- Just Say No To Freegal — an interesting view from the inside, speaking out against a music licensing system called Freegal which is selling to libraries. Libraries typically buy one copy of something, and then lend it out to multiple users sequentially, in order to get a good return on investment. Participating in a product like Freegal means that we’re not lending anymore, we’re buying content for users to own permanently so they don’t have to pay the vendor directly themselves. This puts us in direct competition with the vendor’s sales directly to consumers, and the vendors will never make more money off of libraries than they will off of direct consumer sales. What that does is put libraries in a position of being economic victims of our own success. I would think that libraries would remember this lesson from our difficulties with the FirstSearch pay-per-use model that most of us found to be unsustainable.
- Cost of Computing in Coal (Benjamin Mako Hill) — back-of-the-envelope estimation of the carbon costs of running an overnight multicore Amazon number-crunching job. Thinking about the environmental costs of your crappy coding might change the way you code, much as punched cards encouraged you to model and test the program by hand before you ran it. How many tons of coal are burnt to support laziness or a lack of optimization in my software?
- Friction in Computer Human Symbiosis (Palantir blog) — Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process. (via Tim O’Reilly)
"amazon ec2" entries
Library Licensing, Mac Graphics, Coal Computing, and Human Augmentation
Mobile Money, Materials Magic, Minimising Multiples, and Making Motion
- Serve — American Express mobile payments play. Money on mobiles is a huge potential, look for others to bang around here before the right answer is found. (via Mike Olson)
- Move Mayonnaise and Ketchup (YouTube) — I don’t know why you’d want to move mayonnaise and ketchup intact, but this is the machine for it. (via Russell Brown)
- Duplicates Detection with ElasticSearch (Andre Zmievski) — duplicate detection (or de-duping) is one of the most unappreciated problems that the developers of certain types of applications face sooner or later. The applications I’m talking about share two main characteristics: item collection and some sort of social aspect.
- Ceaser — tool for making CSS easing animations. (via Josh Clark)
Digital Subscriptions, Graph Database, Data Science, and High Speed Compression
- Digital Subscription Prices — the NY Times in context. Aie.
- Trinity — Microsoft Research graph database. (via Hacker News)
- Data Science Toolkit — prepackaged EC2 image of most useful data tools. (via Pete Warden)
- Snappy — Google’s open sourced compression library, as used in BigTable and MapReduce. Emphasis is on speed, with resulting lack of quality in filesize (20-100% bigger than zlib).
Amazon Margins, Crowdsourced Science, Data Tool Opensourced, Document Splitting
- AWS: Forget the Revenue, Did You See the Margins? (RedMonk) — According to UBS, Amazon Web Services gross margins for the years 2006 through 2014 are 47%, 48%, 48%, 49%, 49%, 50%, 50.5%, 51%, 53%. (these are analyst projections, so take with grain of salt, but those are some sweet margins if they’re even close to accurate)
- Science Pipes — an environment in which students, educators, citizens, resource managers, and scientists can create and share analyses and visualizations of biodiversity data. It is built to support inquiry-based learning, allowing analysis results and visualizations to be dynamically incorporated into web sites (e.g. blogs) for dissemination and consumption beyond SciencePipes.org itself. (via mikeloukides on Twitter)
- ScraperWiki Source Code — AGPL-licensed source to the ScraperWiki, a tool for data storage, cleaning, search, visualization, and export.
- Doc split — a command-line utility and Ruby library for splitting apart documents into their component parts: searchable UTF-8 plain text via OCR if necessary, page images or thumbnails in any format, PDFs, single pages, and document metadata (title, author, number of pages…)
Recovery.gov will be the first government website to be hosted within Amazon.com's public cloud.
Personal Ad Preferences, Android Kernel, EC2 Deconstructed, Symbian Opened
- Google Ad Preferences — my defaults look reasonable and tailored to my interest. Creepy but kinda cool: I guess that if I have to have ads, they should be ones I’m not going to hate. (via rabble on Twitter)
- Android and the Linux Kernel — the Android kernel is forked from the standard Linux kernel, and a Linux kernel maintainer says that Google has made no efforts to integrate. (via Slashdot)
- On Amazon EC2’s Underlying Architecture — fascinating deconstruction of the EC2 physical and virtual servers, without resorting to breaking NDAs. (via Hacker News)
- First Full Open Source Symbian Release (BBC) — source code will be available for download from the Symbian Foundation web site as of 1400GMT. Nokia bought Symbian for US$410M in 2008 (for comparison, AOL bought Netscape for $4.2B in 1999 but the source code tarball had been escape-podded from the company a year before the deal closed). This makes Symbian more open than Android, says the head of the foundation: “About a third of the Android code base is open and nothing more,” says Williams. “And what is open is a collection of middleware. Everything else is closed or proprietary.” (quote from Wired’s story).