Google Scribe. Can you uncover secrets?

September 8, 2010 – Graeme Sutherland

I've just had a play with Google Scribe, which is, according to themselves:

Google Scribe provides text completion service. Using information from what you have already typed in a document, Google Scribe provides related word or phrase completion suggestions. In addition to saving keystrokes, Google Scribe's suggestions indicate correct or popular phrases to use.

Okay, so I was having a play.  So, I made it rank the suggestions by Google Scribe's rank (by hitting the little G) below the suggestions and I started with the word 'I' and just accepted all the top ranked words it gave me.

And here's what I made:

I have another question for you is to become an editor of the newspaper and then at the end of their lifespan and regenerative capacity of these cells to their cognate receptors on the cell surface and then they will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the invention. 

So, interesting and fun, but don't you think the 'regenerative capacity of cells to their cognate receptors' is starting to sound like a piece of somebody's scientific paper?   I wonder.  Creepy. 

Can I use this thing to discover obscure secrets?

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Great Scrum Master training in Brighton

July 25, 2010 – Graeme Sutherland

Many, many thanks to Mat Walker  for organising Certified Scrum Master training in Brighton that I just did.  

It was two full days of interesting material, ideas and practical activities, skillfully presented by Nigel Baker of Agile Bear, who kept it alive and fun.  Scrum is intriguing, I was expecting something a lot more technical and exact, but Scrum comes across as human scale, pragmatic and full of common sense.  These must be the right things for managing projects full of change.

Left me with a lot to think about and a desire to find a team and a project and try it all out. 

And, good news, Mat is thinking about organising another course in Brighton.  Sign up here for more information.

It was run at the new Skiff location in Gloucester Street, off the north lanes. Fantastic place.

Oh, yes, and I’m now a Certified Scrum Master.



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noise plus filters

January 22, 2010 – Graeme Sutherland

Just thinking about twitter being all noise.  It is kind of a human noise making machine.  People pour out their noise.

However, if you think about sound synthesis, often you start with a noise generator, and applying some filters, make some interesting, complex and beautiful sounds from noise and filtering.

This makes me want to make a kind of mini-moog twitter filter and feedback things with knobs on it.  Who knows what interesting things might be produced.

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Playful Highlights

November 3, 2009 – Libby Davy


Ta to Richard (Biff) Birkin and all at Pixel-Lab who made Playful happen. Highlights for me were:

Alfie Dennen & Paula Le Dieu

Their new project Bus-tops, and will create a london-wide networked canvas of LED displays on the roof’s of bus shelters that anyone can create art and games for. Bus-Tops was the winning entrant in the London arc of the Artists Taking The Lead fund, an Arts Council and London Olympics public art project.

Katy Lindemann

Behaviour change through play. Slides etc here.

Chris O’Shea

Shelter Air Guitar Championship 2008 from Chris O’Shea on Vimeo.

Who? Chris O’Shea sits somewhere between artist and designer, creating experiences that playfully challenge our perception of spaces and objects.

What? He will talk about creating installations full of charm, joy & wonder, including police lights, chickens, giant hands, air guitar, xray torches, spinning mirrors and music boxes.

Molly Ränge

Molly Ränge

storytelling, pedagogy and creation of learning contexts in a post digital age.


Daniel Soltis

Daniel Soltis

Who dat? Daniel Soltis is an interaction designer at! and a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. His work focuses on physical computing, large-scale interfaces, and playful interactions….urban and pervasive games.

GPS puzzle box made for a wedding present was a highlight.

Two reviews of the day here and here.

Feedback would be – lets walk the talk and make it more fun and interactive next time (eg Kaos Pilots and Sandpit/Hide & Seek), and make sure the non-gamers feel welcome in the first 10 minutes. Also consider getting someone along from Reggio Children if we could be so lucky.

Thank goodness for the Moral Compass folk (eg. Molly, Katy) who helped us work out the big Why? on it all… lots of smarts and loveliness in the room – people that could really make a difference in the world. Still not convinced online life/games are going to help us all to share and be happy. More mention of directing our efforts towards Climate Crisis solutions would also have been welcome.

Who would a keynote Moral Compass person be, with a playful style? Alain de Botton comes to mind…

Copenhagen climate change talks are last chance, says Gordon Brown | Environment |

October 19, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland

Gordon Brown today warned that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic” future of killer heatwaves, floods and droughts unless governments speed up negotiations on climate change before vital talks in Copenhagen in December.

This applies to the US as much as anyone, he said, adding that “there is no plan B”, and that agreement cannot be deferred beyond the UN-sponsored Copenhagen conference.

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Information is beautiful, visualizations ‘help’

October 3, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland

In search of compelling visualizations to explain CO2 use and savings, I’ve come across  Information is Beautiful, a blog collection of ‘qulaity’ visualizations by David McCandless is a source of delight and inspiration for the how-to-explain-this-so-people-will-get-it moments that occur more and more frequently.

See this, which caught my eye. This is information I actually wanted to know. 

