Universal Basic Website

Glowing computer text showing dot com dot info etc.

Many years ago - when I was very young and you were even younger - it was standard for an ISP to provide all their users with a small amount of webspace. Both Pipex and Demon offered webspace back in 1996. If my hazy memory is correct, they offered a few megabytes - more than […]

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What isn't realtime?

A digital watch.

There are a few heartstopping moments when you have to transfer a Very Large Amount of Money. Will the bank deny the transaction? Will I have to remember my mother's cousin's dog's maiden name? Will the money arrive safely? I clicked the "Transfer Your Life Savings" button on the website. An hourglass appeared. I flipped […]

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Tech Predictions for 2024

A plasma ball glowing with ethereal light.

Only fools try to predict the future. You can read my predictions for 2023, or dig deep into my archives and rate me on how foolish I am. So here are my five predictions for 2024 AI Genocide It is obvious that Large Language Models are based on stolen material. I suspect that a lawsuit […]

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What if civilisation *doesn't* collapse?

An eReader with a pen.

A few years ago, I got rid of all my paper books and switched exclusively to eBooks. Whenever I tell bibliophiles1 this, they usually shriek in horror. What about the smell of books2?!!? What about showing off your bookcases to impress people3!?!? What about your signed first editions4!??!?! But the other day I had someone […]

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Let's close all the ticket counters

Cartoon. An old woman is at a train ticket counter. The ticket machine is out of order. The ticket office is now called "Info Hub". The ticket seller says "OK, one more time: Go home and log on to our website from your computer, create an account and purchase your ticket with your credit or debit card, download the ticket to a smartphone, then come back at the allocated time... Just what part of 'easier and more convenient' don't you get?"

I bloody hate this cartoon that's doing the rounds (I think it's by the incredibly talented Len in Private Eye). Here's what I want the caption to say: OK, one more time: Get here at least 30 minutes early because the queue barely moves and you'll inevitably be stuck behind someone trying to pay for […]

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Book Review: Radicalized - Cory Doctorow

Book cover for Radicalized.

This is a difficult and disturbing book. It is a great read for any hacker - it's all about the way technology abuses people and how it radicalises people into fighting back. The dialogue is Socratic and the stories are a set of parables. The first asks us to consider what are the limits of […]

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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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Why don't we just eat grass?

Photo of a glass of milk and some cheese in a field of grass.

I read an interesting discussion the other day about why humans (mostly) don't eat carnivorous mammals. It boiled down to a few main points: Carnivores often don't taste good due to their relative lack of fat and stringy muscles. Aggressive animals are hard to domesticate. What do you feed them? 1 and 2 are manageable. […]

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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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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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