Dreamcatcher: Using AI to Analyze Dreams May Soon Be Reality

Reading Time: 4 minutes

2020 has been a roaring disappointment for all of us, but that’s coming at it from more socio-cultural and global perspective. A lot of the world has been hampered by the Global pandemic, but on the plus side (if there is one) the tech world hasn’t slowed down much if at all when it has come to advancing what the digital world is capable of offering us. The just-around-the-corner advent of 5G is getting the bulk of the hype, but major advances in AI (artificial intelligence) really need to be receiving some fanfare too.

It’s fairly natural that 5G is going to be trumpeted most loudly by those of us who are a quality Canadian web hosting provider, and here at 4GoodHosting we fit the bill pretty nicely in that regard. When nearly everything you do is related to the workings of the Information Superhighway, it’s nearly impossible not to be wholly excited about what 5G has the potential to do for all of us. That’s likely why 5G has been a recurring theme in our content here, but today we can’t help but choose to go in an entirely different direction when it comes to be excited about something.

It’s always been interesting to us that a bad dream is known as a ‘nightmare’, but there’s no exact term used for a good dream. Thankfully, most of us have good dreams more often than we have bad dreams, but most of the time our dreams are of the ordinary, unexceptional, forgotten by the time we wake up type.

Sometimes, however, the dream we just had is something where we can’t get our minds off of it. Now imagine if there were a technological means of understanding what you can read into the dream you just had?

It may be a reality before long, and that’s because of Dreamcatcher

What’s All This?

Just a few months back researchers from Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge, U.K. made the announcement that they’ve created a tool called ‘Dreamcatcher’ that is able to use the latest NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms to identify themes from dreams as they are reported by the people who’ve experienced them.

All of this is based on an approach to dream analysis called the continuity hypothesis. It’s then supported by strong evidence from decades of research into dreams, and the general consensus that suggests that a person’s dreams are reflections of their everyday concerns and ideas.

That might sound like a very elementary conclusion, but in truth it’s a different way of thinking about dreams than the deeply complex interpretations of Freud and Jung devotees who simply repeat what was taught to them in Uni, viewing dreams as windows into hidden desires and other very conceptual summaries on noted brain activity while asleep.

An Automatic Dream Analyzer

This dream analyzer A.I. tool works by parsing written description of dreams and then scoring them according to an established dream analysis inventory. That inventory is known as the Hall-Van De Castle scale.

It is made up of a set of scores that measure the extent to which different elements featured in the dream are more or less frequent than some normative values established by previous research on dreams. Taken into account are positive or negative emotions, aggressive interactions between characters, presence of imaginary characters, and other responses. What this means is that it is not an actual interpretation of the dream, and more about quantifying interesting or anomalous aspects in them.

Built on Existing Manual Data

Integral to building of Dreamcatcher were some 24 thousand dream report records from Dream Bank, the largest public collection of English language dream reports available. The algorithm they created based on them is capable of pulling these reports apart and reassembling them in a way that makes sense to the system.

By way of the person recording the dream and its content, Dreamcatcher is able to make assumptions based on thee description and automatically extracted various insights. The developers have stated that some of these insights are expected, while others are the furthest thing from what the connections they expected to make. One of the more interesting findings as they went through this process is that blind people’s dreams feature more imaginary characters than the norm. This suggests that our senses influence the way we dream.

Manual vs Digital Psychoanalysis

With this kind of analysis possibility, surely Dreamcatcher is something that psychology professionals are going to take an interest in. Whether or not they will, it is exciting to witness the growing ability of NLP to capture increasingly complex and intangible aspects of language and looking into the vast expanse of what might be capable with manual dream annotation.

So the question then becomes can an app or digital development match or exceed what these psychotherapy professionals are capable of when it comes to making sense of people’s dreams and helping them use their dreams to better their mental well being or life as a whole.

Some research has already been done on this, and when Dreamcatcher matched up to scores calculated by psychologists, the A.I. algorithm matched them 76% of the time

Keep an Eye on This One

It goes without saying that the potential of a mood-tracking app that asks users to record their dreams, and then pulls out recurrent though processes and deeply seated inclinations of spiritual shortcomings is pretty huge.

