Digital matters

Facilitator: David Harrison

[Formerly the Computer Group]

Digital Technologies are to be found in nearly every aspect of modern life and the aim of the Group is to help members understand and use their digital devices (including computers), and particularly those connected to the Internet, more confidently.

The group looks at all matters that affect us in our digitally connected lives both sociologically and technologically.

Over the past few years discussion and presentations have been related to what everyone can do with any digital device, and to be computer/platform independent. So the recurrent themes are ones such as security, privacy, regulation, legislation, internet connectivity, home networking, mobile phones, digital photography, dash-cams, smart homes, home cctv, “artificial intelligence”, social impact, apps … and anything else that members want to raise and discuss.

We try to encourage a friendly, relaxed and sociable atmosphere. Whilst each meeting has a structure, the intention is to foster a sharing of knowledge and experience. On the second Thursday of the month we have a discussion session which starts with matters arising from the previous meeting being discussed. We then “go round the table” and members have the chance to raise good news and success stories together with problems and queries they have experienced. They might also describe technology they’ve just acquired. The use of social media, especially Facebook, regularly crops up, as do new applications for smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

The fourth Thursday of the month sees us having a presentation on a topic – often suggested by a member, which in the past has included Broadband speed checks for the home; security issues including scams; the use of Ad Blockers and password management software; which browser and search engine to use; how the Internet works; or the use of digital photography, or family history software.

We meet every second and fourth Thursday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30pm at Sight Life, Womanby Street. The room has a display screen for presentations. Group size is limited to 30, with up to 20 attending each meeting. Members have a wide range of experience, skills and knowledge.

You must have an email account and be confident in using it to take part in the group. You are encouraged to use the Signal messaging app to keep in touch in between meetings, and you can view some of the latest news in the digital world as it affects “third agers” on our Flipboard magazine.

House of Lords Report : Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World

Digital Inclusion – Welsh Government report 10/12/2020

Meetings Calendar

April 2024

Thursday 25th April

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

May 2024

Thursday 9th May

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

Thursday 23rd May

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

June 2024

Thursday 13th June

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

Thursday 27th June

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

July 2024

Thursday 11th July

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

Thursday 25th July

14:00 – 15:30
Digital matters

Discussion and Presentations (to be advised)

Latest Posts

Latest news from the group

AI – it’s all the rage

Published 9th February 2024

It was less than 12 months ago that the Computer Group (as it was then) had a session looking at the emerging technology of Large Learning Models (LLM) and in particular Chat-GPT and Dall-E from Open AI. A report of that meeting appeared on this website. We also debated the topic in September, an experience neither of the proposers would willingly go through again!!!! So with so much having happened in such a short period of time, it certainly seemed right to revisit the topic and see what’s happened.

First we supply some background, some developments and some resources for you to follow-up, then some notes and content from three member contributions.

What do we mean by Artificial Intelligence. Well, nothing that’s really appeared in the past 15 months it would have to be said. Some articles for you to consider …

Race to AI: the origins of artificial intelligence, from Turing to ChatGPT – in this article from The Guardian the background to what is, and what is not, artificial intelligence is explored and whilst recognising that a step-change has occurred, we have not yet reached the “nirvana” of artificial intelligence.

A simple guide to help you understand AI – in this animated webpage from the BBC, you have the “Janet and John” introduction to artificial intelligence. That’s not meant as an insult in any way, it’s a very straightforward introduction to the subject and if you switch the animations on you will get a full-experience.

It is however the Royal Institution’s Christmas Series of Lectures fronted by Mike Wooldridge that perhaps best defines the scope, the possibilities and the future of artificial intelligence. I seriously recommend that you watch all three lectures on BBC’s iPlayer.

Much of the attention in the past year or so has been focussed on LLM and Chat-GPT. Which? attempts to answer the question – “is it safe to use” in this article, but comes up with more questions than answers, but it does a bit of explaining along the way, but actually the best way to find out what Chat-GPT can do, is to try it yourself, which you can do here, after signing-up for an account on the Open AI servers.

