Latest Posts

Latest Posts

Open laptop at blue background. Pictures are flying out of the s

Google researchers announce new image recognition software

Posted on Friday 21st of November by sarah

Now here’s a little something to blow your mind: Google has developed new image recognition software that doesn’t just represent an object in the image as text (e.g., a motorcyclist) but actually tells you in a sentence what’s going on in any piece of image content it processes. Actual example: “A person riding a motorcycle on a dirt road” to describe an image of … you guessed it, a person riding a motorcycle along a dirt road). Its added verbs to the standard (and not especially useful) repertoire of nouns.

Google research scientists Oriol Vinyals, Sammy Bengio, Alexander Toshev and Dumitru Erhan have just blogged about Google’s new machine learning technology – and it goes well beyond the most advanced capabilities of image recognition to date (things like object detection, classification and labelling, all of which have recently been greatly improved). Google has been using huge collections of simulated … Continued

HP only logo

Will 2016 see the rise of HP’s Machine?

Posted on Thursday 20th of November by sarah

Don’t panic. This isn’t about Terminators taking over the world. But it is about a radical new form of computer architecture that has the potential to be a major game player in how we all access our digital content: HP’s (Hewlett-Packard’s) forthcoming new hardware platform, the Machine. And HP’s HP Labs Director, Martin Fink, has just announced that the first prototype could be operating by 2016.

So why the hullaballoo? Well here are a few of the facts that might explain why: data centres are huge, energy-guzzling behemoths, right? Not after the Machine: it’s going to shrink them to about the size of a fridge (a fridge that sips a comparatively tiny amount of energy, by the way). It will also completely rethink the traditional model of computer architecture (named after its inventor, John von Neumann).

In computers using the von Neumann architecture, a processor has to transfer data and … Continued

Security concept: Information Privacy on puzzle background

The future of information privacy: legislation or technological innovation?

Posted on Wednesday 19th of November by sarah

There’s an interesting divide opening up about information privacy. As the UK Home Secretary Theresa May vows to re-introduce the ill-fated Data Communications Bill, pole-axed by her Coalition partners the Liberal Democrats because of its “chilling” reach into citizens’ privacy, the European Union and many ordinary US citizens are calling for greater privacy protections.

A new US poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 80 per cent of American adults are worried about government monitoring of their internet communications and phone calls. Even more believe they have lost control over how private firms scoop up personal information on them.

Meanwhile, over in Brussels, an unnamed EU spokesman recently told the Financial Times that security services had the right to access information within the confines of law but made a point of stating that that doesn’t mean “anything goes.”

So strongly is the EU feeling about the Edward Snowden/NSA … Continued

Vice

Vice Media and Live Nation’s ‘groundbreaking’ digital content platform approaches

Posted on Tuesday 18th of November by sarah

From its humble origins in 1994 as a kind of punk print magazine from Montreal, Vice Media is extending its digital repertoire even further via a new partnership with Live Nation which will see the creation of a new digital content platform straddling TV, mobile and the Web.

Focussing on live music, the platform is billed to feature original video production (in the form of both long and short form video documentary series), editorial and other original content, and above all, live music experiences which will be created with artists. It’s slated to go live next year and will be rolled out, according to the press releases, in “all major markets.”

Announcing the new venture, Vice’s CEO and co-founder Shane Smith, said:

“Today the content world is in upheaval, with new brands being created in real time, and mainstream media seeing its audience migrate in record numbers. It’s this de-stratification … Continued

Blue search button

Is that an Apple bot I see a-crawling?

Posted on Wednesday 12th of November by sarah

Could Apple be preparing to square up to Google in the world of search? OK, it seems pretty unlikely – a bit like David trying to get one in Goliath’s eye with a marzipan slingshot and a sprained wrist. That’s not meant to be insulting; it’s just a recognition of how massive the search giants really are out there. But Ghent-based web developer Jan Moesen has nonetheless noticed something interesting: Apple seems to be crawling websites with its very own automated bot.

Does this hold promise for the rise of another algorithm-driven means of filtering your content or might it be rather more modest? Everyone involved in digital video production and online content would like to know the answer to that one. But before your hair starts to whiten in stress, SearchEngineLand.com’s Greg Sterling is firmly of the belief that we’re not going to have to contend with another set … Continued

Breaking News Screen

Has social media traded journalistic authority for authenticity?

