reCaptcha helps transcribe books

Thought those mangled words you have to enter on websites are just there to be an annoyance? It turns out that one of the words in the reCaptcha is actually a managled word from a public domain book that was scanned but is unreadable by computers. For every 10 people that agree on a managled word, the word is then deciphered and recognized by the computer software so that word may be added to the digital file of the scanned book.

The rest of this ABC News article can be found here going more in detail on the technology.

Tools to Setup New Laptop

A list of tools/programs I used to get my laptop up to speed:

  • Repartition hard drive to seperate the OS from my data using Partition Magic
  • Installed Syncplicity to keep certain files synced on both computers
  • Installed Winamp to listen to music.
  • Installed Winrar to unzip files.
  • Installed AVG Free for virus protection.
  • Installed VLC to watch videos on.
  • Installed Opera 10 Alpha for web browsing. (I really don’t care for Firefox)
  • Signed up for Opera Link so that my bookmarks are instantly synced across both computers.


I bought an Acer Aspire One netbook laptop a couple weeks ago. The one I bought was suppose to be a 120 GB (was 160 GB in truth) and had a 3 cell battery. I wound up returning it after it gave me the BSOD twice and the battery life was only about 90 minutes. After having done that, I ordered the 6 cell battery verison for $318. Unfortunately the 160 GB hard drive turned out to be 144 GB. Fortunately I have a portable 120 GB if I really need to store more. That portable HD messed up though and needs to be reformatted. I’m in the process of savalging files off it. Also I had been worrying about what sort of sleeve/case to get for my netbook. Stores were demanding $20+ for a simple sleeve. After much searching, I settled on a $2.99 black canvas tote from A.C. Moore’s. I’m not looking for hardcore protection, just something to protect the case. I’ll be painting it later, maybe today, to individualize my “sleeve.”

Then yesterday I bought a Belkin wireless-G router for $27 from Walmart. It was fairly simple to set up. I was not aware that I had to plug it into the DSL modem I got from my phone company, but at least the old router isn’t going to waste. I now have wireless on my laptop and for select games on my Nintendo DS.

The final upgrade is that my eyes had been hurting. Reading printed materials was next to impossible as the words blurred and shifted. So I took the unexpected trip to the eye doctor and found out that my eye sight has improved slightly. It’s a minimal difference, but the eye doctor said new lenses would take some stress off my eyes. Since I was already throwing down the down pieces of my tax refund, I thought, “well, I might as well get new frames for $20 more.” The ones I’ve been wearing I’ve had for 9 years. My friend Sarah and her daughter helped me choose the new ones. They are nearly identical to the older ones except they don’t have a bottom rim. It’s a slight difference that I am appreciating.

And for a final note: the place I went for my eye exam and glasses is struggling to stay open, even moving to a new location half a mile down the road. To be honest, I may not have bought the new frames, but after the owner told me the stress of being scared she could not last the winter, I decided to do the little drop that I could so the bucket of her world can hopefully stay afloat. I’ve been a customer at this location for 5+ years and they’re the cheapest and friendliest joint in town.

Year of the Ox Stamp

I stopped by the post office today to pick up a package and saw a poster for this stamp on the wall. While I intended to buy only two (one to keep, one to give), they could only be bought by the sheet. While my wallet is unhappy over the $5.04 purchase, I must say that I’m giddy with pleasure on this purchase. After a short conversation with my dad, I was even persuaded that I should keep the stamps and frame them instead. It feels a little silly to have bought a sheet of stamps to frame, but I think these stamps will have an extra long shelf life this way.

Admittingly, I am also an Ox in Chinese astrology and a Bull in Western. Between them I am double livestock!