Trump vs Clinton: Round One.

Trump vs Clinton - Caricatures by DonkeyHotey (https://flic.kr/p/DqFSiG). License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

On Monday night this week, 84 million Americans sat down in front of their television sets to watch Trump vs Clinton. The first of three presidential debates was the most popular to date, beating the Jimmy Carter vs Ronald Reagan debate back in 1980 by almost 4 million viewers.

Among the many viewers was your truly. I live in Europe, which meant I had to get up at three in the night. I also didn’t want to wake up my wife1, so I spent the night sleeping on the couch downstairs. But why do I bother to get up in the middle of the night to watch a political debate on the other side of the world? I don’t even follow domestic politics closely. The main reason was that I was hoping for a mental breakdown by Donald Trump on live TV, so I could tell my grandchildren that, yes, grandpa personally witnessed the Great Trump Meltdown of 2016.

While that never happened, at least we got to see Donald Trump being his rambling self. He occasionally managed to express himself using coherent sentences, but he spent most of his time pointing his index finger in the air, blaming Clinton for ISIS, getting visibly angry, and talking about Sean Hannity.

Clinton, on the other hand, managed to stay calmer, more focused, and even managed to give reasonably constructive answers to moderator Lester Holt’s questions. Holt, by the way, didn’t do an amazing job keeping the two candidates in check. Trump was allowed to interrupt Clinton 51 times without Holt lifting a finger.

Continue reading "Trump vs Clinton: Round One."

The Superbook.

The Superbook by Andromium Inc.

A great many of us are walking around with a very powerful computer in our pocket: The smartphone. Today’s high-end models boast more CPU power than laptops, and many times more than a vintage super computer.

But no matter how powerful your smartphone is, it’s hard to harvests its potential for productivity. Today, the vast majority of smartphones are used as very, very efficient entertainment devices. I suspect that the main reason is that their screens are too small to be used efficiently for non-entertainment tasks that typically take more than 30 seconds to complete, like writing documents, computer programming, and creating presentations. All the tools to perform such tasks are in fact available for your smartphone, but using them is a pain.

The screen size problem is to a degree solved by tablets and phablets, the latter often accompanied by a stylus pen. But a high-end tabled and phablet will set you back as much as a high-end smartphone, and suddenly you’re walking around with two dreadfully expensive devices that only differ in screen size. Also, while a large screen is helpful, tablets and phablets lack one of the key1 productivity features: A physical keyboard.

What this basically means is that what you really need is a laptop. The powerful-and-productive-yet-still-mobile-device laptop segment is currently being filled by ultrabooks form-factor laptops: portable and powerful, with a large screen and a physical keyboard. But a high-end ultrabook is even more expensive than a state-of-the-art smartphone. So now you need to carry your precious smartphone, and the freakishly valuable ultrabook with you.

But what if it was possible to buy a cheap, ultrabook-sized computer shell with a large screen, and a physical keyboard? The shell comes with no hard drive, CPU, RAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or any other of the usual ultrabook features, but simply connects to your smartphone over USB to utilize all its hardware and software. Andromium Inc. might have a solution for us. Let’s hear what Andrew Jiang, co-founder of Andromium Inc. has to say:

Continue reading "The Superbook."

This is the Police.

This is the Police by Weappy Studio.

This is the Police is the result of a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign launched in January 2015. Belarusian developer Weappy Studio managed to raise a sweet $35,508 to finish development of their “strategy/adventure game about power and corruption, duty and choice”. Estimated delivery date for the game was December 2015, but as we all know, computer game developers always fail to finish on time. In August, 2016, however, Weappy Studio delivered on their promises and the game was finally released.

In This is the Police you’re put in the big – and probably sweaty – shoes of Jack Boyd, the police chief of Freeburg, a average sized city with above average crime problems. Boyd is retiring in 180 days, but before those 180 days are up, he wants to get his hands on half a million dollars “retirement fund”. There are many ways for a retiring police chief to amass that kind of money. Do you chose to serve your city like an honest cop, with the money coming from your monthly paycheck and rewards from locking up wanted criminals, or do you prefer to get rich by working with the mob, and other shady characters you find lurking in Freeburg’s dark underworld? Is it possible to stay friends with everyone, have a clear conscience and make the necessary money, all at the same time?

Continue reading "This is the Police."

New one-liners for September 2016.

Here are a few new one-liners I’ve added to the collection:

  • My favorite food will always be what you ordered.
  • It’s useless trying to undo a mistake. Focus your efforts on new ones.
  • A couple years ago my therapist told me I had problems letting go of the past.
  • Before I tell my wife something important, I take both her hands in mine. That way she can’t hit me with them.
  • I hate it when you run out of food while you’re still eating.
  • “When your government only recognizes the human rights of its own citizens it’s basically a backward way of saying everyone else is less than human.” — Amie Stepanovich
  • Music makes every day better, especially if you turn it up just loud enough to drown out all the people around you.
  • The best thing about women is how they can tell you what you really mean when you say something.
  • The most dangerous potential side effect of depression is poetry.
  • When I said I was afraid of the dentist, I meant the bill.
  • Let’s not talk about my mistakes, let’s focus on yours.
  • My wife is fluent in furious.

Morgan.

In June, I wrote about Sunspring, a movie script written in its entirety by the AI Benjamin. The resulting movie was both confusing and incoherent to the degree that it would probably win an award at any hipster movie festival.

Now 20th Century Fox has approached the team managing IBM’s Watson, and asked them to take the use of AI in movie production to the next level: Could Watson create the trailer for Fox’ recently released science fiction horror, Morgan.

How did Watson do? You be the judge of that:

More details about how this all came together can be found over at Popular Science.