SLV overhaul

Exciting times – the State Library of Victoria’s ‘Vision 2020’ project will see a huge refurbishment and the creation of new spaces, with a 40% increase in public space!

There’s a website dedicated to the project if you’re keen to learn more, and you can even donate (hey it’s going to cost an estimated $88.1 million to complete!) According to Broadsheet Melbourne:

To fund the library upgrade the State Government has pledged $60.4 million, contributing $2 for every $1 raised through philanthropy.

Donations to date have reached $21.8 million, with large contributions from Maria and Allan Myers, the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation and the Ian Potter Foundation.

The remaining $5.9million will be sought through a public fund raising campaign.

I can’t wait to see the final result!! 🙂

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Wunderlist

Oh excitement! If you are a list-maker, than this is the application for you!

WUNDERLIST

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Using this program makes me very happy, because I love to be organised.

You can download it onto your phone and other devices and sync all your lists, as well as just using it as a webpage on your desktop.

The premise is pretty simple. Create a category, such as ‘work’, ‘groceries’ or ‘packing’ and then create each item in the list. You can set dates, email reminders and star important items. You can even share lists with other people.

The best part – when you tick something off as completed, you get a very satisfying ‘ding’!

I definitely recommend downloading this to anyone who usually has a thousand post-it notes and scrappy lists lying around. It’s definitely my new favourite thing!! 🙂

 

Lego and coding

I have to say – I love Lego. When I was a kid and now as an adult, it really is the best. Fun, creative and practical, I could/can spend hours constructing new creations, or following plans to make a model. Even the Lego movie was amazing!

And I have just seen some of their new products, bringing together traditional Lego with high-tech robotics!! So. Cool.

And of course, these would be great for Maker spaces.

Lego Mindstorms aimed at young adults can be seen here, including a video demo.

Lego Boost, aimed at kids (7+), comes with a companion app to teach coding. Check it out here.

Even as an adult, these funky little robots look like so much fun to build and play with! I hope I can find an excuse to give these a go soon 🙂

 

Facial Recognition

Continuing on a similar thread from the past few posts this year – let’s chat quickly about facial recognition.

It’s pretty freaky when you upload a photo to social media and the image is automatically tagged with the people in it. Very accurately too. According to the article ‘Is Facebook’s Facial-Scanning Technology Invading Your Privacy Rights?‘ Facebook’s DeepFace recognition software has “an accuracy rate of 97.35 percent compared with 97.5 percent for humans”

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I don’t ever remember being given a notification or option to ‘opt out’ of having my face recognised by this technology, and thus this is another example of our privacy potentially being invaded without us even thinking about it. Think how useful this type of information could be to an identity thief. Because you cannot change your face (unless you are willing to go super sci-fi and try out a ‘Face Off’ style scenario) this type of ‘biometric identifier’ can be used to link all sorts of information about you.

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Internet of Things

To continue with the discussion of online privacy from a post earlier this year, I wanted to briefly mention the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT basically just means where everyday items have internet connectivity, so they can send and receive data. So we have ‘smart watches’ and ‘smart rings‘, fridges with the internet to do grocery shopping on and so forth. You can read more about this trend on the Center for the Future of Libraries webpage.

While these advances are exciting, few people seem to stop and think about how these products can affect our privacy.

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Predatory Publishers and Fake Academia

Many Information Professionals are probably very well aware of this issue. However it is so important that I feel compelled to share this New York Times article (above) despite the fact I may only be repeating some well known facts.

In a nutshell, these ‘publishers’ exploit the fact that academics rely on publishing their work to further their careers (known as the “publish or perish” system of professional advancement). While the conferences and journals may appear respectable, in the end they are fraudulent, usually scam money out of unsuspecting academics and pump out worthless articles.

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Online Privacy

Let’s start the new year with a topic I’ve been keen to write about for a while now; online privacy.

First, online privacy matters. Yes, even if “you have nothing to hide”. Because really, you do have something to hide in a sense, otherwise you wouldn’t have curtains or wear clothes (as Christopher Soghoian discusses in the TED talk/article). Amnesty International even goes so far as to label encryption as a human rights issue to protect and promote free expression (see Electronic Frontier Foundation).

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According to Collier in Vocativ, “Plenty of people across Europe and the United States agree on the importance of keeping their data private. But according to a new survey, far fewer are willing to do anything to protect it.” Another article in Vocativ explains that many Americans are willing to give up their online privacy for more convenience in their online behaviour. Though these views seem to alter by age, and type of situation. For example younger people, especially when using social media, were more willing to accept the sharing of their personal information (for example to receive personalised ads).

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Finishing up for 2016!

Well the year surely has flown by as usual! And what a year it has been – I’ve presented at my first conference, gained another wonderful mentor, grown more confident in my skills and developed a huge amount of knowledge. Though I must say I am looking forward to a well deserved break! 🙂

I will be completing my Masters part-time while I work in 2017, so I’m sure there will be many new ideas from my learning to post about (though with these extra time commitments my posting may become less frequent). I’m excited to finish the last 4 subjects and learn more about html coding, project management, marketing and more! It’s a great way to continue my professional development as well as add to my qualifications. What new year resolutions have you made?

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Source: https://www.tumblr.com/search/koalafication

Wishing all my readers a very happy holiday and a great New Year.

Signing off,

Michelle De Aizpurua

More Emojis!

Loyal readers,

I have written about emojis (or emoticons) before, and the implications they have for linguistics. Needless to say, as a language convention I find them quite fascinating.

So what’s new in the world of the emoji? There’s been a lot happening recently around the creation of new, more representative and inclusive emojis.

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By Sk5893 (Screenshot of phone) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Movie written by algorithm!

I stumbled across this fantastic piece of cinema a little while ago and just had to share it here. This short science fiction film entitled Sunspring was written entirely by artificial intelligence (AI).

Basically some really clever guys ‘fed’ this robot heaps of Sci-Fi scripts, the AI (known as Benjamin) analysed patterns within the text to produce an original screenplay by imitating structures and predicting common patterns. It. Is. Amazing.

It even did pretty well in a Sci-Fi London film contest. Before you watch the short film, I definitely recommend reading a bit more detail about its background to truly enjoy the experience (in this great article by ArsTechnica). At least, read the first section of the article which details how the actors managed to put it all together. It adds an extra hilarious and interesting level to watching the short film.

Interestingly, the article also discusses how the script is really a “mirror of our culture” since the AI only analyses existing content and produces the most common patterns into a new screenplay. The detail of how the creators built ‘Benjamin’, and whether he can be considered an ‘author’ are also well worth a read.

And so , without further ado, here is the film – enjoy! 🙂