Monthly Archives: May 2016

May 23, 2016

The seven unmistakable signs of a shit brand consultant

… Next, look out for certain trigger words, which, if your brand consultant proposes them, mean he or she is unworthy. Innovation is a product-orientated word and worthless as a result. For every customer who tells you they bought your brand because it was the most “innovative one” I will give you a thousand quid. Remember as well that thousands of brands, badly advised by an army of shit consultants, have already claimed innovation as their own differentiating value, so the only way to be innovative is not to use the word. Words like “lifestyle” and “aspirational” mean absolutely fuck-all too and should tell you volumes about your consultant’s abilities to guide your brand. And if anyone from your consulting firm even starts to utter the dreaded words ‘integrity’ or ‘trusted partner’ stand up and run for the nearest exit.

Written provocatively, but absolutely on point.

May 13, 2016

Google open sources its natural language parser

At Google, we spend a lot of time thinking about how computer systems can read and understand human language in order to process it in intelligent ways. We are excited to share the fruits of our research with the broader community by releasing SyntaxNet, an open-source neural network framework for TensorFlow that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) systems. Our release includes all the code needed to train new SyntaxNet models on your own data, as well as Parsey McParseface, an English parser that we have trained for you, and that you can use to analyze English text.

May 12, 2016

Eurogamer on the now-defunct Lionhead Studios

The inside story of how Lionhead rose and fell is difficult but also important. Those who worked there describe a studio high on the fumes of furious creativity, a place where mind-numbing failure would often accompany agenda-setting success. They describe a fiercely British culture that benefited – and suffered – from an American overlord hell bent on winning the console war. And they describe a studio created in the image of a man who inspires as much as he frustrates. It’s a complicated story. But it’s one worth telling.

The entire article is fantastic. Personally, I’m still sad that we will never see a new Fable.

May 10, 2016

The cave divers who went back for their friends

In February 2014 two divers died at a depth of more than 100m in a huge cave system in Norway. The authorities said it was too dangerous to retrieve their bodies, but four friends of the men decided to take the risk – and seven weeks later they descended into the dark and glacial waters.

May 7, 2016

Inside Palantir, Silicon Valley’s Most Secretive Company

Over the last 13 months, at least three top-tier corporate clients have walked away, including Coca-Cola, American Express, and Nasdaq, according to internal documents. Palantir mines data to help companies make more money, but clients have balked at its high prices that can exceed $1 million per month, expressed doubts that its software can produce valuable insights over time, and even experienced difficult working relationships with Palantir’s young engineers. Palantir insiders have bemoaned the “low-vision” clients who decide to take their business elsewhere.

A bit off topic, but I’m becoming increasingly impressed with BuzzFeed’s journalistic output.

May 1, 2016

Inside “Emojigeddon”: The Fight Over The Future Of The Unicode Consortium

Emails seen by BuzzFeed News reveal an emerging tension at the Unicode Consortium — the 24-year-old organization that was established to develop standards for translating alphabets into code that can be read across all computers and operating systems.

The series of frustrated messages show a deepening rift between those who adhere to the organization’s original mission to code old and obscure and minority languages and those who are investing time and resources toward Unicode’s newer and most popular character sets: emojis, a quirky periodic table of ideograms and smiley faces that cover everything from bemused laughter to swirling, smiling piles of poop. The correspondence offers a peek behind the scenes of the peculiar and little-known organization that’s unexpectedly been tasked with building what some see as the first digital universal language.