Some experiments and experiences. We kicked-off here with a member telling us about his experience of using Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft has released several AI “Copilots” that can complete different tasks for different purposes. 

  1. At a basic level Copilot can be accessed directly through where it acts as a kind of Bing-ChatGPT. It can answer questions, create text, jokes, poems, songs and images much as we’ve seen in Chat GPT. When providing information it will reference the source material. And also send you on a shopping spree if you wish!
  2. Copilot is now fully integrated into the Bing search engine and Edge browser. Open Edge from the Windows taskbar to bring up the browser. Copilot is the top icon in the vertical tabs on the right. Clicking on it will open a sidebar which looks much like the page we’ve seen above. A different tab will open the AI Image Creator. Copilot in Edge can work with web pages, for instance generating a summary of complex articles. It will work in chat, compose and insight modes. It offers three conversation styles for your own composition – creative, balanced or precise!
  3. Copilot in Windows is currently being rolled out in Windows 11 updates. It can help with a variety of tasks, both relating to your PC’s settings and to generative assistance. For example, Copilot in Windows can turn on your computer’s dark room, organize your windows, write an essay, help you shop, and more with a simple conversational prompt.
  4. Copilot for Microsoft 365 involves the integration of the Copilot AI assistant into Microsoft’s 365 productivity software family.  For example the suite of Microsoft 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, will be infused with Copilot to optimize workflow, such as generating text and tables in Word, summarizing and drafting emails in Outlook, and generating Python visualizations in Excel. This is clearly a more advanced development of Copilot AI, intended for the business market, currently on offer for £30/month!
  5. There are further business related Copilots for Security, Service and Sales.
  6. All are under continuous development so will no doubt involve rapid change and improvement over time.
  7. Links to some further info are included below.

What is Microsoft Copilot? Here’s everything you need to know

Hands on with Microsoft Copilot in Windows 11, your latest AI assistant?

How to use Copilot to control Windows

Microsoft COPILOT review | Watch this first – YouTube video

Of all the commercial developments in the past year it’s Microsoft that’s led the way, but Google’s working hard to keep-up, first with it’s Bard model, and latterly with it’s just announced Gemini software. 

Our next presentation led us through some of the features of Bard and this article indicates the differences between Bard and Chat-GPT. Iain was particularly struck by the way the system seemed to learn from one day to another. An inappropriate response to a question of taking your grandchildren somewhere in Cardiff, had been replaced by a much more acceptable answer. How does this happen? Has it learnt something? Or, is it’s previous answer become part of the resource that it uses to find responses. I guess we’ll never know!!

Since the meeting the presenter also shared with us in the Artificial Intelligence Forum on our Thought grazing website (open to registered Cardiff u3a members) a really interesting and potentially useful use of AI in interpreting scrolls recovered from the eruption of Vesuvius. There are many really useful uses of AI, as the Royal Institution lectures showed us. I aim to add Topics to that Forum over the next few weeks (and months) as they emerge.

We then had an illuminating presentation from another member, that I encourage you to look at.

It starts off with his interest in Family History and his ancestor’s death from cholera which prompted him to enquire about that epidemic.

He then asked Chat-GPT to write an essay (which he’d had to do in an earlier life) on the topic “Liberal and Utilitarian Educational Thinking in 19th Century Great Britain: A Comprehensive Analysis with Reference to Cardinal Newman”

He felt that the attempt was worth at least a B+

He then shared with us some images created by not all of which totally hit the brief he’d requested.

In conclusion, I shared a few issues …

Volkswagen says it’s putting ChatGPT in its cars for ‘enriching conversations’ – really? The first recording of a Tesla driver wearing Apple’s Vision Pro headset has already been posted to the internet. Where’s the common sense, in common sense?

A frankly rather surprising Judges in England and Wales are given cautious approval to use AI in writing legal opinions.

