Will AI and Automation Cut or Create Jobs?

Robots – I came across the article “In the Coming Automated Economy, People Will Work for AI” and thought it had some good points to share. Some of the most interesting points in my opinion:

  • Many experts believe that AI will also make inroads on white-collar jobs, and say the transition to an AI economy will put vast swaths of people out of work. Kai-Fu Lee, the former head of Google China, recently predicted that 50 percent of the world’s jobs are in danger.
  • Techno-optimists argue that as AI does away with some jobs, it will create new ones
  • Prepping data for AI is certainly a [job] growth area
  • new-style jobs that will be created by AI and automation: part-time, paid based on tasks completed, without benefits
  • cloud labor and microtasking jobs are a boon for people with limited income opportunities in their area
  • Not everyone agrees that the move to an AI economy is going to cause an employment crisis
  • Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a nonprofit public policy group, argues that while there will be job losses, growth in existing occupations will more than make up the difference

There is no real way to predict how AI and automation will impact jobs. Certainly this, like many other articles, cite those on both sides of the argument. The only thing we can do is to be prepared and take career options that will provide the most protection.

Book Review: “Time’s Children”


Book Reviews – “Time’s Children” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by D. B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com). Mr. Jackson has published six novels. This is the first of his “Islevale Cycle” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in another world where magic is possible. The primary character is fifteen-year-old Tobias Doljan.

Doljan is a student of magic with a specialty as a Walker who can travel through time. He is sent to the court of Daerjen. The sovereign of Daerjen, Mearlan IV, asks him to Walk back in time fourteen years, far beyond what is normally allowed. Doljan agrees to take the risk and the burden of aging himself fourteen years in order to stop the war that has been going on.

Doljan survives the trip back in time, but Mearlan and his court are unexpectedly attacked and killed, disrupting the timeline. The only survivor is Doljan and Mearlan’s baby girl. Doljan, though only fifteen in the body of a thirty-year-old man, must find a way to save the princess and evade the invaders.

Doljan’s close friend and love from the magic school, Mara, senses the disruption in time when Mearlan is killed in the past. Though she has forgotten who Doljan is, she knows she must follow him into the past to correct the change in history.

Plots that span time. Magical creatures. Threats from foreign powers. This has the making of a great fantasy series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 13 hours I spent reading this 528-page fantasy. I liked the plot and the characters. I think the twist of aging those who travel through time adds to the story. I like the cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – World Clock Deluxe 4.16


Product Announcements MaBaSoft of Milano, Italy announces World Clock Deluxe 4.16, the latest version of their popular world time utility for macOS. World Clock Deluxe is a reliable and easy-to-use time tool for companies and organizations regularly communicating with people across the world, frequent travelers, and home users having family or friends in other countries or time zones.

World Clock Deluxe displays multiple digital or analog clocks in a highly configurable horizontal or vertical palette, in the menu bar, and in the Dock, and can show the time in over 1,600 cities and 200 time zones and world times, including Greenwich Mean Time, Coordinated Universal Time, and Internet Time. It comes with a variety of date and time formats and can display seconds, weekday, date, date change, time zone, offset from UTC, and offset from local time.

With World Clock Deluxe users can easily organize clocks so that they always have a good overview of the displayed times. Colors and labels can be assigned to clocks to quickly single out the local clock or different groups of clocks. Clocks can be sorted by name, time, longitude, longitude offset, or label. Seldom used clocks can be hidden and different clocks can be displayed in the palette, in the menu bar, and in the Dock.

World Clock Deluxe also helps users with phone calls to other countries and international meetings. The Time Converter quickly calculates corresponding dates and times in different cities or time zones, while the Meeting Planner allows users to easily identify the best time for online chats, conference calls, or video conferences across multiple time zones. Conversion results and meeting details can be easily shared via Mail or Messages, saved to a note, or added to a reminder.

With World Clock Deluxe, users can finally show the weather all over the world. World Clock Deluxe downloads National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather reports and displays temperature, pressure, visibility, wind conditions, and precipitations.

Version 4.16 introduces support for Dark Mode on macOS 10.14 Mojave, support for Retina displays, updates the offset from UTC of Morocco, Western Sahara, the Volgograd Oblast, and the Casey and Concordia stations, and updates daylight-saving time information for Chile and Fiji.

