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"A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about." — Douglas Adams, 1992

Douglas Adams was a British writer best known for his satirical science fiction series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which turned into an international cult sensation. Adams’ philosophical themes and esoteric humor catapulted the books to fame, selling over 15 million copies worldwide. The quote above is from Mostly Harmless, the last book in the series.

How is Archie related to an important milestone in search history? Decipher the connection in our latest tech fact:

Tech Fact #4: The very first search engine was created in 1990 by McGill University student, Alan Emtage. Orginally called “archives,” it was shortened to “Archie” in order to comply with UNIX naming conventions.

Keep an eye out for more tech trivia next week!

You’re 15 Minutes Away From Making a Voice-Driven App

September 10, 2014

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Did you know that you can build a voice-driven application in just 15 minutes? With our new tutorial, you’ll be able to get up and running with the MindMeld JavaScript SDK in no time. You only need a few things in place to begin:

  1. Developer account + an app with crawled documents.
  2. HTTP server to host and serve the app. You can use Python’s Simple HTTP server.
  3. Chrome browser for speech recognition.

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Are you constantly flipping through TV on-screen guides, desperately trying to find something to watch? Today, discovering the right thing to watch at precisely the right time is a painful undertaking. Relaxing on the couch and enjoying a good movie should be (and can be) easier.

With MindMeld, it can. Play around with our movie assistant demo to learn how you can use our platform to instantly find your favorite flicks.

“We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.” — Ada Lovelace in 1843

The world’s first computer programmer was an English woman named Ada Lovelace, born in 1815. Lovelace was a huge proponent of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which many believe to be one of the earliest computers. In an analysis on the Analytical Engine, Lovelace wrote the first algorithm, and made it clear to the world that machines could use numbers to represent things other than amounts. Back in 1843, Lovelace wrote that machines would one day help us "compose complex music, produce graphics, and would be used for both practical and scientific use." Lovelace was right — over a hundred years later. 

NLP Fundamentals: Why is Natural Language Processing So Difficult?

September 05, 2014

Why is NLP so hard to accomplish? Find out the answer and more in the second installment in our series on natural language processing fundamentals.

Tune in to the first video right here

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What is the real story behind the phrase “artificial intelligence?” Discover the answer in the third part in our series on technology trivia:

Tech Fact #3: John McCarthy invented the term “artificial intelligence” in a 1956 proposal for a summer conference at Dartmouth College: “We propose that a 2 month, 10 man study of artificial intelligence be carried out… an attempt will be made to find how to make machines use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves.” 

Follow up with this fact on the very first speech recognition system, named Audrey.

Getting Started With Sample Apps: Node MindMeld Authentication

September 03, 2014

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Looking for an easy way to authenticate your users? Our Node MindMeld Authentication sample app explains how to get started with simple user authentication so you can easily validate requests with our platform.

First, make sure you have Node.js installed on your computer. Then you can go ahead and download the sample code below.

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"The future is not laid out on a track. It is something that we can decide, and to the extent that we do not violate any known laws of the universe, we can probably make it work the way that we want to." — Alan Kay in “Inventing the Future,” published in 1984.

Alan Kay is a computer science visionary who many have called “the father of the personal computer.” Kay is known for his groundbreaking work on the graphical user interface, objected-oriented programming, and inventing the Dynabook portable computer in 1968. To this day, all personal computing devices include elements from Kay’s influential Dynabook concept.

Get Your MindMeld Fix at API World in San Francisco!

August 29, 2014

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We’ll be strutting our stuff at this year’s API World! The event is aptly named - it’s the world’s largest conference solely dedicated to providing developers with the best API solutions available. The 2014 conference will feature innovative APIs along with workshops on data visualization, API design and strategy, and other areas intended to give both developers and providers a leg up. A wide range of API categories will be represented, including communications, the Internet of Things, data, infrastructure, health, and many more.

Our team will be exhibiting in the main Expo Hall throughout the conference, and we’d love to meet you. If you’re a Bay Area-based developer, swing by our booth, learn more about the MindMeld API, and snag some swag! We’ll also be giving a talk on Wednesday, September 17th at 12:55 pm on the Main Stage.

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Back by popular demand! Learn more about the history of speech recognition in the second installment in our tech fact series: 

Tech Fact #2: The first speech recognition system was called Audrey, which stood for the Automatic Digit Recognizer. Developed by Bell Laboratories in 1952, Audrey could only recognize numbers and required speakers to pause 350 milliseconds between each word. While she was a little frustrating to use, Audrey helped pave the way for future developments in speech recognition.

Pair with this fact about the oldest audio recording of an American voice.

Good News for Smart Shoppers: Details on Our New Solution for Mobile Shopping

August 27, 2014

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Have you ever reached for your smartphone to run a quick price check while shopping? You’re not alone. More and more consumers are turning to their mobile devices to comparison shop while on the go. However, the combination of clunky menus, enormous product offerings, and tiny screens make mobile shopping a painful experience. The path to the right product is muddled with endless pinching, zooming, and headaches. 

There’s help on the way. Today, we’re releasing a new solution to put an end to your comparison shopping nightmares. The MindMeld API lets any developer set up an intuitive shopping experience in their apps and websites by harnessing the power of intelligent voice search. Try out a quick demo right here.

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Expect Labs Puts Shopping on Steroids with a New Solution for Building Voice-Powered Product Discovery Applications

August 27, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO - August 27, 2014 - Consumers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to comparison shop in-store.  Today’s smartest shoppers routinely consult mobile shopping apps and websites to find product information and track down the best price before making a purchase.

In a world with large product catalogs and small smartphone screens, however, navigating to the right product can often be a cumbersome task — especially while scouring the aisles.  Even with the best mobile shopping apps, the smart shopper must often drop their shopping bags to tap through numerous menus or type a search with two hands.  For any serious shopper on a mission, this dystopian reality is entirely insufferable.

Avid fans of science fiction already know the solution to this problem: spoken voice commands can provide a much more efficient way for shoppers to quickly find product information when on-the-go.  While the technical capabilities to make this possible have finally arrived, developers eager to create these new voice-driven experiences still face formidable challenges. 

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"First we build the tools, then they build us." — Marshall McLuhan

We’re rolling out a collection of quotes that we turn to for inspiration, starting with the one above by Marshall McLuhan. The quote is taken from McLuhan’s seminal piece on media theory, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, written in 1964.

Have a favorite quote you think we should include on the blog? Leave a note in the comments!

Getting Started With Sample Apps: Multilingual MindMeld Voice

August 22, 2014

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Confused about how to use the MindMeld API for your non-English speaking users? Get a quick lesson on how to embed multilingual support into your JavaScript apps with our newest sample app: Multilingual MindMeld Voice!

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