Well does the dictation feature in Mac OS X mountain line work?

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Better-than-expected, in fact. I’m dictating this entire thing with dictation and Mac OS X mountain line.Compared to the various versions of Dragon dictate that I’ve used, it seems to work pretty well. I greatly accuracy about on par with Nuance naturally speaking 11.On the other hand, user interface leave something to be desired. In particular, I can’t just dictate continuously. I have to keep pressing the function key for each sentence I want to dictate and then click done.That’s probably because the recognition doesn’t happen directly on my own computer.Instead, it sent to Apple for recognition on Apple servers.

Is the Open Box Open?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A quick proof of something that bothered me in basic topology. Assume the standard topology on ℝn based on open balls. What about an open box? I.e. all points in ℝn such that a1 < x1 < b1; a2 < x2 < b2;…;an < xn < bn. Is this an open set? I.e. can you build it up out of a union of open balls? Or, more colloquially, can you pack a square hole with round pegs without leaving any gaps?

Short answer: yes, if the balls can overlap and you have infinitely many of them. Long answer:

I Want an eReader

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I’ve gotten completely addicted to eBooks this year. I now have a library of hundreds of ePubs and PDFs covering almost every category in the Dewey Decimal System. However I’m finding the available eReading software weak and inadequate for a lot of uses. The best I’ve found so far is Aldiko Premium ($4.99 at the Android App Store) combined with the open source Calibre on my desktop and laptop; but I want better. In particular here’s what I find missing in current options:

#847 White-tailed Tropicbird in Bermuda

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

My wife and I picked Bermuda for our July 4th vacation because it was reasonably close, had nice weather, spoke English, and we’d never been there. Oh, yes, it only had one possible life bird for me to find so I wouldn’t spend the entire trip looking for birds instead of sightseeing with her.

That bird is the White-tailed Tropicbird, locally known as the Longtail. The Bermuda Petrel or Cahow is out at sea at this time of year. However the White-tailed Tropicbird is common. You can also see these from East Coast pelagics in the United States, sometimes even from New York shores if there’s a hurricane; but they’re far easier to find here. They’re like looking for Laughing Gulls at Coney Island.

I’m reasonably sure I saw some from the cab from the airport, but I couldn’t be quite certain. However as we had lunch on the hotel veranda while waiting to check into our room, several definitive White-tailed Tropicbirds flew along the ocean parallel to the beach. #847! Now we can see sightsee at a leisurely pace for the rest of the trip. :-)