- Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and Computer Vision (video) — using a water cannon, computer video, Arduino, and Python to keep marauding squirrel hordes under control. See the finished result for Yakkity Saxed moist rodent goodness.
- Soundbite — dialogue search for Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Boris Soundbite quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase spoken in recorded media. Shoot squirrels with computer vision, search audio with computer hearing. We live in the future, people. (via Andy Baio)
- Why Finish Books? (NY Review of Books) — the more bad books you finish, the fewer good ones you”ll have time to start. Applying this to the rest of life is left as an exercise for the reader.
ENTRIES TAGGED "ai"
Squirrel Targeting with Computer Vision, Audio Recognition, Single Page Apps, and Persisting at Failing
Smart Meter Snitches, Company Culture, Text Classification, and Live Face Substitution
- Smart Hacking for Privacy — can mine smart power meter data (or even snoop it) to learn what’s on the TV. Wow. (You can also watch the talk). (via Rob Inskeep)
- Conditioning Company Culture (Bryce Roberts) — a short read but thought-provoking. It’s easy to create mindless mantras, but I’ve seen the technique that Bryce describes and (when done well) it’s highly effective.
- hydrat (Google Code) — a declarative framework for text classification tasks.
- Dynamic Face Substitution (FlowingData) — Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro play around with a face tracker and color interpolation to replace their own faces, in real-time, with celebrities such as that of Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton. Awesome. And creepy. Amen.
Crypography Illustrated, Hollywood Futures, Machine Learning Mastery, and Analytics Assumptions
- An Illustrated Guide to Crypographic Hashes — exactly what it says: learn how hashing works and how you’d use it for passwords, digital signatures, etc.
- The Age of Fanfiction — We live in a time where copyright means very little to younger people, and it’s not just because they want free movies or free music. More than that, they want to be able to play with the amazing toys that they’ve been given by filmmakers and comic book writers and TV creators, and they want to do so without the constraints that copyright creates. Eloquent and thoughtful piece on what this means for Hollywood and how “the Age of Fanfiction is reflected in what Hollywood’s making. (via Sacha Judd)
- How Khan Academy is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery — it is bloody hard to know when a student has mastered a subject, both for real live teachers and for roboteachers like Khan Academy. This is a detailed discussion of a change in assessment within Khan Academy. if we define proficiency as your chance of getting the next problem correct being above a certain threshold, then the streak becomes a poor binary classifier. Experiments conducted on our data showed a significant difference between students who take, say, 30 problems to get a streak vs. 10 problems right off the bat — the former group was much more likely to miss the next problem after a break than the latter.
- In Which I Declare Four Things My Probability Class is Not About — a reminder of the assumptions we make when we use numerical analysis to understand a problem.
Getting Feedback, Colour Design, Discovering Musicians, Weather Prediction App
- Feedback Without Frustration (YouTube) — Scott Berkun at the HIVE conference talks about how feedback fails, and how to get it successfully. He is so good.
- Americhrome — history of the official palette of the United States of America.
- Discovering Talented Musicians with Musical Analysis (Google Research blgo) — very clever, they do acoustical analysis and then train up a machine learning engine by asking humans to rate some tracks. Then they set it loose on YouTube and it finds people who are good but not yet popular. My favourite: I’ll Follow You Into The Dark by a gentleman with a wonderful voice.
- Dark Sky (Kickstarter) — hyperlocal hyper-realtime weather prediction. Uses radar imagery to figure out what’s going on around you, then tells you what the weather will be like for the next 30-60 minutes. Clever use of data plus software.
Getting serious about Siri, Open Office on the rocks, and Google embraces SQL.
This week, we ask if Apple's Siri has more than novelty value, and decide it does. Open Office needs you (or at least your money) to stay afloat, and Google bends to developer pressure and finally adds SQL support to its cloud computing platform.
Pay for News?, Outages Compendium, CSS Sudoku Solver, and Open Source in the Military
- A Simple Test For Whether People Will Pay For News — an excellent thought experiment, one which sends shivers down the spines of editors.
