Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Stanford Artificial Intelligence Class (YouTube Playlists)

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Update: Udacity now has the course videos in their curriculum. So just go and view them here.

Last year Stanford University, Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun had this great initiative to give an Artificial Intelligence course online. I didn’t follow the course back then but recently thought I’d check it out. There is a website with links to most of the videos (videos with answers to the questions are not there). As I wanted to watch the videos on my tablet the website was quite cumbersome. So I decided to make playlists of all the course videos. There were already some people having playlists of some units on YouTube but I couldn’t find anybody that had them all. I also found most of the answer and the exam videos on YouTube which are not shown at the AI class website

Below you can see the playlist of the first unit of the course:

The rest of the playlists of all the other units you can find on my YouTube Channel

Here’s a video where Peter Norvig explains at the TED conference the success of giving the course online.

Sebastian Thrun got so inspired by this that he gave up his job at Google and Stanford to start his own startup Udacity which basically will supply many more courses for free (they’ll make a bit of money if you want to have certification). Here’s an interesting interview with him in This Week in Startups where he explains it in more detail. Go to minute 4:00 to skip all the commercial announcements in this video. Udacity is really an amazing idea and has the potential to really disrupt education and make high quality university education available for everybody.

Chilean Driver Exam (Dokter Bibber, Ezeltje prik and more)

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Today I tried to get my Chilean driver license. Exam was very funny

I had two play two games to see how my physical skills are. A kind of version of Dokter Bibber. (For the non Dutch here is a 20s video )  and a version of Ezeltje prik (An old Dutch game played at child parties where while blind folded you have to put a pin in a picture of a donkey)

Luckily as a kid I was brilliant at these games so I passed this part of test.  So then I had to go medical exam. Do you have any health problems? No? OK you passed the exam.

Then there was the theoretical part with some real gems


Boycot CEO Killing Elephants for Fun

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

This really ticked me off today

I used to have a domain with GoDaddy because if you sign up with Google Apps for your domain there was an option to buy a domain at GoDaddy (I hope Google will remove this option soon now that it is known that the CEO killl elephants for fun)

Today I found the following email in my inbox from my current registrar Namecheap


Remarkable Flight Entertainment Systems

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Actually haven’t come across a remarkable flight entertainment system yet . The ones I’ve used on all the flights I have been on are always slow and have non intuitive user interface. A nice example is the KLM flight entertainment I had last week on a flight from Amsterdam to San Francisco. This deserves to be in the UI hall of shame

  1. Why oh why do I have to select between 3 versions of The Bounty Hunter why can’t I just select the movie and later on change audio or subtitles.
  2. Why is there Library I and Library II?
  3. Why do only some movies have the option to see a trailer?
  4. Why does the the system react so slow when you push a button.
  5. Why is the remote placed on the inside of the armrest? When I have the screen turned off it turns on again because I accidentally touch a button with my leg
  6. Why does KLM show a 30 second ad about their wonderful inflight system every time I turn on the system or watch a new movie? I just want to see the movie.

Leave a comment if you have come across remarkable flight entertainment systems.

Make a portable hotspot of your laptop: Connectify

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Connectify Screenshot

Last week when I met a business partner he mentioned how cool Connectify is in case you are traveling. Basically it makes a full WiFi hotspot out of your laptop. Which is really handy and can save you quite some cash in case you are traveling and for example your hotel only has wired or paid internet and you have multiple WiFi devices with you (laptops, iPads, mobile phones etc.). Connectify even works if your laptop is connected via WiFi to the Internet as it uses Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter to use your WiFi card as a both a receiver and a hotspot at the same time.

Setting it up is also really simple. You basically fill in your SSID and password and click on “Start Hotspot”. The current stable version did not work for me because DHCP requests from my wireless devices were blocked by the Windows Firewall. After an email to their support I received advice to install their latest beta and that works like a charm.

What’s also pretty nifty is that you can see which devices are connected and you can block devices to connect to your hotspot.

