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I'm a software architect, conceptualizing and developing large websites and co-founder and CEO of Touchpoint One.

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Google Duplex AI handles actual phone conversations

1 min read

This is a major milestone for AI technology, fascinating and creepy at the same time. Google Duplex is an "AI system for accomplishing real world tasks over the phone".

Listen to the AI scheduling an appointment at the hairdresser and calling a restaurant:

Duplex scheduling a hair salon appointment:

Duplex calling a restaurant:

(examples taken from above linked Google page)

This is really advanced, take note how the system responds to the question of the hairdresser what has to be done without having any actual information about the hairjob to be done.

For me, who started working with speech recognition and interactive voice response telephony systems from the beginning of the 90s, this truly is a mindblowing technological leap.

The downside, we are one step closer being slaves for our robotic overlords some time in the future.

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Mountains haloed by drone light

1 min read

These are beautiful. As part of his project Lux Noctis illuminates Reuben Wu drone-lighted halos around mountain tops and captures the scene in long-exposure photography.

 

Thanks to Jason Kottke.

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Abandoned States: Places In Idyllic 1960s Postcards Have Transformed Into Scenes Of Abandonment

1 min read

Fascinating to look at: Pablo Iglesias Maurer revisited public places like swimming pools and restaurants depicted on postcards and matchbooks from the 1960s that are abandoned today and made animated GIFs from the photo transitions.

(Photo: Pablo Iglesias Maurer)

See all of these GIFs here.

Found on Kraftfuttermischwerk.

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Kill Process or How I discovered the IndieWeb (finally)

2 min read

Of course I have heard of the  paradigm before. But for some reason I never bothered to really dive into it. Until a few days ago, when I decided I want my personal presence on the web to be IndieWeb-style from now on.

How came that? Partly because I'm currently reading the book Kill Process by William Hertling. It's about murder, privacy, hacking, high tech surveillance and data mining. The book is great and I can recommend it to everybody who likes tech thrillers. Hertling gets the technical background and hacker stuff of the story really good together. Angie, the heroine, works at Tomo, the largest and quasi-monopoly Facebook-like social network as a database programmer. Part of the story is her ambition to create an alternative to the centralized privacy nightmare the Tomo service became. So she decides to do something about it and plans to build a distributed, federated social network of networks. She also meets and joins with people familiar with the IndieWeb concept. That's when I was reminded of how good the idea really is.

I had a simple personal site running on the Grav database-less content-management system. Grav is nice because you can have a Git-based deployment process relying totally on the actual (Markdown) files - since there is zero configuration in the database. It would not have been too complicated to enhance my old site with IndieWeb attributes and protocols but anyway I was excited to discover the fantastic Known CMS this site is now running on. I'm very happy with it, thanks to all of you involved in the development.

If you want to find out more about the IndieWeb, I can recommend An Introduction to the IndieWeb by Chris Aldrich.

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World Climate

1 min read

This diagram illustrates the correlation of observed global mean temperature with increasing CO2 and changes in the number of sun spots. The green line shows CO2 concentration based on ice core measures, whereas the blue line depicts actual measurements from the atmosphere.

Hard to ignore that we might have a trend here.

Thanks to Bernd Herd everyone can embed a widget generating the above image in her blog. You can find and customize the widget here. The image will show new data readings every year.

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Amsterdam 1978 vs. 2015, with and without cars

1 min read

Amsterdam hasn't always been the bike-friendly city it is now famous for. A city has to commit to or else it won't happen by itself.

Helstraat in Amsterdam 1978

Helstraat in Amsterdam 1978.

The same street in 2015, almost 40 years later

The same street in 2015, almost 40 years later.

Thanks Kris.