The punctuation in the title of Omar Kholeif’s new book is symbolic in more ways than one. The underscore in Internet_Art: From the Birth of the Web to the Rise of NFTs goes beyond a simple riff on the language of computers. “We are discussing the mass medium of our time. It has changed everything,” the writer, curator, and historian explains. “Hence why the book is titled Internet ‘underscore’ Art, because the internet underscores every facet of how we consume, digest, and produce visual culture today.”

The book is intended to tell “a story of art that parallels the rise of the internet in a historical context – one that seeks to hold a mirror back up at the constant culture of speculation around art, aesthetics, and digital culture”, says Kholeif. It begins by setting the record straight in terms of what the elusive term ‘internet art’ really means, explaining that it “isn’t necessarily art for the computer or even art about the computer. Instead, it is art that is produced with a knowing awareness of the networked nature of our collective culture.” What sounds like a niche strand of art suddenly feels as though it’s everywhere. The book itself is possibly the best example of how broad ‘internet art’ can be. Kholeif drew from all corners of the internet but wrote most of it by hand.

Internet_Art’s jumping off point is 1989, the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at Cern, and stretches through to today, with relatively smaller closing chapters dedicated to rapidly evolving tech innovations like the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have only burst into the mainstream consciousness in the last couple of years. A sequel to this book written in 30 years’ time would no doubt look altogether different.


Without us ‘there is no Google’: EU telcos ramp up pressure on Big Tech to pay for the internet

Tensions between European telecommunications firms and U.S. Big Tech companies have crested, as telecom bosses mount pressure on regulators to make digital giants fork up some of the cost of building the backbone of the internet.

European telcos argue that large internet firms, mainly American, have built their businesses on the back of the multi-billion dollar investments that carriers have made in internet infrastructure.
generate nearly half of all internet traffic today. Telcos think these firms should pay “fair share” fees to account for their disproportionate infrastructure needs and help fund the rollout of next-generation 5G and fiber networks.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, opened a consultation last month examining how to address the imbalance. Officials are seeking views on whether to require a direct contribution from internet giants to the telco operators.

Big Tech firms say this would amount to an “internet tax” that could undermine net neutrality.


WHY FI? People are just realizing their WiFi routers are at the wrong height – how high to put it for best internet speeds

Often electrical outlets are placed near the floor, which means it can be tempting to put your router low down too.

But that’s a terrible idea: you’ll want to get the router nice and high in the room.

This means you’ll have the best chance of spreading strong signals far and wide across your room – and connecting with your gadgets.

“We recommend you place your router five to seven feet off the ground with a clean line of sight,” explains US internet provider Ritter Communications.

“Your router emits radio waves that spread out and down from their source.

“Placing your router a good distance off the ground improves the range of your signal.”

Generally, it’s important to get your router above many of the objects in your home that would block or dampen its signals.

So leaving it in a corner on the floor – tucked away behind objects – is a terrible idea.

“Placing a router on the floor can dampen its performance, as the device is sending out signals that are immediately absorbed by the ground,” said British internet provider PlusNet.

“Try elevating your router and placing it on a sideboard or shelf to achieve more comprehensive coverage.”

It’s possible to buy a mount for your router to get it nice and high.

Otherwise, you’ll just have to place it on something that can elevate it.

“Place your router on a high shelf,” said US internet comparison site AllConnect.

“Routers send the signal downward so the higher you place the router, the better off you’ll be.

But the rules can change if your router isn’t on the ground floor of your home.

If you’ve got one router providing whole home coverage, it’s best to just choose a central location.

“Routers send signals out in all directions so by placing it in a central location you eliminate the distance from any given device in your home and can get a better connection,” AllConnect explained.

“Place it in a corner and all you’re doing is sending part of your connection to one area of your home and the other part outside.

“If you live in a two-story house, place the router closer to the ceiling on the first floor or closer to the floor on the second level to allow for best coverage.”

Similarly it’s important to keep your WiFi router away from other objects, especially if they’re made of metal.

Giving your router the best possible “lines of sight” means you’re maximizing your internet potential.