Only disadvantage is that Connectify only works on Windows 7. I’d love to see this hotspot feature being added to GNOME Network Manager

Paying with your Mobile: Bumping money with PayPal

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Last year I mentioned on this blog that I found Bump an innovative product. With Bump you can exchange information (e.g. contact information or files) between two cellphones by bumping them against each other.  A competitor of Bump is Hoccer. With Hoccer you don’t bump but you “throw” data to a phone and the other one has to “catch” it. Though both products are quite innovative and have a certain cool factor, I guess they haven’t had much practical use yet. You don’t go and ask somebody you meet can you Bump me your contact details, because probability is high that the other person doesn’t know what Bump is.

You have your phone always with you. So it would be handy if you can use it to pay certain things e.g. your tab at a bar, your groceries, the parking meter. Paying with your mobile is also a holy grail already for many years. Several things have been tried. With most you have to sign up to some service and after that you can pay with SMS . Other initiatives require NFC (Near Field Communication) chips, but very few phones have NFC chips at the moment. So far these initiatives have not really caught on because they are not really handy.

Bump did a very clever thing by opening their API for 3rd parties (open is usually a good idea if you want your product or service to spread) and stroke a deal with Paypal. So if you now install a PayPal app on your iPhone or Android you can transfer money to another person by simply bumping your phones against each other. I can see something like that also work for paying drinks in a bar,  parking meters, small shops etc.

As the number of smart phones is quickly growing Paypal+Bump might have a change to disrupt big existing players in this areas such as banks and credit card companies. What do you think of this?

Below a video on how Bumping money works

Click here to view embedded video

YouTube leanback to disrupt TV watching

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Click here to watch embedded video if you can’t see the video above

After playing around with YouTube leanback that Google launched last week I believe that the concept has a lot of potential to disrupt the way we watch TV. If you look at it the general concept of YouTube leanback is a “TV watching web app”

I already was very enthusiastic about media players like Boxee because you can very easily watch videos from the Internet on your TV, see what you your friends are watching, subscribe to video feeds, when you are browsing you can add videos to your play queue so you can watch them later etc. etc..  All very cool features. However there is a disadvantage: you need to have hardware on which Boxee is running.

With YouTube leanback you just need to find a device that has a browser (and flash in the case of YouTube leanback but I’m sure you can also build something similar in HTML5). Since modern TVs and mobile phones have browsers you can basically take your TV with you if you use a “TV watching web app”

I expect more sites will come with a “TV watching web app”. Probably also an open source application will be made such that everybody can easily setup such a web app. Traditional cable (and satellite) operators will need to move into this because otherwise their customers will just need them for a bit pipe. Many of them will fail because  a “TV watching app” just does not fit them, because they don’t have the expertise and the business model should be such that it also fits the traditional business model they have which will lead to internal friction.

While changing cable operator is a hassle on the Internet it is trivial to use another web app. Because of its openness on the Internet in the end there will be just a few big TV watching web apps . At least far less than there are cable operators. It’ll be interesting to see how this all will work out.

The beauty of the Internet: Khan Academy

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

I have always been fascinated about the quality of information you can get on the Internet. A great example of that is of course Wikipedia

A few days ago I came across another beautiful example The Khan Academy. It’s basically one guy Salman Kahn who is doing this. He started it because his cousin from New Orleans had problems with math at school. Salman, living in Boston at the time, decided to remote tutor her by posting videos with explanations on YouTube. Soon these videos became very popular all around the globe.  Salman who holds an MIT engineering degree and and MBA from Stanford decided to give up his day job and fully dedicate himself to making videos.  So far he has posted over a 1000 videos on YouTube  explaining concepts from  calculus, chemistry, biology to getting funding from a VC. Watch the video below for more details.

The surprising truth about what motivates us

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

I have always been skeptical about the usefulness of monetary bonuses. Actually there is research that shows that higher bonuses actually lead to lower performance. In the highly entertaining video below you can learn more about it.

GNOME Amazon Referral Fees May 2010

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

gnome-amazon In May 2010 the GNOME Foundation received the following Amazon referral fees

This totals to approximately $299 (up from $280 in April).

Keep on spreading the plugins to friends and family

Below and in the GNOME Amazon Store you find the links to install the GNOME Amazon Search Plugin of your favorite Amazon store. NOTE the links below might not work if you read this post in an RSS reader, because it needs a javascript command to install the search plugin. Just install the search plugin by going to this post directly.




For epiphany use the following smart books.