Talk to your computer to design… The new Wikipedia… Mobile phone advertising…

Talk to your computer to design

Researchers at the Xerox Research Center Webster, in Webster, NY, say that they have developed a prototype that makes colour editing intuitive by allowing people to simply type in commands such as “Make the background more yellow” or “I want the sky a darker blue”.

It’s colour editing for an age when millions of people are trying to make holiday cards, calendars, and framed photos from their digital snapshots. The Xerox technology could also help small businesses avoid having to get documents refined by expensive pre-press consultants who use complex professional tools before printing.

The Xerox technology is still just a prototype. The company aims to give people a simple tool to translate their written (and perhaps, eventually, spoken) descriptions of colours into numerical codes for shades and colours that printers – whether home models or commercial presses – use to print colour documents.

The new Wikipedia?

There is a lot to like about Wikipedia. By focusing on user generated content, kept honest by the online masses, it has become a mainstay of the web and the first port of call for many a student’s research project. But along with Wikipedia’s wonderfully democratic structure comes a reservation: can you really trust its accuracy?

Time magazine reports that US company ManyOne Networks is building The Digital Universe, an alternative – and, they hope, more authoritative – online information source to Wikipedia.

Digital Universe allows people and organisations to build portals of information on specific topics in a similar way to Wikipedia, each with links to vetted articles, websites and news items. Unlike Wikepedia, however, all of Digital Universe’s information will be overseen by paid experts (known as “stewards”) to ensure accuracy.

Digital Universe is currently focused on producing the Earth Portal and its Encyclopedia of Earth, “an expanding compendium of expertly written articles dealing with all aspects of life and environment on our home planet”. The Earth Portal already has 700 approved experts from 46 countries contributing to and vetting its data.

Mobile phone advertising

A study by Sensis’s digital advertising arm, MediaSmart, found widespread consumer acceptance of advertising on mobile telephones.

The five-month study examined how users of Telstra’s third-generation mobile network responded to ads, and found that ads featuring incentives such as competitions or free content tended to attract a higher click-through rate, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hutchison, the owner of the 3 network, and Vodafone will launch platforms to make it easier for advertisers to buy ads across their phone networks within six weeks.


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