How smart is too smart?

Tech is getting smarter, we all know this. There’s questions that need to be asked, however, that I feel haven’t been or adequately answered. Privacy is becoming more of necessity and an actual decision maker in this fast-paced world for more of us but where’s our limit?

  • Smart phones have been reading our faces for a while now, deciding when the time is right to scroll the page for continuous touch-free reading for one example
  1. This seems odd to me. Is there a market for laziness?
  2. Think of the metrics this can generate. It can work out the speed in which you read. It could (probably) even decide your attention span to certain subjects
  3. It could even go far enough to differentiate your mood whilst viewing images or reading text
  • There’s devices (on multiple platforms) which can listen to voice commands and bring up information (visual and sound) from almost every corner of the world.
  1. I kind of get the necessity for this with screenless devices but does it need to be so intrusive?
  2. Again is this laziness or is it satisfying a real need?
  3. What information are we feeding the machine whilst it is none-responsive? Or rather simply; is “off” really off?
  • Time pieces with internet access and filled to the brim with sensors
  1. The data collected; is it not being stored in “the cloud”?
  2. Does it really need to monitor my sleep? If it realises I have bad sleeping habits, how can it help me? Seriously?! “Dr.Watch will see you next!”
  3. Watches with cameras and microphones is something from a spy movie, barely practicle to someone commuting to work. (Have you ever been in a commuter train? It’s a terribly sad ordeal where the local weekend slob is actually scared of coughing in a completely silent carriage. A fair life away from having a full blown conversation with a time-keeper)

Im not going to dig deeper or speculate what the next [insert major brand here] flagship will include because I will literally repeat myself many times over. These are probably my 3 major hates about “smart tech” …but the problem of these goes further.

We are not only exposing ourselves to these devices but also people around us. I don’t know if the man standing in front of me is completely ignorant and has all the bells and whistles wurring whilst I try to have a descreet conversation with my car insurance provider. Or I discuss my mother’s medical ailments.

Now by no means will this mean I’ll close up shop tomorrow and run to the hills in need of total naturalistic isolation. But the fact that as a species, we seem to gain little from this ungoverned (ungovernable?) mass collection of data, points to a black questionable hole to where it supposedly resides.

If I knew the data will do us good is turned off when I mean it to be, I will be much more comfortable. I myself will always turn these technologies off… Not because I don’t believe in them, but more that I find it hard to trust the nature of its use, ultimately.

On reflection, I would be more comfortable still with a big button that you need to press to query these systems on demand, rather then a passive command system.

Brain Missclicks – Choose the right path

As a work-in-progress programmer, I have produced some really stupid mistakes that has taken way too long to rectify. This time, it’s file manipulation.

Messing around with some mined data, I decided to neatly modify and place it (the data) in descriptive files for more managability and control. My specification was to include in the filename, the title, source and date of extraction. Pretty easy right? Actually, yes it is. Using python, you can use the io library to open and read/write to a file in just 2 lines of code.

Error after error, the same message propped up.

File cannot be found

What?! I’m trying to create the file, it obviously won’t be found yet! Maybe it was a problem with my environment? Maybe folder permissions? Maybe I need to find an alternative way.

I eventually found some examples where someone queried the current path of the process and used os.system to touch a file of the required filename. This was looking pretty promising!

.

..

Alas… It didn’t work. 3 hours into this perculiar problem, and now I am getting bored of it. Literally, Google could help no more. Perhaps the string built name needs to escape the spaces. Went through the line of code, until I reached the date:

 %d/%m/%Y

I then proceeded to escape the formatting:

%d\/%m\/%Y

I tried again to only receive the same error. What is going on? Removed the escape slashes and that’s when it clicked.

Fundamental Linux 101

  1. Do not use ” / ” characters in Linux filenames.

What a complete noob… 4 hours of screaming, trying and crying later… it was working! Perfectly generated filenames. I won’t live this one down anytime soon!

A home for projects

I have provided a page for projects featured in this blog (here)

Hopefully, as I get more comfortable with python and other languages, the page will fill up quite nicely! It’s mainly to allow important things to flow a bit better here, especially as it would be difficult to dredge up some of these potentially interesting posts from the darkest corner of the database, in a nicely, effeciant way!

Project: Home Server – update

The little RPI home server has atlast given up the ghost. It seems SD card burn has destroyed the data and will boot no more. Ideally now, I would like to look around for a more robust solution to this ongoing problem. I have mentioned previously that I have a spare i5 pc waiting only for a storage drive. Ideally an SSD would be great to run a small web host but considering the secondary use of the computer ( network backup storage ) , an SSD is still impractical at this point.

I’ve been mulling over the problem of continuous uptime and again too have been snagged up at power usage. Now considering the time involved for bringing up the host and (its’) VM containers, might it be too enduring to boot it up and shut it down when not needed?

I may just resort to a VM on each device to serve a web host and use an external drive as storage for now.

Calculated upgrades

Want to upgrade to something? Think before you buy. Sure the immediately new tech is nice to have, but what about in the future?

Mobile (cell) phone companies love this. They harass you into buying the next (mediocre) tech just released. Alot of the time now, I find the tech isn’t much more of an upgrade to the previous model, but with a noticeably larger price tag.

I currently have an S6 (Android)… the S7 was not a big jump but the S8 is pretty impressive. Regardless however of the S8’size presidence, it might be missing 5G.

My point here is give it a few more years, USB-C will be widespread on computer and portable tech. 5G might be on its way too… so with that in mind, I can wait.

There might be a sweetspot for upgrading gadgets but they’re not always timely. Secondly, I’ve seen too many bleeding-edge tech fail to know it might pay to wait just that little bit longer.