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Articles from the 'Tech Space' series


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  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Breaches Be Loco

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Nov 9, 2022

    The amount of personal data we have floating around out there on the internet is staggering. Online banking, shopping, social media; all filled to the brim with email addresses, passwords, financial information and more. We take for granted simply logging into a site, taking care of something such as a purchase or a financial transfer, and reaping the convenience of such. The trust we place with these sites and services is that they’ll do a good job of keeping that data safe and private. What happens, then, when this trust is misplaced and a...

  • Legit? Check

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Nov 2, 2022

    The internet in all its vastness, with its more than five billion users, can sometimes be a place filled with noise. An overwhelming amount of information from a near-infinite number of sources. Happily, there are systems in place which give us clues as to which sources are more reliable, and which accounts on social media are in fact who they say they are. How does one, then, use these tools to verify the source of any given post, tweet or article? What methods do sites and services use to make sure there isn’t impersonation of famous...

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Oct 19, 2022

    Open the pod bay doors, HAL. Soylent Green is people. I’ll be back! While we’re not quite at the point of taking our flying cars to work while our robot maids dutifully dust and vacuum our homes, we’re inarguably living in a time where the thought of such things don’t seem too unreasonable. The movies, shows and literature of the past, at the time appearing deeply entrenched in science fiction, now at times appear very normal in how they portray future technologies. Self driving cars? Facial recognition? Virtual reality? Psh. How...

  • Too Much Trust? Apply Antitrust

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Oct 12, 2022

    We know, accept and often welcome the fact that big technology companies exist. The likes of Microsoft, Apple, Meta (the company behind Facebook) and of course Amazon, all while sprawling in their reach, offer us the convenience of being one-stop sources to shop, work or learn. Often, we’ll pick favorites from these giants to capitalize upon that convenience. Amazon’s great pricing or Walmart’s reliable shipping - whatever the reason, we tend to put at least the majority of our eggs into one basket here. This becomes an issue though when...

  • Words, But Also Picture

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Sep 28, 2022

    Language is a weird thing. It’s constantly evolving, changing and growing. Words fall in and out of common usage, are adopted from other dialects and just get plain old made-up then forced upon us colloquially. Something rather interesting has happened though with the rise of the internet, smartphones and general global connectivity. We’ve started supplementing our words in the classical sense with pictures, and it’s this group of pictures known as Emojis which now forms up to 92 percent of the online population’s daily language...

  • But Is It Art?

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Sep 14, 2022

    But Is It Art? Artificial intelligence, as I’ve written in the past, is an exciting and powerful means of computers completing tasks which would previously have been impossible or too time consuming to be justifiable. Another more recently popular use for AI is the generation of images from simple text prompts. Say you’d like an AI’s idea of how a cat looks, you’d program it to analyze a set of photos of actual cats, then return what it thinks is the most accurate rendition based on that data. In the early days, this produced results...

  • Footprints in The (Digital) Sand

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Aug 31, 2022

    With a lot of the summer behind us and school returning, we’ve some inside time on the horizon. With this, brings the tendency to spend more time online, on social media and interacting with others by use of our smartphones. Is there a risk though of our digital interactions coming back to haunt us in the real world? Could careless language or photos online bite us years later, irrespective of the context at the time? Of course, the answer is yes. But how do we avoid it, and is there a period after which we can exhale, free from past web tran...

  • Got Salsa?

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Aug 3, 2022

    Chips! Delicious, of course. But the less tasty ones make up the brains behind all but the very simplest of electronic devices. Smart phones, chargers, microwaves and cars alike all use integrated circuits (ICs for short) to perform whatever task they’ve been designed to do. As we know, we’re still recovering from the same chip shortage which has made buying those cars and electronics trickier, even this deep into 2022. This week however, Congress has made moves to help prevent this kind of supply squeeze from happening in the future. Will...

  • Ukrayina Cherez iPhone.

    Richard Noble, For the Courier|Mar 16, 2022

    People around the world have had their eyes fixed on eastern Europe for the past number of weeks, watching the horror unfold as the conflict continues between Russia and Ukraine. But for the first time on this scale, we’re able to see an unfiltered view of what’s really happening. Rather than traditional outlets such as Fox or CNN, social media has become the platform of choice Ukrainian people are relying on to show the world what’s happening at their doorstep. How has this become the norm, then? Does it mean we’re afforded a more...

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