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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Ditching simple passwords isn’t all that simple

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

The use of simple, or weak, passwords isn’t so bad, nor for that matter is using the same password on multiple websites. Only in certain circumstances though, for instance where the web service you are using is deemed to be “low risk”, say a group of Microsoft researchers.

Email and bank or finance applications are obviously examples of high risk websites that require complex pass codes, but it might be – and who knows – that the password for your tennis club’s online discussion forum isn’t.

While the use of strong, or complex, passwords is encouraged, there’s a limit to how many we can remember though, and forgetting, and then having to reset, too many of these codes can soon become more trouble than they are worth.

The trio argue that password reuse on low risk websites is necessary in order for users to be able to remember unique and high entropy codes chosen for important sites. Users should therefore slap the same simple passwords across free websites that don’t hold important information and save the tough and unique ones for banking websites and other repositories of high-value information. “The rapid decline of [password complexity as recall difficulty] increases suggests that, far from being unallowable, password re-use is a necessary and sensible tool in managing a portfolio,” the trio wrote.

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Are digital technologies a threat to documentary film revenues?

Tuesday, 15 July, 2014

Digital technologies are making it easier for documentary filmmakers, especially those who are emerging, to produce and distribute their work, but what are the chances of audiences ever seeing these productions? And if more documentaries are to be distributed solely online, what future, if any, will these sorts of films have?

Thanks to cheaper digital production equipment and a seemingly endless line of new distribution options, documentary filmmakers are experiencing boom times. But who’s getting the bucks from this bang? “An individual can pretty easily and cheaply put their film online; whether anyone sees or finds it is another matter,” Michael Lumpkin, executive director of the International Documentary Association, told TheWrap. “There have been a constant parade of new platforms to watch movies online. But I think for filmmakers, not enough of those opportunities are actually financial opportunities.”

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What might the internet of ten years time be like?

Tuesday, 15 July, 2014

Regulation, surveillance, and commercialisation, are some of the forces that will play a part shaping the way the internet is used over the next decade, but technologists do not believe, or should that be hope, their impact will be significant.

As Internet experts look to the future of the Web, they have a number of concerns. This is not to say they are pessimistic: The majority of respondents to this 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing say they hope that by 2025 there will not be significant changes for the worse and hindrances to the ways in which people get and share content online today. And they said they expect that technology innovation will continue to afford more new opportunities for people to connect. Still, some express wide levels of concern that this yearning for an open Internet will be challenged by trends that could sharply disrupt the way the Internet works for many users today as a source of largely unfettered content flows.

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Can health problems be diagnosed by way of credit card statements?

Thursday, 10 July, 2014

Medical professionals who are able to view your credit card transactions may be able to anticipate the sort of ailments you could be afflicted with, based on your spending habits – I guess they’d be looking for purchases that incorporate alcohol, high fat foods, and the like – and can begin devising an appropriate course of treatment

Information on consumer spending can provide a more complete picture than the glimpse doctors get during an office visit or through lab results, says Michael Dulin, chief clinical officer for analytics and outcomes research at Carolinas HealthCare. The Charlotte-based hospital chain is placing its data into predictive models that give risk scores to patients. Within two years, Dulin plans to regularly distribute those scores to doctors and nurses who can then reach out to high-risk patients and suggest changes before they fall ill.

All very commendable I’m sure, after all there’s nothing more important than our health, but I can see some potential privacy concerns here.

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