Bob Meade wrote me to point out a competition held in Sydney in which a 93 year old telegraph operator beat out a 13 year old SMSer. Age before beauty, I suppose.
On a different front, by now I'm sure you've heard that Microsoft has announced that they will provide XML-based filed formats in Office 12. Until we see this in reality, it won't be clear just how open/proprietary these formats will be, but it does represent a significant state change in Microsoft's attitude toward openness. Once the details of these formats become readily available, it won't be long until some enterprising person will find a bridge between Microsoft Office and Open Office. Increasingly, the core products of Microsoft are being commoditized, from Office to Windows, which is a good thing for users but I'm sure continues to make BillG super nervous.
Barry Graham from IBM wrote me, among other things asking aloud about song recognition software (the ability to automatically recognize a song from live audio). It turns out that there's considerable action in this space, from open source solutions to commercial ones. Music providers are paranoid about the leakage of royalties (as they should be) and so pure economics has driven this market. And now for something completely different, check out a project at Cornell on the automatic recognition of bird songs.