Bot Reckons

Hello internet friends,

so many things we have learned about technology last week.
I personally had to learn that emoji might not work as email subject line. Oh well.

Mostly we had to learn that it takes about one day for the internet to ruin everything. At least we got this headline out of it: Microsoft deletes ‘teen girl’ AI after it became a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours

But of course we can learn so much from it! We can learn that Microsoft has been running a bot like this in China for quite some while which did somehow not become a nazi sex bot. (I saw Nazi Sex Bot in a small underground club before they broke into the mainstream and called themselves Tokio Hotel.)
Then there are the smart people who have been doing internet-facing bots for a while, they have some reckons, too. For a good primer on text bots and how Microsoft made the most basic mistake with their Tay, look no further than this introductory article by Ben Brown. And then there’s Motherboard’s Sarah Jeong with How to Make a Bot That Isn’t Racist.
Well, good to know. My bot – and you knew I had to had one at some point – is just twitter_ebooks running with my tweets. So its baseline for terribleness is me, which of course might already be a problem.

More automated bot things!
Watch an automated deer run around GTA. And yes, people will have to learn how to drive self-driving cars.

Other stuff!
Wired has a big feature on the comedians in Silicon Valley and how the comedy business works these days.
And The Guardian has the best argument in favour of cash.

Be safe out there, have a good week.


Hello internet friends,

were you as excited as I am about long tweets to hopefully get rid of tweetstorms? (Not that this would ever happen, mostly because.) Well, I do have some bad news for you: the 140 characters are here to stay. And so are screenshots of text. Which I have seen on Medium by now, too.
What is wrong with people?

Anyway, onwards! I am sure by now everyone of you have heard of or even played the wonderful Firewatch game. If not, give it a try – it’s very pretty, not terribly expensive for a couple of hours of entertainment and it is very playable even for people who are not natural gamers.
And once you’re done with it, why not read these notes by Panic, the company that published the game, about their experience as a first time game publisher.

Everybody seems to be really into the idea of self-driving cars these days. And then there are these kinds of people who want to ruin it for everybody else.

Love emoji? Of course you do. What kind of joyless person doesn’t? Well, behind every emoji is a letter code and those are maintained by people called the Unicode Editorial Committee. And this is how that works.

We all have seen those pictures of immaculate kitchens/desks/… that our designer-y friends like to share. They tend to follow a certain aesthetic Рand more often than not it is one that comes from the Kinfolk, which is apparently the last lifestyle magazine.
Do read the article, I found it fascinating how much of this comes from Mormonism, of all places. As a Dudeist this is all pretty weird in my eyes, but I guess this makes me a bit of a garbage person. But then it is very likely that these neat little photos of neat little living and work spaces are just a bit of an act – which might actually help some folks. Or maybe not.

And now for something completely different and actually great: Pigeons With Backpacks Are Fighting Air Pollution in London. I don’t have anything to add to this.


Scan This

Hello internet friends,

aren’t we all excited about a new week, lol.
Onwards. Or maybe not quite, yet. After all it is monday, so just for getting up and starting the week, we should get a little reward. And here it is – New Order’s Blue Monday, played on instruments from the 1930s.

I still didn’t manage to watch the new Deadpool movie but I already managed to read this think piece: Why Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is Actually Way Better Than The 2016 Deadpool

A few weeks back a group of ~artists~ claimed they had smuggled Microsoft Kinect scanners into the Neue Museum in Berlin and used them to make a very high resolution 3D scarn of the Nefertiti bust. Turns out not so much – it is way more likely that a copy of the museum’s own scan data found its way to them.
This is quite something.

“If I look even more tired than usual, it might be this man’s fault.
He said, like addicts do when they blame the drug producers instead of facing their own weak will.

New section alert!

Interesting links for which I couldn’t think of a little paragraph so I just dump them on you in the hope that you still find them as interesting as I did

The Myth of the Barter Economy РAdam Smith said that quid-pro-quo exchange systems preceded economies based on currency, but there’s no evidence that he was right.

The roots of Tim Cook’s activism lie in rural Alabama

Why Nobody Can Build an Email Killer

You are welcome.

Looking back one year and trying to figure out what happened since then

I said the name of that section would change, didn’t I? Well, here you go. Do they have courses on naming things better?

Last year around this time we were thinking about how our attention is being monetized and oh boy, did nothing change.
It is a big war on the web though – on the one hand, we have publishers, who fight ad-blocking in every way they can and on the other hand we have the first browser vendor who ships a (preview) version of their main product with ad-blocking built in.

Be safe, everybody. And maybe don’t go viral for the wrong reasons.


Hello internet friends!

I have been doing this for two years now and it is still fun РI sincerely hope it is for you, too. Thanks for reading my little zine! And… onwards!

If you have a bit of time and want to know about the Millennium Falcon, here is something for you.
Actually it might be a good idea to take a day off and read through all of Kitbashed. Probably the best Star Wars page out there.

I have mentioned before that I use Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist on random as one of my three alarms.[1]
I hardly ever use their “Fresh Finds” playlists, though, but apparently they are pretty good, too. And fuelled by an army of hipsters. Probably they are better at the whole music thing than the Army of Lovers.

Remember last week’s cyborg rats? Turns out they might be our own future when it comes to navigating the increasingly complex transit systems out there.
Most people I know use Google Maps or some other transit app for those by now, so we’re already halfway there.

We have all seen that video/gif[2] of some dude with VR goggles while a young lady looks disinterested into the camera. We all had a bit of a giggle and moved one. Turns out the young lady – Eva Hoerth – is a VR researcher and was pretty surprised by suddenly becoming a meme. She also seems to be smart and funny, so that’s an entertaining article to read.

New section alert!

One Year Follow-Up[3]

Last year around this time, we were all thinking about the colors of a dress. While we all just rolled our eyes and forgot about it again, actual scientists kept thinking about it.

Be safe out there.

  1. And yes, I am a three alarms person. I am also a snooze person and a person who likes to sleep. Because sleep – that’s where I’m a viking.  ↩

  2. Isn’t it all the same these days?  ↩

  3. I’ll rename this.  ↩