- The Engagement Cliff — Gallup surveyed nearly 500,000 students in grades five through 12 from more than 1,700 public schools in 37 states in 2012 and found that by the time students get to high school only about 4 in 10 qualify as engaged.
- SSL/TLS Deployment Best Practices — clear and concise instructions to help overworked administrators and programmers spend the minimum time possible to obtain a secure site or web application. In pursue of clarity, we sacrifice completeness, foregoing certain advanced topics. The focus is on advice that is practical and easy to understand.
- Do Bad Things Happen When Works Enter The Public Domain? — research to answer that question. Spoiler: no. (via Surprisingly Free)
- Most GitHub Projects Not Open-Source Licensed (The Register) — 1,692,135 code repositories scanned, 219,326 (14.9%) percent had a file in their top-level directories that identified any kind of license at all. Of those, 28 per cent only announced their licenses in a README file, as opposed to recommended filenames such as LICENSE or COPYING. MIT license overwhelmingly popular compared to the different reciprocal (GPL-like) ones.
April 2013 Archives
Engagement Cliff, SSL Best Practices, Public Domain Numbers, and GitHub License Sniffing
Opportunity to share your data stories with Brett Goldstein and Q. Ethan McCallum
On Goldstein, McCallum, and their upcoming book, Making Analytics Work: Case by Case
By Alex Howard
People have been crunching numbers to understand government since the first time an official used an abacus to compare one season’s grain harvest against another. Tracking and comparing data is part of how we’ve been understanding our world for millennia. In the 21st century, organizations in all sectors are transitioning from paper records to massive databases. Instead of inscribing tablets, we’re browsing real-time data dashboards on them. Using modern data analytics to make sense of all of those numbers is now the task of scientists, journalists and, intriguingly, public officials. That’s the context in which I first encountered Brett Goldstein, when I talked with him about his work as Chicago’s chief data officer. Goldstein has been a key part of Chicago’s data-driven approach to open government since Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected in February 2011. He and Chicago CTO John Tolva have been breaking new ground in an emerging global discussion around how cities understand, govern and regulate themselves.
I saw Goldstein share his ideas for data analytics in person at last year’s Strata Conference in New York City, where he and Q Ethan McCallum, the author of the Bad Data Handbook, talked about text mining and civic engagement. Their thinking on big data in the public sector is helping to inform other cities that want to follow in Chicago’s footsteps. Urban predictive analytics are making sense of what residents are doing, where and when — and what they want from their governments. Both men have steadily built and earned excellent reputations as a public servant and a trusted authority in in the field.
Dave Zwieback on how considering the human side of outages and postmortems can help build more resilient systems and teams.
There is nothing pleasant about postmortem reviews following an outage, and many companies struggle to execute positive, effective reviews. In a recent interview, Dave Zwieback (@mindweather), head of infrastructure at Knewton, said that we often focus only on technical issues during postmortems, to the exclusion of human elements. We also tend to fall into the “blame game” and point fingers when assessing particularly bad outages, he said.
In the following interview, Zwieback addresses the importance of including human and organizational elements in postmortem reviews, and outlines contributing factors to take into consideration, such as particular stressors and cognitive biases. He will address these issues further in a free online webcast, The Human Side of Postmortems, at 1 p.m., (PT) April 30.
How are postmortems typically approached, and why is it so important to make human and organizational factors more of a concern?
Design patterns for PHP
William Sanders (@williebegoode) is a Professor of Interactive Information Technology at the University of Hartford and author of over 40 technical books! His latest book with us is Learning PHP Design Patterns. We recently sat down to talk about design patterns and how they can help create reusable code and save you valuable time. You can also check out more from Bill at his website.
- Why use design patterns for PHP? [Discussed at the 0:28 mark.]
- Big programs and lots of code can become unwieldy [Discussed at the 2:06 mark.]
- Mobile devices and PHP design patterns [Discussed at the 5:30 mark.]
- Bill talks common design patterns and how they help [Discussed at the 7:25 mark.]
- How to start using design patterns with PHP [Discussed at the 10:15 mark.]
You can view the entire interview in the following video:
iOS Package Manager, Designed Satire, API Fragility, and Retweeting WWI
- Alcatraz — package manager for iOS. (via Hacker News)
- Scarfolk Council — clever satire, the concept being a UK town stuck in 1979. Tupperware urns, “put old people down at birth”. The 1979 look is gorgeous. (via BoingBoing)
- Stop Designing Fragile Web APIs — It is possible to design your API in a manner that reduces its fragility and increases its resilience to change. The key is to design your API around its intent. In the SOA world, this is also referred to as business-orientation.
- @life100yearsago (Twitter) — account that tweets out fragments of New Zealand journals and newspapers and similar historic documents, as part of celebrating the surprising and the commonplace during WWI. My favourite so far: “Wizard” stones aeroplane. (via NDF)
Using START Global Terrorism data, Simon Rogers mapped every U.S. terror attack recorded between 1970 and 2011.
The recent terror attack at the Boston Marathon prompted the Guardian’s Simon Rogers (who will soon be Twitter’s Simon Rogers) to look into the history of attacks on U.S. soil. Using data from the START Global Terrorism Database, Rogers mapped every recorded terrorist incident in the U.S. from 1970 to 2011.
Bill Sanders tells us why design patterns for PHP save time and money.
It's time for developers to create their own vocabularies
When HTML first appeared, it offered a coherent if limited vocabulary for sharing content on the newly created World Wide Web. Today, after HTML has handed off most of its actual work to other specifications, it’s time to stop worrying about this central core and let developers choose their own markup vocabularies and processing.
When the W3C first formed, it formed around HTML, the core standard of content on the Web, defining the structure, appearance, and behavior of content. Over the next few years, however, it became clear that HTML was doing too much, and the W3C and other groups refactored appearance, behavior, and many semantics into separate specifications:
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) took responsibility for presentation and layout.
WAI-ARIA took responsibility for accessibility semantics, ensuring that content remained available to a broad audience even if developers pushed the current boundaries of markup.
Solar Numbers, Process Managers, BitTorrent Sync, and Motherfrickin' Snakes in Your Motherfrickin' Browser
- Solar Energy: This is What a Disruptive Technology Looks Like (Brian McConnell) — In 1977, solar cells cost upwards of $70 per Watt of capacity. In 2013, that cost has dropped to $0.74 per Watt, a 100:1 improvement (source: The Economist). On average, solar power improves 14% per year in terms of energy production per dollar invested.
- Process Managers — overview of the tools that keep your software running.
- Bittorrent Sync — Dropbox-like features, BitTorrent under the hood.