Book Review: "You Are Not Expected to Understand This" How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World - Torie Bosch

Book cover. Lines of code hover on a blue background.

A superb book! It traces the origins of 26 facets of modern life so that you can understand the code which underpins them. There's only a smattering of actual code you need to read - most of it is constrained to gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations. Although I got a bit of a shock in the 2nd […]

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Book Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful - Arwen Elys Dayton

Book cover featuring a woman's head twisted as a spiral of DNA.

Wow! What a stunning book. It's a series of short stories - all taking place in a world where gene-editing isn't just legal; it's a sacrament. Each chapter jumps us further into the future. What starts off as an uncertain way to improve the human species gradually becomes more beautiful and more terrifying. Do you […]

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Book Review: Shakespeare in Jest - Indira Ghose

Book cover.

This is a short but interesting look at the way Shakespeare's comedy was understood by his contemporaries - and how his legacy still influences modern comedians. There's a good deal of discussion about the role comedy played in society, and the interplay between actors and playwright would have worked. But, sadly, it never quite makes […]

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Interview: Open source is good for AI but, is AI good for open source?

A confused little cardboard robot is lost amongst the daisies

I was recently interviewed in the BCS Magazine discussing the intersection of AI and Open Source. We're at a weird time with AI and Intellectual Property. Well, IP has been in a weird place since Napster launched at the turn of the century! None of the issues around sharing, remixing, and controlling have been properly […]

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Reddit is Dropping AMP

Whoops - looks like some of the changes we were planning got out of the bag a bit early - yes, the change to compact and is part of this project. We also intend to deprecate the amp platform this year. We are making these changes in an effort to streamline the experience and reduce the number of ways you can access Reddit on the web. This is part of our broader effort to simplify reddit talked about earlier this month. The changes that happened today to and compact, and the ones coming to amp do not impact old.reddit.

As part of its continuing quest to alienate all its long-time users provide a better user experience to everyone, Reddit recently announced a slew of changes. Buried in amongst all the hullabaloo from whinging ungrateful brats thoughtful comments from people with justifiable concerns, was this snippet from a Reddit employee: An Improved Web Experience - […]

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Raster. Vector. Generative.

Ai generated image using the prompt "A photo of a painter painting a picture of a the Mona Lisa. The painter's head has been replaced with a laptop screen showing binary code."

When I was a kid, I "invented" a brilliant new compression format. Rather than sending a digital image of, say, the Mona Lisa a user could just send the ASCII characters "Mona Lisa". The receiving computer could look up the full image in its memory-banks and reproduce the work of art on screen. Genius! Of […]

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Book Review: Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey

Book cover showing some space ships.

I'm really late to the party on this one! After people singing the praises of the TV show, and my brother recommending them, I finally cracked and read the first book. It's pretty good! You probably don't need me to tell you that. But, for a book published in 2011, I was surprised at how […]

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Book Review: The Prodigal Tongue - Lynne Murphy

Book cover featuring an elongated tongue wearing a top-hat.

Who "owns" the English language? Do you cringe when you see "centre" spelled (or spelt) "center" (or vice-versa)? Which Americanisms do you think are super awesome? This book asks us a simple question: What if, instead of worrying about the “ruination” of English by young people, jargonistas, or Americans, we celebrated English for being robust […]

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Book Review: Valuable Humans in Transit and Other Stories - Qntm

Book cover showing a large satellite dish.

I adored Qntm's previous book "There Is No Antimemetics Division". This collection of short stories is just as inventive, and just as thought-provoking. What are the social, moral, and technical implications of uploading a human brain into a computer? Some of the stories are hilariously terrifying - could "you" lose the rights to "your" brain? […]

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Book Review: The Premonitions Bureau - Sam Knight

Book Cover.

It's only part-way through the first chapter that you realise that this is all true! There really was a Premonitions Bureau running in the UK (albeit under the auspices of sensationalist reporters). People gave serious study to the idea that some people could foretell specific tragedies before they occurred. Books were written, television interviews were […]

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