On texting in the movies, not at the movies

Thursday, 28 August, 2014

The characters of films communicating with each other via text messaging is one of the more recent challenges to confront filmmakers… specifically, what is the best way present this interaction to audiences?

It is a subject that San Francisco based film aficionado Tony Zhou explores in his short documentary, A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film.

I don’t see all that many stage productions, but now I’m wondering what happens with texting in live performances and the like.

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Reports of the death of email have been greatly exaggerated

Friday, 22 August, 2014

Despite talk – over what, the last ten years now – of its impending demise, email is still very much with us. A system of written communication that trumps email may come along one day, but what other electronic messaging system about at the moment otherwise ticks all of the boxes that email does?

Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices. Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled “web we lost.” It’s an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services.

If you ask me, much of the talk of email’s so-called end of days is simply an excuse to continue talking about email.

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If you go to Japan be sure to send someone a telegram

Friday, 22 August, 2014

How to describe telegrams when there may be people here reading, who have no idea what they are? A text message that can only be sent in print format, perhaps? In earlier days much of the world’s communication was carried out by way of telegrams, but not any more obviously.

Unless you are in Japan, that is, where the mode is still in use, for a variety of reasons:

Japan is one of the last countries in the world where telegrams are still widely used. A combination of traditional manners, market liberalization and innovation has kept alive this age-old form of messaging, first commercialized in the mid-19th century by Samuel Morse and others.

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Windows 94, is that what we could call Microsoft’s first website?

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

Microsoft website, 1994

Did Bill Gates really utter the words “I don’t believe in the internet” in 1991? Whether or not the Microsoft co-founder said such a thing didn’t stop the company launching its first website just over twenty years ago though.

Maybe Gates said he didn’t believe in easy on the eye web design instead, if the inaugural front page of the Microsoft site, above, is anything to go by. Mind you, he wasn’t alone in that regard, that’s what much of the web at the time looked like.

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Will driver-less motorbikes also soon be taking us for a ride?

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014

We all know that driver-less cars, if they are not already cruising the streets near you, will be soon. And I guess if we’re going to have cars sans drivers, it makes sense that there will one day be driver-less motorbikes as well.

But for what purpose though? Automated courier, or pizza, deliveries perhaps?

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How old is the oldest industrial complex? Older than you think…

Wednesday, 13 August, 2014

After taking some time to look through the History of Information it seems to me everything on Earth is older than I had previously thought. For instance the first known, so far, industrial complex dates back more than two and a half million years.

We’re sure not talking car manufacturing or the like here though, but organised production activities of some sort.

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Seen, but not always played, vinyl records in the digital age

Wednesday, 13 August, 2014

Sales of vinyl records have been rising steadily in recent years, a trend that can in part be attributed to various gimmicks, including discs being issued in colours other than black, embedded with images, or featuring tracks hidden under their labels.

What’s interesting though is a fair chunk of record buyers have no intention of ever playing them, they’re simply buying vinyl for the sake of buying vinyl

Along with the success of Record Store Day as a reliable gateway for young vinyl buyers, record stores also point to the ubiquity of download cards that come with new vinyl LPs as a sales driver. The claim makes sense given another aspect of young consumers’ buying habits that stores and labels didn’t anticipate: Recently, London-based ICM Research found that “15 percent of those who buy physical music formats such as CDs, vinyl records, and cassettes never listen to them – they buy them purely to own.”

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Will the internet learn that I’ll always be 29 on my next birthday?

Monday, 11 August, 2014

Well, thanks to the internet, and social media, having a birthday seems to be becoming a hazard to our well being… depending on what you do, and, sorry to say, don’t do:

But let us call this what it is: birthday harassment. Social networks can use your birthday to determine what people are important to you. Brands use your birthday as an excuse to tell you they exist. The data tracking and governing algorithms that are part of your everyday internet experience become more visible on your birthday.

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The Wikipedia writer whose said to pen ten thousand articles a day

Friday, 25 July, 2014

Sverker Johansson, a Swedish physicist versed in economics, linguistics, and civil engineering, is also a prolific writer, who has penned well over two million articles for Wikipedia, and it is said that on a good day he can publish ten thousand pieces.

An incredible feat I imagine, even if he has a little help from a bot, an algorithm powered application that does much of his drafting, and the likes of which will probably take over disassociated one day…

His contribution to Wikipedia’s knowledge database of 30 million articles in 287 languages makes up 8.5 per cent of all the content on the site. His claims to authorship are contested however, as they were created by a computer generated software algorithm, otherwise known as a bot Johansson has named his Lsjbot.

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An illustrated catalogue of computer viruses

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

The Computer Virus Catalog, an illustrated guide to the worst viruses in computer history, may feature some pretty nasty examples of malicious code, but at least this catalogue of them is easy on the eye and informative.

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