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Google proposes OCR feature. I love it

Google now proposes an experimental service to convert text scanned in image format (JPG, PNG or GIF format).

OCR is a very useful functionality on a day to day basis (especially at work) because even if everything is digitalized, we still have printed version, example to contract), and when we need to do a new document, based on a printed one, OCR is needed.

I like this feature which is a good example of google added value.

They have google docs, they develop OCR for google books ( and also for search engine that convert pdf in html), and they just propose it as a simple service for us.

To try it, it’s here http://googlecodesamples.com/docs/php/ocr.php


Don’t talk, just relax, and watch …

I love this video of kuroshio sea aquarium (2nd largest aquarium of the world).
Nothing to say, just watch it in HD and fullscreen, the music is OK, so switch-on the sound… and relax…


Some very cool iphone Applications

I’m very impressed by the very cool applications that exist for iphone.

To find new applications, I use appsfire , a very cool service, where you can browse throw most installed apps, or throw VIP prefered applications.

If you have an iphone, you must try it !

Using appsfire, I’ve found for example :

remote :

This application is simply magic. The installation and setup is very simple :

  1.  you install it on the iphone
  2. you launch itunes on your pc (or mac), and enter the code provided on the iphone in itunes

And then … the iphone become a remote that control itunes on the PC. It’s simply magic !

shazam :

You hear a music that you like, you just click on shazam, and click “tag”. The iphone “listen” to the music, and the give you the title and artist. Very useful to note and archive music that you like.

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BNF (French National Library) is ready to surrender to Google !

The BNF is the French National Library.

For years, and especially when Jean-Noël Jeanneney was in charge of the BNF (2002-2007), BNF has refused to discussed with google to scan it’s books.

Jeanneney wrote a book about it : “Google and the myth of Universal knowledge : a view from Europe”.
The argument is that google is a US private company so :

  • they will make money with it, wich is against french idea of universal access to books
  • they will not scan everything, but they will make choices, and the criteria will be an US angle

At one point of time French people wanted to launch an initiative “against” Google initiative to scan books Gallica.

Today we learn that some discussions are ongoing between Google and the BNF.

The reasons are easy : governments do not give money to do Gallica, and google proposes to do it for free.

This is a very important news, it should make a lot of noise …

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Summer in France … the shutdown !

After 2 or 3 weeks of shutdown, France is back to work.
For french people, this summer shutdown is “normal”.
Everybody take between 2 and 4 weeks of Holiday in summer, and everybody is back to work beginning of September.

When I say everybody, it’s everybody, even our president.

After my 2 years spent in Asia, I see pro and cons to this summer break (this break is absolutely not done in Asia).

Of course, the big issue is that everything is delayed.
For example, to plan an IT project, if July/August is in the timeline, it’s mandatory to add 1 month (it’s sure that you’ll go 2 time slower compare to other months).

But in term of global efficiency, maybe it’s not so bad :

  • in september, everybody come fresh and in good shape with a lot of energy
  • for the balance between family and work, it allows everybody to be sure to be able to spend at least 1 week in family

So finally, I’m not sure if France would be more efficient without this shutdown, but I’m convinced that for people it’s more healthy to have it !

I do not know how it’s in US.

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How to implement what your customers need ? (2)

I continue to search way to imrpove customer relationship to define good systems.
Inspiring video : maybe my customers even do not know what I want to sell them !
In this video, done by a google guy, we see that while google is fighting hard to launch his Chrome browser… “normal” street people do not know what is a browser !
Insteristing.. isn’t it ?
I’ve found this video throw Seth Godin blog.


Look, the earth is still alive !

The Breathing Earth Simulation is a very nice real-time simulation that display on a map the CO2 emissions, birth and death rates, by country.

You can see the earth breathing.

The counter in the bottom right corner is impressive : it shows the cumulative number of death and born people sicnce you open the page.

When you go to every country, you can have the detail statisitcs for this country.

The source data seems to be reliable : CIA World Factbook and United Nations Statistics Division.

A very nice way to present and help people to “feel” key numbers.

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Solar Energy : myth or reality ?

Yesterday (May 29th 2009)  I did attend SOLARCON in Singapore.

One afternoon of overlook of Solar energy business.

Solar is about producing electricity using PhotoVoltaic (PV) technology.
After this afternoon, here are my ideas, my questions about this market:

  • the market is very promising, a lot of nice charts that show a wonderful market in … 2100
  • The ecosystem is not ready.
    For example, for PV panels are done using silicon, historically, silicon market is shared by 8 big players. Today, 120 companies are ramping up in china. The forecast is to keep 20-30 players.
    The prices went from 140$ / kg to 60 $/kg. No real idea of forecast.
  • The grid parity (solar electricity at competitive price) should be reached in 2012 in area with high electricity coast / lot of sun like Italy and California.
  • Current crisis has an impact on development : big investments are needed, and banks to not loan money these days.
  • The technology is improving a lot, often, so investment done today may be obsolete soon
  • Biggest countries (US, India, China) recently announced big plans to increase solar part in electricity production. Because they think green…and also because it’s a good way to develop economy during the crisis.
    To meet these targets of solar electricity production for 2030, the production of solar panel have to be 9 times bigger than what it is this year… for the next 20 years.. (sounds crazy, no ?)
  • To sustain ecosystem, all players ask the governments to give grants and to fix the electricity rates.
  • Smartgrid is mandatory for efficient solar electricity production.

My feeling after these presentations is good, but a lot of very big investments have to be done, it will take time.
Politics help will be needed to sustain these very long term investments.

[Update 2012 : it seems twitter do not keep old tweets, the link below does not work anymore today]

During the presentations, I’ve updated my twitter using the #solarcon tag (surprisingly, nobody else did this), so you can find my notes there.

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