⩵ != ==

by @edent | # # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~340 times.
Lots of mechanical fingers typing on a complicated keyboard.

One of the frustrating things about computers is their limited input options. A "standard" PC keyboard only has about 100 keys. Sure, some have some bonus buttons for controlling the machine, but it is becoming clear that there simply aren't enough buttons to efficiently program computers. Most programming languages have the concept of relational operators.…

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Book Review: Assassin's Orbit by John Appel

by @edent | # # #
Book cover.

Murder makes unlikely allies. On the eve of the planet Ileri's historic vote to join the Commonwealth, the assassination of a government minister threatens to shatter everything. Private investigator Noo Okereke and spy Meiko Ogawa join forces with police chief Toiwa to investigate - and discover clues that point disturbingly toward a threat humanity thought…

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Movie Review: Marriage Story

by @edent | # | 1 comment
Poster for a crappy movie.

ACTORS! ACTING! Here's a quick summary of the film: "I AM ACTING!" "YEAH! WELL I AM ACTING LOUDER THAN YOU!" "OH? REALLY? JUST LOOK HOW GOOD I'M ACTING!" It's a relentless argument between two gormless gargoyles. Yes, the director is very clever in using lots of long and unedited shots. And, gosh, isn't the aspect…

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Movie Review: TENET

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment
Men with guns on a movie poster.

What if Red Dwarf were given a big budget and re-made "Backwards"? I'm only teasing a little bit! It is impossible to do a good Time Travel story. The closest I've experienced is "This Is How You Lose the Time War" which, similar to TENET, has sort-of-spies chasing each other through time. Most sci-fi movies…

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How not to do coding examples

by @edent | # # # | 5 comments | Read ~227 times.
A pet cat typing on a computer keyboard.

As part of my MSc, I'm getting a few lessons in technologies I'm not familiar with. I've found some of these lessons extremely confusing - even when I'm proficient in the language. Here's an example of a coding fragment from one of the tutorials in the R language. Let me explain everything that I think…

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The follow-but-mute antipattern

by @edent | # # | 8 comments | Read ~248 times.
The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

I received a rather distraught DM from a Twitter friend last week. They were upset that I was following an account which did nothing but spew out racist bile all day long. Did this mean that I endorsed their hateful views. I was confused. I didn't recognise the specific account, and didn't recall seeing any…

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Book Review: The Computer’s Voice - From Star Trek to Siri by Liz W. Faber

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment
A circuit board embossed with a vocal wave form.

A deconstruction of gender through the voices of Siri, HAL 9000, and other computers that talk Considering Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Her, and more, Liz W. Faber explores contentious questions around gender: its fundamental constructedness, the rigidity of the gender binary, and culturally situated attitudes on male and female embodiment. Going beyond current…

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What are "unusual characters"

by @edent | # # # | 9 comments | Read ~1,386 times.
Screenshot of a form validation error - Your first name must have at least two letters and no unusual characters.

The world is a complex place. It is tempting to enforce simplicity upon it to make things easier for computers. Gender is a boolean, no one is older than 99, all text flows left to right, and names are always in English. That makes it nice and easy for us to write computer systems -…

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My solution to spam calls

by @edent | # # # | Read ~395 times.
The Amazon Polly config screen.

Like most of you, I'm inundated with spam calls. So I have a new solution. When an unknown number calls me, they get routed to this audio file. This was created with Amazon Polly which is free for casual use. I was pretty impressed with the voice quality. Although there are limits to how well…

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MSc First Assignment - Technical and Digital Leadership

by @edent | # | Read ~109 times.
Multicoloured Grid.

I'm doing an apprenticeship MSc in Digital Technology. In the spirit of openness, I'm blogging my research and my assignments. This is my paper from the Technical and Digital Leadership module. I think it is fair to say I didn't get on too well with it. I found it very focused on American companies -…

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