Sunday, 31 August 2008

Feng GUI: Free Heatmap Service

Feng GUI is a free heat map service which unlike other services, generates its heat maps using algorithms. A heat map is visual representation of how people interact with a website, it shows areas where people pay more attention to as being 'hot' and low attention grabbing areas as being 'colder'. There are several ways to generate a heat map; you can track peoples eye movements, track mouse clicks or, as Feng GUI does it, use algorithms which try to predict what a human might look at.

"Feng-GUI empower designers and advertisers to effectively analyze Attention and Attraction in visuals."

They created the algorithms from research in neuro-science, Feature integration theory, Salience, visual Attention, eye-tracking sessions, perception and cognition of humans. The algorithm tries to determine what someone will look at within the first 5 seconds of image exposure. They claim that the technology is 70% accurate when compared to eye and mouse tracking. If this is true then Feng GUI is a very effective and cheap, ie free, way of analyzing placement of content or ads.

The website is very easy to use, you simply upload a picture of your site or anything you like and you will then be presented with a heat map after a few seconds. Below you can see two heat maps of my site.

This is definitely a very interesting idea and can be a cheap and quick alternative to some paid heat map services. I hope they can improve the algorithm further. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think about it.


Sunday, 24 August 2008

Right Brain or Left Brain

Here is a little trick to determine which side of your brain is dominant. If you see the dancer turning clockwise, like I do, you use more of the right side of your brain and if the dancer is turning anti-clockwise your left side of the brain is more dominant. It's a weird feeling to know that other people are seeing this moving picture differently. However, if you concentrate you can see the dancer go the opposite way. It took me about a minute to do it the first time but the switch is instantaneous. If you can make the dancer turn the opposite way then try this; have two copies of the picture open, hide one and concentrate on the other to make it spin the opposite way to normal. Once you have it spinning in the other direction bring up the second picture of the dancer, you should be able to see the second picture turn in the 'normal' way while the first picture turns the opposite way. This only works while one of the pictures is hidden from view.

It has been shown that the two sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different ways of thinking.

Left Brain:
Looks at parts

Right Brain:
Looks at wholes

Please be aware that this method of identifying lefties and righties is not very accurate, the brain is a lot more complicated, but it's fun though. Let me know which way the dancer spins for you.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Mathematics of Beauty

Researchers at Cambridge university have found that the closer a woman's hips to waist ratio is to 0.7 the sexier her walk is. This is one of the reasons why Cambridge is one of the best universities in the world. So, a woman with 25 inch waist and 36 inch hips, has all she needs for a perfect walk. You may not be surprised to hear that Jessica Alba has that magical ratio. For men, a ratio of 0.9 has been shown to have a strong correlation with general health and fertility.

It has been known for a long time that a well proportioned body and face are very appealing. Symmetry is also an important factor in beauty. Another example of this is the golden ratio. It has been shown that we humans find things more beautiful if its proportions are close to the golden ratio. This does not just apply to human bodies but also to the design of buildings.

A face mask made using the golden ratio, beautiful people such as Jessica Alba have a very close fit to this mask. The golden ratio doesn't just apply to the face, I did a quick measurement on my hand and the proportions come to about 1.48. Which, when compared to 1.62 of the golden ratio, means I am hideous. Anyway, for more information check out the links below.


Friday, 15 August 2008

Quantum Uncollapse: Unmeasuring Things

I have recently read one of the most strangest articles on quantum physics, then again most things in quantum physics is strange. It is about two physicists, Andrew Jordan from the university of Rochester and Alexander Korotkov who's from the university of California, who are claiming to have verified something called the 'Uncollapse' hypothesis.

In the crazy world of quantum physics an object can be both a wave and a particle at the same time, they can also be in multiple locations at the same time. That is until you measure that object, which then is said to 'collapse' into a definite state and position. This weirdness is best exemplified by the famous Shrodinger's cat thought experiment. A cat is placed in a sealed box along with a flask of acid which is broken by a trigger set off by a quantum mechanical effect( the decay of a radioactive atom). Since you cannot know whether the quantum effect has triggered the breaking of the flask, you can't determine whether the cat is dead or alive. The atom could be decayed and not decayed at the same time and so the cat could be both alive and dead at the same time. Until you peek inside the box, in which case the cat will definitely be in one of those states.

It was widely believed that once you make a measurement of an object you cause it to 'collapse' into a definite state, but the two physicists hypothesized and later demonstrated that it is possible to weakly measure a object, which would cause its quantum state to collapse, but if you then 'unmeasure' the object it would revert back to its original quantum state. I know what your thinking, how the hell do you 'unmeasure' something? Well, the way they did it was to apply the same weak measurements again and the particle would go back to its original state as if no measurement has taken place. What they have shown is that there is no sharp line dividing the quantum world and the classical world and that changing from one state to another takes time.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this article is if you can unmeasure something, and thus returning it to its unmeasured state, does this render quantum encryption useless?


