A newly painted work by Rembrandt… how can that happen?

Friday, 8 April, 2016

A new work by seventeenth century Dutch painter Rembrandt? Sort of. Through a visual study of his existing paintings, together with the aid of some learning algorithms, a painting, that “averages” Rembrandt’s previous works, has been created.

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There is no capital I in internet. Anymore

Wednesday, 6 April, 2016

The words “internet” and “web” will no longer be capitalised, if you write for Associated Press that is, according to their 2016 stylebook. For a long time both had been considered proper nouns, because the thinking was they referred to places. Oh yes.

“The changes reflect a growing trend toward lowercasing both words, which have become generic terms,” AP Standards Editor Thomas Kent told Poynter via email.

It’s about time, it’s a convention I never went along with.

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A new small smartphone for people with small hands? Suits me

Friday, 1 April, 2016

I might invest in a new smartphone now that the iPhone SE has been released. The old-school – in that it is only slightly bigger than the iPhone 4 – device is just what I’ve been waiting for, even if it intended for people with small hands, which is not the way to describe my metacarpi, et al.

The Atlantic proffered the reasoning: “The average Chinese man, for instance, is three inches shorter than the average white American man.” Meaning hand and thumb reach will be commensurately smaller.

In reality, I’ve held off upgrading my smartphone because the last thing I want is to be hauling a tablet size device about the place.

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There’s a rhythmic ceremonial ritual coming up, May 1st Reboot

Thursday, 31 March, 2016

I’d forgotten about the May 1st Reboot, where web designers and developers across the globe redesign and relaunch their websites, even though I took part in the inaugural event in 2000. Here’s an idea of how that turned out.

Good to see it’s still going strong. If your website is due for a revamp, and I keep thinking disassociated is, then you ought to consider taking part.

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A remedy for writer’s block? Try the most dangerous writing app…

Wednesday, 30 March, 2016

The Most Dangerous Writing App will delete whatever you’ve written if you pause typing for more than five seconds. How is that supposed to be of use to a writer, you might ask?

According to the creator of the app, Manuel Ebert, it’s designed to help deal with writer’s block. And if writing, about anything at all, is the antidote, then perhaps I can see the point. Still, it’d be handy to be able save what you write, inspiration might strike while using the app.

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Will we still be paid once robots take our jobs?

Tuesday, 29 March, 2016

A pet subject of mine this is, what will happen once technology displaces most of us from our jobs? It’s possible we might end up receiving some sort of living allowance… the powers that be may have no choice in the matter:

In response, many are now calling for a “universal basic income” (UBI) – where the state gives everyone enough to live on. This would put a floor under the class of people we’re calling the “precariat,” people for whom work doesn’t lead to increased financial security. It would free us from the bullshit, allowing everyone to benefit from automation, not just the lucky few. And it would leave us more time for creative, fulfilling things, enjoying the “abundance” that new technology affords (think how useful and cheap computers are today and imagine what they might let everyone do in the future). There are several UBI trials planned in Finland, Switzerland, and Canada (and, indeed, several reasons why the idea is attractive).

The real question though will be, what to do with the time that is no longer required for work? We’ll need something to do, after all watching TV all day would surely lose its appeal quickly.

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Should children ok photos posted on social media by their parents?

Thursday, 17 March, 2016

It seems innocuous enough, parents posting photos and videos of their children to their social media pages. But should there be limits, or boundaries, to this sort of activity? Ought parents to be seeking the permission of their off-spring, before posting material that potentially could be publicly accessible decades later?

And what if a child is too young to understand what is being asking of them? Should parents therefore refrain from sharing images of their children until they are old enough to understand? It’s perhaps a matter that requires more thought than it is being afforded presently.

But there was one surprising rule that the children wanted that their parents mentioned far less often: Don’t post anything about me on social media without asking me. As in, no pictures of them asleep in the back of the car. No posts about their frustration with their homework. That victory picture after the soccer game? Maybe. The frustrated rant about the fight you just had over laundry? No way.

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The iMom, is the world ready for artificial intelligence like this?

Wednesday, 16 March, 2016

I caught a hold of the final twist early on, but that doesn’t make The iMom, by Australian filmmaker Ariel Martin, any less chilling. Exactly to what degree should we trust artificial intelligence, especially AI robots that may one day be tasked with looking after our children?

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A work break spent with a smartphone may not be so smart an idea

Tuesday, 15 March, 2016

Not much help when you’re trying to fall asleep, but we all knew that, nor much use while you’re taking a break from work either, looking at the screen of your smartphone that is.

While a distraction of some sort is useful when it comes to relaxing at lunchtime, turning to your phone may not be the best idea. People who did, in preference to some other non smartphone diversion, such as chatting with their colleagues, often felt more emotionally exhausted later in the work day.

This seems to be because phone-based distraction just isn’t as rejuvenating. Whereas more psychological detachment during breaktime was associated with experiencing fewer post-lunch negative feelings among the phone-free participants – perhaps because they’d spent lunch time chatting football instead of sales figures – the benefits of breaktime escapism were missing for even the most distracted phone users. Swallowed up in protecting their pixellated plasma towers, these participants enjoyed no relief from negative feelings later in the day.

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Together alone, that’s the digital technology cycle for you

Monday, 14 March, 2016

It’s an all too common sight nowadays, couples seated together at, say, a restaurant or cafe, looking at, and interacting with, their smartphone or tablet device, but not each other. Hopefully it’s not too late, but who knows, they may have already become part of a cycle, a rather vicious cycle.

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