On WordChamp’s embedded reader/translator

I believe the future of language learning methods is with the web. The standalone language packages (like Rosetta Stone) take too long to develop, are limited in the amount of material they can package and do not leverage community effort (which WordChamp does with user translations). The biggest challenge with the web based services is to convince people to pay for them. As with many web 2.0 companies (e.g., MySpace, YouTube), WordChamp is currently free, but obviously this cannot continue forever.

Spock announces an Entity Resolution competition

Netflix prize must be doing well, as there are now other companies willing to tap into web’s researchers with deep knowledge of computational techniques. The latest company is Spock, a company so new that you have to read 3rd party sites to figure out exactly what they do. Even to use it, one has to signup for the account. Basically, Spock is about the search with the strong focus on the people mentions.

Gmail + VOIP = great reference system in the Net cloud

My primary phone number is provided by Lingo - a Voice over internet provider. One of the features it has is server based voicemail with the message automatically forwarded to my email. A feature like this would (AFAIK) be very expensive from a traditional provider, but usually comes for free from most VOIP-based providers. Some providers (like PhoneGnome) even bridge your old-system line to the new functionality automagically. My primary email system is Gmail and that’s where my voicemails get forwarded to.

Calling for support? Calling for trouble! The business idea.

Account cancelation is a great pain in the rear. A PCWorld article (via BoingBoing) tests multiple services and discoveres that most of them go to great troubles to keep people subscribed, willingly or not. Something has to be done about it. I propose a new business that will cater specifically to the people calling support numbers (e.g. to unsubscribe) and expecting trouble. Let’s name this service: Calling for trouble. It will work by recording people’s communications with the support centers and will provide easy tools to manage those records, publish them on the web and maybe even establish transient communities between multiple people calling the provider at the same time.

Free music and more

Amie St is a very interesting business idea with a good execution. They are music discovery and store with a twist - songs start free and the price goes up based on how popular they get. To encourage ratings and downloads, they even pay to the users who discovered good songs early and recommended them to others. And the songs never get as expensive as iTunes. I like free music. I have enough music in the personal collection not to buy new tracks for a while (especially not from RIAA members), but I will listen to free songs to see if something really special will catch my attention.