Compiling Android from Source (Jethro Carr) — not as easy as you might think. The documentation is minimal, and each device has its own binary blobs of not-open-source crap necessary to make them work. Open source is supposed to let users continue to do good things with the device, even if the vendor disapproves (cf Stallman’s Printer). Jethro’s experience is that with Android, not so much. Even the Google AOSP supported phones can’t run a pure open source stack, proprietary downloads are supplied by Google for specific hardware components for each model and for a specific OS release. Should Google decide to stop supporting a device with future Android versions (as has happened with earlier devices) you won’t easily be able to support the hardware. (via Don Christie)
To Know But Not Understand (David Weinberger) — excellent excerpt from his new book on big data and computational science. We can climb the ladder of complexity […] to phenomena with many more people with much more diverse and changing motivations, such as markets. We can model these and perhaps know how they work without understanding them. They are so complex that only our artificial brains can manage the amount of data and the number of interactions involved. Preordered his book! (via Alexis Madrigal)
Open Government Data — Joel Gurin talks about diverse ways companies are using open government data, the obstacles hindering the release of the data, and why bringing value to users is foremost on his mind.