- Outages.org — This is as complete a list as possible of links to carrier and other provider network status pages as well as links to network diagnostic tools; user contributions are strongly encouraged. (via Jesse Vincent)
- Sudoku Solver Just in CSS — boggle. (via Paul Irish)
- MIL-OSS Conference Writeup — Alex S. Voultepsis explained how the intelligence community has built up an internal infrastructure with the tools that people want to use; in a vast number of cases, they use OSS to do this. For example, Intellipedia is implemented using MediaWiki, the same software that runs Wikipedia. (via John Scott)
UAV Sniffing, Wicked Problems, Online Classes, and Whisky Science
- DIY UAVs for Cyber-Warface — aerial drone that poses as celltower, sniffs wifi, cracks passwords, and looks badass. The photo should be captioned “IM IN UR SKIES, SNIFFIN UR GMAIL SESSION COOKIEZ.” (via Bryan O’Sullivan)
- Wicked Problems (Karl Schroeder) — a category of problem which, once you read the definition, you recognize everywhere. 5. Every solution to a wicked problem is a “one-shot operation”; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial and error, every attempt counts significantly. I like Karl’s take: our biggest challenges are no longer technological. They are issues of communication, coordination, and cooperation. These are, for the most part, well-studied problems that are not wicked. The methodologies that solve them need to be scaled up from the small-group settings where they currently work well, and injected into the DNA of our society–or, at least, built into our default modes of using the internet. They then can be used to tackle the wicked problems.
- Stanford AI Class — Peter Norvig teaching an AI class at Stanford with online open participation. Joins Archaeology of Ancient Egypt in league of university classes where anyone can join in. The former will let you register with Stanford (presumably for $$$) to join the class. The latter lets you audit for free, as the class will be run in open and transparent fashion. The former will be supported by the for-sale textbook, the latter by freely-downloadable readings.
- Sensory and Chemical Analysis of “Shackleton’s” Mackinlay Scotch Whisky (PDF) — Three cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Highland Malt whisky were excavated from the ice under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition base camp hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica in January 2010. The majority of the bottles were in a pristine state of preservation and three were returned to Scotland in January 2011 for the first sensory and organoleptic analysis of a Scotch malt whisky distilled in the late 1890s. I love science where figures have captions like: Principal component analysis (PCA) of peat derived congeners in peated whisky and new-make spirit. I hope the finders got to drink at least some of it, but sentences like this make it seem improbable: The three whisky bottles, minus the whisky sampled via the syringe for this work, will be returned to New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust will subsequently return the artefacts to Antarctica and place them back under the floor of Shackleton’s hut for posterity. (via Chris Heathcote)
Organisational Warfare, RTFM, Timezone Shapefile, Microsoft Adventure
- Organisational Warfare (Simon Wardley) — notes on the commoditisation of software, with interesting analyses of the positions of some large players. On closer inspection, Salesforce seems to be doing more than just commoditisation with an ILC pattern, as can be clearly seen from Radian’s 6 acquisition. They also seem to be operating a tower and moat strategy, i.e. creating a tower of revenue (the service) around which is built a moat devoid of differential value with high barriers to entry. When their competitors finally wake up and realise that the future world of CRM is in this service space, they’ll discover a new player dominating this space who has not only removed many of the opportunities to differentiate (e.g. social CRM, mobile CRM) but built a large ecosystem that creates high rates of new innovation. This should be a fairly fatal combination.
- Learning to Win by Reading Manuals in a Monte-Carlo Framework (MIT) — starting with no prior knowledge of the game or its UI, the system learns how to play and to win by experimenting, and from parsed manual text. They used FreeCiv, and assessed the influence of parsing the manual shallowly and deeply. Trust MIT to turn RTFM into a paper. For human-readable explanation, see the press release.
- A Shapefile of the TZ Timezones of the World — I have nothing but sympathy for the poor gentleman who compiled this. Political boundaries are notoriously arbitrary, and timezones are even worse because they don’t need a war to change. (via Matt Biddulph)
- Microsoft Adventure — 1979 Microsoft game for the TRS-80 has fascinating threads into the past and into what would become Microsoft’s future.
Distributed Drug Money, Science Game, Beautiful Machine Learning, and Stream Event Processing
- Silk Road (Gawker) — Tor-delivered “web” site that is like an eBay for drugs, currency is Bitcoins. Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users. “Attempting major illicit transactions with bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb,” he says. The site is viewable here, and here’s a discussion of delivering hidden web sites with Tor. (via Nelson Minar)
- Dr Waller — a big game using DC Comics characters where players end up crowdsourcing science on GalaxyZoo. A nice variant on the captcha/ESP-style game that Luis von Ahn is known for. (via BoingBoing)
- Machine Learning Demos — hypnotically beautiful. Code for download.
- Esper — stream event processing engine, GPLv2-licensed Java. (via Stream Event Processing with Esper and Edd Dumbill)