Four short links: 7 Apr 2009

Maps, meaning, makers, and orphaned works:

  1. Lens Tools and Fisheye Map Browsing — a summary of magnification in maps through history, culminating in use of the fisheye/lens as a way to explore layers and data in thematic maps. (via Titine’s delicious stream)
  2. Socially Relevant Computing — frustrated by the meaningless examples and work in computer science classes, Mike Buckley started sending students into the real world and building projects for handicapped people, firefighters, children, etc. Read their SIGCSE paper (PDF) for more. (via Andy Oram)
  3. Maker Faire Africa — I wish I could go!
  4. Google Book Search Lawsuit Settlement Analysis — finally a simple statement of why many folks aren’t happy with the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement: Thanks to the magic of the class action mechanism, the settlement will confer on Google a kind of legal immunity that cannot be obtained at any price through a purely private negotiation. It confers on Google immunity not only against suits brought by the actual members of the organizations that sued Google, but also against suits brought by anyone who doesn’t explicitly opt out. That means that Google will be free to mine the vast body of orphan works without fear of liability. Any competitor that wants to get the same legal immunity Google is getting will have to take the same steps Google did: start scanning books without the publishers’ and authors’ permission, get sued by authors and publishers as a class, and then negotiate a settlement. The problem is that they’ll have no guarantee that the authors and publishers will play along. (via Glynn Moody)
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  • Back earlier in the decade(!) when I was at the University of Canterbury one of the software engineering papers worked with local groups. My year it was a community toy library.

    Not sure if the final result was used or not.

    –Phil.