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Tech just isn’t for techies: #thedress, Tinder and the retro internet

Elizabeth Rust : March 2, 2015 3:41 pm : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies

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In sign language who decides how to sign new words, especially the techie ones – selfie, emoji or photobomb?

Hope and Fears turned to Bill Vicars of Lifeprint an organisation that instructs people who use American Sign Language.

Vicars said:

“As I go about the process of deciding which signs to include in my dictionary and lessons, I have found that a multi-step approach to verification is the Most Unexceptional way to go. First, I do a ‘literature review.’ I compare numerous respected sign language dictionaries and textbooks to see how the sign is demonstrated in those dictionaries. Occasionally, the dictionaries conflict with each other but eventually a dominant sign tends to emerge. After doing a thorough review of the literature it is time to interview a cross section of Deaf adults who have extensive experience signing… I make it a goal to ask a minimum of ten advanced Deaf signers how ‘they’ do it. The next stage of investigating a sign is to consider how the sign is done in other locations and decide which version is more widely used… The last stage is to post the sign online to my website where it is exposed to the scrutiny of thousands of individuals – many of whom then email me and tell me their version is better.”

And after wfter which the conversation will continue …

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See how many people were discussing #thedress at the same time. Blue, black, white or gold, I don’t know, but LA is using the hashtag to post better dresses – how SoCal. But will these #thedress people wear the Apple watch? I think Apple has their work cut out for them. This is how we should be dressing in the digital age. GIFs are teaching computers about emotions. Could they also teach me how to ski? Or maybe get to the final level of Tetris? I definitely won’t need an expensivemobile for that. Can the internet be retro? I almost forgot about the drone that tried to take drugs across the Mexico/US border. Now you can reject people even faster on Tinder. Don’t talk about ISIS on Twitter.

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And because it’s going to be everywhere this week, check out this piece about the Mobile World Congress: can telecomm and tech work together?

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My techie Oscars party

Elizabeth Rust : February 23, 2015 2:20 pm : Blog

Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior Couture
Marion Cotillard in Christian Dior Couture

I’m an LA girl at heart. And no matter how far away I move, I will never miss my favourite night of the year – The Oscars.

Inevitably I’m going to stay up far too late, no matter how many times I tell myself, “Just one more award”.

And of course, last night was no different.

Only now, technology has made it a bit easier.

5,000 miles away I still feel like I’m part of Hollywood.

I just love that I can see the red carpet – and the fashion – even before it’s streamed online.

My best dressed this year: Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’o and Laura Dern. I just absolutely fell in love with Marion’s Dior dress. Such a 1920s Italian pinup feel (yes, I know she’s French!). Lupita and Laura just said, “Yes I’m different with this dress!”

But alas, my best dressed didn’t do so well – Lupita and Laura were on quite a few of the worst dressed lists.

Oh well, can’t win them all.

My highlights: Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, Lada Gaga’s Sound of Music medley and Laura Poitras winning for best documentary, Citizen Four.

See you next year!

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Tech just isn’t or techies: one stupid Tweet, dark net, science of online dating and more …

Elizabeth Rust : February 23, 2015 2:06 pm : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies, Tech musings

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In 2013, Justine Sacco posted this tweet to her 170 followers “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” before she boarded a plane in London Heathrow. By the time she landed in Cape Town, South Africa, her tweet had been retweeted tens of thousands of times with people shaming her for racism.

Over the course of a year, Sacco spoke with Jon Ronson at the New York Timesabout her experience –  apologisng for the tweet, rationalising what happened, publicising her charity work in Africa – and then refusing to speak with him altogether:

Ronson said: “It was a profound reversal for Sacco. When I first met her, she was desperate to tell the tens of thousands of people who tore her apart how they had wronged her and to repair what remained of her public persona. But perhaps she had now come to understand that her shaming wasn’t really about her at all. Social media is so perfectly designed to manipulate our desire for approval, and that is what led to her undoing. Her tormentors were instantly congratulated as they took Sacco down, bit by bit, and so they continued to do so. Their motivation was much the same as Sacco’s own — a bid for the attention of strangers — as she milled about Heathrow, hoping to amuse people she couldn’t see.”

