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Articles written by Richard Noble


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  • Return of The Mac.

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|May 10, 2023

    There you are, in a position to purchase a new computer. But you’re frozen, paralyzed by choice. What do you need it for? Will it run your favorite programs? How about affordability or longevity? The gravity of such a decision feels suffocating as you browse reviews, check prices and read a certain technical expert’s final column. Fear not however, as this life changing choice between buying a Mac or a Windows laptop really only comes down to a little knowledge and a lot of personal preference. Let’s go over why your decision may sway...

  • Wipeout

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|May 3, 2023

    So much of our lives are stored on the phones, computers and other portable electronics which we use every day. Email, online banking, shopping, even keeping digital versions of your actual payment cards; it’s all sensitive data and it’s all hugely convenient to have at your fingertips. We also all generally switch out these devices every few years or so. You probably remember the last time you bought a new phone or laptop versus say, a new coffee maker or lamp. How critical is it then that we make sure these devices are sanitized of all...

  • Totally Up to Date

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Apr 19, 2023

    That little red dot on your iPhone, or the irritating popups your laptop gives you; our technology seems to constantly badger us for updates. Why bother though? Everything is working fine, you don’t need new emojis or yet another widget for your home screen. The truth however, and I’m at risk here of truly sounding like an IT guy, is that updates are important and offer much more than simply shiny new features. Should we simply submit to the long periods of time our devices render themselves useless while applying updates? What’d happen...

  • Multidimensional

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Apr 12, 2023

    I despise printers. They’re finicky, they’re expensive to run, and they encourage wasteful behaviors such as printing documents which could more conveniently remain digital. There is a type of printer however which I do have a self-professed soft spot for. It allows you to print objects, shapes, artwork; almost anything providing it’s small enough for your machine to handle. 3D printers are much, much more interesting, as with a 3D printer we’re able to do more than simply make physical copies of things you’re going to email anyway....

  • Too Much Tech

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Apr 5, 2023

    We’re surrounded here in 2023, by so much technology. In some cases, when we count the smart devices, our connected homes, portables and wearables; quite literally surrounded. While in many ways it makes our day to day simpler, there’s also a strong argument that too much technology has a tangible negative effect on our lives. How much then is too much when it comes to electronic doodads? When do the devices which we rely upon for entertainment, planning, and generally keeping our lives in order start to have a negative effect instead?...

  • Breaking The Code

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 29, 2023

    It’s no secret nowadays that people who choose technology as a career are likely to find themselves in demand. As more and more of our world converts to the digital, we need a growing pool of talent which is able to write the programs and apps which we run our daily lives on. These programing languages are powerful, plentiful and offer top dollar to those able to wield them effectively. Why do computers need a special language though, and where does someone even begin when starting out learning to write, or code, them? Computers operate...

  • Power, But Only In The Sun

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 22, 2023

    As we continue to add technology to our lives in new an interesting ways, we need to be equally innovative in the ways that we power those devices. One option, while not exactly a new concept but steadily progressing in its effectiveness, is solar power. We’ve been harnessing the potential of light to power devices like calculators for decades, how much more difficult could it be to scale it up and power larger stuff? Well as anyone who’s ever bought those barely functional, solar-powered garden lights knows, it’s not quite as simple as...

  • Pixels? Mega!

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 15, 2023

    Our ability to snap photos on a whim is something that most of us, with high quality cameras on the smartphones we carry everywhere, take for granted. Even over the course of the last decade or so, our phone cameras have gone from something only suitable for catching the very most candid of moments, to a level of fidelity enabling amateur filmmakers to record entire movies using only a smartphone. Does this mean then that phones have overtaken dedicated cameras? How many megapixels do you need before you can retire your bulky Canon, Nikon or...