Google has started rolling out its AI chatbot Bard, but it is only available to certain users and they have to be over the age of 18.

Unlike its viral rival ChatGPT, it can access up-to-date information from the internet and has a “Google it” button which accesses search.

It also namechecks its sources for facts, such as Wikipedia.

But Google warned Bard would have “limitations” and said it might share misinformation and display bias.

This is because it “learns” from real-world information, in which those biases currently exist – meaning it is possible for stereotypes and false information to show up in its responses.


How do chatbots work?

AI chatbots are programmed to answer questions online using natural, human-like language.

They can write anything from speeches and marketing copy to computer code and student essays.

When ChatGPT launched in November 2022, it had more than one million users within a week, said OpenAI, the firm behind it.

Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in it, incorporating the product into its search engine Bing last month.

It has also unveiled plans to bring a version of the tech to its office apps including Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Google has been a slower and more cautious runner in the generative AI race with its version, Bard, which launches in the US and UK to begin with. Users will have to register to try it out.

Bard is a descendant of an earlier language model of Google’s called Lamda, which was never fully released to the public. It did, however, attract a lot of attention when one of the engineers who worked on it claimed its answers were so compelling that he believed it was sentient. Google denied the claims and he was fired.

Google senior product director Jack Krawczyk has told the BBC that Bard is “an experiment” and he hopes people will use it as a “launchpad for creativity”.

He showed me an example of how he had used Bard to help him plan his young child’s birthday party.

It came up with a theme which incorporated his child’s love of bunny rabbits and gymnastics, found the address of a venue he mentioned and suggested party games and food.

“So much of the [media] coverage is that AI is the hero,” said Mr Krawczyk. “I think the human is the hero and large language models are here to help unlock creativity.”

While ChatGPT’s knowledge database only extends as far as the year 2021 – it cannot, for example, answer questions about the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria – Bard can access current information. It explained to me a news story about TikTok being banned on UK government phones, published on the BBC website a few days ago.

It is programmed not to respond to offensive prompts and has filters to prevent it from sharing harmful, illegal, sexually explicit or personally identifiable information but “like any method these guardrails will occasionally fail”, said Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google Research.

Make no mistake, this is an extremely cautious product launch, about as far away from the former “move fast and break things” bravado of the early days of big tech as it is possible to get.

When I asked if the firm was nervous, Mr Krawczyk paused before answering that its approach to the launch of Bard was “deliberate”.

If Google is nervous, it has good reason to be.

For all the excitement that exists around this kind of tech, there are horror stories about some of the more disturbing things ChatGPT has been manipulated into doing, and there are also fears that ultimately these powerful tools, still currently in their infancy, could be a huge threat to lots of different types of jobs.

There is also – and this is particularly relevant to Google – a theory that chatbots could one day replace the lucrative business of internet search altogether. Why wade through pages of search result links when you could just get one neatly written answer? Google cannot afford to be out of the race.

Mr Krawczyk and Mr Ghahramani talked a lot about the responsibility and principles that comes with the tech. They even told me about the huge data centres powering Bard, and how they aim to run them using renewable energy.


iPhone 15 Pro leak suggests it could make a controversial button change

A new iPhone 15 Pro leak suggests the incoming smartphone could jettison a design feature that’s been ever-present on iPhones: the mute switch.

As spotted by Mac Rumors(opens in new tab), the leaker ShrimpApplePro has posted a video that was leaked on China’s equivalent of TikTok, which shows some new CAD (Computer-Aided Design) images of the iPhone 15 Pro series. And this video suggests the ‘Pro’ models in the iPhone 15 series could make some significant button tweaks.

The images support earlier rumors that the next-gen phones will replace the traditional dual volume buttons with one single button. And more controversially, it seems the ‘mute switch’, which has been around since the original iPhone in 2007, will now be turned into a button instead.

While that might not sound like an earth-shattering design change, it would likely divide opinion – particularly among those who are used to the mute switch and volume buttons having a very different feel and action, for ‘no look’ tweaking.