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The digital black hole – will all your memories be erased? This fairground ride can read your mind. But do we really need all this new technology? The dark net is real. Will there be another gold rush of app development with the sale of the Apple watch? Apparently you can track your bedroom performance with this one. Just make sure it’s safe. The science of online dating and women over 40. The dreaded password – hey iCould! Google is trying to hack into our schools. And Uber is acting like they care. But this brilliant charity that is making video games for people with disabilities. Photoshop is so expensive, try these alternatives.

The happiest night of the year:

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And just for kicks, meet the digital hoteliers of Japan.

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Tech just isn’t or techies: video game cyber criminals, Tinder romance, dog Vader and more …

Elizabeth Rust : February 13, 2015 2:05 pm : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies, Tech musings

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My favourite byte of the week didn’t get much coverage beyond the Independent, but it’s such a interesting way of seeing the pre-cyber criminal that I think it needs a bit more attention.

According to detective Dr. Jamie Saunders of the National Crime Agency, cyber criminals start out as fantasy video game enthusiasts. Within these games players steal from each other, a bit of their opponents gold, for example, without any serious repercussions. This then leads on to more serious crimes without the criminal realising they’re doing anything wrong because they don’t feel they’ve left a fantasy world.

“We have got people who are not necessarily motivated by the money, but either by the challenge or particular motivation… and can do a great deal of damage, but not in a traditional criminal way,” said Dr. Saunders. “We’re not talking about yobs. I think we’re talking about people who are experimenting. We find that they don’t always realise what is legal and illegal.”

“We’re beginning to track that beginning of criminality and understand that,” said Dr Saunders. “We’re looking at those cases and trying to see patterns that [warrant] early intervention. The first point that has come out of this is that it does start with play: stealing swords and gold in online games.”

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Speaking of cyber criminals, with the internet of things taking off – connecting your television to your mobile – we must be aware of the potential for more hacking. So please make sure that if you do take those dreaded selfies, they’re password protected. But when you post them on Facebook, realise not many of the people seeing them are your real friends. What happens to your Facebook page when you die? Has anyone used Tinder for romance? Checkout this 15 year old employed by MIT. Perhaps he can help with IKEA flat-pack furniture. I wonder if IKEA was surveyed about their top tech trends for 2015. Apple says that sitting is the new cancer – buy the Apple Watch to stop it – or just get a personal trainer. You may need to learn how to code to afford it.

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And just for kicks, check out this Dog Vader strike back at the evil drone.

This also made me laugh.

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Tech just isn’t or techies: virtual reality, LSD, a fridge with curved glass and more …

Elizabeth Rust : February 6, 2015 2:35 pm : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies, Tech musings

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Virtual reality is just around the corner. And no one does a technology roundup better than Molly Wood at the New York Times.

This week she got to grips with the best virtual reality headsets available, noting that the Samsung Gear VR at $200 is ‘the best you can buy’.

What makes virtual reality so fascinating is that instead of feeling like you’re watching something, you’re actually experiencing it. For example, in virtual reality, Wood experienced being on stage with Paul McCartney.

The only drawback she notes is that there isn’t much yet to experience, remarking that only this week did the Sundance Film Festival release a handful of virtual reality films, including the Oscar nominated film Wild in which the viewer can walk the Pacific Crest Trail along with its star Reese Witherspoon.

“Once you try virtual reality, even despite some technical and visual drawbacks, you can easily imagine that watching short videos, playing games or interacting with friends would be fun, immersive and transporting,” she said.

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Artificial intelligence is already evolving. But hopefully not in the same way fashion technology is. Perhaps the answer to everything is with the insects. If not, at least we’ve figured out why cats like to sit in boxes. I bet they’re trying to get away from the NFL’s fake crowd noise. But are there any women in that crowd? What about young Disney lovers learning to code? Let’s not forgot that online abuse is a real thing. But fear not grammar lovers, this man is fixing all the errors, of which may have been made by Silicon Valley on LSD. Because everyone feels like they’re on drugs after death by PowerPoint. It all just becomes so robotic. And I have no idea why this was in the tech pages, but does anyone need a fridge with curved glass?

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And just for kicks, even though this has nothing to do with technology, watch Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon lip sync battle because it’s just that funny …

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