Language Support: English, German, French, Dutch, and Italian

System Requirements: macOS 10.11, 10.12, 10.13, or 10.14 (Mojave)

Pricing and Availability:
World Clock Deluxe 4.16 is a free update for registered version 4 users. It is $10.00 (USD) for users who purchased version 3, and costs $19.00 (USD) for new users. Family, Site, and World-wide licenses are also available. World Clock Deluxe can be purchased through their website.

Grande Bibliothèque – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Libraries – I like visiting libraries when I travel. I thought that this was a great introduction to Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal, Canada. I have added this library to my list of places to visit.

The Critiquing Chemist

While in Montreal for the day (stay tuned for next week’s post highlighting our 24 hours in Montreal), I couldn’t resist looking up Montreal’s most popular library. I was most definitely on a library high after the stunning Library of Parliament that we’ve visited the day before in Ottawa and was eager to explore another library. After perusing the list of city libraries, the Grande Bibliothèque stood apart as it was the most visited library in North America in 2011.  It was a bitterly cold Sunday morning that we were exploring Old Montreal, with a stiff wind making the chill that much more penetrating. With the weather now given context, marry someone who will readily walk into that biting wind for approximately thirty minutes to visit a library you have been reading about only that day. Luke and I were both frozen through by the time we stepped into the warm entry…

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CLI – file


CLI – If you encounter a file and are not sure what type of file it is (often because the extension is missing), the the file command is what you are looking for.

This command allows you to lets you see the type of file you’re dealing with. The description of file in the macOS man page is:

file tests each argument in an attempt to classify it.  There are three sets of tests, performed in this order: filesystem tests, magic tests, and language tests.  The first test that succeeds causes the file type to be printed.

The type printed will usually contain one of the words text (the file contains only printing characters and a few common control characters and is probably safe to read on an ASCII terminal), executable (the file contains the result of compiling a program), or data meaning anything else (data is usually “binary” or non-printable).  

To learn a lot more about how to use file, take a look at “Linux file Command Tutorial for Beginners (5 Examples)“. Yes, this is a Linux article, but the file command as implemented on macOS is fundamentally the same. Check the macOS man page for file for all of the available options.

See my other CLI and macOS articles


macOS New App Release – Solid Aether


Product Announcements FAL Works of Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa has released a Mac version of their shoot ’em up game “Solid Aether.” Solid Aether is a bullet hell shoot ’em up game that is extremely simple designed. It is a classic 2D shooter game featuring a variety of bullet patterns that are generated continuously in a stylish black and white world. Players will feel refreshed by dodging bullets and destroying enemies while enjoying various beautiful bullet patterns and the ambiance in this abstract world.

“My motivation was to focus on one aesthetic aspect of bullet hell, which lies between simplicity and complexity, order and chaos, concreteness and abstraction,” said the game designer FAL. “I believe that bullet patterns in shoot ’em up games are exactly a kind of generative art. I tried to focus on the art of bullet patterns in this game, and this is also why I chose a minimalist design. I hope you enjoy how various patterns can emerge from this minimal world.”


  • Minimalist and abstract art: The visual is artistically designed, based on black and white and using only rectangular-shaped elements, which offers an unique and comfortable gameplay
  • Variety of bullet patterns: Consisting of countless bullets, the patterns will be deployed one after another
  • Four unique levels: Each level is characterized by its own music and tendency of bullet patterns
  • Extremely simple game mechanics: No bombs. No power-ups. No items. Just dodge and shoot
  • Newbie friendly: You can easily recover from mistakes by destroying enemies and receiving extra lives, which lets you enjoy the game even if you aren’t familiar with shmups

System Requirements: Mac OS and Windows

Pricing and Availability:
Solid Aether is $6.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and now available on Steam and itch.io. It will also be ported to iOS and Android in the near future.

Book Review: “St. Paul’s Labyrinth​”


Book Reviews – “St. Paul’s Labyrinth” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Jeron Windmeijer (https://jeroenwindmeijer.nl/). Mr. Windmeijer has published three novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. The story is set in contemporary Leiden, Netherlands. The primary character is university professor Peter de Haan.

Haan attends the installation of an underground waste container. He does so as an opportunity to do archaeological exploration. Few opportunities come to do excavation in the old city. Surprisingly, this excavation opens up an old and unknown tunnel. Haan and a colleague venture in. Inside the tunnel, they find a naked man covered in blood. Then Haan gets a mysterious text message ‘the hour has come‘.

