"APIs" entries

Unstructured data is worth the effort when you’ve got the right tools

Alyona Medelyan and Anna Divoli on the opportunities in chaotic data.

Alyona Medelyan and Anna Divoli are inventing tools to help companies contend with vast quantities of fuzzy data. They discuss their work and what lies ahead for big data in this interview.


Stickers as sensors

GreenGoose looks to unlock the data in everyday activities.

Put a GreenGoose sticker on an object, and just like that, you'll have an Internet-connected sensor. In this interview, GreenGoose founder Brian Krejcarek discusses stickers as sensors and the data that can be gathered from everyday activities.


Exposing content via APIs

Fluidinfo's Terry Jones on the role of APIs in the future of publishing.

APIs enable developers to work with your content like a box of Legos, building solutions you may never have dreamed of. In this TOC podcast, Fluidinfo CEO Terry Jones says the real world is "writable" and describes how APIs can offer powerful publishing solutions.


Jonathan's Card: Lessons from a social experiment

What happens when everyone has access to your Starbucks card? Jonathan Stark found out.

Jonathan Stark raised eyebrows last summer when he made his Starbucks card available for anyone to use. Here, Stark looks back on the "Jonathan's Card" experiment and examines its lessons.

Comment: 1

Developer Week in Review: The hijacking of an insulin pump

Medical devices are remotely hacked, Google Maps get a price tag, and Linus Torvalds really doesn't like a certain language.

If you own an insulin pump, someone out there might have a hack with your name on it. Google decides to make high-volume Maps API users pony up some cash, and the creator of Linux goes after C++.

Comments: 3
Four short links: 12 October 2011

Four short links: 12 October 2011

Google Platforms, Securing Software, Interactive Design, and Building Proverbs

  1. Steve Yegge’s Google Platforms Rant — epic. Read it. (updated with new link)
  2. Guidelines for Securing Open Source Software (EFF) — advice from the team that audited some commonly-used open source libraries. Avoid giving the user options that could compromise security, in the form of modes, dialogs, preferences, or tweaks of any sort. As security expert Ian Grigg puts it, there is “only one Mode, and it is Secure.” Ask yourself if that checkbox to toggle secure connections is really necessary? When would a user really want to weaken security? To the extent you must allow such user preferences, make sure that the default is always secure. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Ladder of Abstraction — a visual and interactive exploration of design that will delight as well as inform. (via Sacha Judd)
  4. On “Build It And They Will Come”I wasn’t saying “build it and they will come”—I was saying “don’t build it and they can’t come”. Wonderfully captures the idea that success can’t be guaranteed, but failure is easy to ensure. (via Ed Yong)


Comments: 3
Four short links: 27 July 2011

Four short links: 27 July 2011

Coverflow Javascript, Voice APIs, Liberal Acceptance Ruins Everything, and Mobile HTTP Pipelining

  1. ContentFlow — Javascript library to provide CoverFlow-like behaviour.
  2. Twilio Client SDK — 1/4 cent/minute API-to-API calls, embeddable in browser apps.
  3. Postel’s Principle Reconsidered (ACM) — The Robustness Principle was formulated in an Internet of cooperators. The world has changed a lot since then. Everything, even services that you may think you control, is suspect. Excellent explanation of how interoperability and security are harder than they should be because of Postel’s Law (“Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others.”, RFC 793). (via Mike Olson)
  4. HTTP Pipelining on MobilesHTTP pipelining has a much higher adoption amongst mobile browsers. Opera Mini, Opera Mobile and the Android browser all use HTTP pipelining by default. Together they account for about 40% of mobile browsing. If you’re developing a mobile site, your site is experiencing HTTP pipelining daily, and you should understand how it works. (via John Clegg)
Comment: 1
Four short links: 30 May 2011

Four short links: 30 May 2011

Tables to Charts, Crowdsourcing Incentives, Domain Boondoggles, and Conquering Complexity

