Dec 12, 2006

Finally, a way to sync files easily

A friend of mine brought my attention to this product, which Microsoft has bought very recently (November 2006). This very nice website service will allow you sync folders between multiple computers over the internet seemlessly. It also allows a group of people to share documents easily.

Finally, a solution for the file-sync nightmare. Now if they can just make windows home networks easier to setup (without using a login server)!

Some Interesting new Technologies

Interesting news to share:

1- Solar Cells' efficiency is up to from 28% to 40% and the cost is lowered considerably (i.e. 40% of the light that falls onto the cell is turned into electrical energy)

2- A breakthrough in nano-tubes manipulation techniques. Nano-tubes are expected to become the main material of choice for making almost any product - from blood-cell-size robots to computers to finger-tip size cameras to car bodies.

3- Pocket Projector: a laser technology that would allow embedding a whole projector inside a cell phone.

4- A new record was set for Machine Translation Quality (using the BLEU test This goes to Meaningful Machines, a score of .65. I have to admit that the advancements in this field will still take a while to materialize in realistic usable products.

Dec 11, 2006

AlJazeera on Gramin's Nobel Prize

Aljazeera LOVES controversy!
The way they presented today's news item about Mohammad Yunus's nobel prize (founder of the Gramin bank) was so weird.

1- They were asking the question "why Mohammad Yunus?". They interviewed a Bangladeshi reporter saying that there are many pioneers in poor community banking field in Bangladesh. He said that Yunus won because he makes the most noise and pays a lot of attention to foreign relations and the public image.

2- The Aljazeera anchor asked an Egyptian expert with these words "How come he won a Nobel prize by giving few dollars to few poor people?"

3- The Egyptian expert said that Mohammad Yunus was not a pioneer, and that Egyptians have pioneered micro-loans in the 1950s from the Nahhas-Pasha days.

4- The Egyptian expert said that Gramin became famous because they gave loans to women who were able to make goods that ended up being exported to foreign countries. Otherwise, it's not that special.

5- They interviewed Mohammad Yunus... BUT, out of the whole interview, they showed ONLY ONE SENTENCE. This is how they presented it:
"In the 3rd largest muslim country in the world, Mohammad Yuus chose to create a bank that is based on Interest. Mohammad Yunus: Islam does not say explicitly that Interest as a whole is Haram; it's a controversial issue and many scholars say that some of it is halal."

6- They also said that the "televised happy reception of Yunus by the poor residents at one of the villages" is "most likely a well-orchestrated PR show"

7- They ended the report by asking "Is Mohammad Yunus using the Gramin conglomerate's reputation and influence to run for presidency?"

That was it!

ya akhi... some times, I just wonder how these Aljazeera people think. Why to present the story in such a manner!?
Even if there are question marks about this guy's Nobel Prize, present a balanced story, present the apparent positive light of it (A MUSLIM GUY winning a Nobel Prize for work in a Muslim Country!! this is huge), and THEN, present the doubts and the questions.