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Showing posts from June, 2015

A Desk Can That Can Talk Back and Order Pizza

The development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) is falling down a slippery slope and gaining momentum very fast. That slope is turning common everyday things into robots of a kind.

It begins innocently enough with Siri, Apple's iPhone assistant that you can talk to and even have 'her' do small phone related tasks. From there it jumps to social robots like Jibo, Pepper and Robotbase's Personal robot.

Book Review: A Short History of Stupid

I must admit I was expecting a much funnier book from Helen Razor and Bernard Keane given Helen's background in comedy and Bernard's background in politics (how can anyone write about politics seriously?).

Their book, A Short History of Stupid, The Decline of Reason and Why Public Debate Makes Us Want to Scream, is a collection of essays that serve as a reality check for life with an awareness that we're all being manipulated by spin to varying degrees.

For me it finally answers the question of why TV news desks cross live to a reporter who is standing nowhere of significance to the report they are about to give. Apparently it's to give the daily news report that feeling of 'things are happening now' in a world where you can follow what's happening now live on the internet. It's a desperate attempt to say TV news reports are still relevant and current - even if the live cross is actually meaningless.

On the whole this was a very good read that puts the…

Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015)

Tomorrowland is a movie I didn't know I wanted to see until I saw the first teaser trailer with only a few seconds of footage. That was enough to show that this film had a different idea about future tech compared to any other science fiction film I'd seen before it.

The thing is, whilst people of my generation and after may not have seen this future before, chances are your parents and grandparents will find it some what familiar.

The Tomorrowland of this film is based upon the one Walt Disney envisioned back in the 1950's and 60's and later  turned into a theme park. It reflects the optimism held for the future that my generation really only experienced in cartoon re-runs of The Jetsons.

Book Review: Carry a Big Stick - Tim Ferguson

Tim Ferguson is one part of the internationally famous 80's comedy trio The Doug Anthony All Stars. I say 'is' because, although they broke up in the mid 1990's (or there about) Tim is currently touring with a new DAAS line up of himself, Paul McDermott and Paul Livingston in a live show featuring classic and new material. I was fortunate enough to see their Adelaide (SA) show last year. Fantastic, with much of the new material being mined from Tim's current wheel chair status and the absence of Richard Fidler.

If it is to be believed, Tim's book, Carry a Big Stick, is a chance to set the record straight about his MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and many other things such as his early school life, not being as smart as he sounds, and how the All Stars began and ended. However Tim reminds us several times that he's the one writing the history so his version is the correct one. Just like the origins of how DAAS got it's name, Tim may have made it all up.

Book Review: So, Anway... John Cleese

It was such a relief to discover John Cleese's Autobiography, So, Anyway... was so easy to read with its conversational style. Not to say that other former Python, Michael Palin, with his Python Diaries is a bad read but when you open his book a kitchen sink pops out, such is the attention to detail (and the nature of a well written diary). John even makes a quip about Michael's obsession with recording every aspect of his life.

John's book takes us through his early life including background on his parents, school days, college, and early TV, radio and theater career.