Five things on Friday #223

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 12th, 2017.

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1. A NIGHT IN ATLANTIC CITY

This one is if you’re stuck. Stuck with a problem, stuck with writer’s block, stuck with…something.

This, from Stray Bullets:

“I’m stuck. I’ve got a grab bag of tricks for getting unstuck. They don’t always work. Here’s one that helps sometimes, and I’m putting it here because I have a tendency to lose this whenever I need it most. It’s the script for “Arctic Radar” the tenth episode of the fourth season of The West Wing, written by Aaron Sorkin. One scene in particular. Here’s the set-up: Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) is stuck. In the sort of peppy, verbose meet-cute that Sorkin excels at, Toby swaps speech drafts with prospective speechwriter Will Bailey (Joshua Malina). There’s a lot more going on than that (and you can read the whole thing here), but here’s the bit that I’m particularly interested in…”

And you’ll have to go and read the rest yourself.

Point being: I read it before headed out on an evening with my friends; I needed a night in Atlantic City.

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2. WHO TARGETS YOU? 

Stephen Waddington, writing for The Drum:

“A group of activists called Who Targets Me? is calling on the Electoral Commission to apply the same level of transparency that [it] applies in other areas of political campaigning [against those on online].

“Traditionally, when you print a leaflet, there’s a physical copy that’s there for all to see. Online ads vanish without a trace, potentially making them a haven for the dark arts of politics. This project shines a much-needed light on the hidden side of electioneering,” said Dr Seth Thevoz, a political historian at Nuffield College, Oxford University.

Analysing the aggregated data will enable the Who Targets Me? project to determine which demographics are being targeted. It will seek to draw insights from the language that campaigners are using to influence voting behaviour.”

Whether you believe in any of the voting influence stories floating around the news cycle(s)or not, this is important work.

You can find out more at the ‘Who Targets Me?’ website. I’ve installed the Chrome extension. You should too.

Lots of links in the above section.
All of them worth clicking. 

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3. OUR MOTHERS AS WE NEVER SAW THEM

I haven’t seen any old photos of my mum when she was young for a very long time. Next time I visit, I’m going to ask to do just that.

All because of this excellent opinion piece, courtesy of the NYT.

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4. THIS ISN’T AI


In the same week that I heard a very popular ‘AI’ solution described as ‘an over-complicated spreadsheet’, here’s Terence Eden on excellent form writing about his (eventually successful) attempts at coding his first Alexa skill.

“I kinda thought that Amazon would hear “solar panels” and work out the rest of the query using fancy neural network magic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The developer has to manually code every single possible permutation of the phrase that they expect to hear.

This isn’t AI.

Voice interfaces are the command line. But you don’t get tab-to-complete.allow you to test your code by typing rather than speaking. I spent a frustrating 10 minutes trying to work out why my example code didn’t work. Want to know why? I was typing “favourite” rather than the American spelling. Big Data my shiny metal arse.”

That final sentence is probably the best thing I’ve read all week.

If you’re building an Amazon Alexa skill (or even if you just have a passing interest in what it takes to build your own voice interface) then Terence’s post is worth a look.

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5. PAY TO PLAY

This is super interesting.

Video games journalist, Cecilia D’Anastasio, paid women to play OVERWATCH with her and by the sounds of it had a really great time.
There a bunch of things worth pointing out here:
  • The paid-for players were found via UGC ‘service’ site, Fiverr.com. We’ve used Fiverr folk before (on client work at Ogilvy, would you believe – it was awesome) and it the wide variety of things you can pay people to do never ceases to amaze me. Not a bad way to make a quick buck.
  • D’Anastasio also took the time to interview her part-time gaming employees(?!) and explores some of the wider issues that come with being a female gamer (read: guys).
  • I play a game called Destiny (the full collection is dirt cheap at the moment, if you’ve not played it and the sequel is out in September so y’know, get on that) and you can actually pay people to do this kinda thing on that game. Although it’s never appealed to me, I wonder if this kind of thing is done (sometimes) just for the company of having someone to play with.
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BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

You might want to open a new window for these bad boys 

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AND FINALLY, THE QUITE FRANKLY, AMAZING, CONFERENCE ‘ONE QUESTION’ IS BACK NEXT WEEK. SPEAKERS INCLUDE PIXAR, OBAMA’S WHITEHOUSE, MONZO, YOUGOV… AND SOME BLOKE FROM OGILVY. 

You should go. And stuff.

Also: follow @OneQuestionConf on Twitter.

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And that’s me, I’m out.
Have a great weekend y’all,
JW x

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Author: James Whatley

http://whatleydude.com/

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