(Not a How I Met Your Mother reference)
So, a while ago one of my friends introduced me to TED. Which was a pretty amazing discovery for me.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, which posts some pretty amazing videos with thought provoking ideas.
The video below is pretty long – but I advise you to stick it out. It’s pretty true. The number of meetings we go to in a day can be pretty insane sometimes. And it’s true, I was just telling a colleague that whenever I have to write a press release I work so much better at home without these interruptions! And the video comparing work to sleep is pretty clever too.
Twitter and Facebook are modern day smoke-breaks!
I’m not saying I agree fully with everything the guy says – but it’s still a really interesting point of view
Take a look!
What really hooked me onto TED was what my friend told me… you know those annoying little boxes that pop up everytime you fill out a form to prove you’re not a computer (how annoying are they?!). Well ….
"Approximately 200 million of these are typed every day by people around the world. Each time you type one of these, essentially you waste about 10 seconds of your time. If you multiply that by 200 million, you get that humanity as a whole is wasting around 500,000 hours every day, typing these annoying squiggly characters."
That’s a lot of time!!
Well a smarty pants called Luis von Ahn, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh came up with a device that helps prove you’re human AND do something useful.
“He knew that lots of libraries have huge efforts under way to digitize their collections. These projects first scan books or newspapers by basically taking a picture of each page. Then a computer takes the image of each word and converts it into text, using optical character-recognition software.
But computers often come across printed words they just can't recognize. Especially for older documents.
So it occurred to von Ahn that he could link this kind of activity to security devices used on the Internet. Instead of asking people to prove they're human by copying random sequences of distorted letters and numbers, he could ask them to decipher mystery words from scanned books and newspapers.”
So now if you go to Ticketmaster to buy tickets, or log into facebook to change settings you'll be shown images of not one but two distorted words.
One of these is the real security word –if you manage to type this one correctly and you've proven you’re human. The other image is a section of a scanned document – which you’re helping to decipher!
Now that’s pretty cool.