A totally unsurprising Britain’s MI6 chief says his spies are using AI to disrupt flow of weapons to Russia.

3 reasons why AIs like Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT will only get worse — and why it doesn’t have to be this way – a suggestion that as more and more AI-generated content floods the internet, and as more and more reliable content providers stop the “bots” from trawling their sites, that the quality of information on the web will decrease. AI eating itself is a phrase that might come to mind.

Finally a very thought-provoking article – AI Needs to Be Both Trusted and Trustworthy – a theme picked-up on our Signal messaging group with a reference to the fact that Chinese academics wary of their reputations have moved towards implementing new guidelines to protect the quality of their research, as well as protecting it from being trawled – which may (as I indicated above) be counter-productive.

Scams – Part 1

Published 15th January 2024

Windows Defender Scam

If you watched Rip Off Britain on January 15th [Episode 35 of Series 15 at c. 29mins 45secs into the programme] you will see an expert describe the Scam that one of our members has experienced recently and which has led me to write this post which may well be the first of a number on the subject of Scams.

This scam manifests itself by your computer screen being taken over by a popup which also freezes your screen. You are instructed by a voice-over not to turn off your machine but instead to ring a telephone number where you will be “assisted” to unlock your computer which has been locked – in this case supposedly by Microsoft, but it could be any large tech company – for your protection.

This alarming message plus the fact that your screen has frozen may lead you into thinking you better click on the button to seemingly connect to Microsoft. This will lead to a telephone conversation where you will be requested to supply information that will undoubtedly lead to fraud.

Do nothing!

Note well: No tech company will approach you in this way. They will not be doing this form of online monitoring of your devices. In this case the scam is preying on the fact that you are being led to think that your Windows Defender Security package is not working properly. No tech company would readily admit to its users of a deficiency in their programs in this way – that could lead potentially to legal action being taken against them. For a genuine issue they might issue an alert on their webpages and a request to upgrade (or whatever), or they might be forced to send an email to registered users, but they would not send unsolicited messages in this way.

It is important to realise that with this scam, at this stage, the scammers know NOTHING about you. The scam works by malicious code having been added to a website you are visiting, or to an advert on the website you are visiting. The simple solution is to press F11 to unlock your screen, note the website address and make a note not to go to that site again. [I would probably also recommend clearing your internet cache and history from your browser before closing down your computer; waiting a few moments; and then re-booting it.]

The more long-term solution is to install an Ad Blocker such as AdBlock Plus as an extension to your browser. This would act in conjunction with your standard security software which on a Windows machine could well be Windows Defender.

Happy, safer surfing.

If you want to see the recording of the message that our Digital Matters member made of the scam, watch the video below …

Autumn cleaning – maintenance

Published 10th October 2023

First, an overview

This article from Norton is as good as any at summarising what you should do by way of maintenance – regular tasks that will make your machine run smoother, and possibly faster.


There are built-in options supplied for both Windows and MacOS – there’s no real reason to look beyond these. This table(for Windows 10) shows the different methods you might consider. I’ve also included this article that might help you understand what your need to do. However, with Windows (it’s never straightforward) you have another option File History, which maybe a better option, as it focuses on saving files to an external hard disk.

For the Mac, I wouldn’t bother going further than TimeMachine. You’ve heard me rave on about the Mac, but it’s true. You may do things differently on a Mac, but they’re just easier.

The most important thing is to do Backups, and do them regularly. My TimeMachine does an incremental backup every hour to an external hard disk. So the most I can lose should the machine crash, is the last 59 minutes. Some items will be excluded from this backup (eg photos) as they are backed-up automatically to iCloud when I import them on to my machine. 

Windows 10 and 11 Maintenance

Let’s start by looking at this short video. You’ll want to go back and watch it more than once. Although it is aimed at Windows 10, I think all the utilities mentioned are available from Windows 11 too.

