Technology

How the 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2015 Advanced in the Past Year | MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review has helpfully put together a list that summarises some technology milestones of 2015, and where they are today.

As with the slowing economy and looming recession, mobile payments (Apple Pay) wasn’t exactly the game changer as predicted, but in developing countries, exciting developments in food production (supercharged photosynthesis), water production (megascale desalination) and internet access (Project Loon).

Link
Culture

J.J. Abrams talks about why that scene had to happen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Polygon.

Spoilers Ahead

According to J.J. Abrams, Director of Star Wars – The Force Awakens:

We knew we had to do something fucking bold… The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.

I absolutely agree with this statement. It was the boldest thing done in the movie, and probably one of the only ways the franchise could move forward instead of back. From a plot perspective, this scene was absolutely necessary as it sets up a lot of different character motivations for the new characters introduced, and we’ll see a much darker Episode VIII with a worthy resolution in Episode IX

Link
Affairs

This White Dude Was a Boss in the Chinese Mafia

One of the first things that John pointed out is that gangsters kill gangsters and criminals kill criminals. He said that idiots killed civilians.

VICE interviews the author of the book, White Devil, Bob Halloran. I think it makes for a pretty fascinating story, because the Chinese community tends to be underrepresented in American literature, and there’s this story of someone outside the community who was assimilated into it.

Link
Journal

Come 2016, I have decided to only upload black and white photos to my Instagram. It’s going to be really simple in execution and I will place more emphasis on the story within the frame.

My intention is to desaturate colours from Instagram’s in-app photo editing tools and leave it at that. This way, I won’t spend time fretting over how a photo to look, but just take the damn photo. Possibly tonnes of imperfections, but I want to improve my eye for photography rather than rely on post-work.

And ideally, I’ll post one post a week in the format: My week in pictures: 2016-xx for a total of 52 weeks, highlighting my favourites.

That is all.

EDIT-2015-12-28: I am using the Obscura App, Noir filter with almost no post-production work. The app lets me adjust shutter speed and ISO settings, and my goal is to concentrate on photography rather than post production work.

EDIT-2016-01-04: I realize that the series should be called, “My Week in Photos”, not “My Week in Pictures”

Announcement: “My week in pictures” will debut in 2016

Aside
Journal

I’m still online.

Despite all the time that has passed, and all the excuses I make for not writing, I find myself back here saying the same things, over and over again.

I’ll write again. I’ll be disciplined. I’ll find my groove in the process.

And the same excuse will always be about how uninspired I am with regards to writing in here.

To give myself a little boost, I installed a Markdown plugin to let me write these posts the way I prefer, but even then it’s a small change. The real change has to come from the inside.

Excuse me this little dog-ear of a post. I’m hoping 2016 will be a year where I’ll share more about my thoughts and opinions on the things that shape my being and my perspectives on the things I care about.

Indulge me, one more time.

Excuses

Aside
Culture

HEALTH Primavera 2015

So I just got turned onto HEALTH and my word, they’ve got some brutal sounds. I’m pulled into their craft because the way they perform the noise genre isn’t an anti-thesis to order, but a symbiosis between order and chaos. You can also imagine it as Pet Shop Boys vs. Nine Inch Nails.

HEALTH performing DIE SLOW at Primavera 2015

via Pitchfork.tv

HEALTH performing DIE SLOW at Pitchfork Festival 2015

via Pitchfork.tv

HEALTH performing STONEFIST at IL DUOMO

via Noisey

HEALTH might be my most important discovery of 2015

Aside
Journal

Lately, it’s been increasingly difficult to escape or find new perspectives. I fear inertia is setting in. Today I mused to myself that it would be great to have an app that randomized other-worldly sounds and images, just pure randomness, to help take my mind off the things I’ve curated and ritualized.

Because everywhere I look, it’s the same thing. The same type of content being recycled, the algorithms predicting what I’d like, when what I really want is discovery.

The recycling of thought

Aside
Technology

Small Data: Why Tinder-like apps are the way of the future via Janel Torkington

Two words: anticipatory computing.

That your device can predict what you want to do better than you can might seem like futuristic fantasy, but Foursquare already does this.

This is true. Swiping on cards is a great way to make a yes/no decision NOW.

Now, imagine if each card was packed with data that would advise your learning algorithm on why the card was swiped yes or no, especially when based on the user’s previous data. This future does not seem too far away.

Ironic that computers become smarter as humans distill their behaviours to simple binaries.

Link