Thursday, 14 August 2008

I Hate Internet Explorer

If this is not your first visit here you may have noticed a few changes to the site. I have been tinkering away the past two days, mainly just rearranging things. All I have done is moved both columns to the right, added a search box to the header and changed the header picture. Every time I make any changes to the site I check that it looks good in all the browsers, and every time I find theres something wrong in the way my site looks in internet explorer. It looks perfect in firefox, opera needed a little bit of work but looks good now, but no matter what I do I can't get it to work in IE. If you are viewing this using IE, you may have noticed the site looks like a dogs dinner. My html and css knowledge is pretty limited so I have no idea how to fix it. I have never hated IE before and I know a lot of people do, I have just always preferred firefox. However, since I started this blog I have been continually frustrated with IE. Now, their browser is another reason why I hate Microsoft.

Firefox 3

Edit: Made some more changes and now it looks fairly decent, but still not perfect.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Rat-Brained Robot

Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight? The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world. On a serious note researchers from the university of Reading have managed to create a robot that is controlled by neurons from a rats brain. About 300,000 neurons, which are kept in a controlled environment separate to the actual moving robot in order to keep them alive, are not only communicating with each other but are also forming new connections. The robot and the neurons are interfaced together using Bluetooth. The robot, placed in a wooden corral, managed to avoid the walls about 80% of the time. The researchers are keen to see whether the neural connections strengthen as the robot performs certain tasks. It is hoped this research will lead to better understanding of the brain and brain related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Check out the video below.


Monday, 11 August 2008

Reduce Linux Power Consumption with PowerTop

Since version 2.6.21, the Linux kernel has had a feature called tickless. This was implemented to help reduce the power consumption by keeping the CPU in low power mode for longer periods. Ever since I started using Linux I have been under the impression that because it's less bloated than Windows it would be much less power hungry. However from what I've heard and seen there doesn't seem to be any big differences. I have even heard people say that XP is less power hungry than Ubuntu for example.
I have never tried Linux on a laptop so I don't have any experience of this. Phoronix did a test last October to see the power consumption of XP, Vista, Fedora 8 and Ubuntu 7.10, you can see the results here. It doesn't look very good for Linux. I'm sure there are some very lean distros out there that use very little power but they tend not to be very user friendly. All this however is not going to deter me from installing Ubuntu on the eee pc 1000.

To help Linux users reduce their power usage, a handy little tool called PowerTop has been created. This application will show you the software components that are preventing optimal usage of your hardware and make suggestions for both hardware and software configurations to reduce power consumption. You can get a hold of this program through synaptic. Once installed open the terminal and type in sudo powertop. I have included screenshots of the program with some power saving suggestions.

Link: - PowerTop

Friday, 8 August 2008

CERN Rap Video

This is so cool, just watch you might learn something about particle physics.

Lightning in Slow Motion

I used to own the LG KU990 phone and one of the things I miss about it is its camera. It had the capability to record at 120fps which I had a lot of fun with. Someone with a much faster camera than the LG KU990 has used it to capture some amazing footage of lightning. You can see the intricate details as the bolt comes zigzagging down. Check out the video below.


Morpho Towers

I have just come across this video showing something called a Morpho Tower, this device, created by Sachiko Kodama, is essentially a computer controlled electromagnet with a liquid ferromagnetic material surrounding it in a bowl. When it's turned on the liquid climbs up the spiral cone to produce some very beautiful patterns. I don't know if this will ever be sold to the general public but I would buy it over the lava lamp any day. Check out the video.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

EEEBuntu: Ubuntu for the EEE PC

Recently I have been pondering whether to buy the eee pc 1000 for university work. Being a massive Ubuntu fan the first thought that came into my mind was can I install Ubuntu on it. The answer is yes, however there are a few issues. People have been eeexperiencing(sorry I just had to do it once) problems with getting the wifi and microphone working. Although there are solutions for these problems, it is still a bit of a hassle. But do not worry, some good people have come together to create eeeBuntu. This is a modified version of Ubuntu, more suited for the eee pc. EeeBuntu comes in two flavors, one with GNOME and compiz fusion and the other with packages from Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It includes all the usual goodies found in the normal Ubuntu but with the added bonus of fixes for wifi and other issues. I don't think there is any serious improvements like better battery life or faster boot with this distro but I could be wrong. I'm going to give eeeBuntu a go as soon as I get my hands on a eee pc. For now check out the video below.