Warrant Canary, Polluted Statistics, Dollars for Deathbots, and Protocol Madness
- Apple Transparency Report (PDF) — contains a warrant canary, the statement Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge an order if served on us which will of course be removed if one of the secret orders is received. Bravo, Apple, for implementing a clever hack to route around excessive secrecy. (via Boing Boing)
- You’re Probably Polluting Your Statistics More Than You Think — it is insanely easy to find phantom correlations in random data without obviously being foolish. Anyone who thinks it’s possible to draw truthful conclusions from data analysis without really learning statistics needs to read this. (via Stijn Debrouwere)
- CyPhy Funded (Quartz) — the second act of iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner, maker of the famed Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. She terrified ETech long ago—the audience were expecting Roomba cuteness and got a keynote about military deathbots. It would appear she’s still in the deathbot niche, not so much with the cute. Remember this when you build your OpenCV-powered recoil-resistant load-bearing-hoverbot and think it’ll only ever be used for the intended purpose of launching fertiliser pellets into third world hemp farms.
- User-Agent String History — a light-hearted illustration of why the formal semantic value of free-text fields is driven to zero in the face of actual use.
Time Series Database, Cluster Schedulers, Structural Search-and-Replace, and TV Data
- Influx DB — open-source, distributed, time series, events, and metrics database with no external dependencies.
- Omega (PDF) — ﬂexible, scalable schedulers for large compute clusters. From Google Research.
- Amazon Mines Its Data Trove To Bet on TV’s Next Hit (WSJ) — Amazon produced about 20 pages of data detailing, among other things, how much a pilot was viewed, how many users gave it a 5-star rating and how many shared it with friends.
Glass Games, Dopplr Design, Free Android, and Shameful Security
- A Game Designer’s Guide to Google Glass (Gamasutra) — nice insight that Glass is shovelware-resistant because input is so different and output so limited. (via Beta Knowledge)
- Be Polite, Pertinent, and Pretty (Slideshare) — design principles from Dopplr. (via Matt Jones’s memorial to Dopplr)
- Replicant — free software Android. (via Wired)
- Femme Fatale Dupes IT Guys at Government Agency (Sophos) — story of how a fake LinkedIn profile for a pretty woman reflects as poorly on security practice as on gender politics.
AI Lecture, Programming Provocation, Packet Laws, and Infrared Photography
- Analogy as the Core of Cognition (YouTube) — a Douglas Hofstadter lecture at Stanford.
- Why Isn’t Programming Futuristic? (Ian Bicking) — delicious provocations for the future of programming languages.
- Border Check — visualisation of where your packet go, and the laws they pass through to get there.
- Pi Noir — infrared Raspberry Pi camera board. (via DIY Drones)
Flying Robot, State of Cyberspace, H.264, and Principal Component Analysis
- Insect-Inspired Collision-Resistant Robot — clever hack to make it stable despite bouncing off things.
- The Battle for Power on the Internet (Bruce Schneier) — the state of cyberspace. [M]ost of the time, a new technology benefits the nimble first. [...] In other words, there will be an increasing time period during which nimble distributed powers can make use of new technologies before slow institutional powers can make better use of those technologies.
- Cisco’s H.264 Good News (Brendan Eich) — Cisco is paying the license fees for a particular implementation of H.264 to be used in open source software, enabling it to be the basis of web streaming video across all browsers (even the open source ones). It’s not as ideal a solution as it might sound.
- Principal Component Analysis for Dummies — This post will give a very broad overview of PCA, describing eigenvectors and eigenvalues (which you need to know about to understand it) and showing how you can reduce the dimensions of data using PCA. As I said it’s a neat tool to use in information theory, and even though the maths is a bit complicated, you only need to get a broad idea of what’s going on to be able to use it effectively.
- Android Guides — lots of info on coding for Android.
- Statistics Done Wrong — learn from these failure modes. Not medians or means. Modes.
