June 03, 2007

Mousetrap - 105

Show and Tell
The ESP game & Peekaboom & Phetch
In the ESP game, you and an unseen random partner must type the same words in response to an image. Peekaboom is a guessing game, where parts of the image are revealed and parters take turns figuring out each other’s images. And Phetch is a treasure hunt except you’re searching the web for images. Aside from their use of images, the ability to play against real live participants online, their addictiveness, and the fact that they’re all made by the same folks, these games have another thing in common. They are part of a project where machines—i.e. computers—learn to read image content, an area where the human brain still comfortably outperforms Artificial intelligence. So, me hearties, you’re not wasting time and the office broadband connection; you’re assisting scientific research. And you can tell teh HR Manager that I said so.

Vote for!
n7w
For some reason, ever since Herodotus and Callimachus made their lists of the Seven Wonders of the World, way back around 300 BC, later generations have felt compelled to issue revised lists of the same number of must-sees (which, one is told, is how the Greek theamata best translates into English), all of them restricting themselves to just seven. Surely larger lists could do the job as well? Never mind. This site is the latest to follow that trend. It solicits votes online for its long-list, and has had a heckuva lot of parochial response. Judging by the number of emails I have got urging me to vote for the Taj Mahal, the meme has pretty much taken root with desis all over the world, and you may have seen the site already. If not, go see. The current shortlist is worth a dekko even if you’re not the voting kind.

Are you?
Creative Mumbai
Are you a loyal citizen, past or present, of Slumbay-by-the-Sea? Are you creative? Of course you are. Well, get your creative posterior over to this site and answer about ten minute’s worth of questions for this young Dutch student who is writing his thesis on the city and its creativity. (Lin via Dina Mehta.]

Speaking of surveys..
Free Online Surveys
Want to poll your friends about something? Have a project where you want a lot of responses? An online survey form makes it easier for your victims, sorry, respondents to help you out by giving them easy choices, buttons to click, things to pull down and whatnot. Unfortunately, you’ll need your own web space and have to be a wee bit geeky to get it all up and running. But this site can take all the pain out of it. The free option lets you create and run basic surveys with a variety of options, and you can upgrade to a paid account if you want more control. It’s pretty easy to use. I made up a survey for you, Gentle Reader, and it took all of five minutes. You can see it here.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to http://o3.indiatimes.com/mousetrap for past columns, and to comment, or mail inthemousetrap@indiatimes.com. The writer blogs at http://zigzackly.blogspot.com.

Published in the Times of India, 3rd June, 2007.

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