Transparency in Videos from After Effects on Mac for Wordpress
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
3M ago
I struggled to get transparent videos working on wordpress for both mobile Safari and Chrome. I was finally able to get it to work by: (1) exporting a full resolution Apple ProRes 4444 file from After Effects. (2) Use the Rotato tool to convert it: Alpha channel tool: Create transparent videos for all browsers | Rotato Transparent videos can be confusing, so we made a 1-click, privacy-first, free tool to create videos with transparency that work in all browsers. Rotato (3) upload both, add your video tag, and modify it via html (there is likely an edit as html button on your block element ..read more
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Getting Started with STM32WB and BLE Communications
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
My goal is to get an example running with FreeRTOS and threads that manages a general BLE throughput to an app in the background.  To build the app, I'm using React-Native, the javascript based development environment that can cross-compile.  Let's jump right in! Running an Example on the STM32WB Nucleo Board STM32WBCubeIDE and STM32CubeProgrammer are the required/useful software from STM's website. This section falls into four parts: (1) set up the toolchain so you can talk to to the nucleo board, (2) flash the Bluetooth firmware, (3) ensure we can run a BLE pre-compiled example, an ..read more
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Empatica E4 Teardown
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
Before I attempt to open up devices I always like to take a look at some pictures so I know what to expect; for the Empatica E4, there weren't any online anywhere.  I went ahead and took some in case anyone else wants to replace the battery without shipping it to Italy. The mechanical design is nice, I think the castellated addition for the optics is a great idea, and they have some nice spring loaded connections to handle the geometry of their sensors.  There are two Microchip PIC24Fs as the main MCUs and it uses the silabs BLE112A for comms.  It'd be fun to spend a little more ..read more
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Handwriting OCR in Python
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
I'm working on a project that requires handwriting recognition (sending texts by writing them), and I've been exploring off-the-shelf options to recognize my own writing.  Let's take a look at the contenders: EasyOCR GitHub - JaidedAI/EasyOCR: Ready-to-use OCR with 80+ supported languages and all popular writing scripts including Latin, Chinese, Arabic, Devanagari, Cyrillic and etc. Ready-to-use OCR with 80+ supported languages and all popular writing scripts including Latin, Chinese, Arabic, Devanagari, Cyrillic and etc. - GitHub - JaidedAI/EasyOCR: Ready-to-use OCR with 80+ ... Jaided ..read more
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The Facebook Emotion Contagion Study
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
I recently published an essay to help contextualize the data from the famous 2014 Facebook Emotion Contagion study– a study in which Facebook researchers removed between 10 and 90% of either positive or negative emotional content on user news feeds to see if it affected their emotions. The study sparked massive outrage and articles in The Atlantic, Wired, Forbes, The NY Times, NPR, the BBC, and just about every other major news organization.  It launched an ethical sub-genre about big-tech in books and papers (1, 2)– most notably, a team of 27 bio-ethicists wrote an op-ed in Nature defend ..read more
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Pop-Science Psychology Books are Untrustworthy
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
I recently wrote a post outlining how the popular book Glow Kids undermined its credibility with a fraudulent data.  I also examined an overstatement by New York Times best-selling author Robert Cialdini in his most recent book.   Pop-psychology needs to be approached with a high degree of skepticism. Poor statistical techniques, biased framing, and hyperbolic misinterpretation are endemic to psychology's popular science press.  In this post, I've collected a few other famous examples of popular science gone wrong. Why We Sleep One of my MIT mentors suggested I read Dr. Matthew ..read more
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'Glow Kids' Cites Bad Research
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
I recently finished the pop-science book 'Glow Kids', which is a reasonably compelling look at the damage screen culture is having on children.  Unfortunately, the author was fooled by some fraudulent research.   The Cover of 'Glow Kids'Glow Kids and Screens Themselves I think about quite a bit is the separation of hardware and software. Most research really focuses on the software level– app design and content.  It's definitely true that dark patterns and design hacks are making the software landscape an addictive, cognitive landmine for all of us. However, from the pioneering ..read more
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Never Say 'Statistically Significant' Again
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
2019 was the year of revolt against 'statistical significance', with major critiques signed by hundreds of statisticians appearing across many major journals.  We're witnessing a fundamental change in how we evaluate and condense academic literature; a tectonic shift away from misapplied frequentist statistical techniques that have led to decades of bad and poorly communicated science.  The concept of statistical significance has held back science for the last several decades and it's time to move forward. The Basics When we evaluate a causal claim, we split our data into a control g ..read more
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Quick Note on Rationality
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
Rationality has two definitions that I frequently come across– here's a quick note on some important concepts related to the idea. Rationality in Economics In economics, the word 'rational' is used to describe self-consistency– i.e. if you prefer A over B over C, you prefer A over C.  You have a consistent utility function and full knowledge.  Homo economicus is rational and self-interested. This of course has evolved into 'bounded rationality' in decisions that take into account cognitive limits, costs, and biases.  This concept was coin by Nobel-prize winning economist Herbert ..read more
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The Lever Problem
Epistemology, Cognition, and the Future of Technology
by David Ramsay
1y ago
The modern academic and journalistic refrain calls out the same arguments– Twitter, Facebook, and Google are radicalizing our political dialog, supplanting our meaningful social connections, and driving us towards predictable consumerist self-medication.  The only solution is more oversight, increased regulation, and tighter control of our communication technologies.  This analysis has missed the forest for the trees. The Lever Problem Most people are familiar with Harvard's late B.F. Skinner– one of the pioneers of modern behaviorism– because of his Skinner Box experiments.  Th ..read more
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