What's an acceptable number of failures?

Some giant question marks standing in a field. Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/dbrekke/181939582/

During my (brief) stint teaching senior leaders about AI, there was one question that I urged them to learn above all others. What is the acceptable failure rate? For this, I had to teach them two concepts. False Positives. For example, telling someone they have cancer when they don't. False Negatives. For example, telling someone […]

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What would a decentralised Uber look like?

Photo of the inside of a Hong Kong taxi. There are about a dozen different phones attached to the dashboard - each running a different app.

Uber are undoubtedly a company engaged in extremely dodgy activity. But, on the other had, they're ridiculously convenient. A few months ago, we landed in a foreign country, opened the same Uber app as we used back home, and booked a cab. It just worked. I didn't need to register for a different version. I […]

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Tech Predictions for 2023

A plasma ball glowing with ethereal light.

Only fools try to predict the future. You can read my earlier predictions, or dig deep into my archives and rate me on how foolish I am. I tend to look at technology through the lens of "what do I want to happen?" and then assume the worst. So, here goes! Federation Gets Simpler As […]

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Book Review: Rising Tide (Lauren Fraser mysteries Book 2) - Jennifer Palgrave

Crashing waves on the shore make up this book cover.

Nat Spiller, an admired climate change activist, has accidentally drowned. That’s the police verdict. But was it an accident? His partner Ellie thinks otherwise. Pam, Ellie’s aunt, draws a reluctant Lauren Fraser into the mystery. It's a bit weird to describe a murder mystery as "cosy" - but that's the vibe of this book. It's […]

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Naming things is hard - DNS for the Federated Web

The multicoloured interlocking lines of the Fediverse logo.

How should I design my personal DNS for all the cool new Federated Services and IndieWeb protocols? Way back in the early 2000s, I started this website - shkspr.mobi. A few years later, I added a blog. I could have used the main domain, or created a subdomain like blog.shkspr.mobi. In the end, I chose […]

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Gadget Review: Meta Quest 2 replacement headstrap

A VR headset strap with lots of questions.

The headstrap which ships with the Meta Quest 2 is shit. It is a cheap piece of fabric, held together with velcro. It's fiddly to adust and uncomfortable to use for longer than a few minutes. Zuckerberg likes causing you pain. So I purchased the cheapest upgrade strap I could find - £15 on special […]

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So, this is Christmas?

Graph showing all forms of worship steadily decreasing.

The Church of England publishes statistics about the numbers of its faithful. These are particularly interesting in light of the recent news that the UK no-longer has a Christian majority. The CofE's statistics are for 2019 - before COVID messed up everything - and I think offer a fascinating glimpse into its future. The two […]

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Zeno's Paradox and Why Modern Technology is Rubbish

Robot faced Mark Zuckerberg is wearing a VR headset - it digs painfully into his smiling cheeks.

Amazon Alexa is losing billions of dollars. Self Driving Cars are losing billions of dollars. The Metaverse is losing billions of dollars. Are we about to witness the biggest crash in technological progress? I'm particularly fond of the Rule of Credibility which states: The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 […]

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Early forms of Interactive TV

A tiny black and white image of a boy on a telephone.

Way back in the mists of time, I did my secondary-school work experience at the BBC. Specifically, Children's BBC. Every day for a couple of weeks, I'd commute into White City, wander those hallowed halls, sit at a desk, and... You know... I can't remember! I know I got to visit the "Broom Cupboard", and […]

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How Blockbuster was superior to Netflix

A giant red letter N. The Netflix logo.

It's a Friday night in the late 1990s and my teenaged friend group are bored. We're not cool enough to hang about in the park drinking cider. And we're not nerdy enough to play D&D. We don't have enough money to go to the cinema. What we do have is a Blockbuster card and, between […]

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