Entries tagged with “Earth”.


For sites that use Google Friend Connect and its comment widget, there is now a novel new feature: comment translation. The comment widget plugs into Google Translate to allow readers to translate comments left in foreign languages. This will be a boon to international blogs and sites, such as Go2Web20, which use Google Friend Connect as a login system.

Now you can talk to people half-way around the world, even if they don’t speak the same language. Sort of. The translation is still machine translation, but it is usually good enough to get across the main gist of what people are saying.

The way it works is the comment widget has a “translate” link which then pops up a menu of languages to choose from. The translated comments are then highlighted in yellow. Here is a video showing what it looks like in action.

Google says that this can work for a variety of sites, including international non-profits such as the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Earth Hour website. The Earth Hour campaign is supported by 4,000 cities in 88 different countries to help engage citizens in conserving energy. Visitors to this website can now leave comments in their native language and use Google Friend Connect’s comment translation to engage in discussions with the greater community.

Comment translation is one of several new gadgets that have been rolled out in Google’s Friend Connect gallery, perhaps in an effort to catch up to Facebook Connect. These features include the event gadget, the polls gadget, and the Get Answers gadget.

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German painting, 1457
Image via Wikipedia

The end-of-year holidays might be a time of peace on Earth, but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they’ll still be on call over the holidays. Christmas may be a time of peace on earth but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they’ll still be on call over the holidays.

The latest silicon.com CIO Jury found two-thirds of IT bosses confessing they’ll be available to work should anything go wrong over the Yuletide holiday.

Some on-call CIOs are required to support their company’s operations around the world, which may cover countries that don’t celebrate the holiday.

Jeff Roberts, director of IT at global legal firm Norton Rose, said: “We have offices worldwide and commitments to clients, so there is likely to be some business happening somewhere. I am always available to be called if necessary but I also have a great team made-up of several on-call technical experts and escalation managers. Who gets called on Christmas Day – if anyone – will usually depend upon the severity or urgency of the problem.”

It’s not global companies who need round the clock support over the festive period – some UK-specific businesses also require their IT staff at the highest level to be available throughout the holiday. For CIOs from hospitals and other emergency services, for example, Christmas day can be just another busy working day.

Some media companies too do not grind to a halt – Ian Auger at ITN said: “You never know what will happen in a 24/7 organization and Christmas is no exception. We have staff scheduled to work who can deal with most issues but I, and other senior members of my team, will always be available to back them up if needed. From a news perspective, Christmas is always thought to be a quiet time but there is usually something going on around the world that seems to go against this.”

Not all organizations require their IT head to be on call on Christmas Day and four out of the CIO Jury can rest easy in front of the Queen’s Speech this year.

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The full moon, as observed from Earth on a cle...
Image via Wikipedia

If the moon hit your eye like a big pizza pie Friday night, you might have wondered who ordered the extra large.

Astronomers say the full moon that rose in the sky Friday evening was the biggest and brightest in 15 years — as long as the view wasn’t blocked by the Canadian weather.

That’s because the moon was closer to the Earth than usual. The moon travels around the Earth in an elliptical orbit, meaning it has moments where it is relatively close (its perigee) and moments when it is farther away (its apogee).

But it’s a relatively rare occurrence when the moon reaches its perigee during a full moon, as it did on Friday night. That hasn’t happened since 1993.

The moon was 356,567 kilometres from the Earth on Friday night, about 30,000 km closer than normal.

As a result, NASA said it would appear about 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than it normally does. The effect, the space agency said, would be particularly pronounced during the rising and setting of the moon, due to an optical illusion that makes the moon appear larger as it nears the horizon.

The moon’s close proximity was also expected to produce stronger than usual tides.

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