April 2010 Archives

Education 2.0: The importance of ownership

I've been teaching adults for almost twenty years. First as a lecturer, then as a professor and for the last ten years as a coach and facilitator for large organizations all over the world. I love technology and the possibility that it represents but I believe that technology can only ever enable educational success. It rarely drives. As technology becomes…

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State of the Internet Operating System Part Two: Handicapping the Internet Platform Wars

As I wrote last month, it is becoming increasingly clear that the internet is becoming not just a platform, but an operating system, an operating system that manages access by devices such as personal computers, phones, and other personal electronics to cloud subsystems ranging from computation, storage, and communications to location, identity, social graph, search, and payment. The question is whether a single company will put together a single, vertically-integrated platform that is sufficiently compelling to developers to enable the kind of lock-in we saw during the personal computer era, or whether, Internet-style, we will instead see services from multiple providers horizontally integrated via open standards.

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Health IT committee has six months to define insurance enrollment standards

A look at key discussions from the April HIT Standards Committee meeting.

The HIT Standards Committee considered its new assignment in a recent meeting: comprehensive insurance plan enrollment standards support.

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Four short links: 30 April 2010

Four short links: 30 April 2010

BitTorrent Privacy, Censorship, Facebook Privacy, AV Programming

  1. Exploiting Privacy Threats in BitTorrent — INRIA researchers were able to identify big seeders and big downloaders and find downloaders’ IP addresses through Tor. (via Slashdot)
  2. Google on Internet Censorship — text of a speech to the UN Human Rights Council. I won’t talk at length about the Global Network Initiative, but it’s something that our company and Microsoft and Yahoo have come together with human rights groups to put together, and we have in essence written a code of conduct for how information technology companies should operate in repressive regimes. It’s quite complex, it took a long time to do, you can imagine what it was like to putting those people in a room for two years together, but we have succeeded.
  3. Facebook’s Privacy Timeline (EFF). Must read–little editorial needed, it speaks for itself.
  4. Cinder Ca new C++ framework created by The Barbarian Group for programming graphics, audio, video, networking, image processing and computational geometry. Cinder is cross-platform, and in general the exact same code works under Mac OS X, Windows and a growing list of other platforms — most recently the iPhone and iPad.
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The iPad in Europe (the English speaking part at least)

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of posts exploring the reception–and potential impact, of the iPad in locations other than the good ole USA. In today's entry, Eoin Purcell chimes in from Ireland. ~ Kat MeyerIt can be hard to envision the impact a device will have when you have only demo videos and second hand reports…

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Promiscuous online culture and the vetting process

Social networks have forever changed hiring and background checks

Social networks, and the big data to analyze them, will forever change how we vet candidates, whether for security clearance, employment, or political office. Technology can help employers check candidates' backgrounds, monitor their behavior once hired, and protect their online reputations. But using the social tracks we share — and what we omit — has important ethical and legal consequences.

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Four short links: 29 April 2010

Four short links: 29 April 2010

Leaky Phones, Clustering Tweets, CS Unplugged, and Margaret Atwood on Twitter

  1. Researchers Show How To Use Mobiles to Spy on PeopleUsing information from the GSM network they could identify a mobile phone user’s location, and they showed how they could easily create dossiers on people’s lives and their behavior and business dealings. They also demonstrated how they were able to identify a government contractor for the US Department of Homeland Security through analyzing phone numbers and caller IDs. […] The researchers have not released details of the tools they developed, and have alerted the major GSM carriers about their results. Bailey said the carriers were “very concerned,” but mitigating these sorts of attacks would not be easy. In the meantime there is little mobile phone users can do to protect themselves short of turning off their phones. Oh joy. (via Roger Dennis)
  2. A Torrent of Tweets: Managing Information Overload in Online Social Streams (PDF) — PARC and MIT built a Twitter client that clusters messages in a useful way. Publicly accessible client due in summer.
  3. Interview with Tim Bell (MP3) — author of Computer Science Unplugged, which teaches computational thinking in a fashion that can have five year olds understanding error correction codes, and one of the people behind a new high-school curriculum for CS in New Zealand.
  4. How I Learned to Love Twitter (Guardian) — fascinating piece from writer Margaret Atwood. The Twittersphere is an odd and uncanny place. It’s something like having fairies at the bottom of your garden is one of my favourite things that’s ever been written about Twitter but the whole article is delightfully written.
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A few weeks in, a third of iPad Books are Fiction

Measured in terms of number of titles, half of the over 46,000 (paid and free) books available that we detected as being offered through the iBooks app are from 6 categories1. Fiction & Literature alone account for close to a third of all available iBooks titles: The current set of titles is indicative of the publishers (and/or imprints) that Apple…

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Setting White House priorities for electronic privacy: HIT, smart grid and education

White House Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin offers some perspective on the online privacy priorities of the Obama administration at Privacy Camp D.C. Much of the online discussion about electronic privacy over the past week has been dominated by Facebook, particularly a new "instant personalization" feature. Is the age of privacy over?

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Four short links: 28 April 2010

Four short links: 28 April 2010

Fair Use Economy, Deconstituted Appliances, 3D Vision, Redis for Fun and Profit

  1. Fair Use in the US Economy (PDF) — prepared by IT lobby in the US, it’s the counterpart to Big ©’s fictitious billions of dollars of losses due to file sharing. Take each with a grain of salt, but this is interesting because it talks about the industries and businesses that the fair use laws make possible.
  2. Disassembled Household Appliances — neat photos of the pieces in common equipment like waffle irons, sandwich makers, can openers, etc. (via evilmadscientist)
  3. GelSight — gel block on a sheet of glass, lit from below with lights and then scanned with cameras, lets you easily capture 3D qualities of the objects pressed into it. Very cool demo–you can see finger prints, pulse, and even make out designs on a $100 bill.
  4. Redis Tutorial (Simon Willison) — Redis is a very fast collection of useful behaviours wrapped around a distributed key-value store. You get locks, IDs, counters, sets, lists, queues, replication, and more.
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