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  • OPINION

    Mind your passwords

    Life, James Hein, Published on 25/01/2017

    » Google, Facebook and Apple are the names of a few companies working on artificial intelligence (AI). I don't mean the kind of AI that simply teaches machines to be useful to humans, though that is also being done everywhere. I mean the self-aware kind. After so long at it I think the bigger organisations are locked in a series of dead end paths. Instead, I predict the first breakthroughs will come from small, even one-man operations thinking outside the cube. As an aside, when it comes to the search giants like Google or Yahoo and social media sites like Facebook, they all have their biases so the results you see may not be all that comprehensive, balanced or accurate.

  • OPINION

    There's no such thing as free tech

    Life, James Hein, Published on 21/01/2015

    » Can hackers really ruin your day? Consider the story a friend of mine recently told me. He has been playing the game Stronghold Kingdoms for a couple of years now. Apparently, as a result of hacking, some players gained points and certain advantages and had their accounts spoofed. 

  • TECH

    AI -- what is it good for?

    Life, James Hein, Published on 28/08/2019

    » Why do we care about machine learning and the kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems I mentioned last time? The amount of data being taken in by systems in modern times is outstripping the ability of humans to keep up. Enter machine learning systems to pre-process the information, highlight patterns and identify the bits and pieces that humans may find interesting. Key areas include fraud detection, whereby a set of rules is applied to data and flagged if those rules are detected. It also includes the age-old problem of the best delivery routes to bring manufactured goods to customers, with the additional benefit of using less fuel. A recent McKinsey report found that AI improved on "traditional analytics techniques" in 400 use cases across 19 industries and nine business functions. As far as the current situation, AI or machine learning is not an end state. Human intervention is still required to make sure the results make sense and also to ensure stuff isn't being missed in the process. There is also continuing training and refinement being regularly applied. It's a growing field and those organisations that are not at least aware of it could be left behind by their competitors. At least, until Skynet takes over.

  • TECH

    Facebook guilty, Huawei continues to claim innocence

    Life, James Hein, Published on 13/03/2019

    » I've been thinking about the new foldable phones. For many years, I have been hoping for a foldable e-book that has, to date, not materialised in a form I'd want to buy. There is something about the traditional book format that is familiar and comfortable. The first releases of foldable phones are aimed at those with lots of spare cash and who want to dip their fingers into the technology. These buyers form a baseline for the manufacturers to build on. I see this as testing the waters and I expect to see Apple jump into the market in the near future, as they have a bucket load of patents for similar technologies.

  • OPINION

    You can forget HAL 9000

    Life, James Hein, Published on 05/12/2018

    » It has been over five years and it was time for a new PC. It took a while to pull together, required an eclectic set of carefully chosen components, and I paid someone to put it together for me, having done that myself too many times in the past.

  • TECH

    Next-gen Wi-Fi technologies on the way

    Life, James Hein, Published on 07/11/2018

    » The fixed line versus Wi-Fi debate continues to be a popular one. And with technologies like Wi-Gig and Wi-Fi 6 in the pipeline, the debate will only intensify. Current Wi-Fi technologies work inside the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands; they also have user-friendly version numbers now. Wi-Fi 4 came out in 2009 under the name 802.11n, Wi-Fi 5 arrived in 2014 as 802.11ac and Wi-Fi 6 is due in 2019 as 802.11.ax. In the near future, you'll see these numbers start to appear on your devices, but not every manufacturer will bother to use the new designations. Wi-Fi numbers 1-3 represent even older, now mostly unused versions.

  • TECH

    A lot of money for fairly little phone, Apple

    Life, James Hein, Published on 26/09/2018

    » So, the news of the week, or at least as I write this, is the release of the new Apple iPhone range. There are three models ranging from the 5.8 and 6.1 inch models up to the XS Max at 6.5 inches. The latter is a real departure from the early days of Apple declaring that no one needed a large-screen phone. Compared to the latest phone specs across other brands, the features in the new iPhone range are not so special. They do all have very special prices and the bottom of the line starts at US$749 (Thai prices are TBA) and goes up from there topping out at $1449, which would make the whole range easily the most expensive phones per feature on the market today. For this you get no fingerprint reader, no headphone jack, average pixel density and cameras, no expansion memory port but dual SIMs, wireless charging and face detection. Even my most ardent Apple-lover friend will not be forking out their cash for those kinds of prices. I don't expect this range to sell anywhere near as well as earlier models. Seriously, what were they thinking?

  • OPINION

    Australia still trailing Thailand in broadband coverage

    Life, James Hein, Published on 12/09/2018

    » Wither now comms in Australia? With the National Broadband Network or NBN a certified failure, Australia seems to be working hard to ensure that to make the NBN look reasonable, any emerging 5G network must be made to hobble by banning technology companies like Huawei from providing the same kind of support it has been giving over the past 15 years to the local telcos. The given reason is a lack of trust in any Chinese company, keeping the spying eyes of China out of the country. To be fair, there is some justification for this, as China has not been the poster child of espionage abstinence across the globe. What earth-shattering useful secret info they might get from the Australians is debatable, but it looks like the Land Down Under will not be improving their communications any time soon. Thailand is still well ahead on that front.

  • TECH

    Liberal fascism is destroying social media

    Life, James Hein, Published on 29/08/2018

    » In general I try to keep out of politics but the issue of what is currently occurring on the most popular social media platforms is a critical one to consider, for everyone. I've briefly touched on this subject in an earlier article.

  • TECH

    Translating ear buds and builder robots

    Life, James Hein, Published on 09/05/2018

    » Let's face it, technology is cool. Google is claiming that they will have translating ear buds you can use when you travel that will allow you to understand almost any language, instantly. Yes, it does sound like something out of a sci-fi book and I think they should name them Babel fish, but that name was already "stolen" from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series in 2012 that later became Bing Translator. The good news is that first versions of these may be ready for tourists in the very near future.

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