- Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems — Even the insides of vans are subjected to a kind of routing algorithm; the next time you get a package, look for a three-letter letter code, like “RDL.” That means “rear door left,” and it is so the driver has to take as few steps as possible to locate the package. (via Sam Minnee)
- Fuel3D: A Sub-$1000 3D Scanner (Kickstarter) — a point-and-shoot 3D imaging system that captures extremely high resolution mesh and color information of objects. Fuel3D is the world’s first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging to capture and process files in seconds.
- Corporate Open Source Anti-Patterns (YouTube) — Brian Cantrill’s talk, slides here. (via Daniel Bachhuber)
- Hacking for Humanity) (The Economist) — Getting PhDs and data specialists to donate their skills to charities is the idea behind the event’s organizer, DataKind UK, an offshoot of the American nonprofit group.
Algorithmic Optimisation, 3D Scanners, Corporate Open Source, and Data Dives
Mozilla Payments, Firefox Cleans Cookies, Lost: One Web Please Return to Those Who Love It, and 3D from Spaaaaace
- How We Lost the Web (Anil Dash) — excellent talk about the decreasing openness and vanishing shared culture of the web. See also David Weinberger’s transcription.
- 3D From Space Shuttle Footage? — neat idea! Filming in 3D generally requires two cameras that are separated laterally, to create the parallax effected needed for stereoscopic vision. Fortunately, videos shot from Earth orbit can be converted to 3D without a second camera, because the camera is constantly in motion.
At its best, 3D printing can make us more human by making us whole.
Tim O’Reilly recently asked me and some other colleagues which technology seems most like magic to us. There was a thoughtful pause as we each considered the amazing innovations we read about and interact with every day.
My reasons are different than you might think. Yes, it’s amazing that, with very little skill, we can manufacture complex objects in our homes and workshops that are made from things like plastic or wood or chocolate or even titanium. This seems an amazing act of conjuring that, just a short time ago, would have been difficult to imagine outside of the “Star Trek” set.
But the thing that makes 3D printing really special is the magic it allows us to perform: the technology is capable of making us more human. Read more…
3D Printed Drones, When Pacemakers Attack, N-Gram Updated, and Deanonymizing Datasets
- Home-made 3D-Printed Drones — if only they used computer-vision to sequence DNA, they’d be the perfect storm of O’Reilly memes :-)
- Hacking Pacemakers For Death — IOActive researcher Barnaby Jack has reverse-engineered a pacemaker transmitter to make it possible to deliver deadly electric shocks to pacemakers within 30 feet and rewrite their firmware.
- Google N-Gram Viewer Updated — now with more books, better OCR, parts of speech, and complex queries. e.g., the declining ratio of sex to drugs. Awesome work by Friend of O’Reilly, Jon Orwant.
- Deanonymizing Mobility Traces: Using Social Networks as a Side-Channel — a set of location traces can be deanonymized given an easily obtained social network graph. […] Our experiments [on standard datasets] show that 80% of users are identiﬁed precisely, while only 8% are identiﬁed incorrectly, with the remainder mapped to a small set of users. (via Network World)
- Print Your Own 3D Parts (Wired) — Teenage Engineering, makers of a popular synthesizer known as the OP-1, posted the 3-D design files of various components on digital object repository Shapeways, and is instructing 3-D printer-equipped users to print them out instead of buying them.
- Legacy Media Demanding Surveillance In ISPs — music rights groups including the Recording Industry Association of Japan say they have developed a system capable of automatically detecting unauthorized music uploads before they even hit the Internet. But to do that they need to be able to spy on Internet users’ connections and compare data being transferred with digital fingerprints held in an external database. That can only be achieved with the assistance of Internet service providers who would be asked to integrate the system deeply into their networks. It’s Japan for now …
- Sensors for Industrial Espionage (NPR) — Genscape also places electromagnetic monitors beneath the power lines running into the Cushing tank farms to measure their power usage. This gives them an idea of how much oil is being pumped into and out of Cushing.
- Tilt — clever Firefox plugin that lets you view the DOM on your page in 3D. Excellent for visually understanding the structure and layout of your page. I can’t wait to see the applications of this in debugging and teaching.
- Improving Hadoop Efficiency on Graph Data — three techniques: clustering data instead of randomly partitioning across nodes; allowing different data to be replicated differently; graph-optimized storage. (via Big Data)
- Learnings from the Long View (PDF) — scenario planning lessons learned from the founder of the field. Most of the scenarios they talk about are near and dear to the O’Reilly heart: smart networks, augmented reality, synthetic biology, energy from bacteria, super macro- and micro-manufacturing. (via Rob Passarella)
Printed Toys, Magazines in JS, git push web, Clean Beats More
- UK Internet Entrepreneurs (Guardian) — two things stood out for me. (1) A startup focused on 3d printing better dolls for boys and girls. (2) it seems easier to the government to start something new and impose its own vision than it is to understand and integrate with what already exists.
