December 26th, 2009


Christmas dinner 2009

I am ridiculously amused that I managed to write a post that had 24 comments before I even got round to looking at it again - and it's about Brussels sprouts ;)

If you had Christmas dinner today, what was it? Richard & I did roast beef, roast seitan, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings (normal & vegan), roast parsnips, carrots, white cabbage, baby corn, roasted red peppers, peas, vegan cauliflower cheese and gravy. (After typing that list, the word "roast" now looks like it's spelled wrong even though it isn't). The vegan cauliflower cheese was terrifyingly popular and disappeared quite quickly - I was expecting everyone to be freaked out by it. Then we had a break from eating and opened presents. My mother has bought us a cuddly polar bear that is ALMOST AS BIG AS ME!! (Pictures to follow). Dessert was, variously, Christmas pudding, chocolate cheesecake or vegan chocolate mousse cake, with cream, custard (dairy & soya) and vanilla ice cream (soya). Om nom nom.

In the morning, Richard has to go to work, even though it's Saturday, and Boxing Day (debatable), and there are no trains. He got an automated email from the server at work saying that the power had failed in the building. So he has to go in and spend about three hours rebooting machines in the correct order so that they can talk to each other properly. Oh, the joys of being a senior sysadmin in a firm that is absolutely dependent on computers...
baratron, silly

Laptop camera "is racist"!

This video is making the news: HP Computers are racist. "Black Desi" and "White Wanda" show what happens when they move in front of a new HP laptop with a face recognition camera. The camera moves to track the light-skinned woman, but does not move for the dark-skinned man - even when he gets close.

Of course, the computers aren't really racist - it's a technology problem to do with lighting and shadows. Kudos for the video makers in pointing out the issue without losing their sense of humour. Still, you have to wonder - do technology companies not think to routinely test out "people recognition" technologies with people of many different appearances? including different ages, races, and the disabled, whose faces may not move in a typical way? If not, why not? If technology doesn't work in the same way for everyone, then it is a sort of racism by omission or lack of thought. Unintentional, but hurtful nonetheless.