Friday, May 30, 2008

Robotic Personality

Robotic personality is an advanced aspect of artificial intelligence (AI) in which smart machines display idiosyncratic human behavior. In particular, "personality" refers to the ability of a robot or personal computer (PC) to interact with people emotionally as well as on a logical level.

The notion of robotic personality is based on anthropomorphism, a tendency for people to think of certain objects or machines as having human-like characteristics. Anthropomorphism is not new. In the 1800s, Charles Babbage conceived a device called the Analytical Engine that seemed as if it would have a sense of "aliveness." Today, computers and robots have brought anthropomorphism out of the realm of science fiction. Robots can be programmed to rescue a human from a burning building or to administer medication in a hospital. High-end PC programs can learn from their mistakes (or from the errors of their users), improving performance over time. Machines can generate order from chaos, one of the prime criteria scientists use to define life.

In science-fiction books and movies, computers and androids are easy to anthropomorphize. A well-known example of anthropomorphism with respect to a computer occurs in the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this story, a spacecraft is controlled by Hal, a computer that becomes paranoid. A fictional android with especially human-like characteristics is Data from the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Owners of high-end personal robots sometimes think of the machines as companions.

> The Guardian (UK) describes how robots might interact with humans in the future.
> Hammacher Schlemmer distributes an interactive robot panda with multiple personalities.
> Maja Mataric is developing a care-giving robot with a personality.

Monday, May 26, 2008

VerveEarth - Surf the web by geoghraphy

Checking my email today...
My eyes stopped on that subject "Amr Kabardy's Blog, Egypt & VerveEarth"!! What is this?

I opened it to find:
Your blog
Amr Kabardy's Blog caught our attention. I'm the founder of a recently launched startup for bloggers. We are searching the internet for the world's blogs by geography, and we found yours for Egypt. I would like to invite you to our site which....etc
WOW! So, What is that site? Here we go...

VerveEarth.. is a new idea for surfing the web. You surf the web according to the geographical locations. You brows content via browsing and interactive map of the world; You can check what is going around in your region; You can check what are people blogging about in some region; You can share with friends; You can keep an eye on your favorites; You can register and link your blog, it may get more traffic to your blog :) ...and so on.

Give it a look, it still in the beta! but the idea looks interesting... Now, you see pages linked to their locations around the world :)

Here is the link: and the FAQ
And this is a link to my destination on VerveEarth :D
Have fun :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

رسمياً ، ويندوز اكس بي على حاسبات XO المعدة للأطفال ..

أعلنت مايكروسوفت أخيرا عن دعم نظام ويندوز اكس بي لأجهزة OLPC XO (حاسب لكل طفل) رسمياً ، بعد أن أمضت أكثر من عام في تطوير اكس بي متوافق مع XO .نسخة XO الداعمة لويندوز اكس بي ستكون متوفرة في الأسوا ق ابتداء من شهر يونيو المقبل. وسيأتي معها نظام لينكس السابق الذي كان يعمل عليه الجهاز.

نظام الاكس بي المصمم للXO سيدعم الخصائص الموجودة في الجهاز مثل خاصية e-book reading والكتابة عبر القلم (writing pad) والكاميرا ونظام الـWiFi القياسي.حسب ماتقول مايكروسوفت فإن نسخة ويندوز اكس بي في XO تحتوي على كامل الخصائص الموجودة في أي جهاز عادي يدعم نظام الاكس بي.

سعر الجهاز سيكون مرتفع قليلا لوجود نظام XP فيه ، سعر الجهاز 200$ مع نظام XP ستكون تكلفته زائدة 3$ إضافية بسبب ترخيص الويندوز ، بينما النسخة الأخرى التي سيكون فيها إقلاع ثنائي (dual boot) اكس بي ولينكس ستكون تكلفتها زائدة 7$ ثمن القطع الإضافية التي تتيح التعامل مع أكثر من نظام.

بالتأكيد هناك الكثيرون ممن هم غير راضون عن الأمر برمته ..

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Hardy Heron

Hardy Heron is the code name for version 8.04 of Ubuntu, the open source Debian-based Linux distribution. It is widely recognized as one of the most easy-to-use desktop Linux distributions for novice users. Canonical Software, the sponsor for Ubuntu, has released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition to target the enterprise IT market, competing with Red Hat and SuSE Linux.