When the colleague disappears in the tunnel, Haan becomes the target of a police investigation. Then when his close friend Judith Cherev disappears, he finds that he has been given only hours to solve a puzzle and save her. Along the way, he discovers hidden mysteries, a secret society, and a group that will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 329-page thriller. This has the feel of a Dan Brown thriller, but I did not find it nearly as good. There was quite a bit of detailed reference given to Leiden. That would probably make this book attractive to you if you lived there or knew the area well. Unfortunately, I found this novel a little slow and it felt disorganized to me. The cover art is OK, but I think something more closely tied to the story would have been better. I give this novel a 3.4 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – MailSteward 13

Pubblog of Murfreesboro, Tennessee has released MailSteward 13, the ultimate email management system. Store years of e-mail in a secure, searchable archive. This new upgrade makes MailSteward fully compatible with macOS 10.14 (Mojave) including a new Dark Mode option. This release also implements a more robust method for scheduling using the macOS “launchd” service and several minor bug fixes.

MailSteward works seamlessly with Apple Mail app or Postbox app to archive all your e-mail in a relational database on your Mac. MailSteward has a wealth of features for importing, tagging, saving, and exporting your vital e-mail information in a number of standard data formats.

To understand just how powerful and easy-to-use MailSteward is, download the free version of MailSteward and try it out for as long as you like. The free version is full-feature but limited to a maximum 15,000 e-mails. All versions of MailSteward require macOS 10.11 or higher
(El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave). Any free version may be upgraded to a licensed version by entering a license key.

MailSteward comes in three versions, MailSteward Lite ($24.95), MailSteward ($49.95), and MailSteward Pro ($99.95) available for purchase in the pubblog online store. Regular MailSteward, using SQLite, can handle large volumes of e-mail, 250,000 or more but for very large volumes which require an industrial-grade relational database server, MailSteward Pro is the best solution. MailSteward Pro requires MySQL database server software to be installed and running.

FREE iOS, tvOS AND macOS SOFTWARE for 11/2018


I have been publishing a list of free software for iOS, tvOS and OS X each month. You may find some of these programs of interest. I have also attempted to mark which Apple OS the title is targeted at (iOS, macOS, tvOS) as well as the category of the App.

This is NOT a curated list. All I know about these titles is what you see below. None have been tried or tested by me.

