"architecture" entries

Four short links: 1 October 2013

Four short links: 1 October 2013

Ploughbot, Amazon Warehouses, Kickstarting Safety, and The Island of Dr Thoreau

  1. Farmbot Wikiopen-source, scalable, automated precision farming machines.
  2. Amazon’s Chaotic Storage — photos from inside an Amazon warehouse. At the heart of the operation is a sophisticated database that tracks and monitors every single product that enters/leaves the warehouse and keeps a tally on every single shelf space and whether it’s empty or contains a product. Software-optimised spaces, for habitation by augmented humans.
  3. Public Safety Codes of the World — Kickstarter project to fund the release of public safety codes.
  4. #xoxo Thoreau Talk (Maciej Ceglowski) — exquisitely good talk by the Pinboard creator, on success, simplicity, and focus.
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What is probabilistic programming?

Probabilistic languages can free developers from the complexities of high-performance probabilistic inference.

Probabilistic programming languages are in the spotlight. This is due to the announcement of a new DARPA program to support their fundamental research. But what is probabilistic programming? What can we expect from this research? Will this effort pay off? How long will it take?

A probabilistic programming language is a high-level language that makes it easy for a developer to define probability models and then “solve” these models automatically. These languages incorporate random events as primitives and their runtime environment handles inference. Now, it is a matter of programming that enables a clean separation between modeling and inference. This can vastly reduce the time and effort associated with implementing new models and understanding data. Just as high-level programming languages transformed developer productivity by abstracting away the details of the processor and memory architecture, probabilistic languages promise to free the developer from the complexities of high-performance probabilistic inference. Read more…

Comments: 13

Aereo’s copyright solution: intentional inefficiency

Aereo's backward architecture could be the thing that keeps it in business.

Aereo, an online service that sends free over-the-air television broadcasts to subscribers, scored a big win in court this week.

At first glance, it would seem the service has to violate copyright. Aereo is grabbing TV content without paying for it and then passing it along to Aereo’s paying subscribers.

So how is Aereo pulling it off? Over at Ars Technica, Timothy B. Lee deconstructs the service’s blend of tech and legal precedent:

Aereo’s technology was designed from the ground up to take advantage of a landmark 2008 ruling holding that a “remote” DVR product offered by Cablevision was consistent with copyright law. Key to that ruling was Cablevision’s decision to create a separate copy of recorded TV programs for each user. While creating thousands of redundant copies makes little sense from a technical perspective, it turned out to be crucial from a legal point of view …

… When a user wants to view or record a television program, Aereo assigns him an antenna exclusively for his own use. And like Cablevision, when 1,000 users record the same program, Aereo creates 1,000 redundant copies. [Links included in original text; emphasis added.]

Creating lots of copies of the exact same content is inefficient. No one can argue that point. But if you can get past the absurdity, you have to admit Aereo’s architecture is quite clever. Take thousands of tiny antennas, combine them with abundant storage, and now you’ve got a disruptive service that might survive the onslaught of litigation.

Note: Aereo’s recent win only applies to a request for a preliminary injunction. Further court proceedings are likely, and you can bet there will be a long and winding appeals process.

Comments: 4

On reading Mike Barlow’s “Real-Time Big Data Analytics: Emerging Architecture”

Barlow's distilled insights regarding the ever evolving definition of real time big data analytics

Reading Barlow on a Sunday Afternoon

Reading Barlow on a Sunday afternoon

During a break in between offsite meetings that Edd and I were attending the other day, he asked me, “did you read the Barlow piece?”

“Umm, no.” I replied sheepishly. Insert a sidelong glance from Edd that said much without saying anything aloud. He’s really good at that.

In my utterly meager defense, Mike Loukides is the editor on Mike Barlow’s Real-Time Big Data Analytics: Emerging Architecture. As Loukides is one of the core drivers behind O’Reilly’s book publishing program and someone who I perceive to be an unofficial boss of my own choosing, I am not really inclined to worry about things that I really don’t need to worry about. Then I started getting not-so-subtle inquiries from additional people asking if I would consider reviewing the manuscript for the Strata community site. This resulted in me emailing Loukides for a copy and sitting in a local cafe on a Sunday afternoon to read through the manuscript.

