- iBeacons — Bluetooth LE enabling tighter coupling of physical world with digital. I’m enamoured with the interaction possibilities: The latest Apple TV software brought a fantastically clever workaround. You just tap your iPhone to the Apple TV itself, and it passes your Wi-Fi and iTunes credentials over and sets everything up instantaneously.
- Better and Better Keyboards (Jesse Vincent) — It suffered from the same problem as every other 3D-printed keyboard I’d made to date – When I showed it to someone, they got really excited about the fact that I had a 3D printer. In contrast, whenever I showed someone one of the layered acrylic prototype keyboards I’d built, they got excited about the keyboard.
- Bamboo.io — open source modular web service for dataset storage and retrieval.
Bluetooth LE, Keyboard Design, Dataset API, and State Machines
Finding ways to make media interact with the physical world
Reporters, editors and designers are looking for new ways to interact with readers and with the physical world–drawing data in through sensors and expressing it through new immersive formats.
In this episode of the Radar podcast, recorded at News Foo Camp in Phoenix on November 10, Jenn and I talk with three people who are working on new modes of interaction:
- Mark Trammell, of Sonos, previously of Obama HQ and Twitter
- Rebekah Monson, of the University of Miami
- Robert Hernandez, of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School
Along the way:
- SensorSub, a project Rebekah is working on that uses data-gathering submarines to measure water quality
- Robert’s students are working on augmented-reality projects at the Los Angeles Central Library–building story-time experiences for children and interpreting the library’s famous murals
- How a lengthier sign-up process brought more people onto Twitter
- Mark’s efforts to understand user interaction on physical hardware
- Wise Kaplan and Cranky Kaplan, the fictional Twitter alter-egos of former New York Observer editor Peter Kaplan, who passed away shortly after we recorded this episode. In the same vein: Mayor Emanuel, Twitter satire from Dan Sinker that was subsequently anthologized.
- Snow Fall
For more on the intersection of software and the physical world, be sure to check out Solid, O’Reilly’s new conference program about the collision of real and virtual.
A review of my discussion with Free Software Foundation's Zak Rogoff.
At a recent meeting of the MIT Open Source Planning Tools Group, I had the pleasure of hosting Zak Rogoff — campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation — for an open-ended discussion on the potential for free and open tools for urban planners, community development organizations, and citizen activists. The conversation ranged over broad terrain in an “exploratory mode,” perhaps uncovering more questions than answers, but we did succeed in identifying some of the more common software (and other) tools needed by planners, designers, developers, and advocates, and shared some thoughts on the current state of FOSS options and their relative levels of adoption.
Included were the usual suspects — LibreOffice for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations; QGIS and OpenStreetMap for mapping; and (my favorite) R for statistical analysis — but we began to explore other areas as well, trying to get a sense of what more advanced tools (and data) planners use for, say, regional economic forecasts, climate change modeling, or real-time transportation management. (Since the event took place in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT, we mostly centered on planning-related tasks, but we also touched on some tangential non-planning needs of public agencies, and the potential for FOSS solutions there: assessor’s databases, 911 systems, library catalogs, educational software, health care exchanges, and so on.) Read more…
Surveillance Future, DNS Control, 3D Printed Room, and Reality Check
- Meet Jack, or What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data (ACLU) — sham slidedeck which helps laypeople see how our data exhaust can be used
against usto keep us safe.
- PirateBay Moves Domains — different ccTLDs have different policies and operate in different jurisdictions, because ICANN gives them broad discretion to operate the country code domains. However, post-Snowden, governments are turning on the US’s stewardship of critical Internet bodies, so look for governments (i.e., law enforcement) to be meddling a lot more in DNS, IP addresses, routing, and other things which thus far have been (to good effect) fairly neutrally managed.
- 3D Printed Room (PopSci) — printed from sand, 11 tons, fully structural, full of the boggle. (via John Hagel)
- Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising — awesome tumblr, great post. (via Keith Bolland)
There's a lot of new ground to be explored in large-scale image processing.
Jetpac is building a modern version of Yelp, using big data rather than user reviews. People are taking more than a billion photos every single day, and many of these are shared publicly on social networks. We analyze these pictures to discover what they can tell us about bars, restaurants, hotels, and other venues around the world — spotting hipster favorites by the number of mustaches, for example.
Treating large numbers of photos as data, rather than just content to display to the user, is a pretty new idea. Traditionally it’s been prohibitively expensive to store and process image data, and not many developers are familiar with both modern big data techniques and computer vision. That meant we had to cut a path through some thick underbrush to get a system working, but the good news is that the free-falling price of commodity servers makes running it incredibly cheap. Read more…
A conference report on the IP transition.
Although readers of this blog know quite well the role that the Internet can play in our lives, we may forget that its most promising contributions — telemedicine, the smart electrical grid, distance education, etc. — depend on a rock-solid and speedy telecommunications network, and therefore that relatively few people can actually take advantage of the shining future the Internet offers.
Worries over sputtering advances in bandwidth in the US, as well as an actual drop in reliability, spurred the FCC to create the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force, and to drive discussion of what they like to call the “IP transition”.
Last week, I attended a conference on the IP transition in Boston, one of a series being held around the country. While we tussled with the problems of reliability and competition, one urgent question loomed over the conference: who will actually make advances happen?