A Django site.
May 20, 2010
» A less bilingual Welsh Assembly

I see from a story on the BBC that English language speeches in the Welsh Assembly will no longer be translated into Welsh in the official record of proceedings. While this has raised eyebrows/objections/hackles in various quarters for a variety of different reasons, it is interesting that part of the argument in favour of this refers to “…proposals to make the records of our debates and proceedings more user-friendly by imaginative use of modern technology.” Given the importance of parallel bilingual texts for technology such as Google Translate, I can’t help wondering whether this will in fact inhibit the use (imaginative or otherwise) of Welsh in future modern technology and whether the strategic goal to “increase participation in the democratic process here in Wales”, will ultimately result in cementing English as the language of Welsh politics.

While this may be an easy way to save £250,000 in austere times, we should perhaps be mindful of unintended consequences, both directly for the language and indirectly in terms of the erosion of the Assembly’s claim to be “an exemplar organisation in its delivery of bilingual services.” Exemplar organisations are needed to develop and demonstrate innovative, effective, affordable, responsive bilingual organisational practices – if the Welsh Assembly can’t fulfil this role, who else will?

February 24, 2010
» Long time, no see

It’s been a while since we last gave you an update on what the Glamlife Team have been up to (we’ve carried on being Busy, busy, busy!), so here’s a flavour of the latest Glamlife developments…

We know from our Glamlife poll at the beginning of this month that 55% of those of you who took part aren’t aware that the ‘Your Documents’ tab at the top of your Glamlife homepage leads you to Google Docs. As a result of this, we’ve created a page in the Glamlife Directory designed to give you an overview of what Google Docs can offer, along with some helpful tips. We’re also aware that our students have had some problems using Google Docs because previously every file needed to be converted into a Google Doc file in order to be saved. Google have made some changes so now you can upload, store and organise any type of file in Google Docs – far more handy! Read more about this in the Official Google Docs Blog.

The Glamlife Team have been busy beavering away this term to bring you feature articles on St Dwynwen’s Day, St Valentine’s Day and St David’s Day – don’t forget to check out the St David’s Day events happening on Treforest campus and locally in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff. Have you also read our recent article about making sure you’re fraud savvy?

We’ve also been busy adding new pages to the Glamlife Directory:

  • presentations, which includes information about all the help you can get around the University
  • Listening to You, which is the University’s place to tell you all about what we are doing with the feedback you as students give us
  • attendance, which is a great reminder of how important it is to attend all your lectures
  • self-directed study, which includes some helpful links to assist you settle down to your studies.

If there’s anything you’d like us to write a feature on, or a topic you’d like us to cover for the Glamlife Directory, don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing glamlife@glam.ac.uk. We’re also always looking for feature articles written by students, just like this one on the Art of Rejection, so if you fancy trying your hand at some creative writing or investigative journalism, get in touch! You can even get some experience for your CV by doing a feature writing Work Taster with the Glamlife Team.

And finally, did you take part in our recent Valentine’s competition? We asked you to tell us how much you love Glamlife, and the Glamlife Team were inundated with over 80 entries – some of which made us laugh, most of which made us smile, and only the odd one that made us somewhat nervous ;) Look out for some of the more passionate entries popping up on Glamlife in the near future (hope you all read the competition rules – we did warn you!).


November 6, 2009
» Busy busy busy …

Well it’s been a busy term so far for Glamlife, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down! Read on to find out what’s been happening and what’s in the pipeline …

You can now take a peek at today’s menus to whet your appetite before you visit Stilts Food Court or Crawshay’s (on the Treforest campus) or Zone (on the Glyntaff campus). You can get to the daily menus via Glamlife’s campus facilities page – here you can learn more about the facilities on all three campuses, including the rest of the catering outlets (which have standard rather than daily menus).

Students can now subscribe to RSS feeds for various areas of Glamlife, including the Marketplace and the Glamlife Directory. For information about RSS feeds and how you can subscribe to them, read our RSS feed feature article.

Marketplace has launched successfully, growing steadily in popularity since the first week of term when 20% of students who voted on our Glamlife poll had already used or were planning to use the Marketplace to sell or buy items and post notices. At the moment, you can reach the Marketplace by clicking on the tab at the top of Glamlife, but we can now reveal that the Glamlife home page will shortly be revamped to include more functionality that we think students will find beneficial … this includes a Marketplace feed so you’ll be able to see the latest Marketplace posts without even having to leave the home page!