- Streaming, Sketching, and Sufficient Statistics (YouTube) — how to process huge data sets as they stream past your CPU (e.g., those produced by sensors). (via Ben Lorica)
Digital Citizenship, Berg Cloud, Data Warehouse, and The Spying Iron
- Mozilla Web Literacy Standard — things you should be able to do if you’re to be trusted to be on the web unsupervised. (via BoingBoing)
- Berg Cloud Platform — hardware (shield), local network, and cloud glue. Caution: magic ahead!
- Shark — a large-scale data warehouse system for Spark designed to be compatible with Apache Hive. It can execute Hive QL queries up to 100 times faster than Hive without any modification to the existing data or queries. Shark supports Hive’s query language, metastore, serialization formats, and user-defined functions, providing seamless integration with existing Hive deployments and a familiar, more powerful option for new ones. (via Strata)
- The Malware of Things — a technician opening up an iron included in a batch of Chinese imports to find a “spy chip” with what he called “a little microphone”. Its correspondent said the hidden devices were mostly being used to spread viruses, by connecting to any computer within a 200m (656ft) radius which were using unprotected Wi-Fi networks.
The Internot of Things, Explainy Learning, Medical Microcontroller Board, and Coder Sutra
- A Cyber Attack Against Israel Shut Down a Road — The hackers targeted the Tunnels’ camera system which put the roadway into an immediate lockdown mode, shutting it down for twenty minutes. The next day the attackers managed to break in for even longer during the heavy morning rush hour, shutting the entire system for eight hours. Because all that is digital melts into code, and code is an unsolved problem.
- Random Decision Forests (PDF) — “Due to the nature of the algorithm, most Random Decision Forest implementations provide an extraordinary amount of information about the final state of the classifier and how it derived from the training data.” (via Greg Borenstein)
- BITalino — 149 Euro microcontroller board full of physiological sensors: muscles, skin conductivity, light, acceleration, and heartbeat. A platform for healthcare hardware hacking?
- How to Be a Programmer — a braindump from a guru.
Disk Over Ethernet, Inside Elite, Polar Charts, and R Videos
- Seagate Kinetic Storage — In the words of Geoff Arnold: The physical interconnect to the disk drive is now Ethernet. The interface is a simple key-value object oriented access scheme, implemented using Google Protocol Buffers. It supports key-based CRUD (create, read, update and delete); it also implements third-party transfers (“transfer the objects with keys X, Y and Z to the drive with IP address 126.96.36.199”). Configuration is based on DHCP, and everything can be authenticated and encrypted. The system supports a variety of key schemas to make it easy for various storage services to shard the data across multiple drives.
- Masters of Their Universe (Guardian) — well-written and fascinating story of the creation of the Elite game (one founder of which went on to make the Raspberry Pi). The classic action game of the early 1980s – Defender, Pac Man – was set in a perpetual present tense, a sort of arcade Eden in which there were always enemies to zap or gobble, but nothing ever changed apart from the score. By letting the player tool up with better guns, Bell and Braben were introducing a whole new dimension, the dimension of time.
- Micropolar (github) — A tiny polar charts library made with D3.js.
- Introduction to R (YouTube) — 21 short videos from Google.
Visual Arduino Coding, Hardware Iteration, Segmenting Images, and Client-Side Adjustable Data View
- Visually Programming Arduino — good for little minds.
- Rapid Hardware Iteration at Scale (Forbes) — It’s part of the unique way that Xiaomi operates, closely analyzing the user feedback it gets on its smartphones and following the suggestions it likes for the next batch of 100,000 phones. It releases them every Tuesday at noon Beijing time.
- Machine Learning of Hierarchical Clustering to Segment 2D and 3D Images (PLoS One) — We propose an active learning approach for performing hierarchical agglomerative segmentation from superpixels. Our method combines multiple features at all scales of the agglomerative process, works for data with an arbitrary number of dimensions, and scales to very large datasets.
- Kratu — an Open Source client-side analysis framework to create simple yet powerful renditions of data. It allows you to dynamically adjust your view of the data to highlight issues, opportunities and correlations in the data.