If you prefer reading to watching, and you’re a Windows 11 user, you will possibly find this article useful. If you don’t trust yourself to do the maintenance regularly, then Windows 10 users might find this article useful as it tells you how to schedule automatic maintenance and what it will do, but if you prefer your instruction to be visual you could watch this video instead, or as well.

If it’s just a speed-up you want from your Windows 11 system, you could work your way through the list in this article, but I’d be tempted to do the more comprehensive list of tasks mentioned in the videos above.

MacOs Housekeeping

Here it’s more housekeeping than maintenance, there are some things you can do to improve performance on your Mac, regular maintenance (as mentioned above) is not really required. This article aims to make your machine run better and faster – I’ll have to read it!! 

The software I use on my Mac is CleanMyMac X – this article describes what you should do to automatically do some decluttering, which is probably a good thing and which I run once in a while; it obviously recommends that you use CleanMyMac to do it. Quelle surprise!

Operating system updates and upgrades

These are usually well announced by Microsoft and Apple. Generally, if the update is described as a Security Update, you should do it immediately; if it’s described as a bug-fix, or a point release with new features, I would counsel waiting a while … perhaps a couple of weeks, before installing it. Of course you can leave your operating system to do these automatically, so check your settings (as described in the videos) and select the time that your updates will be done.

More substantial upgrades are less frequent and my advice is to wait a while before installing these as it’s always challenging to go back to a previous release, and sometimes the upgrade will affect the running of one of your applications. All serious software developers will apply to get advance access to operating system upgrades to test their software on the new platform; but even with this access some bugs may not appear until the operating system is “out-in-the-wild”.

Internet history, cache and cookie cleaning

These were covered in the earlier videos but you should probably do these quite regularly anyway. You might have noticed that cookies weren’t “cleaned-out”. That’s probably because the majority of them will be re-installed the next time you go to a website, and cleaning them will also mean you have to re-enter information again. Generally, with good anti-virus software these days, cookie cleaning is not essential, as the malware threat has been reduced before they’re added to the browser.

Anti-virus and malware checking

For the Mac I have MalwareBytes (supplied by my bank). For the PC/Windows you know that I recommend Widows Defender, as it’s more than adequate for the “ordinary” user who’s not surfing the dark web! It’s evident that Microsoft have upped their game in this area and you can also deploy other tools to protect your machine. Take a look!

Hardware upgrades – memory, batteries

You might wonder whether you’re up to upgrading memory or batteries on your laptop or desktop, but actually this is a relatively easy job. You can use components from Crucial for memory and hard disk upgrades, and they describe how to do it for specific machines, or you can search for compatible components on the internet. Search for the instructions on how to fit for the specific DIY task. You’ll feel a sense of pride when you’ve completed the task too! A triumph for “person kind” over the machine

A really good upgrade is to replace an old Hard Disk Drive (HDD) with a Solid State Drive (SSD). The performance enhancement you will experience will be noticeable. You can always deploy the old HDD as an external disk and maybe use it for your backups when you place it in an appropriate caddy. 

If you’ve not got the courage to do it yourself, you can always ask We will fix your PC to do it for you.

Cleaning screens and keyboards

Often overlooked, your screen and keyboard can always do with a clean, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes – to your mood if nothing else. I recently purchased this kit from Amazon to clean screens, keyboards and TV.

Application housekeeping

Another often overlooked consideration. You should look at whether your software should be upgraded. If it was purchased through an AppStore then you should be able to find out if there’s an upgrade available – you may have to purchase it, but often the upgrade will be free. Often the software provider – if you’ve registered your ownership – will inform/advise you of an upgrade to a new version, or release. Generally bug-fixes are not chargeable, but you may have to pay for feature-enhancements.

Please be aware that it’s impossible to expect that a software developer will keep their software compatible with every release of operating system software, so if advised that this is the case you should seriously consider an Upgrade, or finding a replacement if the software passes “out-of-support”.