We’ve been pleased to hear on the grapevine that more and more of you are using Google Docs. There are some helpful links under the ‘Using Google Docs’ heading in the Glamlife walk-through guide, and the Official Google Blog also has some great tips for students and information on new back to school features.

The Glamlife Effect has continued to gather pace, with many of the 900 students who attended the recent Part-Time Jobs Fair, hosted by the Careers Service and the Students’ Union, reporting that they found out about the Fair from the promo on the home page of Glamlife. It’s great to know so many of you are finding out what’s happening around the University via Glamlife – keep an eye out for more events in the coming weeks!

And last but not least, Christmas will be coming early to Glamlife as we will be holding another competition with a brand-new laptop as the prize! So look out for details, and don’t forget to tell your friends …

September 2, 2009
» Google gyfieithu

Whilst idly considering the issues of bilingual blogging I came across an announcement about Google Translate on the murmur blog.

Google Translate now includes Welsh among its languages, but by Google’s own admission the quality of translation is “still a little rough”…

...but how rough? On their Research Blog Google suggest that it is “often good enough to give a basic understanding of the text”, so I decided to put it to the test with some text borrowed from murmur.

Original Welsh:

Dulliau ystadegol o gyfieithu peirianyddol sy’n galluogi’r cyfieithiadau yma – hynny yw, mae Google yn defnyddio’r swmp anferthol o destunau sydd ar gael ar y we i ganfod patrymau tebyg yn eu geiriau a thrwy ddefnyddio testunau cyfochrog mewn gwahanol ieithoedd maent yn chwydu allan yr hyn sy’n cyfateb agosaf mewn iaith arall.

Google translation:

Statistical machine translation methods which enable the translation here – that is, Google will use huge quantities of texts available on the web to find similar patterns in their words and by using parallel texts in different languages they vomiting out what is the nearest equivalent in another language.

Original English:

These translations are produced by statistical approaches to machine translation – that is, Google uses the vast amounts of text on the web in order to find patterns between the words, and by using parallel texts of different languages are able to produce what appear to be translations.

Google translation:

Mae’r rhain cyfieithiadau yn cael eu cynhyrchu gan ddulliau ystadegol i peiriant cyfieithu – hynny yw, mae Google yn defnyddio symiau helaeth o’r testun ar y we er mwyn canfod patrymau rhwng y geiriau, a thrwy ddefnyddio ochr yn ochr testunau o ieithoedd gwahanol yn cael eu gallu i gynhyrchu hyn yn ymddangos yn cyfieithiadau .

Well the Welsh to English is a little colourful perhaps, but pretty good I think. English to Welsh looks like something I might have written, but again I think the gist is there (more fluent Welsh speakers may disagree?). Also it will apparently improve over time.

One of the interesting comments that Google make is that “We’ve found that one of the most important factors in adding new languages to our system is the ability to find large amounts of translated documents from which our system automatically learns how to translate. As a result, the set of languages that we’ve been able to develop is more closely tied to the size of the web presence of a language and less to the number of speakers of the language.” Whilst we might be critical of the number of obscure forms and dull documents which are produced bilingually on the web under the mantle of Welsh Language Schemes, perhaps we are now seeing some unanticipated benefits for the language – or maybe people clever than me had planned this all along?

May 13, 2009
» Automatic translation from Welsh gets a boost from France!

Having previously suggested that Google might be doing some interesting things with regards to minority languages, I was delighted to receive the following press release about the Apertium Welsh-English translator.

I know that they have had a few set-backs in the past, and they seem like nice guys, so it is great to see them getting a bit of a boost.

I think Fran’s comments about not getting any Welsh students applying for the post are interesting – many people have commented that Wales should be well-placed to be a leader in bilingual software design, localisation, translation technology and so on, and we have some great people doing some excellent work around the country – maybe we need to think about how this might be more directly fed into the computing and other curricula in universities to really build a knowledge/skill base and develop an industry.

Press Release 12 Mai 2009

Automatic translation from Welsh gets a boost from France!

High-quality Welsh-English machine translation will come a step closer when a new initiative gets underway this month.

The multinational Apertium team, which released their Welsh-English translator (http://www.cymraeg.org.uk [1]) in August 2008, has been accepted into the fifth Google Summer of CodeTM [2], and one of the projects to be funded will be an improvement to that translator.

