July 2009 Archives

Ignite LA Recap and Socializing Robots

Ignite has been spreading across the world. I've been helping out some cities with their first event. Last week I worked with Dan Gould, Matthew Forrest and Heathervescent to kick-off the first Ignite in Los Angeles. It went great. LA definitely showed up with several great geek talks. Jackie Morie of the ICT, a DoD funded lab designed to…

The Productivity Myth: Step Away From the Twitter – Get Back to Work

Ever since I posted a how-to on establishing guidelines for social media in the workplace, the issue that has generated the most energy concerns productivity. Employers it seems are very worried about lost productivity due to social media usage (Facebook, Twitter etc.). I can’t really get my arms around it because I don’t think these tools bring out any really new productivity concerns (and yes I am aware of operant conditioning).

iTunes App Store Incubation Period Increases In Most Categories

Over the last few weeks, media coverage of the iTunes app store often touches on concerns about Apple’s approval process. Some apps drew enough complaints that Apple pulled them off the app store. With thousands of developers wanting to launch apps and Apple unable to come up with a more efficient vetting process, I’m revisiting an earlier post on the duration of incubation periods by category.

Four short links: 31 July 2009

Four short links: 31 July 2009

NoSQL, Goldman Sachs, Yahoo! Developer Products and Bing, and Alternate Reality

On this day in history, Mt Fuji exploded (781), Daniel Defoe was put in the stocks for seditious libel but was pelted with flowers (1703), the first U.S. patent was issued (1790), and the radio show The Shadow aired for the first time (1930).

  1. Tokyo Cabinet: Beyond Key-Value Store — description of Tokyo Cabinet and code examples in Ruby. More on the nosql move to leave relational databases behind for certain modern problems (such as scaling).
  2. The Great American Bubble Machine (Rolling Stone) — I know it’s old hat, but read it for the poetry if for nothing else. The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.
  3. Yahoo!’s Developer Program and Bing — note from Yahoo! to developers, saying that YQL, YUI, and Pipes are safe. For SearchMonkey and BOSS they currently do not have anything concrete to tell you. I assume (and hope) that Delicious is a top-level product, not something under “search”. (via Simon Willison)
  4. Preparing Us for AR — (Schulze & Webb) round up of some apps and toys that show what AR might be, unfettered by current day technological constraints.

Two Cool New Bookworm Features

There's no question that there's plenty of room for improvement among EPUB readers. From simple things like poorly handling multiple author names to more complicated issues like CSS support, readers (the people, not the software) deserve better. That's one reason we've been sponsoring the open-source Bookworm reader, which is among the best ebook readers around (and looks great on mobile…

Four short links: 30 July 2009

Four short links: 30 July 2009

Brooklyn Museum, Early Release, Toy Chest, Open Science

  1. iPhone App v1.3 Released — revealing glimpse into how third-party apps (such as this iPhone app, built on the Brooklyn Museum’s API) reflect on the institution providing the API. Brooklyn Museum has dealt with this sensitively and intelligently, a model to all. As always, I want to marry the Brooklyn Museum and raise a posse of online apps.
  2. Embrace the Chaos — I can never be told “release early, release often” enough. When to release? As soon as you’ve got something that’ll be useful to other people.
  3. Toy Chest“Toy Chest” collects online or downloadable software tools/thinking toys that humanities students and others without programming skills (but with basic computer and Internet literacy) can use to create interesting projects. (via Simon Willison)
  4. What, Exactly, is Open Science?In general, we’re moving towards an era of greater transparency in all of these topics (methodology, data, communication, and collaboration). The problems we face in gaining widespread support for Open Science are really about incentives and sustainability. How can we design or modify the scientific reward systems to make these four activities the natural state of affairs for scientists? Right now, there are some clear disincentives to participating in these activities. (via Glyn Moody)

Anderson: "It's All About Attention"

Over on Spiegel Online, Chris Anderson does a great job responding to nearly all of the standard old-media responses to new media. Unsurprisingly (I’m sure Wired would have done the same) they pulled one line from a lengthy response to create the provocative title “Maybe Media Will Be a Hobby Rather than a Job.” The full passage is much more useful and nuanced:

Old Media, New Media and Where the Rubber Meets the Road

My once-beloved San Francisco Chronicle has been "hollowed out," reduced to a thin pamphlet, thereby accelerating their subscriber attrition. Do you even know anyone who actually uses the Yellow Pages? Remember record stores? Whither Blockbuster? When analog media collides with digital media, "creative destruction" occurs with brutal efficiency — unless you can truly differentiate your offering, a tall task, but not an insurmountable one.

Four short links: 29 July 2009

Four short links: 29 July 2009

  1. Bioweathermap — crowdsourcing the gathering of environmental samples for DNA sequencing to study the changing distribution of microbial life. Another George Church project. (via timoreilly at Twitter)
  2. We Are All African Now — a great article about our genetic history and the computational genomics that makes it possible. (via Tim Bray)
  3. Standing Out In The Crowd — OSCON keynote by Kirrily Robert on women in open source. Excellent.
  4. Energy Harvesting Powers Printed LED — an interesting combination of two emerging technologies. Like an RFID, the circuit has a current induced by the presence of a changing RF field. The EL display and the RFID circuit are printed in organic compounds, whereas the power control is built with traditional circuit fabrication techniques. (via Freaklabs)

Would an Apple Tablet be an Ereader? Yes and No.

Last Friday the latest round of rumors of an Apple Tablet swelled considerably after a piece from Apple Insider asserted the device is now on the 2010 product roadmap. The news sparked considerable interest among publishers, who apparently see this development as a “Kindle killer” that will upset Amazon’s apparent dominance of the ebook ecosystem. It’s understandable from the perspective of a publisher, but if this device actually exists, it’s doubtful anyone at Apple sees it as an “ereader” any more than it sees the iPhone as “a GPS device.”