November 2018

  1. iOS/Games – Explore an enchanting yet dangerous fantasy world in Guardians Clash! Adventure is at every corner of this magical continent with over 50 legendary heroes to recruit from and form your party of 5. With nearly 100 maps and different game modes, there is always something to do in Guardians Clash! Guardians Clash 1.0 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Convenient in-app purchases are available. Guardians Clash 1.0
  2. iOS/Utilities – If you are an artist or work on a production floor, you know all too well the value in being able to capture, edit and save 3D scans. They are used in a ton of applications. On a more personal note, folks are really getting into what you they do to outdo friends and family with images they post and share through social media. No matter what your mode of operation is, Scandy Pro can provide 3D scanning capabilities for all, if you have an iPhone X at your disposal. Free from the App Store
  3. iOS/Games – After the success of Man Vs. Missiles with over 5 million downloads, India based game development company Spiel Studios Pvt. Ltd. releases its latest game, called Parafoxers. In this simple, casual and easy to learn game, players need to help the Bunny to shoot the Foxes which are continuously dropping from the Helicopters. If many of them land on the ground, they will get you. Inspired from the very popular 1980s game, Paratroopers, this game will get you addicted in no time! Parafoxers 1.2 is Free (with In-App Purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  4. iOS/Games – If you love cute little dogs, you have to try out Shiba’s Adventure. I know it sounds weird, dogs and a game? Well, kids and adults alike will get a kick out of this game because it’s retro RPG with a Minecraft look and feel. The gist of the game is you are a dog, and a cute one at that, so that in and of itself makes you a target. As this dog, you must drop into a dungeon and survive the many perils that surround you. Download for free from the App Store
  5. iOS/Utilities – Pterosaur Design is pleased to announce the release of Visual Task Timer 2.0, a major update to its popular countdown timer for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Visual Task Timer is designed to help public speakers, teachers, students and others track presentation times. It includes a number of features designed specifically with public speakers in mind including a customizable low time warning, an overtime clock, and settings to prevent the device’s lock screen from hiding the clock. The large, high-contrast time display uses subtle color changes to signal time used and is easily visible from a distance. Visual Task Timer 2.0 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Download from App Store
  6. iOS/Music – Indie developer, Tomoyoshi Natsui today is proud to announce the release of Everlisten 2.1, a music listening app developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Are you making the best of your music files? Using Everlisten, you can listen to the main portion of a song track, one after another. Everlisten 2.1 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Music category. Convenient in-app purchases are available. Download from App Store
  7. iOS/Photo & Video – The next generation of iScape – the No. 1 outdoor living design app for landscape professionals and do-it-yourselfers – leverages augmented reality features to provide users with an immersive and realistic design experience like never before.  Available as a free download from the App Store. Download from iTunes
  8. iOS/Photo& Video – 3DTOPO Inc., the developer of Oilist – the app featured as App of the Day on the App Store in the USA, China, and over 70 other countries – today today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Visionist 1.0 their new photo editing app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Visionist 1.0 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo and Video category. A convenient one-time in-app purchase of $1.99 enables 60 additional styles. Download from the App Store
  9. iOS/Games – Word games are the craze if you’re looking for entertainment that’s not just about defense and destruction, Hidden Wordz is one to download. It takes the word creation game to a new level by introducing different topics with sets of words that revolve around those topics, and with in game sounds and graphics that make this game stand out from the others. Free from the App Store
  10. iOS/Games – VOLV LLC today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Tank Combat: Team Force, the company’s brand new tank warfare game title for iOS and Android devices. The game is going to delight you with the visual awesomeness, the challenging tactical thinking and multiplayer online cooperation. Featuring improved graphics, easy-to-learn controls, and highly social interactive, Tank Combat redefines an exquisite experience of tank warfare on mobile devices. Online multiplayer is perhaps the best aspect of Tank Combat. You’ve got your typical and atypical multiplayer modes, ranging from Team Friendly battle, Online quick-match, event challenges and bonus hunter. Tank Combat: Team Force 1.0.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  11. iOS/Health & Fitness – If there’s one thing that scares people from using a gym, it’s contracts. Most people don’t want to feel bound by an agreement written up by the very institution that’s charging them to exercise; and you shouldn’t be. You should be able to exercise when you want, where you want. Each gym has its pluses and minuses, and clients should have the ability to choose to do a yoga class at one gym and strength training at another, if that’s what works best for them. Free from the App Store
  12. iOS/Games – Scopely, an interactive entertainment company and mobile games publisher, together with CBS Interactive, today announced the launch of Star Trek Fleet Command, a multiplayer real-time strategy and role-play mobile game that brings an entire galaxy of characters and ships to life for the ultimate Star Trek gaming experience. Star Trek Fleet Command 1.7.2 is Free (With In-App Purchases) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  13. iOS/Games – Notus Games studio is pleased to announce several major updates of Christmas Mansion 3, a puzzle game for iOS that the whole family can enjoy. Christmas Mansion 3 is easy-to-play and nice puzzle game with fun Christmas themed quests. Help the Elf to prepare your town for Christmas with beautiful ornaments and decorations! Build cafes and shops for Christmas fair, lure cops with donuts to provide safety, organize snowball-fighting competitions, decorate the fir-tree and town hall, get beautiful ornaments, illuminations and design ice sculptures to create the real Christmas spirit. All of it happens in semi-animated location with parallax effect. Christmas Mansion 3 (v1.2.4) is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store for free for iPhone, iPod and iPad. PC and Mac versions are also available. Download from iTunes

Short Story & Review: “The Midshipman”

Book Reviews – The short story, “The Midshipman” (you can read it at the link to the left), was published on the Baen Books website and was written by David Drake (http://david-drake.com). Mr. Drake has published twelve novels in his Republic of Cinnabar Navy (RCN) series. This short story is set in the Universe created for that series.

I categorize this short story as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the future. The main character is Able Spacer Ellie Woetjans of the RCN Battleship Renown. It gives a brief tale of her experiences with new Midshipman Mckinnon.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 25 minutes I spent reading this science fiction story. I have read several of Mr. Drake’s novels and have enjoyed them. I give this short story a 5 out of 5.