Yep, on-the-fly legit and implementable dream analysis would be huge! But in the bigger picture a kind of large-scale dream-tracking project that could map the world’s dreams onto real events to see how one informs the other may have even greater potential applications as it regards psychological and spiritual well being. Especially when combined and cross-referenced with other real-world data.

6 Types of Content You Site Should Do Without, and Why

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s always said there’s many different cogs to the machine, and that can be true of pretty much any machine. If you want to look at your online presence in this way, it’s a very conceptual understanding but it’s still there to be had. Your web designer or webmaster may be the most primary cog in it all, but there’s a whole lot of other valuable people too. Now I may be biased in this way being a copy and content writer here at , but I imagine that everyone who’s in a similar role with any good Canadian webs hosting provider is going to agree.

Agree with what exactly? Well that good, smart, and – perhaps most importantly – strategic content is very much an integral component in the success of your business or venture being online. In fact we’re pretty confident in saying that, as quality content goes perhaps the longest way in getting you’re the SERP rankings that you’re after. Alright, maybe that’s a s t r e t c h to say the longest, but we certainly can’t just take a ‘whatever’ approach to what we write for the sites.

Alright, enough patting ourselves on the back, but you get the point and it’s a very valid one. While there is an incredible volume of different content varieties that you can use for your website content – including blogs like this one – there are also a few types of content that might make sense given the context of your communications, but you should still avoid them.

Here they are, and here’s why you need to avoid them.

Content is king, marketers say – but not all of it. Indeed, some content can harm your website, slowing its performance, irritating visitors and badly affecting its search engine ranking. The way to deal with this is to check your site regularly and get rid of the damaging material. Here, we’ll explain what to look for.

1 – Heavy Images

While it’s true that images are important elements of a website, and they do have a positive impact on user engagement, you really need to be choosy about which ones you incorporate into site. Some are data-heavy and can slow down the loading time, which detracts from SEO and diminishes user-friendliness. No one’s suggesting you go deleting your images, but optimizing them for your site is a must.

Here’s the basic guidelines:

  • Using PNG files of 72 dpi that are much lighter and can be loaded more quickly than larger files
  • Using an image optimizing plugin that will take existing images and create light versions of the right dimensions for your theme
  • Also possibly speed up your site even more with lazy loading or a content delivery network

2 – Pop Ups

It’s also true that popups do increase conversion rates, but you know what they do far more often and much more reliably? They annoy site visitors and actually make them resentful in many cases. I’ve heard that for some people with seizures pop ups can actually be the cause of a very bad and dangerous situation sometimes.

Use multiple pop ups and you may well be contributing to your bounce rate in a big way. If you don’t need them, take them down. If you do, ensure you use them lightly and judiciously and you should also make it so that closing them is easy and that they don’t appear on every page.

Keep in mind as well that a pop up adds an additional script to your website. This WILL affect its performance and impact SEO, and not in a good way for either.

3 – Overly Enthusiastic Cookie Consent Pop Up

You’ve probably noticed how all websites are required to ask for the visitor’s consent to using Cookies. However, users end up being seriously annoyed with having to click ‘accept’ every time they visit. So this is something you should try to avoid doing, and that is possible.

You can start replacing page dominating cookie popups with less obtrusive methods that aren’t as full frontal disruptive for viewers who’d rather just keep reading. The next thing you should do is set the cookie consent form to appear at the same frequency as your shortest cookie life. Once you have permission to store cookies on a user’s device, asking for it again isn’t required unless you start collecting new cookie information or change the length of the cookie.

4- Broken Links

Links are hugely valuable for both user experience and SEO. Internal links serve to aid users with finding the content they are looking for more quickly, plus enabling search engine crawlers to discover and index content on your site. Search engines see outbound links as adding value to your content and then they improve your SEO in turn.

Working links are great and helpful, broken ones are not and totally detrimental. Users will have little tolerance if they click on a link to a page that doesn’t exist anymore, and they may be so disillusioned that they ‘split’ altogether. That poor experience is noted by search engines when they follow your links, and this can also lead to the pages that they appear on (YOURS) being downranked too.

