Artificial Intelligence is a Horseless Carriage

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~233 times.

I've been thinking about words. The Chinese word for "train" - the mode of transport - is 火车. Which literally translates as "fire chariot". Long gone are the days when trains were pulled by a fire-breathing engine at the front, and yet this linguistic skeuomorph hangs around. English is not immune from this. The television… Continue reading →

Context-Aware Text Recognition?

by @edent | # # # | Read ~241 times.
A scanned document, the text is askew. Next to it is a computer-generated version of the text. A passage is highlighted.

I've been playing with Google's Cloud Vision API. It is OCR (Optical Character Recognition) - but in THE CLOUD and uses MACHINE LEARNING! When it works, it is indistinguishable from magic. When it fails, it reveals a very limited understanding of human text. Let's take a look at this quick example - a piece of… Continue reading →

The Policy Hack

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~606 times.
Clip from the film "The Matrix" - a young bald boy is saying "There is no spoon."

I've found a delightfully exploitable social hack which I presented at UK GovCamp. It applies to any uncooperative bureaucracy. Here's how it works. You ask someone to do something and they reply with "I'm sorry sir, that's against our policy." You should say "I'm sorry to hear that. Please can you send me a copy… Continue reading →

MailChimp leaks your email address

by @edent | # # # # | 6 comments | Read ~4,172 times.
Change email address page with obscured email address

An annoying privacy violation from leading email newsletter company MailChimp. Responsibly disclosed on 2017-12-04. When you click a link on a webpage or an email, your browser opens up that link and sends the newly visited webpage a Referer Header. (The misspelling is a historical artefact.) This says "Hello new site, I was referred here… Continue reading →

Emotional Technobabble

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~140 times.
Screencap from Doctor Who. The Doctor says "Must be a Spatio Temporal hyperlink." Mickey replies "What's that?" The Doctor answers "No idea, just made it up. Didn't want to say 'magic door'.

"Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!" "I'll create a GUI interface using VISUAL BASIC, see if I can track an IP address." "I love you, let's get married!" Technobabble sounds convincing to a lay audience. If you're not a computerist, then "hacking the mainframe" sounds plausible. If you're emotionally immature, then "I love you!… Continue reading →

Review - BlueSkySea DashCam

by @edent | # # # # | Read ~374 times.
Dashcam product shot

The good folks at BlueSkySea have sent me their 1080p dashcam to review. It's a sub-£50 dashcam with built in WiFi and a 150° field of view. Let's take it for a spin! Unboxing and first use Video Samples Video resolution: 1920x1090 formatted to play back at 1920x1080. Audio: 16KHz AAC stereo - although seems… Continue reading →

Using canvas to shrink images for Google Cloud Vision

by @edent | # # #
The HTML5 Logo

I've started using Google Cloud Vision for running text detection on OpenBenches images. There's just one problem - Google limits the size of the files that it will accept to 4MB. Why? Who knows! Obviously, it's easy to shrink an image server-side, but how do we do it in the browser? First, let's take a… Continue reading →

Review - Linxtech IN1601 Mini Drone

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~646 times.
Mini drone which fits in the hand

The good folk at RC Moment have sent me another drone to review! This is the Linxtech IN1601 Mini Drone and it is crazy small! Fits in the palm of your hand, sends 720p video, is USB rechargeable, and costs under £30. Let's get straight on and give it a whirl! What's in the box?… Continue reading →