Facebook and the Algorithmic Curation of Content

Facebook has recently got into trouble over an accusation that they are suppressing conservative news stories in the trending news categories. Facebook have an algorithmic system that promotes trending topics to a human curation team, who make the final decision about what gets promoted. Obviously human beings have bias. One of the interesting things that has happened in finance is that banks are using algos more and more to ensure that humans aren’t involved in situations where there can be a conflict of interest. One example is the 4pm FX fix which are now required to be handled algorithmically. There’s a trend here – algorithms are being used to ensure fairness. Will media companies be forced to have algorithmic editors to remove bias from reporting?

Da Vinci 3D Printer Arrives

Yesterday my XYZ Da Vinci 3D Printer arrived. I had a really fun day setting it up and doing some test prints. The first print I made was the “key chain” print that is on the firmware. This created a rather lame “XYZ” logo that I assume you can attach to your keyring.

IMG_0099.JPGThe CD that came with the printer only has Windows versions of the XYZ Printer software, despite proclaiming Mac versions as well. Fortunately, the software is downloadable from their website.

Next, Helen created a model in XSI of an egg cup that looks like a bird’s nest. She exported it to Blender and then we created an STL file which we then imported into the XYZ Printer software. The print for this took about 3 hours, and the results were less than perfect. The egg cup still looks pretty cool though.

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This morning I printed a 3D printed shell and ordered an Arduino so I could reset my filament cartridge as described here.

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So far I’m pretty happy with the printer. It was pretty cheap at £500, and I’ve really enjoyed playing around with it. I’m keen learn a lot more about 3D printing, and I think that this printer is a great one to start with.

Configuring a Jaalee iBeacon Transmitter

I received 5 iBeacon transmitter units from ibeaconmodules.us today. They arrived unassembled, so I put them together and configured their local names with my iPhone.

The first hurdle I found in setting them up was getting the battery in the right way around. Each unit comes with a watch battery, and you need to have the side with the plus sign facing away from the circuitry.

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Surviving Post-Scarcity

I’ve been reading the “Beyond Scarcity” series on FTAlphaville recently, and it’s made some very interesting points. The posts argue that the current economic environment is deflationary with regard to goods. I think that is true, and one of the reasons is because of technology. Firstly technology is constantly making everything more efficient and because of global competition this is both reducing the production costs and making goods cheaper. Secondly technology is causing structural unemployment, which means less people have money to spend and there is less money flowing around the economy. Other factors causing deflation are the tight monetary conditions, the aging population, and potentially the effects of quantitative easing.

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