07 July 2013

Will You Dump Your Smartphone For A Firefox OS Phone? [MakeUseOf Poll]


The first ever Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open, was launched in Spain this week, to be followed by other countries worldwide. The Firefox OS phone might not be a match to the latest and greatest iOS, Android, or Windows Phone devices, but it has its own charms: it's open, and it's cheap. Selling for under $100 in Spain, this is an extremely affordable smartphone.

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Google Search by Image and Special Effects

Google Image Search has a feature that lets you find images on the web by uploading the files or pasting their URLs. It's a clever feature, but it's a lot more clever than you imagined.

It's obvious that Google finds an image if exactly the same file is embedded by a web page or there's a link to that file. Google also finds images if you resize them, crop them or apply various photo effects.

Here's an image from a Wikipedia page, after resizing it and applying the pixelate effect from Picasa. Can Google find it?

Google can't find other sizes of the image, but if you look at the "Pages that include matching images" section, you'll find the image.

What if you convert the photo to black and white? Will Google's reverse image search engine be able to find it?

You'll get the same pages that include matching images:

Let's try something more difficult - apply multiple Picasa effects: soft focus, tint, filtered black-and-white and posterize. There's no way to recognize this image, right?


I used IrfanView to remove EXIF data and compress the image above a lot more. Here's what I got:

To call this impressive is an understatement. It's a resilient algorithm that goes beyond matching pixels, images, shapes - it understands the structure of the image, its essence.

{ The image from this post ("a red flower in the Philippines") has been licensed as Creative Commons Attribution by bingbing. }

Top Online Education Resources for Teachers

Learning does not stop when we graduate college or finish a higher degree. It doesn’t stop even after one becomes a teacher. As a teacher, you will have to keep yourself updated of all the changes and new things being introduced in your field. Another challenge that teachers face is that they have to adapt to the new methods of teaching that are being introduced. One easy way of learning and helping the students to learn is online education.

As more and more schools are trying to include it as a part of their curriculum, it is necessary for the teachers to find a resource which gives them the lessons handy whenever they need. Teachers must be very careful when they choose the resources from which their students would learn. A resource which doesn’t have all the necessary content for the students will be ineffective.

Teachers should also take care that the resources are not too difficult for the students to understand. It is a widely known fact that the level and standard of skills and knowledge of the students depend on the source of their education. It is the responsibility of the teachers and the school to choose the right resource from which the teachers can learn from and also guide their students to. Another criteria to choose the best online education resource is the flexibility of the lessons. You must be able to flexibly use the content according to your lesson plans and syllabus. A good online education resource is always flexible. Below are three online education resources where you can brush up your knowledge and also consider the content for your classes.

PBS Learning Media

PBS learning media brings to you a whole new world of education materials in different areas. You get access to content on different subjects on PBS Learning Media. Plus, you can find resources which teach the concepts to students in a creative way they can understand. You can find materials which would be useful for your learning, too. Also, you will be able to connect with other teachers online which will give you a lot of information on how other teachers are handling their tasks. It is also a good platform for knowledge sharing for teachers. The students also have a lot of content they can benefit from. You can create class accounts using which the whole class can have a record of what they have learned. Also, the content is categorized based on the grade levels, so that you would find the right content for your class easily. With so many advantages, PBS Learning Media is definitely a go-to place for all types of online education.

Discovery Education

Discovery Education is one of the best education resources. You can find lessons explained to the minute detail and so you will be having a good time teaching them to your class. There are a lot of lessons on how to apply science to the day-to-day life. The lesson plans are clear and you can also customize them based on the way you prefer to teach your students. Another reason why Discovery Education stands out is that the content is updated regularly and so you always get access to fresh content. There are also a lot of additional resources for things the students will have to know about and those that do not come under the syllabus. Explore Discovery Education to get to learn a lot of things which the textbooks do not teach. Also you can make it interesting for the students to learn the subject using the creative ways explained in the lesson plans.


