1986 Google Pi Intercom

This is a 1986 Radio Shack Intercom that I’ve converted into a Google Home style device using a Raspberry Pi and the Google AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) kit that came free with the MagPi magazine (issue 57).

It uses the Google Assistant to answer questions and perform actions, using IFTTT to integrate with smart home accessories and other web services. A modern assistant with a classic twist!

Very clever, but I must say that the actual intercom is quite ugly.

Turn off your push notifications


Apple made push a system-wide feature in 2008, and Google did the same soon after. Suddenly, there was a way for anyone to jump into your phone when they wanted your attention. Push notifications proved to be a marketer’s dream: They’re functionally impossible to tell apart from a text or email without looking, so you have to look before you can dismiss. “Push messages serve an important role in an app’s user engagement,” digital marketing company Localytics wrote in 2015, “and there are no signs pointing to a decrease any time soon.” More at Wired.

I turned off most of my push notifications a few weeks ago. All I get now are certain emails and messages, nothing else at all. And I don’t feel like I am missing anything.

The earliest comics


But a century after they were first published, those original comics were deteriorating badly. Maresca realized that he had an opportunity to honor the comic and its creator for its centennial. He had a full run of the series, and could assemble a collected edition that would restore and reintroduce the comic to fans and newcomers alike. Importantly, he wanted to recreate the look and feel of the original comic, which included its massive size. Publishers thought it was a neat idea, but ultimately passed on the project… More at The Verge.

Good article.

The cognitive differences between men and women

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At the time, this was not a universally popular idea. The neuroscience community had largely considered any observed sex-associated differences in cognition and behavior in humans to be due to the effects of cultural influences. Animal researchers, for their part, seldom even bothered to use female rodents in their experiments, figuring that the cyclical variations in their reproductive hormones would introduce confounding variability into the search for fundamental neurological insights… More here.

Half of us would love to be able to work out the other half.