- Museum Datasets (Seb Chan) — collections metadata aren’t generally in good quality (often materials are indexed at the “box level”, ie this item number is a BOX and it contains photos of these things), and aren’t all that useful. The story about the Parisian balcony grille is an excellent reminder that the institution’s collections aren’t a be-all and end-all for researchers.
- Hurricane Electric BGP Toolkit — open source tools for diagnosing network problems. (via Nelson Minar)
- Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine — computer vision to straighten up photographed pages of the notebook, and the app recognizes special stickers placed on the book as highlights and selections. Nifty micro-use of augmented reality.
"augmented reality" entries
No Augmenting Money, Cat CV, Quantified Mind, and Hackable Bio
- Bank of England Complains About AR Bank Notes — After downloading the free Blippar app on iPhone or Android, customers were able to ‘blipp’ any ten-pound note in circulation by opening the app and holding their phone over the note. An animated Queen, and other members of the Royal Family, then appeared on the screen and voiced opinions on the latest football matters.
- Quantified Mind — battery of cognitive tests, so you can track performance over time and measure the effect of interventions (coffee, diet, exercise, whatever). (via Sara Winge)
- Jellyfish Made From Rat Cells (Nature) — an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart. Very cool, but the bit that caught my eye was: the team built the medusoid as a way of understanding the “fundamental laws of muscular pumps”. It is an engineer’s approach to basic science: prove that you have identified the right principles by building something with them.
AR Theme Park, Digital Citizenship, Simulating Faces, and Reverse-Engineering Pixels
- South Korean Kinect+RFID Augmented Reality Theme Park — Sixty-five attractions over seven thematic stages contribute to the experience, which uses 3D video, holograms and augmented reality to immerse guests. As visitors and their avatars move through the park, they interact with the attractions using RFID wristbands, while Kinect sensors recognize their gestures, voices and faces. (via Seb Chan)
- Digital Citizenship — computers in schools should be about more than teaching more than just typing to kids, they should know how to intelligently surf, to assess the quality of their sources, to stay safe from scammers and bullies, to have all the training they need to be citizens in an age when life is increasingly lived online. (via Pia Waugh)
- Simulating Anatomically Accurate Facial Expressions (University of Auckland) — video of a talk demonstrating biomechanical models which permit anatomically accurate facial models.
- Depixelizing Pixel Art (Microsoft Research) — this is totally awesome: turning pixel images into vector drawings, which of course can be smoothly scaled. (via Bruce Sterling)
Adoption Curves, Highschool Makerspaces, Google Glass, and OAuth Design Fiction
- Overlapping S-Curves of Various Products (PNG) — product adoption speed over time. (via Beta Knowledge)
- High School Makerspaces Q&A with Dale Dougherty (Radioshack) — Experimentation is one of the things we’re trying to promote. If you do experiments, a number of them fail and you learn from that failure and say, “Gee, I could have done that differently.” It’s metacognitive skills that we’re trying to develop—a way of thinking, a way of doing that increases your confidence in your own abilities and in your capacity to learn. I’d like students to believe that anybody can do these things, not that only a few people are good at math or only a few people are good at programming. The goal is to reduce the barrier to those subjects and show that anybody can be good at them. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Google Glass Patent: Infrared Rings and Fingernails (The Verge) — The patent describes a wearable computing device whose interface can be controlled by infrared markers in the form of bracelets, rings, artificial fingernails, or effectively invisible temporary decals. A camera in the glasses would pick up radiation reflected from the marker, giving it a point of reference for user control. (via Chris Arkenberg)
- OAuth is Your Future (Flickr) — design fictions to provoke thought. DHS accessing your Foursquare history? Aie. (via Dan Hon)
China Snaffling Facebook Stock, DNS Douchebaggery, Corporate Whores, and Comic Relief
- China Wants to Buy Facebook (Forbes) — Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough “to matter.” This has implications for Facebook entering China. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is reportedly “wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there.” If she loses her argument with Zuckerberg and Facebook enters China, the company will eventually be subject to demands to censor its sites, those both inside and outside China. That’s apparently why the Chinese want to own a big stake in Facebook. They are, in short, looking for control in the long run. No other explanation is consistent with the Party’s other media and “educational” initiatives. Again the world’s most desirable emerging market is fraught for those who would enter it.
