’s search engine appearance, as an investigation by EU is being launched into Google’s honesty.

Google is being investigated after sites such as Foundem (price comparison) and (search engine) and Microsoft’s Ciao issued complaints. These sites claim that Google have penalised their websites and favour its own services.

Foundem and have complained that Google have treated their sites differently as they are in the same competitive market. With the BBC’s figures in 2010 stating Google,

“has about a 65% share of the US market and about 90% in Europe”

It is clear why these sites have filed complaints, Google’s impact is overwhelming and they may feel this is due to Google’s ‘own specific structure’. Though the enormity of Google is bound to upset a few people, or should I say companies along the way.

The issues raised highlight and emphasise to us, (users of the web), just how prominent Google is in our everyday lives. I have seen Google as many people’s homepage and a commonly used search engine for absolutely anything from recipes to spellings to Google Scholar. The best example of Google being put to good use was when a friend of mine searched for Google. On Google. It almost brought a tear to my eye and made me realise the rise and expansion of Google has effectively made us (oblivious) and more dependent on the search engine. How many of us have Google as our home page? Let’s be honest. *Raises hand*.

From reading articles discussing the allegations towards Google you can understand the viewpoints of those websites filing complaints. They want answers, clarity, a resolution and a fairer search engine platform on the web. However, Google have responded by explaining how results (of those websites filing) are ranked. The reasons for these websites having little coverage, is not down to Google’s manipulation, but these sites are ranked poorly due to compelling reasons such as Foundem duplicating a large majority of its website content from other sites. The originality of a website is the first protocol to ensure trust between a company and a user. Copying does not sit well with most people.

I will continue to ‘search’ and report on the Google investigation in the upcoming weeks. Keep following the stories on Google by subscribing to this blog.

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