Read more…

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Four short links: 13 February 2013

Four short links: 13 February 2013

Open Regulations, Inside PACER, Hacking Memory, and Pirating Buildings

  1. CA Assembly Bill No. 292This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create derivative works based on the material for either commercial or noncommercial purposes. (via BoingBoing)
  2. The Inside Story of PACER (Ars Technica) — PACER has become a cash cow for the judicial branch, generating $100 million in profits the court has plowed into non-PACER IT projects. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Manipulating Memory for Fun and Profit (PDF) — It is a common belief that RAM loses its content as soon as the power is down. This is wrong, RAM is not immediately erased. It may take up to several minutes in a standard environment, even if the RAM is removed from the computer. And it may last much longer if you cool the DRAM chips. With a simple dusty spraying at -50°C, your RAM data can survive more that 10 minutes. If you cool the chips at -196°C with liquid nitrogen, data are held for several hours without any power.
  4. Pirating Buildings (Spiegel) — putting the “property” back in Intellectual Property.
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Four short links: 31 July 2012

Four short links: 31 July 2012

Urban Design, Vehicle Interfaces, Maldrones, and Cloud Translation

  1. Christchurch’s Shot at Being Innovation Central (Idealog) — Christchurch, rebuilding a destroyed CBD after earthquakes, has released plans for the new city. I hope there’s budget for architects and city developers to build visible data, sensors, etc. so the Innovation Precinct doesn’t become the Tech Ghetto.
  2. Torque Pro (Google Play Store) — a vehicle / car performance/diagnostics tool and scanner that uses an OBD II Bluetooth adapter to connect to your OBD2 engine management/ECU. Can lay out out your dashboards, track performance via GPS, and more. (via Steve O’Grady)
  3. Drone Pilots (NY Times) — at the moment, the stories are all about the technology helping our boys valiantly protecting the nation. Things will get interesting when the new technology is used against us (we just saw the possibility of this with 3D printing guns). (via Dave Pell)
  4. Avalon (GitHub) — A cloud based translation and localization utility for Python which combines human and machine translation. There’s also a how-to. (via Brian McConnell)
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Oracle's NoSQL

Oracle's NoSQL Database is more than a product. It's also an acknowledgement.

Oracle's announcement of a NoSQL product isn't just a validation of key-value stores, but of the entire discussion of database architecture.

Comments: 4

Oracle’s NoSQL

Oracle's NoSQL Database is more than a product. It's also an acknowledgement.

Oracle's announcement of a NoSQL product isn't just a validation of key-value stores, but of the entire discussion of database architecture.

Comments: 4

Outliers and coexistence are the new normal for big data

Analysis of complete data sets and integration of new tools are leading to revenue growth and new business models.

To benefit from advanced analytics and study complete huge data sets, many enterprise architectures are evolving into coexistence environments that combine legacy and new systems.

Comment: 1
Four short links: 23 August 2010

Four short links: 23 August 2010

Crowdsourced Architecture, Lego Timetracking, Streaming Charts, and The Deeper Meaning of School

  1. Open Buildings — crowdsourced database of information about buildings, for architecture geeks. A sign that crowdsourcing is digging deep into niches far far from the world of open source software. (via straup on Delicious)
  2. Lego-Based Time Tracking — clever hack to build physical graphs of where your time goes. (via avgjanecrafter on Twitter)
  3. Smoothie Charts — a charting Javascript library designed for live streaming data. (via jdub on Twitter)
  4. The Big Lie (Chris Lehmann) — why school is not only about workforce development: I think – I fear – that the next twenty or thirty years of American life are going to be difficult. I think we’re going to have some really challenging problems to solve, and I think that we’re going to be faced with hard choices about our lives, and I want our schools to help students be ready to solve those problems, to weigh-in on those problems, to vote on those problems. It’s why History and Science are so important. It’s why kids have to learn how to create and present their ideas in powerful ways. It’s why kids have to become critical consumers and producers of information. And hopefully, along the way, they find the careers that will help them build sustainable, enjoyable, productive lives. Also read Umair Haque’s A Deeper Kind of Joblessness which Chris linked to.
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