"I, Robot" - the 3 laws considered harmful

by @edent | # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~2,042 times.
A metal face with glowing eyes stares at you.

What happens when a robot begins to question its creators? What would be the consequences of creating a robot with a sense of humour? Or the ability to lie? How do we truly tell the difference between man and machine?

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Book Review - Longitude

by @edent | # # #
A book cover.

The dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest: the search for the solution of how to calculate longitude and the unlikely triumph of an English genius.

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Hidden Data in NFC Tags

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~384 times.
Various NFC icons.

I've just got a set of wearable NFC tags, and I've discovered something interesting about the way data is stored on them. tl;dr Overwriting a tag can leave old data intact, and still readable. Here's the decoded memory layout of a tag with data written to it. In this case, a (failed) experiment at storing…

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Book Review - Death's End

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~214 times.
An explosion in space.

Death’s End (死神永生) is a science fiction novel by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin. It is the third novel in the trilogy titled Remembrance of Earth's Past, following the Hugo Award-winning novel The Three-Body Problem and its sequel, The Dark Forest.

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Book Review - This Is Going To Hurt

by @edent | # # # | Read ~118 times.
A doctor's white coat hangs on the wall. A red pen in the pocket is leaking.

​Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships...

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor.

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UK Gov Camp Weeknotes

by @edent | # # # #
Edent Shouting into a microphone.

I'm finally feeling like I'm settling into my new role. I spent my Saturday at UK GovCamp - an unconference for Civil Servants. I ran a session on Acronyms in the Workplace. It was hillarious listening to people try to introduce themselves without any abbreviations. "I am the Chief Paperclip Office for the United Kingdom's…

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Amazon Prime Video's weird Unicode problems

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~165 times.
Description with an error in it.

It's 2019 and high-tech devices are still plagued by text encoding bugs. I recently bought the new 4K Amazon Fire Stick. It's a little Android dongle which plays videos. It's neat - but quite often displays weird text errors. Take the kids' TV show House of Anubis, the Fire displays the description like this: Looking…

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Extracting DVD-Audio on Linux, the modern(ish) way

by @edent | # # # # # # | Read ~245 times.
A cute penguin.

DVD-Audio (henceforce DVDA) is an unloved and mostly forgotten audio format. Nevertheless, there's a large back-catalogue of music which is still trapped on ancient discs encoded in the proprietary MLP format. A few years ago I wrote about how to extract the audio using the obsolete Windows program DVD-Audio Explorer. I wanted to be able…

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Review - Space Odyssey the Making of a Masterpiece

by @edent | # # # # #
A red-suited spaceman floats inside a giant computer.

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the film’s release, this is the definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, including the inside account of how director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke created this cinematic masterpiece.

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Review - Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

by @edent | # # # | Read ~109 times.
Book cover.Continue reading →