Archive for December, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Google Enables Cross-Language Search for Enterprise Search Appliance

If your business is global, then you likely have many documents in foreign languages. In order to help employees find documents in languages other than their first, Google has enabled cross-language searching for enterprise customers using the Google Search Appliance.

Queries will be passed through a translation engine which will enable search in several languages. Users can choose the document to be returned to them in any of the available languages.

Google Mini and Google Search Appliance owners can head to this link at Enterprise Labs to check out the new feature.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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PostHeaderIcon Hi-tech helps track Santa Claus

Children wanting to track Santa Claus’s global journey on Christmas Eve have a number of options this year.

As always, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) will be keeping tabs on Santa and children can follow his progress on Google Earth.

In addition, they can send e-mails to the tracking team or even follow Santa on Twitter.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a tradition that started by accident in Colorado, in the US.

Father Christmas’s journey will start at 1100 GMT and children worldwide can track his progress using Google Maps and Google Earth.

He will pass 24 “Santa cams” around the world, providing live video feeds of his progress, which will in turn be put onto Norad’s YouTube channel as they happen.

For even more up-to-the-minute progress reports, Santa can be followed on the Twitter microblogging service, on which he is known as @noradsanta.

And lastly, Norad volunteers can answer e-mails about Santa’s journey (the address is

Newspaper misprint

Norad’s 50-year tradition of tracking Father Christmas goes back to a misprint in a Colorado newspaper advertisement in 1955.

A local child wanting to know Santa’s whereabouts dialled the phone number printed, which connected to the Continental Air Defense Command (Conad).

As more mistaken calls came in, the commander on the other end of the phone answered the queries and the tradition continued in 1958 when Conad became Norad.

The effort spread to the internet in 1998 and in 2007 Norad’s Santa tracking site saw more than 10m visitors from 212 countries.

Volunteers fielded nearly 95,000 phone calls and 140,000 e-mails.

This year when Santa takes flight from the North Pole, more than 1,000 volunteers will be on hand to help out

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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PostHeaderIcon Player profiles

By Tamsin Osborne
BBC News

Screenshot from Everquest II, Sony Online Entertainment

Picture a typical player of a massively multiplayer game such as World of Warcraft and most people will imagine an overweight, solitary male.

But this stereotype has been challenged by a study investigating gender differences among gamers.

It found that the most hard-core players are female, that gamers are healthier than average, and that game playing is an increasingly social activity.

Despite gaming being seen as a male activity, female players now make up about 40% of the gaming population.

The study looked at gender differences in more than 2,400 gamers playing EverQuest II.

"What we think might be at play is that it’s not that games are good for you, it’s that TV is bad for you"
Dmitri Williams

The participants, who were recruited directly out of the game, completed a web-based questionnaire about their gaming habits and lifestyles.

In addition Sony Online Entertainment, Everquest’s creator, gave the US researchers access to information about the players’ in-game behaviours.

Gender bias

The results showed that, although more of the players were male, it was the female players who were the most dedicated players, spending more time each day playing the game than their male counterparts.

Lead researcher Scott Caplan of the University of Delaware said the result demonstrated how out-of-date stereotypes can be.

“In many cases, stereotypes reflect what I would call a ‘cultural time lag’,” he said.

“What we think about men and women and videogames may have been true 10 or 15 years ago, when there were mainly console video games or single-player games.Nintendo games console, BBC

“But what were seeing now is that games become social, and as these online games become communities then the attraction for that kind of behaviour might increase for women,” said Prof Caplan.

“I think a lot of our stereotypes are based on the way computer games have been, rather than where they’re going.”

The pressure to conform to traditional gender roles might mean that some women are put off activities seen as “masculine”, whereas women who reject traditional gender roles might be more likely to play MMOs such as EverQuest II.

Perhaps in support of this the survey revealed an unusually high level of bisexuality among the women who took part in the study – over five times higher than the general population.

“These are not people who are following strict gender stereotypes,” said Prof Caplan.

“I think that the game itself is right now a very non-traditional activity for women, and so I think what you would find in this population are going to be people who are in other ways less traditional than the majority population.”

Consumer focus

Another unexpected finding was that the online game players – particularly the women – were healthier than the general population, though this was drawn from self-reported levels of exercise and body mass index.

Dmitri Williams, a researcher at the University of Southern California and a co-author on the study, said one possible explanation could be that playing computer games reduces the amount of time spent in front of the television.Woman playing Wii, AP

“What we think might be at play is that it’s not that games are good for you, it’s that TV is bad for you,” he said.

“With television, what you get is an endless stream of commercials telling you to buy things and to consume things, and what we think we’re finding is that when you remove all that consumption impulse you are probably less driven to consume.”

In games such as EverQuest II, players spend their time completing quests and killing monsters, so it’s possible that such in-game activities might influence players in real-life, said Prof Williams.

“It could be that games inspire a more active lifestyle, instead of sitting in front of a TV.”

The study also found that men and women played computer games for different reasons, with men more likely to play to win and women more likely to play for social reasons.

Furthermore, a high proportion of women reported playing the game with their romantic partner, supporting the idea that game playing is becoming an increasingly sociable activity. The researchers say that this trend is reflected in patterns of general computer and internet use.

“If you go back 20 years and talk about people using computers and the internet, I think the stereotype would have been of a young male,” said Prof Caplan.

“Nowadays, if you look at MySpace and Facebook and all of the social uses of the internet, the number of women who have it as part of their everyday life has gone up phenomenally,” he said.

“In the same way that the stereotype of a computer user has become more gender-neutral, I think we’ll see that with games too.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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