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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2008 / 1 Kislev 5769

You talk, it searches

By Mark Kellner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Somewhere, maybe, James Doohan is smiling today. You remember the affable Canadian actor, whose Scotty on "Star Trek" was often talking to the computer, even if (in one film) it was the mouse of an old Apple Mac, don't you? Doohan, a Canadian, died in 2005, but his brogue — affected for the part — lives on.


Well, yesterday, I "spoke" to my iPhone — and it found a hotel for me. I did this not by calling 4-1-1, but by using Google's updated Google Search software. You talk, it looks stuff up.


That seems simple, so simple that Spock might furrow his brow in a a scorn, but it really isn't. Anyone familiar with the history (and current state) of voice-recognition software knows that it's not easy going all the time. With a traditional voice program, you have to "train" the software to recognize YOUR voice, inflections and do so with a lot of vocabulary words. It's been a good while since I've tried this, but it's not easy, and unless injury or incapacity require it, few of us make the effort. It's just a pain.


Which is why saying something such as "hotels, Warrenton, Virginia," into a software program and having it type "hotels, Warrenton, VA," and then find said hotels is a minor miracle. Had I wanted to find lodgings in the place I was then sitting, I could have just said "hotels" and Google Search, using the GPS features of the iPhone, would determine my location and found whatever I was looking for, or so the makers claim.


The voice feature seems to run only on the iPhone right now, though the location-aware bit is said to run on T-Mobile's G1 "Android" phone, whose software is made by Google, as well as Windows Mobile devices. On these. Google's Web site says, the locating is done either via GPS or knowledge of your nearest cell tower's location. Very nice.


One can only hope it will expand the voice recognition aspect to other platforms, since Google does seem to want to "spread the wealth," applications-wise, to a bunch of computers and operating systems. (Then again, I'm still waiting for the Mac version of Google's Chrome Web browser. Sigh.)


This is notable for more than just the "cool" factor. It's a key evolution in voice recognition software that might render all sorts of things obsolete. One of these is the often-abysmal directory assistance service of AT&T Wireless. Call 4-1-1 on an AT&T cellular phone and you might get your number — and you might not. I've even had operators working under the AT&T name tell me they couldn't find the corporate headquarters number for AT&T Wireless in Atlanta, Georgia. It's pathetic. But if Google Search performs as advertised, it could find those numbers for you; the iPhone operating system would highlight the number on screen and you can click-to-dial. (Obviously, such dexterity should not be attempted while driving.)


Other applications are myriad. Ironically, as some have noted, you can't yet have this search your own online Google directory of contact, which every Google Mail user has, right? That might come along "down the road," and if it does, you suddenly have something truly remarkable.


What fascinates me — and what Google isn't advertising yet — is how they got the voice software to recognize voices so effortlessly. I could see a whole "server farm" of large computers devoted to that task, but the details are the "secret sauce" here, and Coca Cola might divulge their formula first.


If you have an iPhone and the Google Search app, it's probably been updated automatically by now, as mine was. If you don't have the app, get it, since there's no cost for the software. And if you don't have an iPhone, here's another, super-cool, reason to drop a hint to Santa or one of his subordinate Clauses.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com

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