In Charlie Stross’ Keynote at the CCC, he talks about corporations being like Slow A.I. organisms. They pursue their instrumental goals, they exist apart from people yet are legal entities in their own right, and they can have lifespans way longer than human lifespans.
I’ve been using Todoist for my daily tasks, but today I decided to upgrade to a Premium account. I used Things for a while, but when I switched to using an Android phone (OnePlus One), I had to switch to something that was cross-platform. Todoist allows me to structure my projects hierarchically and put priorities on the tasks. The Premium account means that I can add labels and comments to the tasks. It integrates with Amazon Alexa, and there are apps for all my devices!
I just bought myself the latest Apple Watch! I had the original one – the Series 0 – and just upgraded to the Series 3 (without cellular support). I use my watch all the time – I keep track of my heart rate, exercise, and it is my main interface to my phone when I am out and about.
There is a great post over at Charlie Stross’ Blog that gives the text of his keynote at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December 2017. He makes some interesting points about old, slow AI – i.e. corporations, and compares them to cannibalistic organisms that shed people like cells. He talks about the ways the standard limiter of regulation are failing (regulatory capture and regulatory lag). He ends with a fairly negative assessment of where we are heading. It’s a thought-provoking talk, and well worth reading / watching.
I am currently experimenting with coding using a Vortex Pok3r Mechanical Keyboard. I’m not sure whether it was a good buy or not. My rationale was that has a programmer, my keyboard is my primary tool, and it makes sense to have the best that I can get. I quite like the action of the keyboard, but it is too early yet to tell whether it is making me more productive or not.
I finally took the plunge and bought a pair of Air Pods. So far I quite like them (although it’s only been a few hours). I quite like the way that you can pause the track you are listening to simply by taking one headphone out of your ear. Playback resumes when you put it back in your ear. They are quite expensive though, and I’m fairly sure that I will lose them unless I develop a routine way of storing them.
Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I used to argue that programmers should do their coding on an 8086 machine, an IBM XT for example, rather than something more powerful like a 286. My argument was that by using a slow machine, you had the same user experience as your average user, and you could optimize the program appropriately.
I met up with some of my old team from BNP Paribas last week. I found it striking that everyone who was there is now working directly with Machine Learning. It was quite inspiring!
For the last few years I’ve been building Trading Execution Algorithms for Westpac. Time to do something different!
I decided to enroll in Coursera’s Deep Learning Specialization. I’ve just finished the first week, and I am really enjoying it. Andrew Ng is a fantastic teacher. I did his previous course on Machine Learning and loved it.
I have both an iPad Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet running Linux. Depending on what I am planning on doing on a day-to-day basis affects which device I carry around. Mostly I carry my Surface, as I have Linux installed, and it allows me to easily do development, remotely administer machines, or do general computing tasks. The keyboard on it isn’t great however – it’s kind of flimsy and doesn’t work well if it’s not on a firm surface. I can’t easily use it on a train for example. It was perfect when we were in Australia for a month, and allowed me to both work and do University assignments. I can use it as a tablet for reading, but it isn’t great for that.
I just bought myself a second-hand Surface Pro 3 and installed Linux on it. It runs Ubuntu extremely well, with almost everything working out of the box. It’s lovely having an light-weight machine that I can use as a tablet, but also do development on.