Two things to tell you about today. First, meet the latest famous astronomer: Google.
You see, last week, Nasa announced that they’ve discovered a new planet. Not very near us – it’s not going round our sun. It’s going round a star 2545 light years away and they’ve named it Kepler-90i. (Snappy name, don’t you think?)
Not only that, they already knew about 7 planets round that star, so this makes 8, which means our solar system is no longer the biggest known one.
Why am I mentioning this? It doesn’t sound much to do with computers and so on.
Well, this particular planet wasn’t discovered by a person looking at images. It was discovered by a computer running some clever “machine learning” programs and looking at the data from NASA’s space telescope, Kepler.
The program let it learn to spot where the data suggested there probably would be a planet – and when they checked, lo and behold, it was right.
Now, you still might be wondering how this will affect you. Yes, it was using a computer program, but so what?
Well, it probably won’t affect you right now, unless you happen to be an astronomer. But the program they were using was something developed by Google. And that made me stop and think: Google wouldn’t develop something this clever and never use it for anything else. If it can learn to spot planets thousands of light years away, it can learn all sorts of other things. And, knowing Google, they’re already working on those.
For example I bet some of the technology will be in the self driving cars they’re already working on. Or what about technology that could predict when people might be likely to show signs of diseases like cancer, before it happens, so it can be watched for in advance… or even preventative treatment given. Not to mention how this kind of thing could massively improve weather forecasting…
I don’t know exactly how and when all this kind of thing will start being used but it’ll be interesting to look back in a couple of years’ time and see.
Christmas Present and PCs, tablets and smartphones
Lately I’ve mentioned one or one or two books that might make good Christmas presents for people. (And of course, if you do choose to order any of them, you’ll get a copy of the short book “Best of 2017” completely free, as a Christmas present from us to you.)
Well, this is the last time I’ll do that this year – after all, next week it’ll be Christmas day! But there’s still just enough time to get books from us in time for Christmas – and to get your present from us – the copy of “Best of 2017” – a book of some of the best articles I’ve written over the year.
Chances are if you’re reading this, you have a PC/laptop, a tablet or a smartphone – or maybe two or all three.
And if you have one of them, chances are at some times you find them a bit, well, frustrating or difficult. You might even use a stronger word…
That’s why I wrote my original series of books – they take you thought how to use devices like this and make it nice and simple. You might already have one – I know many people who read this do. But you might not know I’ve written books for all these devices… and they might be a real help to you or to a friend.
Anyway, if you’d like a copy and to get the Christmas Present, best either ring up (01229 777606) or order online today or tomorrow, to make sure you’re in good time.
The books are:
Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time (We have versions for Windows 10, 8 & 7)
Tablets One Step at a Time and Get More From Your Tablet (for Android tablets and iPads)
Smartphones One Step at a Time and Get More From Your Smartphone (for Android phones and iPhones)
(If you click on one you can read a bit more about it on the website – or if you prefer you can call us to make sure you’re getting the right one for you.)
Anyway, have a happy Christmas!