Google apologizes again for bias results

Google once again was in hot water for its algorthim which meant looking up happy families in image search would return results of happy white famalies.

Of course the last time, Google photos classified black people as gorillas.

Some friends have been debating this and suggested it wasn’t so bad, but its clear that after a few days things were tweaked. Of course Google are one of many who rely on non-diverse training data and likely are coding their biases into the code/algorithms. Because of course getting real diverse training data is expensive and time consuming; I guess in the short term so is building a diverse team in their own eyes?

Anyway here’s what I get when searching for happy families on Friday 2nd June about 10pm BST.

logged in google search for happy families
Logged into Google account using Chrome on Ubuntu
incognito search for happy families
Using incognito mode and searching for happy families with Chrome on Ubuntu
Search for happy families using a russian tor and chromium
Search for happy families using a russian tor node on Chromium on Ubuntu

 

Client side development now?


As they say, Serenity now? Insanity later?

A couple blogs which sum up the current state of front end development it would seem…

Tim’s software in 2014 and Chris’ what sucks about frontend development.

First Tim,

The client-side mess · Things are bad. You have to build everything three times: Web, iOS, Android. We’re talent-starved, this is egregious waste, and it’s really hurting us.

JavaScript is horrible.
> [5, 10, 1].sort();
[ 1, 10, 5 ]

Et cetera. Thus Coffeescript and Dart and other efforts to route around TheElephantInTheRoom.js.

The browser APIs suck too. Sufficiently so that jQuery (or equivalent) is regarded as the lowest level that any sane person would program to; in effect, the new Web assembler.

And from Chris

managing JavaScript dependencies still sucks, and Bower has fundamental flaws that limits it’s utility

table designs are bad, so why are we re-implementing them with non-semantic class names? We should use our CSS frameworks to have only abstract classes that we make concrete by extending them with semantic class names. Also, progressive enhancement isn’t dead and still has value.

…I only feel these issues because I’m comparing it directly to other parts of the software stack rather than considering the front-end in isolation, but front-end development still feels very immature and like the wild west, rather than the engineering discipline we’re striving to be. We need to make it better.

I will admit its been a while since I’ve done any front end development but to be fair I’m also wondering if developers are taking full advantage of whats available to them? For example in my twitter stream I saw someone link to a post about SVG and DOM manipulation for icons. And finally…

More or less everything is expected to talk HTTP, and it’s really easy to make things talk HTTP.
Its easy to under-estimate how great this is, specially as we move towards coding for the mobile, offline, internet of things and exotic screens/devices. REST won out and who was stupid enough to bet against this? Oh yes… where are they now? Dead! Good riddens SOAP and other craziness…

Goo or google Engine?

Goo – Instant Play from Goo Technologies on Vimeo.

Short video clip exemplifying the power of browser based games for virality and instant play. Oh, and yes the game is on HTML5 with no plug-ins or download. Powered by the Goo Engine.

To be honest first time I saw the Goo technologies experiment, I thought it was Google trying to one up Mozilla. Right as the Mozilla Fest is on in London (which I couldn’t attend due to a family funeral).

Goo Engine® is the HTML5 and WebGL based 3D engine capable of powering the next generation of interactive web content. Using Goo Engine enables you to incorporate rich 3D content into your existing website without the need for special browser plugins or software downloads.

It looks impressive and if the editor is as simple to make this stuff, well who knows? Could be great in the right hands, specially hands with lots of time like young people

Firefox 2.0 out now, go get it now

Firefox 2.0 start page

Just updated my Firefox from RC2 to the full 2.0 version. I'm very impressed so far… Everything seems to work as expected and most of my extensions have updated without a problem. Now's a good time to point to the fact that the Mozilla team are asking for ideas on what they should do with version 3.0 and beyond of Firefox. I personally would like to see more Microformat support and real offline reading. Identity, web feed handling, security and privicy occupy the next few slots for me. How about you?

