Your next music instrument: a text editor

In the video Sébastien Rannou is using Sonic Pi (free on Windows, Mac, Raspberry Pi) to reproduce Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic”. Unlike classical approaches to generate sound on a computer, he generates sound by writing text: instead of adding tracks, instruments, samples on a timeline, you can express those in code and play music. Learn how [Continue reading]

SWDchallenge: A low carb story

The theme of this month’s Storytelling with Data challenge is “artisanal data“. E.g. data collected personally by each participant, then analysed and visualised in a meaningful manner. I collect quite a lot of data on a daily basis tracking habits and activities. For my submission I used weight and nutrition data stored in MyFitnessPal. Particularly [Continue reading]

I Googled for you: Natural Language Generation

Not sure how, but I woke up to a scramble of googling on NLG. I got the impression out that while there are some very interesting applications like automated journalism (weather, sports, business news) as well as in business intelligence (2-page summaries of 300-page financial results), the field is not as progressed on the “opposite” [Continue reading]

Font-pairing with Google Docs

Discovery of the day, filed under “Most Probably People Know About This For Years Now”.  One of the first parts of any design project is settling down on the fonts that will be used. Usually this comes down to selecting a font for headlines and one for body text. Choosing a third font is for [Continue reading]

Emulating bubbles and shadows

Storytelling with Data is a popular data visualisation blog by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic. Every month Cole sets up a challenge for her readers. This month, the theme is “Emulate!”, inspired by the book Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. The idea is to recreate a [Continue reading]

This future is cool

For someone that once had to limit his program’s code to 32KB, it’s quite amazing how easy it is do a video like this in about 5 minutes on your mobile phone. Here’s how it goes. My Garmin smartwatch records GPS distance and pace data (among other things), sends it to an app, which sends [Continue reading]

11 Applications for your new Mac

After six years, I got to setup a new Mac. Having never done a format of the previous Mac and deciding not to migrate its installation, I found myself starting from zero. Here is my selection of essential free/almost-free apps that make my digital life easier – Hyperdock: A variety of neat features that improve [Continue reading]

Tracking reading: Goodreads to Beeminder

If you’re into quantified self (e.g. digitally tracking your work, health, habits, whatever) you might have heard of Beeminder, which works as commitment device for following up on your plans. In my case, Beeminder has helped me keep track and build up my habits. One of them is daily reading for at least 10′. It’s [Continue reading]

Social Media 101: never use a photo of yourself as your cover photo

You already have the profile photo for that. I know that you’re supposed to project yourself through you profile but try to find more ways to do this than one more photo of yourself. Plus, it’s bit disconcerting when I see multiple versions of you looking back at me through my screen. Thank you for [Continue reading]

Apple, Microsoft and battery-related scandals

People on the internet (or at least the ones that only read headlines) were outraged these last few days to find out that recent iPhones have a feature which slows down the CPU when the phone is in very cold or hot environment or when the battery is getting old and can not support high [Continue reading]

Solving procrastination: I read this book so that you don’t have to

Just finished Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change, by Timothy A. Pychyl. Dr Pychyl leads the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) so you can call him an expert. The book’s blurb goes like this: Why do we sabotage our own best intentions? How can we eliminate procrastination [Continue reading]

These mails from Twitter sound kind of desperate

The bad (or good) thing about these kind of notifications is that it reminds me of a book on how social media (and other) apps/platforms use the science of behind creating #habits to trigger you into using the app/platform more Check out “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”

Reminder, you’re always giving information to Facebook

In case you were wondering how much information you’re providing to Facebook’s advertisers, there is a page for that. To access the page, you need to bump into an ad on your feed, click the arrow icon on the top right, select “Why am I seeing this?” and then “Manage your ad preferences”. Or click [Continue reading]

YouTube adds Contacts and Private Chat features

Every app/platform in today’s world should have every feature possible so since you already have contacts/friends/connections in Facebook/Twitter/Google+/etc, you might as well have them in YouTube as well. And since you have contacts, you need to have chat, otherwise, what’s the point? So in case there was some debate about whether YouTube was a social [Continue reading]

Tracking writing goals: Scrivener + Dropbox + Beeminder

I’ve been tempted to try out Beeminder’s URLminder integration after their most recent blog post, and for added procrastinating fun time, I went out looking to make this work with Scrivener. If you’re not familiar with it, Scrivener (Mac, Windows) is a widely used application for writers, both fiction and non-fiction. I highly recommend it [Continue reading]