Hardy Heron can be run on a PC without uninstalling other operating systems. It may be downloaded or started up from a LiveCD inserted while Windows is running. When users open Hardy Heron for the first time, a virtualization application called Wubi will allow them to create a virtual Ubuntu installation inside of Windows. The next time they boot up, Ubuntu will be available as a boot option.

In general, Hardy Heron improves on earlier versions of Ubuntu by upgrading previous functions and software rather than adding new features. The operating system includes support for CD burning, a BitTorrent client, more wireless drivers and virtual network computing (VNC). Users that dualboot into either Windows and Ubuntu are also now able to read and write directly to the Windows partition. The update also features stronger encryption and improved support for third-party plugins and drivers.

Hardy Heron is the second version of the operating system to be released under Ubuntu's Long Term Support (LTS) agreement. LTS includes security updates for five years and three years of desktop support. Hardy Heron was released in April 2008 and succeeded Gutsy Gibbon.

> Learn which distributions of Linux have a GUI install at
> You can download the most recent version of Hardy Heron at
> SearchEnterpriseLinux has a guide for learning more about Linux distributions.
> You can learn more about Hardy Heron at this wiki on

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bibliotheca Alexandrina - Behind Closed Doors

Here is the story!

As we are approaching graduation in about 1 month In Shaa' Allah, Some companies are interviewing and hiring. Some companies are announcing themselves. Some companies are showing up in the market, taking the cover off their projects, attracting fresh minds to work with them :)

Here we go... The last Sunday -May 4, 2008- ICT department of Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) made a tour for my class... A tour Behind the Closed Doors of BA... A tour to reveal their projects... A tour to show up the stuff they work on... A tour to express what makes them busy... A tour that attract us to work for BA... So, after this great tour, what did we see? Here are some about their projects:

Virtual Immersive Science & Technology Applications (VISTA)
Well, It's a Virtual Reality applications, taking you inside the model, giving you the sense you are there in a real world... Using a special glasses, you can see 3D objects on 4 projector screens... By visualization of models, VISTA can be helpful with many fields of science. For example:
  • VISTA can help in the study of the effect of wind on the Sphinx using a 3D simulation that shows which areas of the Sphinx are most affected by the wind.
  • VISTA can help in Architecture too, a model of the BA is built. You can navigate throw it, even inside the building, emphasizing every single detail on walls, floors...etc
  • VISTA can help in Chemistry. Studying how atoms move, joint and split inside on the state of chemical atoms.
Check here VISTA website for more information, Demos, VISTA Projects...etc

Internet Archive
Hey, Web pages on the Internet are being modified, updated, removed and added frequently. Consider how would it be annoying if you want to go back to some page you've already read, but unfortunately the page is removed or modified so you can't get the desired info. With Internet Archiving, this problem can be solved. BA is proud to have on of the two copies of the Internet Archive allover the world. Personally, I found an older version of my homepage using their URL search.

Well, You can check the Internet Archive here.

Hmmm, I don't wanna make it long for you, I'm just talking briefly about two more projects.

Universal Networking Language (UNL)
The idea is that it would be much helpful if anyone can read any book in his preferred language -even the book is already written in another language- So, what about translation from language to another. It can be awful and hard. Consider that you want to translate 5 books in 5 different languages to the other 4 languages!! You'll have to run the translation process 20 times!! Hah, that's too much. Here came the concept; By using a UNL syntax each book is transfered once into the UNL syntax and then using a UNL compiler, the desired translated version of the book is output. Well, this seems easier. The UNL is describing semantics and not syntax of different languages.

Check here for more information.

Digital Asset Repository (DAR)
What is the DAR? I quoted the answer for you...
The Digital Assets Repository (DAR) is a system developed by ISIS to create and maintain the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's digital collections. DAR acts as a repository for all types of digital material (obtained from the Library or acquired from other sources), preserving and archiving digital media, and providing public access to digitized collections through web-based search and browsing facilities.
More information about DAR is here.

