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Issue No. 1

Amazon employees yet again have reason to complain, the results of the 2021 Flickr x LEGO Build and Capture photo contest, the Vivaldi browser hits at Microsoft's Edge and using AI to create better psychotherapy outcomes.

Robert Rackley
Robert Rackley
3 min read

Amazon employees yet again have reason to complain about their treatment from the company as it proposes reinstating a ban on worker’s cell phones in its warehouses. The employee perspective is that their phones can alert them to dangerous conditions, such as the tornado activity that ended up ripping apart an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, something that they don’t trust Amazon to do.

The concerns about phone access highlight the deep distrust between executives who make rules focused on productivity and efficiency to gain a competitive advantage, and hourly front-line workers who often fear their safety is secondary to moving packages.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man after Elon Musk, only fueled such feelings by spending the earlier part of Saturday celebrating a celebrity space launch by his company Blue Origin while emergency crews at the warehouse dug through rubble looking for bodies.

Bezos eventually sent a couple of vague tweets pledging support for the employees in Edwardsville.

Deadly collapse at Amazon warehouse puts spotlight on phone ban - BNN Bloomberg


The 2021 Flickr x LEGO Build and Capture photo contest just concluded and there are some stunning images among the top ranked. I especially appreciate the way Shannon Sproule, one of the winners who tied for first place, plays with light in her photos.

Image source: [Shannon Sproule/flickr]
Image source: Shannon Sproule/flickr

Vivaldi CEO Jon von Tetzchner writes about how Windows tries to get you to make Edge your default browser again through pop up windows once you’ve opted to change to another browser.

Microsoft’s moves seem desperate. And familiar. It is clear they don’t want you to use other browsers. They even offer to pay you to use the browser via their Microsoft Rewards program. This is not the behavior of a confident company developing a superior browser. It’s the behavior of a company openly abusing its powerful position to push people to use its inferior product, simply because it can. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Can you say monopoly?

Apparently, Microsoft isn’t worried about a repeat of its antitrust battles from the 90’s.

Vivaldi just launched version 5.0 of their browser, featuring in-depth theme customization and robust translation options.

Microsoft back to its old tricks to get an edge on the competition.


Kevin Crowley was caught in a crowd during a trampling incident that killed 94 people. He was severely traumatized. He tried therapy to help him cope, but it was initially to no avail.

But two years ago he spotted a poster advertising therapy over the internet, and he decided to give it another go. After dozens of regular sessions in which he and his therapist talked via text message, Cowley, now 49, is at last recovering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. “It’s amazing how a few words can change a life,” says Andrew Blackwell, chief scientific officer at Ieso, the UK-based mental health clinic treating Cowley.
What’s crucial is delivering the right words at the right time. Blackwell and his colleagues at Ieso are pioneering a new approach to mental-health care in which the language used in therapy sessions is analyzed by an AI. The idea is to use natural-language processing (NLP) to identify which parts of a conversation between therapist and client—which types of utterance and exchange—seem to be most effective at treating different disorders.

The NLP being used would operate something like sentiment analysis. The results from these findings could open up the door to much more effective, evidence based protocols and standards within psychotherapy. This type of research and rigor is crucial right now, when mental health issues are on the rise globally. As someone with a degree in psychology, I can state that I’ve never seen this type of a heavily data integrated approach to psychotherapy before and it gives me great hope for the discipline.

The therapists using AI to make therapy better | MIT Technology Review


Friday Night Video

Hoops - Cars and Girls
Last week I featured an important song in the Japanese city pop genre and made the comparison to sophisti-pop, which came from the UK. This week I wanted to feature some sophisti-pop for comparison, but didn’t want to go straight at it. So what we have here is Hoops covering
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Robert Rackley

Robert is a Christian, software dev manager, aspiring minimalist and paper airplane mechanic located in North Carolina.


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