BBC is another excellent platform which gives you various lessons for different subjects. It is widely popular among teachers for its flexibility and the content. Though you might not find separate lesson plans for your location, you can still benefit from the lessons as they are mostly suitable for the curriculum followed in any location. There are a lot of resources which help the students test their knowledge and find out areas which they have to learn more. This could be more helpful to them especially before they take up exams, because they can not only learn what areas they have to improve but also quickly prepare themselves to face the exams with confidence. The lesson plans are very easy to follow and at the same time very interesting for the students to follow. BBC also provides a lot of videos which you can play for your students to make your class more interesting.

These are some of the resources which educate both the teachers and the students. Make use of them to get the right lessons for your class and engage your students in different and interesting ways of learning. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to guide your students to good learning resources. Also, you have the need to keep yourself updated. You can achieve both of these by making use of these outstanding resources.

Author Bio:The article is written by Kathryn Smith, a tech and entertainment blogger. Kathryn also contributes for distance learning history degree and shares her findings related to internet marketing, blogging, and other technical stuff.

4 Windows System Parts You Should Be Extra Careful With


I believe it was 1998 when my family invested in our first PC. Late by many's standards, but I was only a nine-year-old kid at the time. Since then, if I had to take a stab in the dark. I'd say I've been through about eight different PCs. One of the biggest learning experiences is finding out what parts of your computer are sensitive to tweaking. It's good to be cautious, but not too cautious. If you consider yourself a novice to the Windows platform, here are four areas that I recommend you stay far away from.

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Pomodoro Web App Tomato.es Is Time Management Made Simple


Can't focus? Get to work, now. Tomato.es is a free Pomodoro timer you can use directly in your browser – and it's possibly the best such app I've ever used. The Pomodoro technique is simple: work for 25 minutes, non-stop, then take a five minute break. Repeat three times, then take a 15 minute break. Continue repeating until all of your daily tasks are complete – or it's time to sleep.

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Google Queryless Search

There's a Google blog post from 2007 titled "searching without a query". At that time, Google provided recommendations based on your search history.

Google now has a patent for "parameterless search". It's still a search without a query, but it now relies on context and mobile devices. Here's an example:

For example, assume that a mobile computing device is moving with a user on a highway who is travelling at speed during rush hour on a workday (e.g., Monday-Friday). If the user submits a parameterless search query to the mobile computing device, the device can examine its current context (travelling on the highway during rush hour) and infer that the user would like to receive traffic information for the stretch of highway ahead. The mobile computing device can infer parameters for the search query (e.g., traffic conditions and highway number), identify results for the search query (e.g., expect to encounter stop-and-go traffic in two miles), and provide the results to the user (e.g., activate a speaker on the mobile device and audibly transmit the traffic conditions to the user).

The patent provides some other information about the context:

A current context for a mobile computing device can include a variety of information associated with the mobile computing device and/or a user of the mobile computing device, such as the time of day and date (e.g., 2:00 pm on May 29, 2010), upcoming and/or recent calendar appointments (e.g., meeting with John at 2:30 pm on May 29, 2010), a direction and rate of speed at which the device is travelling (e.g., northbound at 20 miles per hour), a current geographic location (e.g., on the corner of 10th Street and Marquette Avenue), recent device activity (e.g., emails sent to John regarding the 2:30 meeting), etc.

Google Now already combines information from various sources, including your location, your email account and your calendar, and shows traffic information and alternate routes when it's likely that you need them. It will get even smarter and show the things you need to know before you try to find them like a psychic that reads your mind and anticipates your intentions.

That's queryless search and it's one of the reasons why Google now combines information from various services. Google needs to understand language, your preferences and the context to find the right answer to almost any question.

{ via SEO by the Sea }

A Gmail Bug Changes Your Sending Address

There's a very annoying bug in the mobile Gmail. You can find it in the mobile Gmail site for smartphones, the Gmail app for iOS and the iGoogle gadget for Gmail (all of them are actually the same app).

If you've added multiple sending email addresses to your account and you receive messages forwarded from other accounts, Gmail automatically picks the right "from" email addresses when you send a reply. The trouble is that the mobile Gmail web app reverts to the main "from" address after 1 minute or so. You start typing your messages and the "from" address changes. Even if you change it back, it will revert to the main address after another minute. This also happens when you compose a new message, not just when you send a reply.

Until Google fixes this issue, it's a good idea to check the "from" field before sending a message from a secondary address. After you change it, you have about 60 seconds until it reverts to the main address, so send the message quickly.