Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category



Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in the news a lot these days. It’s even possible that some of the news was itself written by AI. We are seeing the emergence of applications of Large Language Models (LLMs) that have been fed mind-bogglingly enormous amounts of raw content in an unsupervised learning process. This “learn by example” approach aims to create a system that uses the balance of its observations (e.g. the likelihood of a sentence starting with “Once” to be followed by “upon a time”) to produce plausible sentences and even whole narratives.

It’s probably OK to accept that the entirety of human content (at least that which has been made available online) is for the most part garbage. As examples [click title to read more…]

Apps by the billion

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Last week, well over a billion apps were downloaded, according to results from Flurry. About 500 million downloaded in the US, 100 million in China and about 80 million in the UK. Just as everyone expected, Christmas was a big time for app downloads.

How many of these apps will still be in use next week? How many will be lost in the clutter of confusion that faces the nearly 4 million new Android users this holiday period? How many will need to be patched, or withdrawn, as users find problems?

Keeping an app visible, relevant and functioning correctly is a major challenge for any app developer, and is one that is less of a problem for Web-based solutions.

Or [click title to read more…]


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Bandwagons seem to be increasingly popular. The latest surrounds the fact that Apple is intentionally slowing Web applications to make native applications from the App Store more appealing.

Only it’s not a fact.

First we had suggestions that Apple were slowing HTML5 in mobile Safari.

Then we have The Register quoting a developer:

Citing a conversation with Apple, one developer told us earlier this week that the company did not intend to add all of Safari’s optimizations to the embedded web viewer. “Apple is basically using subtle defects to make web apps appear to be low quality – even when they claim HTML5 is a fully supported platform,” the developer said.

The headline and opening lines of the [click title to read more…]



193 countries have just signed up to a UN-brokered deal on climate change, and the first thought is: why in Cancun? It’s a luxury beach location in Mexico. Did they all go on a jolly and get caught up in the pleasant surroundings, so much that many of them signed up to give the rest of them a few billion here and there over the coming years? To build windmills. And wave stations. And probably hike up the tax on flying to pay for it.

Then you might think: perhaps getting nearly 200 representatives of the world’s countries (including the big ones) into one place, with all the necessary meeting facilities and less of the goldfish-bowl mentality, is a challenge. [click title to read more…]

MySQL, PHP, Apache, Drupal and Win7 gotcha

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It took over an hour to figure this one out this morning. Setting up Drupal 6 on Windows 7 (instead of Linux, which would be my preferred platform but this time I’d no choice). Everything went smoothly until I got the White Screen Of Death (blank page) when I tried to launch the install.php. OK, probably screwed up the MySQL URL in settings.php. Nope. That’s the usual usr:pwd@localhost/db format, too simple to get wrong. Apache errors? Nope, nothing in the logs. Apache .htaccess or <Directory> options? Nope, I’m using familiar and well-tested boilerplate. And on it went down the diagnostics rat-hole.

Eventually I checked the MySQL session connections and there was no sign of anything inbound. Uh oh… Double check [click title to read more…]