Apertium (http://www.apertium.org) is a Free Software [3] machine translation platform. It was first developed to handle translation between related languages in Spain, but over the last few years it has been extended to deal with other languages. To date, translators for 17 language pairs have been released, covering languages spoken by 1.1bn people, from English (est. 500m speakers) to Aranese (est. 4,000 speakers). A similar number of other language pairs are in development – these include Indian languages like Hindi and Bengali, and Scandinavian languages like Norwegian and Sami.

Google Summer of Code offers student developers stipends to write code for open-source projects, advised by mentors already working on the projects, and has helped create millions of lines of code for dozens of projects. This was the first year that Apertium applied for the program, and 9 Apertium projects are being supported.

The Apertium Welsh-English translator works by applying grammatical rules to a Welsh sentence to turn it into an English sentence. An alternative approach (adopted by software like Moses [4]) is to use a large body of text to work out what the likely translation of a given phrase is.

The Summer of Code student, Gabriel Synnaeve from Grenoble, France [5], will be working on combining these two approaches, using techniques developed at Carnegie-Mellon University in the USA [6]. The aim is to improve the quality of the translation – in effect, the Apertium and Moses translations will be compared, and the best bits of each will be used in the final translation.

For instance, take the Welsh sentence: “Mae Heddlu’r De yn ymchwilio i farwolaeth dyn 41 oed o Abertawe.” (South Wales Police are investigating the death of a 41-year old man from Swansea.)

Apertium currently produces: “South Wales Police is investigating death man 41 years old from Swansea.”

Moses currently produces: “the south wales police investigation into the death of a man 41 years of age of abertawe.”

The aim is to combine the best chunks from each program, so that we get something like:
  • [is investigating] +[the death of a man] *[41 years old] *[from Swansea] Here, the chunks marked * come from Apertium, and the one marked + from Moses, and combining both improves the quality of the translation.

This is cutting-edge stuff, and has rarely been tried before. Prof Harold Somers, in a 2004 report for the Welsh Language Board [7], suggested that a medium-term goal for machine translation in Welsh would be “to integrate … different [machine translation] engines into a single system”. Nothing has been done on that to date, and Gabriel’s work will be the first attempt to bring this vision of “multi-engine machine translation” for Welsh closer to reality.

Francis Tyers [8], who will be mentoring Gabriel, said, “I was quite surprised that we didn’t get any Welsh students applying, but this is a fantastic opportunity to improve Welsh language technology. I have no doubt we’ll see some real gains in the translation quality.”

Gabriel has already started work. “At the minute I’m fine-tuning the Moses Welsh-English translator to make it as efficient as possible. The Apertium community is very friendly, and I wanted to participate in a big open source project, so I’m glad I went for it.”

Kevin Donnelly [9], who co-developed the Apertium Welsh-English translator with Francis, noted that this was a big step forward for Welsh. “It is wonderful that so many talented people are working on Apertium, and that they are giving Welsh such a high priority. What we need now is for bodies promoting Welsh here in Wales to step up to the plate and give whatever enouragement and other support they can.”

Notes

[1] http://ufal.mff.cuni.cz/pbml-91-100.html. Francis Tyers and Kevin Donnelly (2009): “apertium-cy – a collaboratively-developed free RBMT system for Welsh to English”, Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics, 91.

[2] http://code.google.com/soc

[3] http://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software. The Free Software Foundation’s definition of “Free Software” is software that the user is free to use, copy, change, and distribute.

[4] http://www.statmt.org/moses. Moses is an open-source statistical machine translation system.

[5] Gabriel Synnaeve is a student at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique et de Mathématiques (http://ensimag.grenoble-inp.fr), a leading informatics and mathematics centre. He will graduate in September 2009 and will then begin work on a doctorate on Bayesian machine learning.

[6] Alon Lavie (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/alavie) is leading this work. See also: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/alavie/papers/EAMT-2005-MEMT.pdf. S. Jayaraman and A. Lavie (2005): “Multi-Engine Machine Translation Guided by Explicit Word Matching”, Proceedings of EAMT-2005.

[7] http://www.byig-wlb.org.uk/english/publications/publications/2302.doc. Harold Somers (2004): “Machine translation and Welsh: the way forward.”, Report for the WLB.

[8] Francis Tyers studied computer science at Aberystwyth, and is now a language engineer for Prompsit Language Engineering, S.L. and a PhD student at the Universitat d’Alacant. He is a key Apertium developer, with a special interest in extending it to handle the Celtic languages.

[9] Kevin Donnelly has been working on Free Software in Welsh since 2003, and developed the online Welsh dictionary Eurfa (http://www.eurfa.org.uk).