Oh did I forget to mention IE 7 also came out a few days ago? Well don't forget you can download that from ie7.com.

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Firefox 1.5 now out but with limited SVG support

Firefox 1.5 released

Firefox 1.5 is released, hooray! And its the same as Firefox 1.5 RC3 which I've been using for a while now, hooray again… But not with full support for SVG 1.1 Full, Tiny or Basic profiles. This is a crying shame but still marks another step forward for SVG on the desktop. The full version which supports SVG is still in development and should be available in Firefox 3 according to SVG news. At least SVG is doing much better in the mobile space, almost 100 phones and counting.

If you want to see whats possible with Firefox 1.5 and SVG, do check out the Canvas painter demos which are poping up everywhere. Vladimir has a link to the best ones.

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Flock finally revealed to the public

flock logo

So at long last Flock is out in a form that the general internet public can download and play with. And honestly after all the hype and secret squirrel secrecy, its a bit of a let down. Let me outline what it is and what it does differently.

He's my screenshots of the Flock and everyone's Tagged Flock pictures.

It looks to be a Deer Park alpha build of Firefox (might be wrong but its at least a beta) with additional features. What are the extra features? Well…

Add a blogging tool,
Add del.icio.us bookmarking but remove regular bookmarks,
Add a Safari RSS type aggregator and remove livebookmarks,
Add a nice, well designed skin and little tricks here and there.

And you pretty much got Flock.

tagging up star items in flock

I think if Greasemonkey was not available I would be very much more impressed. But lets be clear, its a early alpha and can be steered in different directions. I like that fact they have put del.icio.us bookmarking deeply inside and its certainly better than the firefox plugins you can get which do simlar things. But the flickr intergration feel more like a poor after thought in comparison. Its nice to have a blog app right there, but right click and blog is a little sucky and I couldnt get it working for Blojsom under the Atom, moveabletype or even metaweblog API's at all. Which is strange because I thought at least metaweblog would work. I checked the blojsom logs after David's comment, nothing is coming through from Flock or any other besides my own wblogger client. Oh yeah heres the nasty html error I get. Try and make some sense of that…

So at the end of the day version 0.4 alpha is not bad, I won't replace firefox because Flock is certainly not amzingly stable. People have already took pictures with boxes being cut off and the like. Here's a few of my grumbles. It could be that I'm running Flock on my tabletpc computer but I dont think so. Greasemonkey can do a lot of the little tricks Flock has, but there not as smooth or well thought out. Flock is worth keeping an eye on for later.

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Would you give up your Browser or your Applications?

A Interesting thought around the web as a platform, via jeremy zawodny. Jonathon Schwartz from Sun recently wrote this

Or finally, as I did last week at a keynote, ask the audience which they'd rather give up – their browser, or all the rest of their desktop apps. (Unanimously, they'd all give up the latter without a blink.)

Like Jeremy and Johathon, I too would easily pick the browser over the rest of the applications. I pose the same question to a few people at work and Tom disagreed and came up with the clever answer of the rest of the applications because he would build his own browser. Deborah alerted me to the fact that Sun are very much in the thin-client space and that this entry may have something to do with that (I believe shes right). But its still a interesting question.

I think with a decent browser such as Firefox with mediaplayer plugins and the ability to install extensions there a much smaller need for the rest of my applications. Realisticly if you include Greasemonkey your able to program any rich applications like how widgets work now.

This whole discussion can be taken a step deeper, but I'll revisit it when I have the time.

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What is flock?

Flock - coming to the party?

Ok Flock isnt the web based aggregator which I still use now and there. Were talking about some invite only social browser which makes use of Web 2.0 values. The current website doesnt say much about Flock. A friend of the developers, Roland Tanglao has a more revealing entry on his blog titled: Flock rocks (or Chris Messina is a demo god)! But theres still not enough. Has anyone else got anything more on Flock?

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