  • Charged Up Over Wireless

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 8, 2023

    Portable technology is great but cables, and specifically charging cables, suck. They’re never where you need them, traveling around with them drastically shortens their life, and there are just enough different types to ensure you’ll be left searching through a drawer for the correct one. Happily, wireless charging has entered the fray and is now a totally viable alternative to digging around in that cable drawer for just the right type of USB cable. It’s quick, it’s safe and it’s widely available. How then does the magic happen?...

  • Your Voice on The Internet

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 1, 2023

    In a world where we can Tweet, Facebook or TikTok our opinions out near-instantly to the internet at large, we perhaps take for granted this ability to broadcast our thoughts so freely. So long as the idea you’re promoting isn’t criminal, doesn’t infringe on things like intellectual property and doesn’t violate a platforms terms of service, you’re free to put content out in whatever manner you’d like. The Supreme Court however, has recently been hearing arguments regarding holding platforms more responsible for what their users...

  • Down In The Valley

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Feb 22, 2023

    Nowadays, one can form a technology startup almost anywhere. The internet, global supply chains and remote workforces mean that you can thrive even in the most remote locations. It hasn’t always been that way, though. Indicative of this is the cluster of companies nestled together in northern California, which have become household names in the technology space. Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe all call the area home. Of course, we’re talking about Silicon Valley here, but how then did this global center for technology come to be? The...

  • A Long Term Thing

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Feb 15, 2023

    We store so much of what matters most in our lives digitally nowadays. Photos, important documents, passwords and ultimately memories all reside on our computers and smart devices. In order to keep these things safe (or transport our data) we resort to saving our files in various places, such as on portable drives or the cloud. Where then is the most reliable place to store things, and is there such a thing as forever-proofing something digital which we simply couldn’t afford to lose? First, let’s breeze through some common but deeply...

  • More and More Talkative

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Feb 8, 2023

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote about ChatGPT, OpenAI’s interactive artificial intelligence which allows a user to have eerily human conversations with an (almost) all-knowing artificial counterpart. Since then, it’s garnered significant interest both from other players in the field of AI, and the public leveraging its skills. Microsoft, of whom I suspect you have heard, even committed to a multibillion dollar investment in the tool and its parent company. ChatGPT has come out of the gate hot and has only gained speed since. The most sincere...

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Feb 1, 2023

    It’s unusual nowadays to buy something which doesn’t offer a “smart” version. Trash cans, coffee tables, thermostats; all can now be found with circuits and programming and wireless niceties which offer varying levels of convenience to users. The monetary cost of these devices handily rings up at the checkout, but what about other, less obvious costs? Batteries, silicon chips, wires. What makes up these electronics, where does it come from, and how do we ensure we’re being good stewards for future generations regarding its disposal?...

  • Chatty Computers

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Jan 25, 2023

    Artificial intelligence is a field which has many practical applications in today’s worlds. Simplifying research, saving time, generating better predictive models; the list is almost endless. The recently released ChatGPT is making waves in this field, specifically with its powerful natural language processing (NLP) capabilities. It’s able to generate incredibly convincing responses to queries input by a user, enabling it to tell a story, explain a topic or naturally engage with a human in conversation. How does this new fangled technology...

  • Emulation Station

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Jan 18, 2023

    A lot of us, myself included, grew up with the sights and sounds of certain video games being ubiquitous. The “waka-waka” of Pac-Man, Tetris’s definitive theme music, or guiding Link through another adventure in Hyrule. Most of us, whether we’ve grown out of it or not, can look back fondly at times we’ve spent borderline-unhealthy lengths of time gripping a controller. Nowadays, video games are a very different experience, and typically a far cry from the simplicity of the ones from our youth. What if there was a way to recapture...

  • When Spoken To

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Jan 11, 2023

    Our voice is how the majority of us communicate. It’s personal, it’s identifiable by our loved ones, and it’s the product of our linguistic experience over the course of our lifetimes. This innate dependance on vocals also shows up when interacting with non-humans. Smart speakers, phones, our vehicles; even the most basic thing as calling to pay a bill could result in having a conversation with a voice which was never attached to a person. Why then is there such broadness in the quality of these voices? Why do some make us so wildly...