Contact: Kevin Donnelly, 01248-715925, kevin@dotmon.com

=====

Datganiad i’r Wasg 12 Mai 2009

Cyfieithu awtomatig o’r Gymraeg yn cael hwb o Ffrainc!

Bydd cyfieithu peirianyddol o ansawdd da o Gymraeg i Saesneg yn dod yn agosach pan gychwynnir ar broject newydd y mis yma.

Mae’r tîm rhyngwladol Apertium, a ryddhaodd eu cyfieithydd Cymraeg-Saesneg (http://www.cymraeg.org.uk [1]) ym mis Awst 2008, wedi cael ei dderbyn i mewn i’r pumed Google Summer of CodeTM [2], a bydd gwelliannau i’r cyfieithydd hwn yn cael ei ariannu fel un o’r projectau.

Platfform cyfieithu peirianyddol yw Apertium (http://www.apertium.org), sy’n Feddalwedd Rhydd [3]. Datblygwyd yn y dechrau i gyfieithu rhwng ieithoedd sy’n perthyn i’w gilydd yn Sbaen, ond dros y blynyddoedd diweddar estynnwyd y rhagleni drin iaethoedd eraill. yn cynrychioli 1.1bn o bobl, o Saesneg (tua 500m o lefarwyr) i Araneg (tua 4,000 o lefarwyr). Mae nifer tebyg o barau eraill yn cael eu datblygu, sy’n cynnwys ieithoedd Indeg megis Hindi a Bengaleg, ac ieithoedd Scandinafaidd megis Norwyeg a Sami.

Hyd yn hyn, mae cyfieithyddion ar gyfer 17 pâr o ieithoedd wedi eu rhyddhau,

Mae Google Summer of Code yn cynnig lwfans i fyfyrwyr i ysgrifennu cod ar gyfer projectau cod-agored, gyda chyngor gan fentoriaid sy’n gweithio esoes ar y projectau, ac mae o wedi helpu i greu miliynau o linellau o god ar gyfer dwsinau o brojectau. Dyma’r flwyddyn cyntaf i Apertium wneud cais i’r rhaglen, ac ariannir 9 o brojectau Apertium.

Mae’r cyfieithydd Cymraeg-Saesneg Apertium yn gweithio gan weithredu rheolau gramadegol i frawddeg Gymraeg i’w throi hi’n frawddeg Saesneg. Ffordd arall o wneud hyn (a ddefnyddir gan feddalwedd megis Moses [4]) yw defnyddio corff mawr o destun i weithio allan beth yw’r cyfieithiad tebygol am unrhyw ymadrodd.

Bydd y myfyriwr, Gabriel Synnaeve o Grenoble, Ffrainc [5], yn ceisio cyfuno’r ddwy ffordd yma o weithio, gan ddefnyddio technegau a ddatblygwyd ym Mhrifysgol Carnegie-Mellon yn yr UDA [6]. Yr amcan yw gwella ansawdd y cyfieithiad – bydd y cyfieithiadau Apertium a Moses yn cael eu cymharu, a’r darnau gorau o bob un yn cael eu defnyddio yn y cyfeithiad terfynol.

Er enghraifft, gweler y frawddeg Gymraeg: “Mae Heddlu’r De yn ymchwilio i farwolaeth dyn 41 oed o Abertawe.”

Mae Apertium ar hyn o bryd yn cynhyrchu: “South Wales Police is investigating death man 41 years old Swansea.”

Mae Moses ar hyn o bryd yn cynhyrchu: “the south wales police investigation into the death of a man 41 years of age of abertawe.”

Y bwriad yw cyfuno’r darnau gorau o bob rhaglen, i gynhyrchu rhywbeth fel:
  • [is investigating] +[the death of a man] *[41 years old] +[of] *[Swansea] Yma, mae’r darnau a nodir gan * yn dod o Apertium, a’r rhai a nodir gan + o Moses, ac mae cyfuno’r ddau yn gwella ansawdd y cyfieithiad.

Dyma waith arloesol, heb ei wneud o’r blaen. Awgrymodd yr Athro Harold Somers, mewn adroddiad ym 2004 ar gyfer Bwrdd yr Iaith [7], y dylai amcan tymor-canol ar gyfer cyfieithu peirianyddol yn Gymraeg fod “to integrate … different [machine translation] engines into a single system”. Nid oes unrhyw beth wedi ei wneud hyd yn hyn, a gwaith Gabriel fydd y cais cyntaf i ddod â’r syniad yma o “multi-engine machine translation” ar gyfer y Gymraeg yn agosach i fodolaeth.