You should also look to see whether (as was mentioned in the videos) you actually need the software anymore. At best it might just be taking up disk space you might need, at worst (as it becomes more outdated) it might provide a “backdoor” for malware to enter your system and upset your life!

Some applications (as was mentioned in the videos) also have local data caches and backups (genealogy database software is notorious for this). As you exit your session you are prompted to save a backup – the question is … how many backups do you actually need!!

All-in-one solutions

For the PC/Windows you could look at CCleaner (free version) – I love this quote from the article “Macs don’t need standard cleaning” but I do have MacPaw’s CleanMyMac X on my machine, and I bought it! However if you’re a Windows user there’s a lot to be said to doing the cleanup manually following the suggestions mentioned in the videos, I have shown.

Miscellaneous – eMail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, Photos

Not strictly maintenance but something to bear in mind and perhaps make a regular task, is maintaining your “everyday” applications. 

Do you need to keep all your eMails? It may be possible to Archive them outside the Mail application – thus making it run faster and more efficiently. You can also if you’re using a local mail client (recommended) occasionally rebuild, or optimise, the email storage. It’s just a database and it will run more efficiently if it doesn’t have a lot of redundant links to deleted messages, and the like, contained in it. You may be surprised at the large number of files (especially photos) that are stored in your email. Perhaps you should save them to a Photos app, or at least download them to a folder on your machine – they’d be more accessible there.

It’s surprising how many Contacts are duplicated, or how details and lists can get out-of-date. Always a good idea to review them and merge duplicates, edit changes and delete no longer needed entries.

Calendars are less needing of maintenance. If the day has passed, so what; it’s more important to know the forthcoming events are accurate and up-to-date. However recurring entries should be reviewed occasionally.

Again, like the above, it’s more important to keep Reminders up-to-date, and if you decide to use that utility, to stick to it. It’s an application that you shouldn’t use occasionally, you should commit to using it, and then be able to rely on it. As I demonstrated recently you can talk to it – as of course you can with a lot of utilities and applications.

Notes can become a bit of a dustbin, and I suppose you should be allowed to have somewhere you just dump stuff. However, they do have a very useful role in planning, and charting progress of a project, or a trip – especially when you can show completion with a bullet-point format. The functionality is always improving and now you can store website addresses, photos, maps, music and more in a note and then share it with someone else so that they can collaborate with you on the topic. It’s just a bit embarrassing when you look back at what you’ve “noted” and realise it never actually “turned-out-like-that”.

Finally Photos. Probably the biggest hard disk grabber of all. You need to plan a strategy for what you want to keep, the application you want to use to access them, or share them, and then – if at all possible – stick to your plan! Not always easy, but for your sanity, probably essential. The first task is to work out your duplicates. This is where DupeGuru comes in. Apiece of open source software that has proven to be a life-saver to me, and a tool that has allowed me to recover a lot of disk space. It works well with phoitos, but can also be used to find duplicates of other file types as well.

… and there’s probably more – over to you!!!

More reading

PC Maintenance Software: 6 Best to Use in 2023

Best free PC optimizer of 2023

The 5 Best Free Repair Tools for Windows 11

Top Free Software Picks: System Maintenance Utilities

Artificial intelligence tests the Computer Group

Published 26th April 2023

You may wonder what the Computer Group does to fill it’s time during a Presentation session – held once a month. Here’s an article from a very recent meeting demonstrating that we try to keep up-to-date and can respond to the fast changing technology world. We’re talking about ChatGPT and DALL-E and the idea of artificial intelligence – but is it really intelligence?

Read on for more information, and remember anyone in Cardiff u3a can request a login to the “Thought grazing” website – maintained for Computer Group members.

By way of introduction

It all started (for me at least) with this powerful poem sent to me by my son – who lives in Australia …

Do not go gentle into that good land,
Australia, wild and free,
Where golden sun sets on red sands,
And the ocean's voice speaks to me.

