Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley refers to a theory that at some point in the development of robots and CGI, just when they reach “almost but not quite” human replication, humans will react with revulsion rather than recognition. It’s a term that has been in greater focus over the last half decade as more and more robots are being developed and CGI advancements have been improving..

Well, now the original essay, written by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori, has been officially translated.


Famous ‘Uncanny Valley’ Essay Translated, Published In Full

Updated Libre Office

I discovered that the premier free office software, Libre Office, was updated to version 3.5 recently. For those working with language, amongst the new features and fixes are a some Localisation improvements that justify an upgrade. If you are paying for a competitive office suite, I recommend you try Libre Office before spending the money at you next upgrade opportunity.


  • Added Arabic, Aragonese, Belarusian, Bengali, Breton, Bulgarian, Scottish Gaelic, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Latvian, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Sinhala, and Telugu spelling dictionaries. (Andras Timar)
  • Use of possessive genitive case and/or partitive month names if provided by a locale’s locale data (e.g., Russian, Polish, Finnish, Lithuanian, and others).
    If a day of month (D or DD) is present in a number formatter’s date format code, the month name for MMM or MMMM is displayed in possessive genitive case or partitive case.
    Else if no day of month is present, the month name is displayed as noun / nominative case.
    See blog for more details. (Eike Rathke)
  • Corrections to Polish [pl-PL], Portuguese [pt-PT and pt-BR], Slovenian [sl-SI], and Latin [la-VA] locale data, esp. date formats. (Eike Rathke, Martin Srebotnjak, Mateusz Zasuwik, Olivier Hallot, Roman Eisele, Sérgio Marques)
  • Initial support for two new UI languages, Luxembourgish (lb) and Tatar (tt) 
    LibreOffice 3.5 supports 107 UI languages.

Freedom Fone documented

Last week FlossManuals teamed up with the Freedom Fone community to write some documentation (pdf). I really like this project, particularly the way it uses technology to overcome linguistic barriers:

Freedom Fone makes it easy to build interactive, two way, phone based information services using interactive audio voice menus, voice messages, SMS and polls. The DIY platform is accessible, user-friendly, low-cost, global and does not require Internet access for users and callers alike. It takes advantage of audio to address language and literacy barriers when reaching out to the millions of people living on the margins of the information society.

The book is no push over, coming in at around 160 pages including 30 pages of examples and scenarios

Freedom Fone enables you to design your own interactive menus to:

  • Share audio information with your audience; this audio information can take many forms including voice menu (press 1, press 2, etc.), educational dramas, short news items, or even a song!
  • Organise a poll to enable your audience to vote on an issue using their phone;
  • Collect SMSs from your audience – these might be updates about specific news events, alerts or similar time critical information;
  • Get your audience to leave audio messages to share their opinion on a particular topic or make reports in their own language.