- Neutral Nets on Encrypted Data (Paper a Day) — By using a technique known as homohorphic encryption, it’s possible to perform operations on encrypted data, producing an encrypted result, and then decrypt the result to give back the desired answer. By combining homohorphic encryption with a specially designed neural network that can operate within the constraints of the operations supported, the authors of CryptoNet are able to build an end-to-end system whereby a client can encrypt their data, send it to a cloud service that makes a prediction based on that data – all the while having no idea what the data means, or what the output prediction means – and return an encrypted prediction to the client, which can then decrypt it to recover the prediction. As well as making this possible, another significant challenge the authors had to overcome was making it practical, as homohorphic encryption can be expensive.
- VR for IoT Prototype (YouTube) — a VR prototype created for displaying sensor data and video streaming in real time from IoT sensors/camera devices designed for rail or the transportation industry.
- Is Group Chat Making You Sweat? (Jason Fried) — all excellent points. Our attention and focus are the scarce and precious resources of the 21st century.
- How Devices Provide Haptic Feedback — good intro to what’s happening in your hardware.
Solitude and Leadership, Data Repository, Copyright History, and Open Source Audio
- Solitude and Leadership — an amazing essay on the value of managing one’s information diet. Far more than yet another Carr/Morozov “the Internet is making us dumb!!” hate on short-form content, this is an eloquent exposition of the need for long-form thoughts. I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing. (via Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011)
- Building The Perfect Data Repository (Cameron Neylon) — in which Cameron talks about solving problems for the people with the data. One of the problems with many efforts in this space is how they are conceived and sold as the user. “Making it easy to put your data on the web” and “helping others to find your data” solve problems that most researchers don’t think they have. […] A successful data repository system will start by solving a different problem, a problem that all researchers recognize they have”
- Macaulay on Copyright — periodically someone rediscovers how the the 1841 debate on copyright mirrors our own, but that it was discovered before does not mean it is not worth reading again. At present the holder of copyright has the public feeling on his side. Those who invade copyright are regarded as knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men.[…] Pass this law: and that feeling is at an end. Men very different from the present race of piratical booksellers will soon infringe this intolerable monopoly. Great masses of capital will be constantly employed in the violation of the law. Every art will be employed to evade legal pursuit; and the whole nation will be in the plot.
- ALAC — Apple Lossless Audio Codec is now open source by Apple.
Jobs Quotes, Tao of Programming, Distraction, and Canvas Tutorials
- Steve Jobs’s Best Quotes (WSJ Blogs) — Playboy: We were warned about you: Before this Interview began, someone said we were “about to be snowed by the best.”; [Smiling] “We’re just enthusiastic about what we do.” (via Kevin Rose)
- The Tao of Programming — The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler. The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages. Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao. But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it. (via Chip Salzenberg)
- In Defense of Distraction (NY Magazine) — long thoughtful piece about attention. the polymath economist Herbert A. Simon wrote maybe the most concise possible description of our modern struggle: “What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” (via BoingBoing)
- 31 Days of Canvas Tutorials — a pointer to 31 tutorials on the HTML5 Canvas.
The mindset at Zappos is illustrative of the era of engagement.
At Zappos last year, 25,000 people applied for 250 job openings. Applicants are enthusiastic to be part of an era-of-engagement, post-productivity company. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh discusses Zappo's secret sauce in his new book.
Power lies with those who can decipher attention algorithms.
As our social, economic and political lives are increasingly mediated through a few consolidated technologies such as Facebook and Google, software exerts a profound influence on the way we engage with one another.
- Exploring Computational Thinking (Google) — educational materials to help teachers get students thinking about recognizing patterns, decomposing problems, and so on.
- Feedly — RSS feeds + twitter + other sites into a single magazine format.
- Attention and Information — what appears to us as “too much information” could just be the freedom from necessity. The biggest change ebooks have made in my life is that now book reading is as stressful and frenetic as RSS reading, because there’s as much of an oversupply of books-I’d-like-to-read as there is of web-pages-I’d-like-to-read. My problem isn’t over-supply of material, it’s a shortage of urgency that would otherwise force me to make the hard decisions about “no, don’t add this to the pile, it’s not important enough to waste my time with”. Instead, I have 1990s books on management that looked like maybe I might learn something …. (via Clay Shirky on Twitter)
The very technology that makes our collective integration possible also distracts us from advancing it. In equilibrium, distraction and ambition square off at the singular point of failed progress. If the next generation of Moores, Joys, and Kurzweils are half as distracted as I am, we are going to find ourselves frozen right here, nodes in a wormy borg that never becomes a butterfly. My computer is turning out to be the interface to a giant network Skinner Box. But maybe Twitter is just God's way of making sure we're too distracted to destroy ourselves.
Meatware Hacks, iPhone Web Stats, Distributed Hash Tables, Richard Feynman Fun
- Freedom for OS X — Mac app that disables networking for up to eight hours so you can get work done without Internet distractions. Technology workarounds for meatware bugs. (via Joshua-Michèle Ross).
- iPhone Casts a Giant Shadow on the Web — 43% of mobile web traffic is from iPhone users, as measured by “the world’s largest purveyor of ads on mobile apps and websites”. As I was told today, “more people are spending more time looking at the web through one of these. For how much longer can you afford to ignore it?” (via timoreilly on Twitter)
- Why you won’t be building your killer app on a distributed hash table (Jonathan Ellis) — locking and sophisticated queries. I’m still trying to figure out where we’ll end up with these “let’s do something simple in a way that lets us scale horizontally, and then build on top of that” approaches to solving the big data/graph theory problems behind many modern apps.
- Richard Feynman Interviews at Microsoft — a bit of fun to start the weekend on. (new URL 20090601)