The good news is that there are many slink checking plugin that can make sure the links your out-linking to are up and operational, and not broken.

5 – Out of Date Content

One of the biggest trends that those of us in the copy business have been make wise to is ‘evergreen’ content. This means content that doesn’t have any degree of timeliness to it, and it can be as contextually relevant in years from now as it can be today. But then there’s also the issue of how in the metadata of your web pages is the date on which the content was published. It’s not visible to your visitors, but it is visible to search engines which use it to understand how up-to-date your content is.

Long story short, search engines prefer fresher content.

Plus, users themselves want the latest information – someone searching for ‘Best shoe stores in Brampton’, for example, would be disappointed if they found a page containing a list of shops of which weren’t even open anymore.

So what this requires of you is regularly going through your content, deleting pages and posts which are completely out of date and updating outdated information on those that still had some relevance. For companies which have product and service pages where there has been no change to what’s on offer, it may seem that there is no need to make changes. Sometimes even just little tweaks can make a significant difference.

6 – Third-Party Ads

Many sites will display adverts from 3rd parties like Google or Bing and that can be a nice source of income, with image-led links to content on other websites. Usually this is okay in moderation, but some sites go overboard with it and you should make sure yours doesn’t. This can slow down the loading time of certain pages in a big way and become a major obstacle to reader retention. It can have a serious impact on SEO, user engagement and conversion rates.

Testing how the loading time of your website is affected by the ads is a must if you’re going to use any amount of them that’s more than just one or two if that.

No one is going to be okay with website pages that load slower, are less relevant or provide a poor user experience, all of which can make your site perform worse in search engine results. And if visitors abandon your site, well that’s not going to be good for anyone. High bounce rates definitely aren’t cool.


Promising Quantum Computing Algorithms May Soon Solve Unsolvable Problems

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Lost to some extent in all the timely buzz and hubbub these days about 5G, Edge Computing and the like is the ongoing realization of quantum computing being put to work for the benefit of humanity. And considering what’s gone on so far in 2020, we could certainly use as much benefit as we can get right about now. We can go ahead and assume that most of you who’d be reading this blog have enough industry wherewithal to know what quantum computing is, but in case that’s not you we’ll go over that briefly before we proceed.

And proceed to what? Well, it would appear that quantum computing is going to be making a whole host of ‘beyond our abilities’ largest scale computing stumbling blocks much less of stumbling blocks for countries and societies that are trying to get the very most of out of technological advances to make life better for all of us. We’re like any Canadian web hosting provider here at 4GoodHosting in that we can relate to just how big a deal this can be.

But we promised a brief intro to quantum computing –

What is Quantum Computing?

Why don’t we go with old faithful and take a definition directly from Wikipedia – Quantum computing is the use of quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform computation. By superpositioning Quantum bits, computer scientists are able to encode multiple values at the same time. For the last 40+ years they’ve only been able encode single values one by one, and this has hampered the speed with which certain equations can be put into use.

That’s a very brief and perfunctory look at it, but it will suffice for now.

To add a little more though, what computer scientists are looking to quantum computing to do is provide answers to the effective ways certain inapplicable solutions or equations can become applicable. Another relevant term here is constructive quantum interference, which is where quantum computers amplify certain signals over others to provide clues to as to finding these answers.

It’s been suggested that quantum computers may well have the ability to counter climate change, provide a cure for cancer, and provide solutions to civic and global issues of all sorts. While that’s wishful thinking and possible, it really remains to be seen whether or not those are realistic expectations.

The Promising Algorithms

Some of you many not even be aware of it, but it’s probably at least once or twice a day that you’re thwarted in your attempt to do something based on the failings of the device you’re asking to do it. Nine times out of 10 that has less to do with the device itself and more to do with the framework it’s working with. For example, in reference to the first algorithm we’re going to look at below – imagine being asked to find a listing in an unordered list that that’s not regulated from top to bottom by some sort of criteria. No alphabetical means of reference, no numerical – no nothing.

