Spreadsheets are indispensable tools to us data geeks so I always keep an eye out for new ideas and tips in managing data using spreadsheets. I use many of the features and functions listed in the article and even inspired by a few I never thought of before! In the Related links below the first link is one of the most popular posts on infophile.
Spreadsheets get a raw deal. We are so dependent on tools like Excel and Google Sheets for managing budgets and P&Ls that it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing spreadsheets only as applications for managing money, or at the very least, for working with numbers.
But the structure and features of spreadsheets make them so useful for a wider range of purposes, from project planning to writing. Breaking information or text into cells helps you break your work into bite-size chunks so you can find different ways of structuring it. The ability to sort and filter cells makes it easy to find, categorize, or reorganize lists or content. And yes, it’s nice to be able to do quick calculations when you are working with numbers. READ MORE: An Ode to the Underappreciated Spreadsheet | HBR
Image Source: Google/WIRED
SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPENS when your computer or phone can’t display a font: A blank rectangular box pops up in place of the missing glyph. This little box is called .notdef, or “not defined,” in coder lingo, but everyone else just calls it tofu. Bob Jung hates tofu…His team spent six years working with designers at Monotype to banish tofu from Google’s devices with a cohesive, pan-language set of fonts called Noto (short for “no more tofu”). Noto, one of the most expansive typographic families ever made, supports 800 languages, 100 scripts in up to eight different weights, innumerable special characters, and absolutely no tofu. READ MORE: Meet Noto, Google’s Free Font for More Than 800 Languages | WIRED
Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing. READ MORE: Listen to the First Music Ever Made With a Computer | Gizmodo
When the writer Rebecca Forster first heard how Google was using her work, it felt like she was trapped in a science fiction novel. “Is this any different than someone using one of my books to start a fire? I have no idea,” she says. “I have no idea what their objective is. Certainly it is not to bring me readers.”
After a 25-year writing career, during which she has published 29 novels ranging from contemporary romance to police procedurals, the first instalment of her Josie Bates series, Hostile Witness, has found a new reader: Google’s artificial intelligence.
“My imagination just didn’t go as far as it being used for something like this,” Forster says. “Perhaps that’s my failure.” Forster’s thriller is just one of 11,000 novels that researchers including Oriol Vinyals and Andrew M Dai at Google Brain have been using to improve the technology giant’s conversational style. After feeding these books into a neural network, the system was able to generate fluent, natural-sounding sentences. READ MORE: Google swallows 11,000 novels to improve AI’s conversation | Books | The Guardian
Photo Source: engadget + Scott Horowitz
[P]roof that crowdsourced science can solve problems quickly. READ: Gamers beat scientists to making a protein discovery | Engadget
Penguin Canada opened a bookshop! And it’s really pretty. SEE THE PICS: Cool Bookish Places: The Penguin Bookshop in Toronto | BOOKRIOT
Photo Source: HBR
How can companies get a better idea of which skills employees and job candidates have? While university degrees and grades have done that job for a long time, they’ve done it imperfectly. In today’s rapidly evolving knowledge economy, badges, nanodegrees, and certificates have aimed to bridge the gap – but also leave a lot to be desired. While HR departments are eager for better “people analytics,” that concept is still fuzzy. And simply collecting data is not enough – to be used, data has to be presented usefully. READ MORE: We Need a Better Way to Visualize People’s Skills | HBR
Over four years, Archer and Jockers fed 5,000 fiction titles published over the last 30 years into computers and trained them to “read”—to determine where sentences begin and end, to identify parts of speech, to map out plots. They then used so-called machine classification algorithms to isolate the features most common in bestsellers. READ MORE: Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing—But Ruin Novels | WIRED
WHEN HIS DAUGHTERS were young, Nader Hamda says, they were really into apps and computers. But now that they’re a little older, their interest is waning. And that’s not unusual. “They’re not an exception,” he says. “They’re more of a rule.”
Sadly, this is true. According to numerous studies, young girls are moving away from computer science, not towards it. And Hamda says this is why his company, Ozobot, is now offering an educational robot called Evo. Evo is small and spherical, only about an inch in diameter. It looks kinda like an IBM Selectric type ball. But it’s also designed to be social.
READ MORE: Evo Is a Little Robot With a Big Mission: Get Girls to Code | WIRED