A number of journals which have demonstrated what the folks who publish the Impact Factors call “anomalous” citation patterns have been told that they will be barred from for a period of two years from appearing in the Journal Citation Report (JCR), which concocts and publishes the IFs. According to a post on the the Scholarly Kitchen, this business about anomalous citation behavior is a code word for ‘self citation’, which can occur in various ways. The crudest is the one in which editors hold a manuscript for ransom, by not accepting it until the bibliography contains more citations to that very journal. There are other ways. The JCR team got wind of these practices some time ago and to their credit have undertaken a policy of monitoring and punitive reaction by suspension in those case where systematic efforts to game the system have been detected.
The Impact Factor has been the subject of wide criticism, some of it here, but I think we have to hand it to the publishers of the JCR for trying hard to keep the tool, whatever its virtue and flaws, as honest as possible.
Research In Motion is a Canadian tech firm that had a very, very successful product: the Blackberry. RIM was riding high for a while, but things happen quickly in the tech world, and RIM had some reverses, partly because of the introduction of very capable devices by Apple and Google. The company announced that it’s Blackberry 10 would miss production and launch dates by a very considerable margin, and not be ready until 2013. Apple will introduce a new smart phone sooner than that so, RIM may miss a very large boat. Blessed with lots of cash on hand and having no debt problem, RIM is certainly in no immediate danger. But, this recent failure is only one of several missteps and losses, and some observers of the phone tech scene are predicting that the showers are running for RIM and it’s only a question of when exactly the firm leaves the game. RIM was sort of the Thinking Man’s cell phone. It boasted very good security features and the newly elected president Obama was often show using his, until his keepers took it away and fixed it so that Bad Guys couldn’t overhear things. One misstep in the tech world, and you are done under the hooves. RIM also announced a lot of lay-offs…”cost cutting” as the saying goes. So if remaining staff get too beaten down, and spend too much time eyeing the exits, RIM may have trouble meeting even the 2013 deadline. Official statements say that the technology for Blackberry 10 works just fine, but a mass of coding problems is responsible for the launch setback.
I said I would do it and I will, so here it is. I found a review, a thorough one, on Wired News of the new Google tablet and I’m passing on the link. The reviewer is strongly positive. In fact, the writer can’t say enough good things about, especially when stacked up against some of the other seven inch tablets available now. OK, that’s one. I’ll watch for some more in the tech/geek press and see how they read. You might start saving you coffee money in a little box or something so that by the time Christmas is here, you’ll have some cash.
“Can”, as in get rid of, remove, discard. SIRI is that voiced-assistant on Apple that sort of interacts with you when you ask a question, say: “Any good pizza joints around here?” One little problem with this is that your interaction with SIRI is recorded and kept on servers of Apple Inc,, for a period that you don’t need to be asking any questions about, Junior. You just go play with your phone and leave all this to Uncle Apple. There’s a good chap, Run along now. In effect, when you are blabbing to SIRI you are creating voice prints of, well, yourself. So, big deal you say. So, 1. why does Apple need to keep that information at all and 2. what happens if your voice print is somehow hacked or revealed? That longish search for direction to the nearest VD clinic might come back to annoy you someday in some form. Apple should be pressured into erasing all those prints, pronto. The post below goes into the matter more thoroughly, and covers some possible developments that would mitigate the security risk to SIRI users. I don’t like being talked to by machines, but that’s me. Others think it’s really cool. Yeah, maybe.
The Google Nexus tablet was revealed at the I/O meeting. Ars Technica has a correspondent on the scene and the link below goes to the report. It’s brief. No real bench marking or comparison of features over plat forms. All that comes later. Some specs were revealed as was the price of $199. All the rest is on the knees of the gods. Maybe it will be a smasheroo and maybe it will be a turkey. Much depends on what you can actually do with the Nexus. Google also released a product that looks like a somewhat swollen softball or maybe some kind of melon, only in black. It’s a social music sharing device and if nothing else, the design is ah, arresting.
And this is an overview of another tablet, called the Matrix One, which was unveiled at a consumer electronics show in New York. This story has some more detail, possibly because the writer was talking to a honcho in the company:
Today is the birthday of the saxophone. Adolphe Saxe patented a kind of music-making device, modestly named after himself, which would ultimately be the vehicle for some really great music, but not in its native France. American jazz musicians would ‘occupy’ the saxophone, so to speak, and make it do great things. Jazz wasn’t even around in 1848 and Saxe intended his creation to fit into the conventional array of instruments. A variety of saxophones was available, soprano, tenor, etc. And the original versions were made of wood. Fabrication from metal, and industrial production meant that the instruments could be produced more cheaply, and to finer tolerances, so that a greater uniformity of tone could be realized. So, the jazz greats can thank Saxe, and so can the rest of us.
Take a look at this video. The product involved is called LEAP and it is one of several candidates for a new way to get things done at a work station. Gesture control is the buzzword, and it means what it says: using waves, flicks, and other movements of the hand to control a workstation. It was all prefigured in the movie The Minority Report , a Tom Cruise SciFi venture into the near future. The cops in that time to come have all kinds of databanks and files and things, and can summon displays of information just by moving their hands, sort of the way a conductor cues the various voices of the orchestra to come in, play more loudly, diminish, stop. The video at the link is a promo, and nothing like a critical review. But some commentators have been looking at something like this for a while: no more keyboards, no more mice. Wave your hand to boot up, and to shut down. I think it’s probably a good deal harder for the machine to ‘learn’ the gestures that the video lets on. It’s all early days yet, of course.
OK, this is another report by a tech writer who was present at a demonstration of the Microsoft Surface, that tablet device the elves in the forest at Redmond have come up with in order to cut MS in on the money to be had in the market for flattish things. The basic specs and features are reviewed once again, but the writer has no information on two important points: when will the thing be on sale and how much will it cost? Reading the usual tea leaves, and applying a little knowledge of the American marketing scene, you can bet your paycheck that MS is shooting very hard for a release date in advance of the annual Christmas spree. This link goes to Popular Science and once you zip through it, taking a look at the comments might help you a little. Of course, almost all of this is spec. There is some real, if guarded, excitement detectable. MS has in the past disappointed. But, if they get this one right, it could be a very big deal.
Nora Ephron died yesterday in New York, from pneumonia, a complication of the leukemia she had been battling. Ephron was well-known as a satirist and comic writer. She wrote the script writer for several quite successful films, such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and Juliet and Julia. It’s sad to mourn the passing of a writer of wit, style and no little grace. That is especially so at this time, when boorishness mixed with banality seems to be ascendant in large sectors of popular culture.
AND Great Clips About Books from Norah Ephron’s movies:
Google has joined the mob selling tablet devices of various kinds. The company will release its first offering in this field probably tomorrow at a developers’ meeting. Leaks say that the gadget will be named the Nexus-7, and that it will be a bit on the small side: Seven inch screen. Former CEO Eric Schmidt was being interviewed by a reporter from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera some while ago when he said that the company was hatching a tablet design. Other information has dribbled into the press, so that the picture of what the thing is and what it will do is, supposedly, quite complete. The tablet is Android based and the specs for it can be gleaned in the item at the link below. Writers point out that very good hardware is only half the story. Aps have to be available for it, or it’s no show. It strikes me that seven inches is rather on the small side for working on a really useful device, but we will see about that. Much depends on exactly how all the features are implemented, and on what the price is. Some comments have suggested 200-ish, others more. So, it’s obviously not being pitched as a head-to-head competitor for the Ipad. We shall see:]