  1. Grover’s algorithm

That would be quite a task unless the list was only a short one of say 50 or less entries. Imagine it being a thousand plus entries, and you’re expected to find that one listing in less than a minute. Those are the types of demands that will be put on quantum computers if they’re to be trusted with very important tasks like – for example – the ‘smart’ traffic lights that are supposedly not far away and sound oh so good for everyone who hates how horrific traffic is in major cities.

Ok, enough about that and onto Grover’s algorithm.

We wish we could make a legit reference to Sesame Street here, but afraid not. This one is named after the man who developed it in 1196. What it does is finds the inverse of a function in O(√N) steps, and it can also be used to search an unordered list. It provides a quadratic speedup over classical methods, which need O(N) steps.

A lot of tech speak there for sure, but that’s the nature of what’s being discussed here.

Other applications include estimating the mean and median of a set of numbers, solving the collision problem, and reverse-engineering cryptographic hash functions. Because of the cryptographic application, researchers may recommend that the doubling of symmetric key lengths to protect against future quantum attacks.

  1. Shor’s algorithm

This one is also named after the creator, and what it does is it finds the prime factors of an integer. It runs in polynomial time in log(N), and that makes it so much speedier than any standard number field sieve. Public-key cryptography schemes, such as RSA, are not so isolated if there are quantum computers with a sufficient number of qubits and building based on Shor’s algorithm makes that more of a possibility.

However, whether quantum computers ever become big and reliable enough to run Shor’s algorithm successfully against the sort of large integers used in RSA encryption remains to be seen. If they do, then there would be some fallout in any industry relying on crypto-encryption like banking as it would put those powers in the hands of those who’d use it for illicit aims too.

Much of this has been put to trial with the Quantum Learning Machine, which behaves as though it has 30 to 40 qubits. The hardware/software package includes a quantum assembly programming language and a Python-based high-level hybrid language. A few national labs and technical universities are using it, and it’s been quite a success at giving looks into how this all might work.

Google, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM All in on This

Google AI is focusing its research on superconducting qubits with chip-based scalable architecture targeting two-qubit gate error to build a framework capable of implementing a quantum neural network on near-term processors, and on quantum supremacy. Two years ago there was a whole lot of fanfare around it’s introduction of the Bristlecone superconducting chip, and it’s likely we haven’t the last of it.

IBM has given us its Q systems, and is offering three ways to access its quantum computers and quantum simulators, and late last year (2019) they debuted an new generation of IBM Q system sporting a full 53 qubits at the IBM Quantum Computation Center in New York.

Intel’s contribution to all of this is has been Tangle Lake, a superconducting quantum processor that incorporates 49 qubits in a package that is capable of scaling upward from 17 qubits in its predecessor.

And of course, Microsoft is in on the action too, as they’ve been researching the development and application of quantum computing since before the turn on the last century. Between their Q# programming language and their QDK kit, it’s not long before quantum computers will be available as co-processors in the Azure cloud.

And if you’re wondering, here’s 10 areas where Quantum Computing may be making life better for humans:

  • Cybersecurity
  • More accurate and practical AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Weather Forecasting and Mitigating Climate Change
  • Drug Development
  • Financial Modeling
  • Better Batteries
  • Cleaner Fertilization
  • Traffic Optimization
  • Solar Capture
  • Electronic Materials Discovery

It’s all genuinely quite exciting, so we don’t know about you but we’ll be keeping an eye on all this in a big way.

Tips for Making Siri More Useful When Working From Home

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the middle of march when all the international craziness of COVID started it’s very likely that most of the people who then started working from home didn’t expect that arrangement to last long. But here we are nearly 6 months later and a good many of those folks are still working from home. The truth is that those of us who have professions that allow us to be working remotely are fortunate to be able to do so, and then of course it’s a good time to say how important many people who haven’t been able to have been to the continuing of a functioning society and economy.

One of the things that us here at 4Goodhosting have as a Canadian web hosting provider is that many of the people who choose us to host their websites will be among those who haven’t seen the office in many months. Now we’ll go ahead and assume you’re fairly good with adapting and finding new ways to maintain your productivity and satisfaction with new working arrangements, but surely you’re open to any suggestion that makes any aspect of that better.