  1. Chartify — jQuery plugin to create Google charts from HTML tables. (via Rasmus Sellberg)
  2. Designing Incentives for Crowdsourcing Workers (Crowdflower) — In a tough turn for the sociologists and psychologists, none of the purely social/psychological treatments had any significant effects at all.
  3. The gTLD BoondoggleICANN promised back in 1998 that they would bring the world lots of new domains. So far they haven’t, the world has not come to an end, and the Internet has not collapsed. The absence of demand for new TLDs from actual users (as opposed to domain promoters and the occasional astroturf) is deafening. What we do see is a lot of concern that there will be more mistakes like .XXX, and pressure from governments both via the GAC and directly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s a bugger when you go hunting for a new product’s domain name and realize “all the good ones are taken”, but that’s an argument against domain squatters/speculators not an argument for opening up new top-level-domain vistas.
  4. Atul Gawande’s Medical School Commencement Address (New Yorker) — every lesson in here about healthcare is just as applicable to software development. Read it. (via Courtney Johnston)
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Four short links: 13 May 2011

Four short links: 13 May 2011

Bogus Analysis x 2, API Classifications, and Expansive Text

  1. Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data (PDF) — excellent article from Notices of the American Mathematical Society about the flaws in “value-added modelling”, the latest fad whereby data about students’ results in different classes are analysed to identify the effect of each teacher. People recognize that tests are an imperfect measure of educational success, but when sophisticated mathematics is applied, they believe the imperfections go away by some mathematical magic. But this is not magic. What really happens is that the mathematics is used to disguise the problems and intimidate people into ignoring them—a modern, mathematical version of the Emperor’s New Clothes. A critical instance of Hilary Mason’s Clean data > More Data > Fancy Math. (via Audrey Watters)
  2. Classification of HTTP-based APIsThe classification achieves an explicit differentiation between the various kinds of uses of HTTP and provides a foundation to analyse and describe the system properties induced. (via Brian Mulloy)
  3. Cancer Clusters (BBC) — straightforward demonstration of how naive analysis of random numbers can yield “patterns”.
  4. FitText.js — a jQuery plugin for inflating type.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 21 February 2011

Four short links: 21 February 2011

Data in Javascript, Artificial Empathy, Gender Comms, and Artificial Scarcity

  1. Amplify.jssimplify all forms of data handling by providing a unified [Javascript] API for various data sources. Amplify’s store component handles persistent client-side storage, using standards like localStorage and sessionStorage, but falling back on non-standard implementations for older browsers. Amplify’s request adds some additional features to jQuery’s ajax method while abstracting away the underlying data source.
  2. Artificial Empathy (Matt Jones) — we’ve evolved to broadcast and receive emotion, to infer intelligence and intent from the weakest of signals. Now we’re starting to use those communication channels in computer interactions. Matt Jones wonders what we can learn from animals about how this will play out.
  3. Communication Styles Make a Difference (NY Times) — Women were also more negative about the tone of the list. Whereas men tended to say that they found the “slings and arrows” that list members posted “entertaining” (as long as they weren’t directed at them), women reported that the antagonistic exchanges made them want to unsubscribe from the list. One women said it made her want to drop out of the field […] altogether. Also interesting: neutral point-of-view penalizes anyone who cautiously phrases contributions as opinion and rewards those who boldly claim facthood.
  4. Why Platforms Leak: The Impact of Artificial Scarcity (JP Rangaswami) — the best summary of the inevitable failure of artificial scarcity. When you make something digital and connect it to the web, it becomes available everywhere, it becomes available immediately […] As we’ve moved from the physical world to the digital world, incumbents in many industries have sought to preserve the historical structures and ways of doing business. Which, in effect, were attempts to create and exploit artificial scarcities. When it comes to digital assets, there are four primary ways to try and create artificial scarcity. […] All these have been attempted. All these have failed, and will continue to fail. You cannot make something that is essentially abundant artificially scarce.
Comments: 2