Rage, rage against the dying light,
Of the day, and the endless night,
Where the stars shine bright like fireflies,
And the kookaburra's laugh takes flight.

Do not go gentle into that good land,
Where the heat beats down like a drum,
Where the droughts are long and the wildfires grand,
And the rains come in a monsoon.

But do not despair, for in this land,
There is beauty in every plight,
The eucalyptus stands tall and grand,
And the kangaroo bounds with might.

Do not go gentle into that good land,
Australia, wild and free,
Where the spirit of the land is strong,
And the people, a part of its destiny.

Wow, I thought. I never knew he had it in him (being IT-geekish like me). It sounds like it could have been written by Dylan Thomas. He then let on …

“I asked ChatGPT to write a poem in the style of Dylan Thomas about Australia :)”.

That was on January 24th. It opened my eyes to something that was sweeping the internet and which had obviously been developing for many months, if not years. Of course I’d known about the concept of artificial intelligence, but had always imagined it in the context of driverless cars; sensors in rooms (or of any variety); clever games that you might play against, etc. etc. But here was something that seemed – on the surface at least – to have a sentient presence. Something that could think, interpret what you were saying (or writing) and return a result that – on the surface at least – made sense.

He then followed up his magnum opus with this …

Verse 1:
The world spins round, the money flows
The rich get richer, the poor get woes
We're told that we need more and more
To keep up with the Joneses, we're a corporate whore

Materialism, capitalism,
A never-ending cycle of greed and madness
We're slaves to the system, we're just cogs in the wheel
Materialism, capitalism, it's not real

Verse 2:
We're told that happiness comes with a price
We buy and we buy, but it's never enough
We're in a rat race, we're running on a treadmill
We're chasing the dream, but it's just a mirage

Materialism, capitalism,
A never-ending cycle of greed and madness
We're slaves to the system, we're just cogs in the wheel
Materialism, capitalism, it's not real

We're drowning in consumerism, we're losing our souls
We're sacrificing our humanity for shiny gold
We're living in a world of illusion, a world of lies
We're sacrificing our future for temporary highs

Materialism, capitalism,
A never-ending cycle of greed and madness
We're slaves to the system, we're just cogs in the wheel
Materialism, capitalism, it's not real.

Double wow!! I knew this time it wasn’t him doing the thinking, but what was the question that the tool he was using had been asked, and what was the song based on? Any guesses?

He replied …

“The song by the way? I asked for a song about materialism and capitalism in the style of Pink Floyd.”

“How do you do that?” … I of course asked …

import socket

# Target IP address
ip = ""

# Open a text file for writing the results
with open("port_scan_results.txt", "w") as f:

    # Scan for open TCP ports
    for port in range(1, 65535):
        sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        result = sock.connect_ex((ip, port))
        if result == 0:
            f.write("TCP Port {}: Open\n".format(port))

    # Scan for open UDP ports
    for port in range(1, 65535):
        sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
        result = sock.connect_ex((ip, port))
        if result == 0:
            f.write("UDP Port {}: Open\n".format(port))

“There you go. This is a port scanner application.” was his reply. [Please don’t ask me to explain what this is, and how to do it. As I said, he’s an IT person, and far more experienced, qualified and up-to-date than me!!]

To add insult to injury my daughter then added (this was on Signal by the way in our Family chat group) … “Do you not use ChatGPT yet dad ? I could spot the author of that poem a mile off …”

I realised then it was time for me to wake-up!

The journey starts here

I jump forward now to our u3a meeting on 23rd February when I must have mentioned something about ChatGPT. I was delighted that am a member sent me this link to a site that aims to provide you with an itinerary for you to use when visiting a place you don’t know – it’s called Roam Around. Take the time to play with it.

In between, I’d started my journey of discovery, helped a lot by the plethora of articles that had begun to emerge since the New Year. 

