Complication

While reading a history of timepieces, I learned that features a watch performs – above and beyond telling the time – are known as complications. A complication can be a calendar date, alarms, lunar phase etc. Apple too, refers to apps for the Apple Watch as complications.

I suppose it comes from a time where watch makers were competing on features and wanted to draw attention to the mechanisms and engineering that powered these complications. Perhaps an inside joke into the extra effort they caused.

Response to Daily Prompt: Complication.

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The internet’s problems haven’t changed in 22 years

A 1996 Wall Street Journal article that’s been quietly sitting on the web, waiting for its rediscovery and renewed relevance, has found its moment on Twitter this week. Though it discusses the contemporaneous issues and concerns of its time, if you extract the particular problems it identifies with the internet and apply them to our present day, you’ll find something disturbing: nothing’s changed. The core concerns that troubled us about our participation in online communities and services in 1996 are basically identical in 2018.

via The internet’s problems haven’t changed in 22 years – The Verge

Its Google On The Line

The crowd was shocked, but the most impressive thing about the call was that the person on the other end didn’t seem to suspect they were talking to AI at all. This is a huge technological achievement for Google, but it also opens up a Pandora’s box of ethical and social challenges.

For example, does Google have an obligation to tell people they’re talking to a machine? Does technology that mimics humans erode our trust in what we see and hear? And is this another example of tech privilege, where those in the know can offload the boring conversations they don’t want to have onto a machine, while those receiving the calls (most likely low-paid service workers) have to deal with some idiot robot?

via Google’s AI sounds like a human on the phone — should we be worried? – The Verge

It is pretty incredible to watch. Probably seals the fate of the telephone too, to humans anyway. Just going to be robots calling robots in future.

Subscription hell | TechCrunch

Subscriptions align incentives in a way that advertising can never do, while also avoiding the morass of privacy and ethics that plague ad targeting. Subscription revenues are also more reliable than ad dollars, making it easier to budget and improve operational efficiency for an organization.

Incentive alignment is one thing, and my wallet is another. All of these subscriptions are starting to add up.

via Subscription hell | TechCrunch

I feel I have probably said this many times before. Every subscription (here in the UK at least) launches at wincing-ly high price per month and only ever increases year on year. Multiply that by every service acting the same and eventually people will have to pick and choose which service makes the cuts and which no longer does. Presumably the last remaining subscription people deem essential will increase prices forever, until the bubble pops.

Firefox Sponsored Suggested Stories

We’ve come to accept a premise around advertising today that users need to trade their privacy and data in exchange for personalized, high quality experiences. Our experiments over the last few months have proved that this isn’t true. We are indeed able to create personalized sponsored content that provides value to users without jeopardizing their privacy.
If it supports Mozilla, doesn’t compromise my privacy and persuades other companies to perform less intrusive tracking – I’m OK with it. I don’t like advertising, but perhaps unsurprisingly, saw people complaining and wanting to disable this and donate instead – yep you can do that, your choice.

Amazon Working On First Robot

There are no firm details on what Amazon’s robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of “mobile Alexa” — following users around their house to places where they can’t speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees’ homes by the end of the year.

via Amazon is reportedly working on its first home robot – The Verge

Yep, I see this as a mobile Alexa or a robot vacuum cleaner. Nothing too big or scary, to ease people into having robots in their home.

OLPC was going to give every child a laptop — then it all went wrong – The Verge

…instead of “the $100 laptop,” Bender wanted to call it “the Children’s Machine,” he says. “I think we got more mileage out of ‘The $100 Laptop’ at the time, because typical laptops cost over $1,000, so it was a very bold statement. But we got burned by that — because we set an expectation around price, rather than an expectation around what this machine was really for.”

via OLPC was going to give every child a laptop — then it all went wrong – The Verge

It’s not the fairytale ending the project was aiming for but it is helpful to get the OLPC story in full.