Found This Week #17

In this week’s post: Grenoble, Olympic Bodies, HoloLens, Compression, AVs, VR, Apple’s AI, Excel conversions and the Czech Flying Man.

Each Friday I share some of the best things I encounter, from the internet mostly but also from real life! Hopefully what I find interesting will also be interesting to you :-)

Photo Of The Week


This week we took a day trip to Grenoble. A quick Google of things to do in Grenoble before we left described the bubble cable cars that take you up to the Bastille. On arrival we wandered around aimlessly for a bit then happened upon the cable cars and decided to take them for a spin. We were not disappointed! 2 sets of 5 bubble travel up and down to the hill in parallel. They were built in 1976, but have since been refurbished and offer a panoramic view of the river and the city as they ascend their path. The bubbles are small and fit 6 to 8 people sitting in a circle facing out and provide a feeling of suspension thanks to the half glass floor. Upon reaching the Bastille, we were treated to the most amazing views of Grenoble and its surrounding mountains. This photo shows the city view and includes the Cours de la Libération et du Général de Gaulle street that stretches for 8km and was originally built in 1675. You can see the rest of my photos from our trip to Grenoble here.

Olympic Bodies

Quartz has an interesting article about how the bodies of Olympians have become more specialised over the last 100 years according to their sport. Huge changes in the bodies of shot putters, swimmers and basketball players have taken place whereas sprinters’ bodies (outside of Usain Bolt) haven’t varied that much.

HoloLens Internals

Tom’s Hardware have a cool recap of a presentation given by Microsoft in which they describe the different components of the Hololens, how they more or less work and which pieces of the architecture are custom built or off the shelf. What’s interesting is that one of the slides attributes waveguide grating combiner technology to Nokia in 1995. I wonder was this an added bonus of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia or a factor in the acquisition?

Google’s Neural Network Image Compression

This quartz article describes how Google is working on compression like in the TV show Silicon Valley. The published research shows how the use of recurrent neural networks can be used for image compression and can out-perform JPG image compression (4 to 8% improvement). The network is trained on small pieces of the image rather than attempting to compress the image as a whole.

Lisbon Self Driving Car Simulation

Scientists in Lisbon have run a simulation on how a fleet of taxi-bot self driving cars could meet the demand of the city of Lisbon. Their simulation found that 9 out of 10 cars could be eliminated, as could public transport!

The Pale Red Dot

In case you haven’t heard already, we’ve found a near earth planet has been found that may be habitable, nicknamed the pale red dot, aka Proxima Centauri b. The scientists involved have even done a Reddit AMA about the Pale Red Dot campaign.

The VR Landscape As A VC

This is an interesting transcription of a VC panel talking about VR and where they are currently putting their money.

Some are hedging their bets, others are waiting for the big platform(s) to emerge, others are focussing on content creation and some all of the above.

Whatever is to be done in VR, someone is doing it or thinking about it basically, but this is a interesting roundup piece all the same.

How Apple Is Using AI and Machine Learning

Backchannel have an exclusive interview with the top brass in Apple about how they are using AI and machine learning in Siri and how they are baking the tech into other products. They emphasise that Apple’s priority is in product over publishing which may not be suited to the heavily research based AI & ML community. From a PR point of view, this piece points to a look, we do AI & ML too, just don’t expect to publish your innovations, but please come work with us strategy. Even so, it’s an interesting look inside the process of how Apple uses these technologies to enhance their products, always with user experience being paramount.

Feck It, Sure Tis Grand

Looks like 20% of genome related scientific papers which publish appendices of gene lists contain conversion errors thanks to Excel. It’s not really Excel’s fault, these gene names can easily be mistaken for dates and astronomical numbers, e.g. SEPT2 (Septin 2), which Excel dutifully converts as it’s supposed to. It really is a case of Feck It, Sure Tis Grand on behalf of the researchers though I think, who included these appendices with or without quality control :-p

Cool Thing Of The Week: Czech Flying Man

This crazy Czech lad built himself an airplane to cut 7 minutes off his 14 minute commute to work.

See you next week :-)

About Me

I’m a web consultant, contract web developer and technical project manager originally from Cork and now based in Swansea, South Wales. A lot of my work is done with clients in Ireland & the UK, where I offer strategy, planning and technical delivery services. I also offer freelance CTO services to companies in need of technical bootstrapping or reinvention. If you think I can help you in your business, check out my details on