- Using git to Manage a Web Site — This page describes how I set things up so that I can make changes live by running just “git push web”.
- Strata Data Conference Recap — Clean data > More Data > Fancy Math — this is the order which makes data easier and better to work with. Clean data will be easier to work with and provide best results. If your data isn’t clean, it is better to have more data than having to resort to fancy math. Using higher order statistical processing, while workable as a last resort, will require longer to develop, difficult algorithms and harder to maintain. So best place to focus is to start with clean data.
Implementing REST, Teaching Exploration, reMAKEing the Enterprise, and Printing Titanium
- Implementing REST — This is a place for exploring aspects of implementing applications using the REST architectural style. This may include statements about existing frameworks and libraries, general discussions about the nature of the style and how it may be expressed and/or encouraged via a programming framework, etc.
- When Teaching Restrains Discovery — read about this research (short story: the more specific the skills taught, the less exploratory students were) and think about how we teach people to program, how we teach them the company culture, how we teach them to succeed.
- The Maker Generation in the Enterprise (JP Rangaswami) — We have to get away from the idea that knowledge work is smooth and stable and uniform and assembly-line in structure and characteristic. Knowledge work is lumpy. Period. There will be peaks. And there will be troughs. The current thinking appears to go something like this: “If we have troughs it will look like we don’t have enough work to do, so we need to pretend to work. Let’s fill our days up in advance with things that don’t depend on market or customer stimulus, things we can plan well in advance. And let’s call these things meetings. Then we can look busy all the time.” Such thinking has produced some unworthwhile consequences.
- i.materialise 3D Printing in Titanium — Titanium’s high heat resistance, high accuracy and unparalleled strength lets designers now make things that before now could only be made by the research and development departments of only the largest corporations in the world. By putting this technology in the public’s hands were democratizing manufacturing and giving you the opportunity to, design and order something this is exactly as you want it to be. (via Chris Anderson on Twitter)
Kinect Hacking, Crowdsource, Lists, and Tablets
- 2 Kinects 1 Box (YouTube) — merging data from two Kinects in real time, to get astonishing 3D information. (via Chelfyn Baxter)
- Crowdsource is not Open Source (Simon Phipps) — there are some businesses that don’t understand this, and exploit community for their sole benefit in the name of open source. Ignorance of the four freedoms is dangerous.
- We Like Lists Before We Don’t Want to Die (Spiegel) — fascinating interview with Umberto Eco. If you interact with things in your life, everything is constantly changing. And if nothing changes, you’re an idiot. (via Aaron Straup Cope on Delicious)
- $139.99 Android Tablet at Toys R Us — sales of Android tablets (as well as Apple tablets) could help bolster the after-market accessory opportunity for wireless players, including modem makers and wireless operators.
(via Sylvain Carle on Twitter)
Prison Blogging, 3D Hacks, Budget Simulation, and Enterprise Sales
- Between the Bars — snail-mail-to-blogs transcription service for prisoners, to make visible stories that would otherwise be missed. there is a religous program here called Kairo’s in the program inmates are given letters and drawings made by small children not one in that program did not cry, after reading the words of incouragement from those kids. An unmissable reminder of the complexity of human stories, suffering, and situations, the posts range from the banal to the riveting. (via Benjamin Mako Hill)
- Kinect Opensource News — a roundup of open source Kinect hacks. I like memo’s gestural interface the best. Impressive stuff for just a few days’ access to the open source drivers. (via Andy Baio)
- You Fix The Budget (NY Times) — a simpler version of Budget Hero, which lets you choose policies and see their effect on the deficit. Unlike Budget Hero, the NYT app doesn’t discuss non-deficit consequences of the actions (social consequences, ripple-on economic effects). Like Budget Hero, you can’t add your own policies: you’re forced to choose from the ones presented. Real life is more complex than this simulation, but even something this simple is powerful: by interacting with this, you understand the magnitude of (say) education vs healthcare, and you realize how much of the current debate is froth.
- Meet the New Enterprise Customer, a Lot like the Old Enterprise Customer — Ben Horowitz nails the difficulty of selling to the enterprise, and drives a stake through the “they’ll buy our service with their credit cards, like consumers do” myth. xcellent enterprise sales reps will guide a company through their own purchasing processes. Without an enterprise sales rep, many companies literally do not know how to buy new technology products. (via Mike Olson on Twitter)