Microsoft were building OpenAI into their search engine Bing; Google were following suit with their equivalent – Bard. [Where do they get the idea for these names from? Then again where did they get the name Google from?] Here’s a set of links to articles that I read during this time …

December 7th – ChatGPT-style tech brought to Microsoft 365 – the announcement that started the “race” with Google. [I found this one retrospectively.]

January 27th – Some Notes on AI, ChatGPT, and the Photography World – I like the really simple question, and the clear concise answer.

February 2nd – ChatGPT vs Google: Which is Better at Answering Photography Questions? – mind blowing head-to-head contest with Google being outgunned in all 10 questions. Wow, wow, wow!!!

February 2nd – How 5G and AI will work together – a techie article illustrating how the explosion of machine learning, with highly advanced technology will benefit us all in the future. I recommend a quick scan through this article to show how the two technologies working together will improve the performance of a lot of our existing systems.

February 7th – Microsoft integrates ChatGPT into its Bing & Edge products – a huge leap forward, but the early demonstration was beset with some problems. Things are moving fast!

February 10th – The Guardian view on ChatGPT search: exploiting wishful thinking – the grounded (editorial) view, reflecting that we’re a way off yet from the “Brave New World”.

February 10th – Google v Microsoft: who will win the AI chatbot race? – the expose of Google’s rush to match Microsoft’s announcement, and what may happen in the long-run.

March 12th – How to use ChatGPT on Mac – thank goodness; help at last, perhaps I’ll be able to try it out?

March 16th – AI: How ‘freaked out’ should we be? – The BBC enters the commentary on AI – it’s a good read and was worth waiting for.

March 17th – How to Get ChatGPT on Your Apple Watch – it had to happen! Chat to your watch. Beam me up Scotty!

March 17th – GPT-4 has brought a storm of hype and fright – is it marketing froth, or is this a revolution? – the cautionary note. No one should rely on this technology alone just now. Engage brain.

March 21st – Microsoft & OpenAI add AI image creation tool to Bing – we’ll be examining DALL-E in a moment, but here’s the announcement that it’s being integrated into Bing – but there’s a waiting list to get onto the Preview service! Microsoft Bing’s AI Chatbot Can Now Generate Images with DALL-E and Microsoft’s AI-Powered Bing Experience Gains Image Creation Functionality. Everything is moving so fast!

March 21st – ChatGPT watch out: You can now chat to Google Bard – not to be outdone, the Google riposte.

March 21st – Will Google’s rush to join chatbot party with launch of Bard backfire? – sober refection on whether Google is fully up-to-speed on this one, or is trying to rush-to-market. 

For further links that may not appear in the list of references above, please pop-over to Thought grazing on Flipboard to see articles – some of the recent ones are about ChatGPT, OpenAI that I’ve curated there.

And so to demonstrations

The starting point has to be ChatGPT, and to use it to ask questions that will get hopefully meaningful answers, or to craft lovely poetry, songs etc. you need to create an account with OpenAI – the company that has created ChatGPT and other AI-like applications. So click on this link, and create an account from the Signup button. After you’ve provided an email address and Password, you will need to go to your email to Verify that email address and then you’re invited to provide some personal information, including a mobile phone number, to which a verification 2FA code will be sent to. Once you’ve done that you will be presented with some information screens …

… and you’re good to go …

… so give it a go.

We then tried out Roam Around for which you don’t need an account. It appears to not provide completely up-to-date information, but it’s an interesting application …

Finally, using the account we’d already setup with OpenAI, we tried DALL-E, using first the request to create an image of Cardiff Bay at sunrise …

… a surrealistic set of images which were only surpassed when we added the text “with Donald Duck present”. I leave other possibilities t to your imagination …

I also was able to use Bing in Microsoft Edge – the featured image at the top of this article shows this – to create similar images. Unlike Google/Bard; the Preview for Bing with OpenAI seems to be more readily available. You may need to download the most recent version of Edge though, and it most probably helps if you’ve got an existing Microsoft account (which I did have).