March 27, 2017

Interesting Things on the Internet: March 27th 2017

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March 20, 2017

Interesting Things on the Internet: March 20th 2017

  • Putting strings into databases and then taking them back out again. Lovely post about why we need to make tech and coding less scary. In my experience, people using big words and jargon are generally those with less ability to deliver on what they're talking about. My equivalent of "putting strings..." is that I connect strange things to the Internet. I've found that a much more productive answer to "what do you do?" than talking about the Internet of Things.
  • Wealth, risk, and power. There is hope.
  • The Economic Policy Delusion. Country economies aren't like household economies, and the Tories aren't fiscally responsible.
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March 19, 2017

Listening to the Weather

I've been writing up some entries on the MCQN Ltd catalogue today (that in itself is something I'll be writing about at some point, and when I do then entries #ibal155 and #ibal164 will link to the explanations, rather than basic holding pages), including #ibal53, a project I did for Russell Davies to help him with his experiments in background audio.

That reminded me that these days I tend to tell the weather aurally rather than visually.

Not when I want detailed information about the weather, then I look out of the window and often at passing cars' windscreen wipers as they're a good indicator of how heavily it's raining (when it isn't raining heavily enough for that to be obvious).

But for a general ambient awareness of precipitation levels I use my ears. I'm particularly interested in whether or not it's raining because that's the overriding factor in my decision to go for a ride. Cycling in warm, sunny weather is always nice, but I have the correct attire to be equally happy when it's cold or dark or windy. I do end up cycling in the rain a reasonable amount (and do have waterproofs to wear if need be) but that's usually when I skip it.

Both at my desk and at home, I'm near enough to a main road for there to be a background level of road noise, and there is a distinctive difference between the sound of rubber on a dry road and rubber on a wet road.

I do get an additional ambient visual indicator of particularly good days at home. The blinds in my bedroom allow a reasonable amount of daylight through, so I can tell the difference between a sunny and a non-sunny day when I wake up.

And all that reminds me of a conversation I had with Rob Annable. One of the "problems" with his lovely highly-insulated new home is that it ends up a little disconnected from the outside world.

I wonder if you could replicate that with a minor extension to Russell's sound boxes? Add a controllable light source (something a bit like an uplighter, which provides a wash of colour across a wall) to build a single-pixel display with a speaker for background sound. Then it could provide a weather forecast in the same ambient form that I get the current weather.

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March 06, 2017

Interesting Things on the Internet: March 6th 2017

  • Tech and the Fake Market tactic. Anil Dash doing a good job of laying out how the big, fawned-over tech companies tend towards monopolistic behaviour. Obviously we'll break them up, as we have with all the monopolies in the past, the question is how long do we wait before doing so?
  • Lovren: My Life as a Refugee. Although as a Red I might be a bit biased, I think it's good to see a football club putting out a video like this which gives a good perspective on the life and background of a refugee (who then went on to be a top footballer...)
  • Exponential growth devours and corrupts. Compound expectations are as corrosive as compound interest is beneficial.
  • Failing to See, Fueling Hatred. A sensible call to empathy from Danah Boyd. We need more making common cause and less division and infighting, the latter only benefits those already in charge (who are making no progress on making the world better).

And an excellent video from Danish TV...

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