30 Day Song Challenge – Week Three

Day 11: a song from your favorite band

Digitalism – Blitz

According to Last.fm, these are my most favourite musicians. Here’s their new one!

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Day 12: a song from a band you hate

The Beatles – Let It Be

Don’t go hatin’ on me, but the fucking Beatles? They’re just so overrated.

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Day 13: a song that is a guilty pleasure

Girls Aloud – Biology

These girls have a seriously good production team. Plus, you know… 😉

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Day 14: a song that no one would expect you to love

Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé – Telephone

I can’t embed the actual video, but this one’ll do. I heart Gaga, but I don’t know why.

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Day 15: a song that describes you

LTJ Bukem – Horizons

How’s this: a bit electronic, a bit progressive, and a bit jazzy and with a consistently interesting beat.

Blog Badges For Everyone!

Following this blog’s recent rise in popularity (thanks Howard Rheingold!) I’ve got a taste for the big time, and I’m turning to you, dear readers, to help me knock it up a notch. Don’t worry, it’s all completely consensual.

You’ve seen those ads on other people’s sites. The little squares with the ‘Best Hosting Ever!’ and the ‘I can haz LOLcats t-shirt?’ messages in them? Well I promise to never ever run those on here…

However, I do recognise that they are a valid form of advertising, linkbacks and branding. Hell, they are an important part of Web Culture! Which is why I kindly ask that if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts lately, you’ve used my WordPress plugin, or you’ve got an empty ad slot you’d like filling, please help yourself to one of these tasty Blog Badges and spread the love:

The Plain Ol’ Badge:

Digital CortexHelp spread the word with this moody ‘statement’ badge. Just black and white, baby. Emo-friendly.

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The Brain Coral Badge:

Digital CortexYour chance to own a piece of natural beauty, with this tasty chunk of purple brain coral. It’s nature’s cranium!

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The Rotating Badge:

Digital CortexBore easily? Try this! It rotates through my fave colours every time you hit the refresh button.

Crowdsourced Protein Shakes

I read about Foldit in Wired US yesterday, a game that takes the foundations laid by SETI@home, which uses thousands of computers’ idle time to decode frequencies from Space, and crowdsources solutions to the protein folding problems that are currently baffling the smartest machines in the world.

The difference with Foldit is that it’s not PC idle time that is tapped into here, but players’ idle time. There is no algorithm that can yet match humans’ depth perception; natural ability to recognise patterns; and see causal links in their actions. These traits make us humans the ideal CPU to solve these ‘protein-puzzles’:

Foldit provides a series of tutorials in which the player manipulates simple protein-like structures, and a periodically updated set of puzzles based on real proteins. The application displays a graphical representation of the protein’s structure which the user is able to manipulate with the aid of a set of tools.

As the structure is modified, a “score” is calculated based on how well-folded the protein is, based on a set of rules. A list of high scores for each puzzle is maintained. Foldit users may create and join groups, and share puzzle solutions with each other; a separate list of group high scores is maintained.

Indeed, the creators report that groups working together have led to breakthroughs not matched by either individuals or heavy-duty computing power. It is the power of the engaged-masses that the Baker Lab, research team behind the game are hoping will bring forth potential cures for HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Alzheimer’s.

More info on the game and it’s background on their Science Portal.

Does this remind anyone of War Games?

The Conversation Prism

Cool new representational artwork by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas:

The Conversation Prism shows all social media services and how they interrelate. Though very simple in it’s approach they’ve managed to classify near-all types of platform and their constitient IPs.

Not sure how the centre of the prism is used, but damn, don’t it look pretty?
Think I’ll be ordering one for the wall in the new MBA division.

Microsoft’s Vision for the Future

Microsoft have released a new video suggesting they seek to reposition themselves over the next decade. I think they are on to something:

Their vision for the future is evidently very ambitious, but I believe that if anyone can pull this off, it’s them.

Microsoft’s approach has always been to create user experiences that are improved through exclusive use of Microsoft products. Sure, it’s got them in a  lot of trouble in the past, but it’s their corporate power and knowledge of how technologies (especially theirs) can work together that will best service the user through Ubiquitous Computing and Augmented Reality.

What’s especially interesting to me is that they really seem to have thought past their next release, Surface. It’s great to see something of their overall strategy. Something Apple, Google & Yahoo! are far less forthcoming with.

We are soon to have a Surface installed in the lobby at work. Really looking forward to it, but I’m concerned it’ll be too prescriptive in what it can be  used for. If Surface and any of the featured technologies in the above video suffer the marketing / usability failures of Vista it’ll be years more until these tools become a reality, at the hands of their competitors.

Will feedback on Surface once I’ve had a hands-on.