- Cisco Helping China Build Surveillance (WSJ, subscription probably needed) — Western companies including Cisco Systems Inc. are poised to help build an ambitious new surveillance project in China—a citywide network of as many as 500,000 cameras that officials say will prevent crime but that human-rights advocates warn could target political dissent. Check out the mealy-mouthed weasel from HP: “We take them at their word as to the usage.” He added, “It’s not my job to really understand what they’re going to use it for. Our job is to respond to the bid that they’ve made.” (a) buyers don’t bid, vendors bid; (b) you’re a piss-poor vendor if you don’t understand what the client hopes to achieve; (c) really, maintaining plausible denial is the best way to preserve your brand’s integrity? Hewlett and Packard are turning in their graves, the heat given off from which could be detected by sensors, routed through Cisco boxes and displayed on HP terminals.
- US Claims .net and .com In Their Jurisdiction — The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) wants to take down web sites that use the .com and .net top level domains (TLD) regardless of whether their servers are based in the US. Not only do DNS interventions like this not stop the copying, they’re the thin end of the political wedge into yet another piece of critical Internet infrastructure. Who woke up this morning and thought, “I want a copyright rentacop to decide which websites I can see”? The generative power of the Internet is eroded with every misguided meddling such as this.
- SVK Launches — BERG London finally launch their excellent comic. “Comic?” you ask. Noted science future awesome Warren Ellis wrote it, and it features some clever augmented reality hardware. I have one, and I am happy. You can be too, for only ten pounds plus shipping.
Four vastly different projects marry augmented reality with publishing.
Here are four examples that illustrate how books and other publications are starting to use AR to power their pages.
Foursquare's Dennis Crowley on subtle forms of augmented reality.
Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, says subtle interactions — like a buzzing phone — could lead to better augmented reality experiences than those provided through cameras and screens.
Sentiment Analysis, Word Frequency, Design Process, and Plant Recognition
- SentiWordNet — WordNet with hints as to sentiment of particular terms, for use in sentiment analysis. (via Matt Biddulph)
- Word Frequency Lists and Dictionaries — also for text analysis. This site contains what we believe is the most accurate frequency data of English. It contains word frequency lists of the top 60,000 words (lemmas) in English, collocates lists (looking at nearby words to see word meaning and use), and n-grams (the frequency of all two and three-word sequences in the corpora).
- Crash Course in Web Design for Startups — When I was a wee pixel pusher I would overuse whatever graphic effect I had just learned. Text-shadow? Awesome, let’s put 5px 5px 5px #444. Border-radius? Knock that up to 15px. Gradients? How about from red to black? You can imagine how horrible everything looked. Now my rule of thumb in most cases is applying just enough to make it perceivable, no more. This usually means no blur on text-shadow and just a 1px offset, or only dealing with gradients moving between a very narrow color range. Almost everything in life is improved with this rule.
- Leafsnap — Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution have pooled their expertise to create the world’s first plant identification mobile app using visual search—Leafsnap. This electronic field guide allows users to identify tree species simply by taking a photograph of the tree’s leaves. In addition to the species name, Leafsnap provides high-resolution photographs and information about the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark—giving the user a comprehensive understanding of the species. iPhone for now, Android and iPad to come. (via Fiona Romeo)
- Android Patterns — set of design patterns for Android apps. (via Josh Clark on Twitter)
- Preview of Up and Running with Node.js (O’Reilly) — Tom Hughes-Croucher’s new book in preview form. Just sorting out commenting now. (via Tom on Twitter)
- #Blue Opens for Business — a web app that gets your text messages. You can reply, and there’s an API to give other apps read/write access. Signs the text message is finally becoming a consumer platform.