Dywedodd Francis Tyers [8], fydd yn rhoi cyngor i Gabriel, “Dipyn o siom oedd hi nad oedden ni’n cael cais gan fyfyriwr Cymreig, ond mae hyn yn gyfle gwych i wella technoleg iaith yn Gymraeg. Rydym ni’n siŵr o weld cynnydd o safbwynt ansawdd y cyfieithu.”

Mae Gabriel wedi cychwyn ar y gwaith eisoes. “Ar hyn o bryd dwi’n gwneud newidiadau mân i’r cyfieithydd Moses i’w wneud mor effeithlon â phosib. Mae’r gymuned Apertium yn gyfeillgar iawn, ac roeddwn i eisiau cyfrannu i broject mawr cod-agored, felly dwi’n falch nes i’r cais.”

Dywedodd Kevin Donnelly [9], a weithiodd gyda Francis i greu’r cyfieithydd Cymraeg -Saesneg Apertium, fod hwn yn gam mawr i’r Gymraeg. “Mae’n ardderchog cael cymaint o bobl dalentog yn gweithio ar Apertium, a braf yw hi gweld eu bod nhw’n ystyried Cymraeg fel blaenoriaeth. Yr hyn sydd angen rŵan yw ymdrech gan y mudiadau sy’n hybu Cymraeg yma yng Nghymru i annog a rhoi cefnogaeth i’r gwaith yma.”

Notes

[1] http://ufal.mff.cuni.cz/pbml-91-100.html. Francis Tyers and Kevin Donnelly (2009): “apertium-cy – a collaboratively-developed free RBMT system for Welsh to English”, Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics, 91.

[2] http://code.google.com/soc

[3] http://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software. Mae’r Free Software Foundation yn diffinio “Meddalwedd Rhydd” fel meddalwedd y gellir ei ddefnyddio, copïo, newid a dosbarthu gan y defnyddiwr.

[4] http://www.statmt.org/moses. System cyfieithu peirianyddol ystadegol yw Moses – mae’n god-agored.

[5] Gabriel Synnaeve yw myfyriwr yn yr École Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique et de Mathématiques (http://ensimag.grenoble-inp.fr), canolfan bwysig ar gyfer mathemateg ac thechnoleg gwybodaeth. Bydd o’n graddio ym mis Medi 2009, ac yn cychwyn gwaith wedyn ar ddoethuriaeth ar ddysgu peirianyddol Bayesaidd.

[6] Alon Lavie (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/alavie) is leading this work. See also: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/alavie/papers/EAMT-2005-MEMT.pdf. S. Jayaraman and A. Lavie (2005): “Multi-Engine Machine Translation Guided by Explicit Word Matching”, Proceedings of EAMT-2005.

[7] http://www.byig-wlb.org.uk/english/publications/publications/2302.doc. Harold Somers (2004): “Machine translation and Welsh: the way forward.”, Report for the WLB.

[8] Astudiodd Francis Tyers wyddoniaeth cyfrifiadurol yn Aberystwyth, ac ar hyn o bryd mae’n beiriannwr iaith gyda Prompsit Language Engineering, S.L. ac yn fyfyriwr PhD ym Mhrifysgol Alacant. Mae’n un o’r datblygwyr blaenorol Apertium, gyda diddordeb arbennig yn ei estyn i drin yr ieithoedd Celtaidd.

[9] Mae Kevin Donnelly wedi bod yn gweithio ar Feddalwedd Rhydd yn Gymraeg ers 2003, a datblygodd Eurfa, geiriadur arlein Cymraeg (http://www.eurfa.org.uk).

Cysyltwch â: Kevin Donnelly, 01248-715925, kevin@dotmon.com

March 24, 2009
» Is Google Street View bilingual?

Amid all the excitement and furore around Google’s Street View a colleague of mine (thanks Ceri) unearthed this little gem from the comments on dot.life – A blog about technology from BBC News.

“20. At 3:56pm on 20 Mar 2009, paulvilla wrote:

I had a look at Swansea and noticed that streetview had blurred the Welsh version on some of the roadsigns. I assume the numberplate detection got confused by the non-standard letter patterns. Curiously the English on the same sign is un-blurred. If nothing else, at least streetview brings a bit of relief from bi-lingual everything – if only briefly!”

I must confess to having tried to find some examples of this – without success. Can anyone with the necessary lack of a life find any examples of this? Has this affected other languages?