How to take a Multiple Intelligences assessment test

It’s quite easy actually, just answer this online list of questions :) Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, developed his theory of multiple intelligences which argues that people employ several different types of intelligence, rather than one general type. Warning: this is an anonymous test, [Continue reading]

Be positive to be healthy to be positive

Positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic. From a 2013 paper: The mechanisms underlying the association between positive emotions and physical health remain a mystery. We hypothesize that an upward-spiral dynamic continually reinforces the tie between positive emotions and physical health and that this spiral is [Continue reading]

A RescueTime alternative, Memory from Timely

There are plenty of software approaches to tracking who one spents time for billing and productivity (or just plain personal improvement) reasons. Memory is a new app from Timely, that aims to be an improvement over widely-used RescueTime in that it offers a better presentation of were you spent your time and that it intergrates with the [Continue reading]

Abundance is our future, some optimism required

If you’re looking for some optimism for the future, look no further than Peter Diamandis. He runs the X Prize Foundation, which offers large cash incentive prizes to inventors who can solve grand challenges like space flight, low-cost mobile medical diagnostics and oil spill cleanup. He is the chair of Singularity University, which teaches executives [Continue reading]

How to make your job easier

Copying from the Productive Living Newsletter by Get Things Done author, David Allen Get your life back to widget-cranking! Oh, for a widget-cranking job again! Ever have gigs like that, where all you did was crank widgets? Like a summer job in college? Remember how bored you were, and how psychologically healthy it was? All [Continue reading]

My first 2017 resolution: do this “8,760 Hours” thing

If you’re looking for a practical guide to do a “data dump” of your thoughts, wants and future planning, try out the 8,760 Hours: How to get the most out of next year free PDF from Alex Vermeer Contents 1) Introduction. Why plan at all? To get more out of life, to take responsibility for [Continue reading]

Apple captures top revenue spot in holiday sales for wearables

Chart and report from the The Information For all the skepticism about the Apple Watch’s prospects, the new version appears to be selling better than the first one. Apple raked in nearly half of the revenue generated online in the U.S. wearables market in the monthlong lead-up to Cyber Monday, new data shows, a big [Continue reading]

Apple is second only to Rolex in revenue from watches

The watches industry is still in denial though. From a watch-enthusiasts blog: All of this is not meant to reignite the debate, “is the Apple Watch a watch?” I am simply saying that for those interested in fine, long-lasting mechanical wrist watches, be they from Seiko or Patek Philippe, an Apple Watch with its inherently [Continue reading]

How to be like Zorba

Some food for thought: Despite continual romantic, financial, and familial disasters, he says, “Zorba can dance in the present moment, because he knows that stress— the full catastrophe— is not good or bad, but just part of the way life is. You’re in it, so how can you best relate to what’s happening, both for [Continue reading]

The importance of keeping score

It’s fun when you practice something and it turns out that there is science backing it! In this case, keeping an account of small accomplishments. “[B]y keeping score during the most important periods of challenge and growth in your life, you’ll better remember exactly what you did to get stronger—making it more likely you’ll do [Continue reading]

How to fail successfully

Nine weeks ago, a friend set out to get back into a more fit state and asked people to publicly bet against him. I ended up joining with a bet of my own. Specific goals were set on losing overall weight but also fat, along with the commitment to post regular updates. Here is the [Continue reading]

This would reduce all internet and office communication by at least 50%

This would also improve the progress of the human kind tenfold. It takes some practice (responding to shit is quite addictive, you put in a tiny effort and feel like you have accomplished something) and some self-awareness (“what do I really want to do with my life” is a quite hard question to answer). David [Continue reading]

Algorithmia uses Algorithmic Intelligence to colorise your photos

Web app of the day: Algorithmia’s auto-colorization service allows you to colorise black and white photos. The results are interesting with varying levels of success (see an example above). Colorful Image Colorization is an algorithm originally developed by Richard Zhang, Phillip Isola, Alexei A. Efros, which takes black and white pictures, and returns the image [Continue reading]

Prisma iOS app promises to add variety in your photo filters

I’m trying out the Prisma app that’s gone viral the last few days. Although we have had Photoshop filters that turn photos into “paintings” for more than two decades now, the creators of the app seem to have done a good job with their algorithms. The outputs (which the developers claim that are coming from [Continue reading]

Against motivation: 3 elements for success

There is no need to always search for motivation. Any goal will do the same job along with planning and monitoring. However, all three elements are required. Just setting a goal is not enough because it only takes a second to take the decision but there is nothing to trigger you to specific action after [Continue reading]