Very complex issue, well explained in pictures/metaphor:


Dave’s new book is going on the wishlist right now.


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Savings from turning off computer/TV accessories

September 29, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland

The TrickleStar calculator works out your CO2 and money savings when
you install a TrickleSaver (a USB or power sensor) that then switches
off accessories attached to your TV/Home Entertainment setup or your
home or office computer setup.

To use this one, you build a list of devices connected to the TV or
computer, then work out how much they are normally left on or on
standby. Then the calculator will tell you how much you save in a
year, and the payoff period and CO2 savings.

The payoff periods end up pretty small especially if you have a game
console that is left on. Wow. A lot of them use a lot of power.

I really like this calculator, but I would say that. I built this
one for TrickleStar. It is embeddable, sharable, and comes in an
increasing set of languages.

We spent quite a lot of time getting the data together for this
calculator, ending up getting some help from AMEE and the MTP Whatif
data for estimating average device power.

Try it out at

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work with your neighbours, tailor messages to individuals

September 23, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland

 Read the article here

New Scientist reports on the psychology of climate change, and references a couple of papers on the subject.

Bottom lines from this:

1/ Psychology can help how we sell the message that change is needed, and that change is good.
2/ Messages need to be tailored to the interests of individual groups
3/ ‘Fitting in with the crowd’ is powerful. So working with others to conserve resources works.
4/ Having information about your own consumption is really important, as are comparisons with others, but look out for data that shows people use less than their peers, which may encourage more usage.

Some quotes:

In one experiment, the researchers left information with households in San Marcos asking them to use fans rather than air conditioners at night, turn off lights and take shorter showers. Some messages simply stressed energy conservation, some talked about future generations, while others emphasised the financial savings. But it was the flyers that implored residents to join with their neighbours in saving energy that were most effective in cutting electricity consumption (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol 34, p 913).

MOST people seem to conserve energy if provided with real-time feedback on how much they are using. But feedback can be too immediate.

Studies show that devices that display domestic energy usage produce savings of between 5 and 12 per cent.


Lots of useful info and links to the actual papers at

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Three ways to save that 10%

September 5, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland

To make good on that 10:10 committment of reducing your CO2 by 10% by 2010, how are you going to do it?

Here are three things you can do to get started:

1. Sign up to 10:10

If you haven’t made a committment to the 10% reduction, go to the 10:10 website and sign up.  That’s important.  It adds to the volume of people and business that have signed up, and makes it harder for the government to ignore, so there’s something useful for them to take to Copenhagen.  You can sign up as a person or as a business or as a school or an organisation.

2. Look at the Guardian G2 guide to get ideas where to make changes

The Guardian published a really clear guide to personal carbon reductions, with simple actions and real numbers.  They start with averages of  CO2 per year then lists lots of actions you can take to make CO2 savings.  It begins:

Every year, each person in the UK is, on average, responsible for about 14 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. (The government’s published figures suggest a lower amount, but they omit things such as international aviation.) So, if we want to make a genuine cut of 10% across the board, we need to reduce our emissions by about 1.4 tonnes each. Let’s call it 1.5 tonnes, just to be sure.

And goes on with useful savings you can make by tonnes per year.   This is the best short reference I have seen so far.

3. Start an EcoTeam, measure and reduce

Gather your neighbours or online friends and start measuring, learning and reducing your Rubbish, Energy, Water and Travel.  Sign up and create an EcoTeams online — invite friends, and start measuring and learning and reducing your usage.

EcoTeams website

EcoTeams Website

You can sign up online now and get started gathering your team together.

EcoTeams is one of my favourites, perhaps because I’ve been working on several releases of the EcoTeams website over the last couple of years.  This latest version makes fully online EcoTeams easy, and support you a lot in taking measurements and inviting others to get involved.

Here are three ways to get started. I’ll do an update article in a few days with a few more online resources to have a look at, incluing using power saving plug adapter things, energy monitors and turning things off.

Reduce 10% by 2010: 10:10 lauches today

September 1, 2009 – Graeme Sutherland


The 10:10 campaign, born out of the Age of Stupid film, launches today, September 1st.

Great film.  Please go and see it or put on a screening if you haven’t seen it already.

It puts the case for doing something to avoid a future climate disaster.    But what can you practically do now?  That’s the question that 10:10 answers.   Reduce your carbon footprint 10% in 2010.  Not that hard, just takes a small behaviour change or two and there you are, part of the (positive)  future.

Sign up, take on the future and Do Something:

One of the actions you can take on as a part of you 10:10 action is to join an EcoTeam, to work with you community or group of friends to measure and reduce your energy, water, waste and travel in a small group working together.  By measuring your resource use, and making your results visible, you get to see how you can change your behaviour.  Doing this in community helps you make a change and feel good about it, by doing it together.

I spend most of my days building and enhancing the EcoTeams website and measurement and reporting tools, so I’ve seen it work and have seen the positive, carbon saving, money saving results that people get from it.   10% is achievable and worth doing. You save the planet and save money and feel good. Beat that.

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