Ceri’s email had the subject line “Google tries to stamp out Welsh language shocker” which I was really tempted to use as the title of this post. However I have learned that humorous titles don’t always travel well :-)

November 14, 2008
» Is Google Reader Truly World-Wide?

There is an interesting snippet on the Google Reader Blog entitled Is Your Web Truly World-Wide?. The title is rather misleading however, it actually refers to a new feature in Google Reader whereby you can have feeds translated into your language. Or at least you can if your language is one of the chosen few and you are happy to put up with the vagaries of machine translation.

I do get the feeling that opening up to multiple languages is rather the flavour of the moment, which is no bad thing and long overdue in my opinion. My concern is that this will only extend as far as the usual suspects, reinforcing their position and weakening the lesser used languages – again.

October 7, 2008

Inside Security News
insecnews
is about »
» Google Chrome is here! ..any tips?!

Google Chrome, another Internet browser has arrived to provide another alternative to surfing the web. We think that it is just great to have different options and new technologies introduced into this field. Sure making the project open source will help drive it into different areas in the future but for now it is in beta mode. Let us look at some disadvantages associated with browser’s functionality. A valuable and helpful feature from the Google Chrome Options is the “Restore the pages that were last opened”.

However Google Chrome doesn’t allow you to get rid of the last tab just before you exit the Web Browser. In other words, hitting the close button, which is in the tab area, will exit the browser without totally closing that tab. What this means is that the tab will open again when the browser re-opens.This is the behaviour that you would expect to happen when you hit the close button on the browser and not that of the tab.

Furthermore, the “Clear Browsing Data” option will clear the browsing and download history logs, empty your cache, discard any cookies and clear any saved passwords but still wont get rid of this last tab left there in your browser.

So, the only option you are left with, to be on the safe side and keep the “Restore the pages that were last opened” option true, you need to navigate to another random webpage (i.e., google.com) manually then do a “Clear Browsing Data” and finally close your Chrome Browser. From a more technical point of view, the browser has a behaviour that could be taken advantage of in order to produce confusion to a user.

By creating a script that removes the files that start with the letter f from the userprofile\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache any web sites you are trying to access that you already have visited in the past will simply start coming up in a weird format (i.e, cached images are missing) and maybe completely inaccessible. The only way to solve this problem is to go to your browser and perform a “Clear Browsing Data”. This will solve the browsing problem but it will also get rid of data that you did not actually want to delete from your cache.

Closing the browser and re-opening it will not solve this problem either as the caching mechanism does not check to see if the cache files exist.

*Thanks goes to K.Xynos for his feedback on the article and light editing it.

September 11, 2008
» Rapunga Google

One of the weaknesses I recognize in my own research (and that of others) is that I often find myself studying the artifacts of online communities rather than learning anything about the people who created and make up these communities. I have described this as taking an “Archaeological” approach rather than an “Anthropological” approach. By adopting a more anthropological approach perhaps we can stop producing interesting statistics and start to understand peoples language behavior and how technological artifacts affect this behavior.

TangataWhenua.com has a nice feature article giving some of the back story to the Google Maori project. It doesn’t really tell us anything about the technical or linguistic issues faced, but paints a nice picture of some of the people and processes (and problems!) involved.

August 7, 2008

Inside Security News
insecnews
is about »
» Food for thought, Google is unhealthy for you

…and on a different note, that has to do more about University life more than anything else on this blog. Professor of media studies at the University of Brighton, Tara Brabazon, has done something really brave. She has banned [1] her students from using Wikipedia and search engines (e.g., Google).

Do I agree with it? Well we have been taught and therefore advise students that referencing unreliable webpages and Wikipedia (…and yes, I have seen google searches being referenced!!!) is not acceptable. They do provide a good starting ground and that is my opinion. Not necessarily a complete resource but somewhere to start from. We can not run away from the advances in technology and the strengths it provides. We can, on the other hand, use it in moderation, how ever it is calculated or determined; in this case it is banned.

The Professor says that "Too many students don't use their own brains enough. We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis."[1] I would imagine that this is especially true when students copy paste work or they do not correctly process the knowledge.

For those interested on how “Google is the white bread for the mind” more information can be found here [2].

Links used:
[1] Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia - http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/generalnews/display.var.1961862.0.lecturer_bans_students_from_using_google_and_wikipedia.php

[2] Google is white bread for the mind - inaugural lecture from Professor Tara Brabazon - http://www.brighton.ac.uk/news/2008/080107googleiswhitebread.php