The rumors also suggest that both the volume and mute buttons will use haptic feedback, rather than mechanical movement, to provide the sensation of a button press. That’s something we’re increasingly seeing across both smartphones and laptops, with Apple possibly hell-bent on making everything a haptic experience.

If you don’t like the sound of these button changes, you’ll be pleased to hear that they seemingly won’t be coming to every new iPhone this year. The rumors suggest that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models will continue to have two separate volume buttons and a mute switch if you want to rely on your usual iPhone muscle memory.


Removing the mute switch on the new iPhone 15 Pro series might be seen as a retrograde design step

But there could also be a method to Apple’s apparent meddling. An additional button on the side of the iPhone 15 Pro series could open the door to some software customization that could see it become a little more versatile.

If the mute function was simply toggled on or off in software instead, that button could morph into, for example, a very distinct camera shutter button, which is currently the role played by the ‘volume up’ button. Because the latter feels similar to its ‘volume down’ counterpart, it’s easy to press the wrong button when taking snaps.

Of course, this is all speculation right now, but if Apple is indeed changing a design feature that’s been present on the iPhone for 15 years, then it likely has a good functional reason for doing so, beyond the simple need for a design refresh.

There’s still lots of time for further leaks to emerge in the run-up to the iPhone 15 series’ expected launch in the first half of September, so expect to see more design hints – including the prospect of the iPhone 15 Pro Max having the thinnest bezels ever – in the coming months.



In a blog post published Friday, Microsoft affirmed that they are working to enhance the Windows PC experience. The company announced a feature that will supposedly let Windows 11 users be more in control of default apps. And later this year, Microsoft will introduce a new deep link uniform resource identifier (URI) to make things easier for users.

The deep link URI will allow the developers to send users to the correct section of the Settings menu when they want to change how Windows 11 handles specific links and files. Microsoft says it will also give users more control over the apps pinned to their desktops.

With a public API, Microsoft also plans to make the start menu and taskbar feel and function properly. This API will display a prompt, letting you grant programs the permissions before they pop up in interface elements. And before arriving to the public, these features will roll out in the Windows 11 Insider Dev channel. So, expect to see more coverage soon.



Since its release, Windows 11 has been an OS with many criticisms around it. Among them all, one that users were very mad about is how it handles default apps. Looking back, things were not difficult at all in Windows 10. But Microsoft decided to change things up and make the default app handling worse in the new OS.

For example, if you do not want Edge to open up every time you click a webpage or PDF, you will be forced to visit the Windows 11 settings tab. There, you have to manually change the default app, that, too, for each app. It’s really a long process and requires too many steps. But it seems Microsoft has finally decided to fix things for good.


Google: Soon the automatic creation of texts and e-mails thanks to artificial intelligence

Gmail already offered different functions to write e-mails faster with machine learning, such as end-of-sentence suggestions (Smart Compose) and responses (Smart Reply). With the development of generative artificial intelligence (AI), Google announced on its blog on Tuesday that it wanted to go further and offer advanced features for several of the products in its Workspace office suite. In the near future, an algorithm could thus write, answer or summarize e-mails, or even organize an inbox.

On Google Docs, the AI could also proofread, write and rewrite content. The American giant presented in detail the text generation function common to both software, which should be the first to see the light of day. In a box, it is possible to indicate what you want to write. Then, in one click, a text corresponding to the user’s expectations is automatically generated. This draft can then be freely modified.

Human qualities remain above

Google’s AI would also be able to give advice on how to adapt the tone of its text. Similarly, like on the search engine, a “I’m lucky” button could be added to let the AI entirely compose a text or a message. “AI does not replace the ingenuity, creativity and intelligence of real people”, however made it clear on the blog Johanna Voolich Wright, vice-president of Google Workspace

The new features would first be offered to long-time Workspace users before being made available to the general public. Beyond Gmail and Docs, Google Slides could also integrate in the future a function allowing to generate images, audio and video. Similarly, on Google Meet, generative AIs could soon be used to generate new backgrounds and automatically take notes, explains 01net. Finally, AI-based features could be integrated into Google Sheets to facilitate data processing.