Knowledge Illusions


Screenshot of the Alexa app. She thinks Tim Roth played Doctor Who.

Optical Illusions trick your brain into seeing something that isn't there. Whether it is spirals which don't exist, movements which don't occur, or faces in curved lines - our optic centres are trivially easy to fool. Humans are not alone in this cognitive deficiency. Other animals are also conned into believing something which isn't true. […] Read More

Usability of Key Distribution in BlockChain Backed Electronic Voting


Photo of a polling station sight. Taken by "Descrier" with URL descrier.co.uk

I went to an event a few weeks ago where some leading BlockChain organisations were showing off the power of Distributed Ledgers and how they will transform society. Not one of them mentioned users. There was talk of investors, stakeholders, corporations, smart-contract-backed entities. But no users. No real people who have to interact with their […] Read More

Asymmetric Latency


I've just finished reading the most wonderful short story - Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. In it, he speculates on what would happen if The Tower of Babel were completed. For those unfamiliar with the legend, it tells of a people who tried to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. The […] Read More

Tech Review - Sabrent rotating USB Hub


As much as I love my MacBook, 2 USB ports just isn't enough! Between phone charging, memory sticks and a keyboard and mouse, I'm sick of swapping cables in and out of ports. I wanted a USB hub which didn't have a trailing wire (one more thing to get tangled or lost) and would fit […] Read More

Apartheid Boycotts


My father tells a story of when I was very young and helping him do the shopping in the local supermarket. As I started to lift apples into a bag, he told me to stop, "We don't buy fruit from South Africa," he explained. A woman near us in the aisle turned to him and […] Read More

Prism and Plausible Deniability


The leaders of several huge corporations have issued statements saying that their companies do not allow the US Government to illegally spy on their users. I'm sure they believe that. I'd even go so far as to say that I'm sure the entire board and top management genuinely have no knowledge of any malfeasance. Why […] Read More

Why Didn't The Romans Invent The Internet?


In Terry Pratchett's book "Going Postal" he writes about the impact on the Discworld civilization of the semaphore tower. A new - but relatively basic - technology which revolutionises how people work, play, and interact. It changes the fortunes of the humble and the mighty. It is as useful for individuals as for nation states. […] Read More

Is Samsung Spying on your Printer?


Compare and contrast... [The] Xerox 914 copy machine [...] was used in soviet embassies all over the world. The machine was so complex that the CIA used a tiny camera designed by Zoppoth to capture documents copied on the machine by the soviets and retrieved them using a "Xerox repairman" right under the eyes of […] Read More