  • The Twittering

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Jan 4, 2023

    Cast your mind back to the warmer climes of April. It’s then we learned that Tesla CEO Elon Musk had become the largest individual shareholder of popular social media platform, Twitter. Things after that got a little messy, but ultimately resulted in him becoming the sole private owner. The deal was cut and dried, and Musk got on with making the management changes and restructures to match his vision and leadership style. Why then, so many months later, is his ownership journey still making headlines? Are the stories of millions of users...

  • Three's a Crowd

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Dec 28, 2022

    Starting a new business venture can be daunting, expensive and fraught with risk. Even once your million dollar idea has become a reality, you’re then tasked with marketing it. After all, how can people buy your stuff if nobody knows it’s for sale? What if there were a way, then of lessening your risk and raising awareness of your product or service while simultaneously locking in buyers? All of this, potentially before you’re even out of the initial design phase. Happily, such a thing exists, is proven and has meant big bucks for those l...

  • The Night Before Christmas.

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Dec 21, 2022

    ’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a computer was stirring, not even its mouse. The cables were run all neatly with care, in hopes maybe a new screen would tomorrow appear. The cellphones and tablets hibernating soundly, lay ready for video of good friends and family. And parents and loved ones settle ready to gift, while snowfall outdoors settles nasty in drifts. Then out on the prairie there arose such a clatter, the good townsfolk of Glasgow could not help but gander. Swiftly to their windows the people did...

  • Foxy

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Dec 14, 2022

    Technology giants, during the age in which we live, are household names. You might wash your clothes in a Samsung. You’re perhaps reading this on an LG. I’m typing this right now, on an Apple. It’s not necessarily a new thing, as any brand of facial tissue being referred to as a Kleenex shows us, but unlike with the humble sneeze-catcher, we do now have ferocious brand loyalty. What’s surprising though is the number of technology manufacturers who don’t, in fact, manufacture anything at all. At least, not in their own offices or...

  • Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Dec 7, 2022

    The internet as it stands today with its cat pictures and weather updates and cleverly written articles, is around five million terabytes. To put that into perspective, a standard CD-ROM holds seven hundred megabytes, so you’d need a decent number of them to burn a copy of the internet for your friend to take home. What’s surprising is, we actually don’t see most of what makes up the internet we know and love. Only about four percent of that huge number is stuff we can Google, click on and consume. So if our favorite sites just make up...

  • Hear and Now

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Nov 30, 2022

    It’s often said we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Our ears while more numerous, tend to fail us much more readily, with around 48 million Americans suffering from some degree of hearing loss. On the flip side of this, only one in five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually ends up using one. In a move to help combat this, recent changes in the law make it much easier for an individual to obtain these small, but life changing devices. Let’s talk about what’s changed, how it’s made the market a much more...

  • Don't Cross The Streams

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Nov 23, 2022

    Perhaps I’m old, but I have never understood the appeal of watching someone else play a video game. Even though I can hold my own at MarioKart, the idea of using my computer to log on and stream someone else racking up points is wildly foreign. It’s possible however that I’m in the minority; platforms like Twitch and Youtube Gaming have streamed hundreds of millions of live gaming hours directly to eager watchers, while popular content creators practically reach celebrity status. What’s driving this hugely successful market though? Is i...

  • Art Through A Digital Lens

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Nov 16, 2022

    The number of things which we routinely interact with as hobbies, through work, or just in day-to-day life are rapidly becoming more and more digitally augmented. Connected homes, smart variations of devices we’ve used for years and the ever lower barriers to entry when it comes to smartphones and tablets. Even this very newspaper article is available in a digital manner! One area which has always had a solid relationship with technology is art, with one influencing the other throughout the course of history. What happens when the lines...

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