ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 I enjoyed this dance for its subtlety as much as technical skill.  There is great potential in merging technology with dance, but too often it's overkill.  This is elegant.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Here's an interview about the excellent animated short "Get a Horse."  The bit I want to highlight is where they couldn't find a clip of Walt Disney saying the word "red" so they spliced it together out of phonemes spoken in other words.  This is a crucial step necessary to the evolution of technology which reduces and eventually removes the need for actors: the ability to create a 'library' of appearance, motion, and sound which users can employ to compose performances.  It's a very popular way to make entertainment in the future.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Your location is intimate, sensitive information that can be used to hurt you.  But this app uses it to your advantage by relaying information about your planned route, progress along it, and safety level to designated companions.  This enables people to manage their own travel and safety more effectively, without tying them to a physical bodyguard.  It's a useful tool for some contexts.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Ingress is a phone game that involves traveling around to control territory, which at least gets people out of their chairs.  It teaches some interesting skills for grassroots organization and cell structure.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This search engine can be set with a choice of several filters to weed out mainstream propaganda or target independent sources.  Furthermore, it's a safesearch engine that does not record user information.  That makes it a good choice for looking up things you don't want anyone to know you looked up.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My partner Doug found this page of free map tools.   They do things like highlight a circle defined by a radius, calculate area, and give distances between two points.  Gee, this would've been useful when Ng_moonmoth and I were trying to do all the calculations for the Massacre of Cascabel.  (Yes, we did calculations, using some historic examples and modern statistics for inspiration.)  So if you're a writer, this may be stuff you can use too.  Especially the radius tool, that one is good for craters, kill zones, hurricanes, earthquakes, all kinds of stuff.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
This gaming community solved online harassment.  First they polled the community to determine local standards.  Then they created a learning system which allowed users to penalize behavior outside community norms, or reward particularly good behavior.  This is optimum because it allows each community to set and maintain its own standards.  Parameters are created by the community and enforced within its own interactions, not devised and imposed from outside.  This way, each little corner of cyberspace can establish its own ideals.  Everybody wins!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I got to talking with some friends about the uncanny valley, and then I found this video of two chatbots talking together.  The imagery is basically two talking heads, with a voiceover. The uncanny valley effect works in audio as well as visual mode, and it is creepy.  For those of you whose impaired vision has left you out of the uncanny valley based on sight, here's a chance to experiment with hearing it instead.  Or anyone else who thinks it's cool.

The conversation runs 6:37.  I didn't last a minute before tapping out.  Other friends variably lasted about two minutes, and less than ten seconds.  How long can you make it?
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... is in progress.  It's a great idea, if you're doing it for a few seconds.  If you're using that as the primary interface, however, most people get tired and sore very quickly.  And if you keep doing it, then you wind up with repetitive stress injuries.  People have found this out by using touchscreens on their desk computers.  Seriously, folks, haptics matter.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This case is of interest to writers everywhere, because writers often need to research the nefarious things that their characters do.  Or even things that are appalling but actually have a good reason behind them.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So GamerGate just shot videogames in the crotch

The academics are being stupid.  You do not ignore a part of history because you think it's pointless and some of the people involved are assholes.  You do not ignore it because it is "too new," it is easier to preserve then and your descendants will curse you for being so fucking slow and stupid as to let it fade away.  Ephemera are valuable precisely because  they usually get lost.  You would think more people would have learned this after thousands of years of history.  Apparently not.

But hey, this is what sexism gets: academic careers blocked, research and preservation not done, games therefore probably lost when they degrade because nobody knew how to save them.  Thanks, assholes, you just turned over the thirteenth card and blew up the universe, now everyone loses.


I am sulking at having to share a planet with these two groups of idiots.  The stupid, it burns like hydrogen.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Because they were never going to pay you for it anyway.  If they were, and this is a category the author left out, they pay you anyway.  Subcategories include people who use free copies to decide if they want to buy a product, people who are reading the freebie while waiting for a paper copy to come out, and crowdfunding where folks read free stuff but have the option to sponsor more/faster/whatever if they wish.

The author is absolutely right that many people will pay for convenience over free stuff, if they have more money than time/energy or if the EROEI is better when paying.  This is why my year-end collections are now spiralbound at Staples instead of hand-punched at home.  Save us a day's backbreaking work?  TAKE MAH MONEY!

Conversely some people will tolerate extra effort for free stuff because they have more time/energy than money.  That's okay too.

The general rule is, make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.  Reward good behavior, ignore or discourage bad behavior.

In crowdfunding, I have noticed that giving away things is an excellent way to get more money.  It's a little counterintuitive ... in a cash  economy.  But it is the fundamental premise of a gift  economy.  We say, "The gift must move."  You don't just accept the goodies and pocket them.  You give something to someone else, which can be a share of the first or the same kind of thing or something totally different.  The idea is to keep the energy moving.  A lot of folks in crowdfunding route part of their incoming funds back to other projects crowdfunded by someone else.  I can only afford this sporadically but I still do it.

Another consideration is relationship.  When people like a creative person, they will throw money  without even being asked.  But if they feel their money is going to a big corporation instead of the author, they're less enthusiastic about that.  They get downright huffy if they feel like they're getting screwed, not getting their money's worth -- maybe the prices are jacked up or the product isn't very good.  So that's a big reason why some people pirate.  It's not just an economic issue that people can't afford a product or feel it's overpriced.  It's a relationship breakdown between provider and customer.  Consider how very badly the music, movie, publishing, etc. industries have treated their customers.  Well, now the bottlenecks are coming loose and people have other alternatives.  Newsflash: if people hate you and get a chance to leave or hit back, they will TAKE IT.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... are making business and sport reports. Given the evolution of entertainment models, they might pick up formulaic genres such as romance or mystery.  But remember: computers are great at copying, not producing new ideas.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
AI specialists at the University of Maryland have created a robot that can learn by observing.  This one taught itself to cook by watching YouTube.

This is epic.  It's the "monkey see, monkey do" moment.  One of the most crucial steps in creating artificial life is the ability of self-learning instead of programming.  More importantly, learning by observation -- rather than being trained explicitly -- is a feature of higher lifeforms such as humans, cetaceans, and great apes.  It lays a foundation for the "aha!" moment of awakening to self.  A robot might go through the motions and then suddenly understand  what they mean.

Just remember, an AI is like a small child.  They learn what they see.  They mimic what you do, not what you say.  So treat them as you want to be treated.  Teach them well.  Then they'll do great things, instead of going insane and trying to destroy the world.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Broadband internet access has been declared a utility.  I am pleased, and a little surprised that they actually got something right.


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