Posted on Tuesday 11th of November by sarah

A recent summit featuring representatives from Storyful (a social curation service owned by News Corporation), Time and Vice News has given an, at times, painfully honest appraisal of just how dramatically social media has changed professional journalistic coverage of conflicts around the world.

Held in Dublin last week, these news organisations were pretty much agreed that the traditional model of “breaking news” had been … well, broken by social media. But there was a conundrum: social media content can be faked or plain inaccurate.

Interestingly, this isn’t just a concern of journalists. Traditional journalistic values about verifying the authenticity of content remains a big concern amongst millennials, the largest age group currently using social media. How does that relate to instantaneous Tweets or smartphone video production of a riot or a police crackdown or an atrocity as it actually happens? Storyful’s CEO, Mark Little didn’t mince his words:

“Social media … Continued

Opened book or folder from tablet pc

Facebook app sends an icy blast down publishers’ spines

Posted on Monday 10th of November by sarah

Traditional publishers are beginning to feel that the refreshing cool breeze of innovation they sensed on the back of their necks is turning into an icy chill of pure fear. And it’s coming from Facebook.

Well, that’s according to tech journalists Felix Salmon of The Guardian and David Carr of the New York Times, anyway. According to Carr, publishers tend to experience Facebook the way the rest of us would a big dog bounding towards us in the park. Does it want to play or eat?

Publishers like to play with the Facebook hound because it has a userbase of 1.3 billion and it’s done a great job at cleaning junk from its News Feed, fine-tuning it to feature premium quality content. The kind of stuff, that is, that media companies create.

It’s all in the algorithms, of course. But recently, there’s been something of a policy change at Facebook, … Continued

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Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is unveiled

Posted on Wednesday 5th of November by sarah

Amazon has added another string to its connected TV line in the form of the new Fire TV Stick, just six months after launching its Fire TV set-top box (well, OK, a few weeks if you live in the UK).

The new dongle, which will go on sale in the US at $39.99 on 19th November, slips into your TV set’s HDMI port and delivers a raft of streaming entertainment content, from music to video-on-demand (Amazon Prime) to games.

It’s obviously competing directly with Google’s Chromecast: the press material for the launch even mentions the latter by name in the same breath as highlighting the fact that Amazon’s hardware has twice the memory of Google’s stick, plus a dual-core processor, dedicated hardware remote and enhanced connectivity courtesy of MIMO WiFi.

That’s an impressive list but there’s quite a big game of catch-up awaiting Amazon: Chromecast has already sold in the … Continued

Privacy document through glasses

Are new privacy protections overdue for online content consumers?

Posted on Tuesday 4th of November by sarah

New guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development has called on governments across the world to implement adequate data privacy, legal and other protections for consumers of digital content.

Drawing on surveys and archives of complaints by these consumers – which of course refers to just about anyone with an internet connection – the report suggests that digital technology has been accelerating at a pace that far outstrips digital ethics and digital policy. The “Consumer Policy Guidance on Intangible Digital Products” study makes for some grim reading in parts, citing numerous examples of woefully inadequate information disclosure about how user data is being collected and used, “misleading and unfair” commercial practises and a failure to be upfront about how (and with whom) personal data is being shared.

The OECD study contains a full 23 pages of new recommendations, directly addressing consumer complaints about ambiguous or obscure terms and … Continued

Funny green robot with social media concept

Is that a Lollipop I see coming?

Posted on Thursday 30th of October by sarah

The wait is finally about to end: Android’s newest operating system, the colourfully named Lollipop (or Android 5.0 for the more prosaic) will debut in the first week of November, timed to tie in with the release of the Nexus 6 smartphone and the Nexus 9 tablet. Other models will see the new OS rolled out progressively during 2015. So what can we expect?

It’s going to look different to its predecessor: for one thing design changes include a broader range of colours, shadows and animations. And if you receive notifications while you’re in an app, you’ll be able to respond to them or dismiss them from where you are (you can also do this from the lockscreen). You’ll be able to select which apps you want to show these notifications and limit the amount of previewable data. The new “Priority” feature (like most of the above, in fact) mirrors … Continued