This is not all what we saw. We've been to the servers rooms, digitization rooms...etc But the post is getting too long :)
Wanna know more! Go here to the ISIS (International School Information Science) website, it will tell you what you need to know :-) All these projects are part of the ISIS work.

Note: All links on this post are last accessed on May 6, 2008

16 Ways to Keep A Razor- Sharp Focus at Work

Focus is something of a novelty these days. We’ve got cellphones for texting and calls, IM, Twitter, Email, RSS feeds, Facebook, Myspace… the list goes on and on. If you don’t have ADD before you start working online, it seems it’s almost inevitable thanks to these inputs. If you’re a web worker who uses the Internet for the majority of the day, you’re especially at risk for losing focus.
Focus is something that must be fought for. It’s not something that automatically switches on when you want to. You have to make sure your surroundings are perfect for working if you want to be focused. Here’s a few ways I’ve found this to work:
  1. Use offline tools. Paper products, pens, and other physical tools are a Godsend for those of us who have a hard time focusing throughout the work day. They’re so simple that we can use them quickly, without having to worry about becoming distracted.
  2. Take more breaks. More breaks = More productivity. It may sound wrong, but it’s true. Breaks allow us to re-group our thoughts and focus for the task at hand. They also keep us fresh so that we don’t end up burning out after only a few hours work.
  3. Smaller tasks to check off. When you’re planning your day, make sure that your “action steps” (aka items in the checklist) are small actions. Instead of “Paint living room”, try breaking it down into many tasks, like “buy paint, buy rollers, pick colors” etc.
  4. Keep a steady pace. Don’t try to do to much. Keeping the pace manageable allows you to keep your focus. Unfortunately, people can confuse this with “Work till you drop without breaks”. See number 2.
  5. Keep a daily “purpose” card. It’s pretty easy to get lost staring at the computer all day long. We’ll find rabbit holes to wonder down (ie. Youtube, Myspace, etc.) if we’re not careful. Having your daily purpose card gives you clarity and a reminder as to what you’re doing today.
  6. Develop the mindset that the computer is only a tool. It’s easy to try and use the computer for too much. At its core, the computer is merely a tool (albeit a freakin’ awesome one) that allows to do work more efficiently. If we’re using it as something more than that, (like as a solution for your life), you’ll ultimately fail. It’s like trying to eat a steak dinner with only a spoon.
  7. Plan your day to the T. If you’re finding sporadic periods of laziness throughout the day, it could be because you don’t take enough breaks (see #2), and you don’t have the day mapped out as efficiently as you could. Make sure your list of todos has lots of small, actionable steps that can be done quickly. This will gives a really satisfying feeling when you’re crossing things off your list like crazy.
  8. Notice your lazy routines. Everyone has recurring lazy spots throughout the day. Plan to have your breaks for those times. You’re going to be lazy then anyway, right?
  9. Plan the night before. Planning the night before is a great way to really get focused on the next day. “Sleeping” on your tasks and goals for the following day can really help your mind expect what’s going to happen the next day. Essentially, you’re preparing your mind for the following day. Advanced focus.
  10. Turn off extra inputs. These are IM and email for me, but we all have our Achilles heel. Completely turn off any distracting piece of technology that you own. Every one of these inputs tries to steal bits of your focus. And they won’t rest until they do.
  11. Set time limits for tasks. There’s no motivation like a deadline. Giving yourself real deadlines is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the task. Given the fact that we human are natural procrastinators, it’s no surprise that we’ll take as long as we’re allowed to finish something. Setting real but attainable limits is a great way to keep the project humming, so to speak.
  12. Keep a journal of what you did throughout the day. I like to use a moleskine notebook for my lists just so I can go back and review it every now and again, to see what I’ve done. Knowing how far you’ve come can keep you sharp and motivated to finish.
  13. Use programs to track where you spend your time. This is a real eye-opener. Knowing just how much time you spend every day/week/month on a certain site or with a certain program can quickly show you where your priorities lie. I recommend Rescue Time, but there are many others.
  14. Visualize the day in the morning, before it starts. A little pre-work meditation on the day’s events is a great way to start the day off focused and productive. Don’t worry about a full 30 minute session, a quick review before you start the day is fine.
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