We’re living in the digital world, and among the many technological advances that have come with that is the virtual assistant. Whether yours is named Siri or Alexa is dependent on whether you’re an iOS or Android person, and whatever preference you have is fine as both are pretty darn good in the big picture of things.

Today though what we’re going to do is deliver for iOS users who like to get the most with workday productivity via their iPhones, iPads, or Macs, and so here are a number of ways you can get more out of Siri as you go about that workday. It’s a good topic because if you’re an iOS device owner who still hasn’t figured out everything your super device is capable of, well – join the club!

Opening Apps

Couldn’t be any easier to open any application on any Apple platform that supports Siri. All you need to do is ask her to ‘Open [app name].’ It is that simple.

Send Messages, Texts or Emails

It’s possible to ask Siri to send an email to a named person, provided they are listed among your contacts. All that’s required is to say ‘Send an email to [person] saying – add your message – “ Texts can be sent too. Just say, ‘Send a text….’

It’s also possible to send short messages the same way; just replace the word ‘email’ with ‘message.’ Siri will inform you if you have new emails and read the name and subject line for you too if preferred, but we’ve read that many people find that takes more time than finding this information manually.

The last thing is that if you’ve paired your Mac with your iPhone, you can also get Siri to make a call via your Mac.

Identify a Caller

Siri is also capable of telling you who is calling if they are included within your iPhone’s Contacts. Again, super simple – Set this up in Settings>Phone>Announce Calls.

FaceTime Calling or Scheduling Zoom Meetings

Tell Siri to start a FaceTime call with (name of the person). You can also request that Siri ‘schedule a Zoom meeting on Friday at 3pm with [name].’

Take a Note

It’s true that many people don’t make much use of Notes, but if you do then Siri will let you open and create a new Note. All that’s needed is to say ‘Create a note that says….’ Some people find this to be a very useful tool when trying to stay focused on work with one application while making a note of an idea or something you’ve remembered quickly and easily.

Organize Meetings

You can ‘Add a meeting’ on a dedicated day or schedule a meeting for a certain date and time and in the same instruction tell Siri to inform contacts about the proposed meeting. Simple say ‘Add a meeting Tuesday at 4 and tell [name] and [name].’ As long as the named parties are in your Contacts, Siri will proceed to message them and inform of the meeting.

Manage Meetings

Take advantage of Siri’s meeting management tools to stay on top of your day-to-day, asking questions like ‘When is my next meeting?’ or ‘When is my meeting next Monday?’ Provided the information has been entered into your device’s calendar, Siri will happily let you know.

Siri can also help you reschedule a meeting. Just say ‘Move my 11AM meeting to 12.30PM’ for example.

Getting Correct Times

Some professionals hold meetings across time zones, and Siri has the entirety of international time zones and the correct time in every place on earth ready to go. Want to know the time in Moscow? Ask Siri. How about Samoa? Siri knows that too. You can quickly and easily find out what the time is anywhere by asking Siri ‘what time is it in [location]?’ and Siri will have that for you in seconds.

Siri can also convert currency, figure out %s and complete almost any calculation for you.

Remembering Passwords

If you’re like us and have a devil of a time remembering passwords on your own then the way Siri can take care of that for you is pretty darn great. You can open System Preferences/Settings just by asking Siri to do this for you. You can also ask Siri to access your passwords by saying, for example, ‘Hey Siri, show my enterprise VPN password.’ You’ll need to authorize that it is you asking of course (good thing), but after that you’ll be presented with what you need.


With any app on an iPhone or iPad, you can have Siri write out what you’re saying by just tapping the microphone icon on your keyboard and asking Siri to dictate for you.

Siri’s Talents for Mac

Siri is capable of opening Mission Control, searching for stuff on your Mac, opening named items, opening System Preferences, or showing you specified documents and images. Plus she can provide you with useful system information, like how much memory you’ve got to work with on the device. Ask pretty much anything related to your MacBook or iMac and ye shall receive.