- The Open Laboratory — collection of the best science writing on blogs from the last year. For more, see an interview with the author. Part of a growing trend where online comes first and feeds offline. (via sciblogs)
- Nat Friedman Leaving Novell — one of the original Ximian founders, with interests in many directions and the coding chops to make them real. He’ll found another startup, topic as yet unknown, which will be one to watch.
- Bruce Sterling’s State of the World 2010 — sometimes funny, often thought-provoking, always interesting. Americans really want and need and desire a Futuristic Vision Thing, they get all lonesome and moody without one, but it’s absolutely gotta be one of those good-old-fashioned American Futuristic Vision Things, just like the Americans had in the 1950s when everybody else was still on fire from total war and cleaning up the death camps.
- MTA Releases Data — NYC finally releases transit data, free for developers to reuse. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
Best Science Blogging, Nat Friedman, State of the World, MTA Data
Digital Natives, Supersexy C64 Debugger, a Google Tripwire, and a Patient Botnet
- Digital Natives (Ze Frank) — digital natives have grown up in a landscape where access to information and influence has been flattened. they have watched media distribution bottlenecks in the form of networks and studios lose influence to youtube and independent production houses. They have watched companies bow down to viral video critiques, and watched political systems get hacked by social networks. this is a generation that doesn’t understand restrictions on access to media if those restrictions are inefficient or obviously detrimental to the system as a whole. this is a generation that has been at war with DRM and copyright right from the start. it is a generation awash with free tutorials and download-able source code. When is a conversation with a precocious 17 year old a glimpse into an inter-generational gulf with implications for the role and status of formal education, and when is it just an encounter with a brat? Ze’s piece is worth reading, whichever way it comes out.
- ICU64 — an open source Commodore 64 emulator (Frodo) hacked to visually and textually display memory. Watch the video embedded below, it’s hypnotic and seductive. It immediately made me want one for my programs (without having to port my code back to 6502 assembler). (via waxy whose return from pneumonia is greatly welcomed)
- Me and Belle du Jour — interesting story from a UK blog master who guessed her identity but kept it secret, creating a googlewhacked page as a tripwire to let him know when someone else guessed. He tipped her off that her cover was blown. (via waxy again)
- The Hail Mary Cloud — the world’s slowest yet effective brute force attack. If you publish your user name and password, somebody who is not you will use it, sooner or later. A botnet is brute-force trying every known username and password combination against every known ssh server. Each attempt in theory has monumental odds against succeeding, but occasionally the guess will be right and they have scored a login. As far as we know, this is at least the third round of password guessing from the Hail Mary Cloud (see the archives for earlier postings about slow bruteforcers), but there could have been earlier rounds that escaped our attention.
Cognitive Surplus, Scaling, Chinese Blogs, CS Education for Growth
- Eight Billion Minutes Spent on Facebook Daily — you weren’t using that cognitive surplus, were you?
- How We Made Github Fast — high-level summary is that the new “fast, good, cheap–pick any two” is “fast, new, easy–pick any two”. (via Simon Willison)
- Isaac Mao, China, 40M Blogs and Counting — Today, there are 40 million bloggers in China and around 200 million blogs, according to Mao. Some blogs survive only a few days before being shut down by authorities. More than 80% of people in China don’t know that the internet is censored in their country. When riots broke out in Xinjiang province this year, the authorities shut down internet access for the whole region. No one could get online.
- Congress Endorses CS Education as Driver of Economic Growth — compare to Economist’s Optimism that tech firms will help kick-start economic recovery is overdone.
For a few weeks, I’ve been testing a tool called Posterous, and I’ve come to like it a lot. You can post blogs simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or a similar address – you don’t even need an “account” or a “login” or a “password.” Even in the private sector, this is considered a cool feature. But for government employees, it could be a breath of life in an otherwise locked-down state of cybersecurity affairs.
A piece in the New York Times reignites the fair use debate by asking: How much excerpting does fair use cover? It's a reasonable question, particularly since Google News, the Huffington Post and countless other sites rely on excerpt aggregation to drive traffic and sell ads. But the rules of excerpting are also — to steal a line from Steve…
Happy Monday! Kid coding and web-powered political transparency form the artisanal wholewheat organic bread slices around a sandwich filling of meaty (or tofuy) web travel APIs and blogly angst:
- Art and Code — conference on programming environments for “artists, young people, and the rest of us”. Alice! Hackety Hack! Scratch! Processing! And more! March 7-9 at CMU. Want! (I’ve written before about my ongoing experiences teaching kids to program)
- TripIt API — clever, they’re building a single point where hotels, airlines, travel agents, mobile apps, etc. can access your integrated booking (use case: flight delayed, which hotel and mobile car rentals learn and react to by not assuming you’ve bailed on them) (disclaimer: OATV has invested in TripIt).
- Organically Grown Audiences (Danny O’Brien) — good point from Danny that I’ve been thinking about for a while: maintaining an audience is hard work, and the audience isn’t necessarily comprised of people you’d choose to hang out with. Perhaps the answer is to grow the audience slowly, but I’m not convinced. I’d say that unreciprocated intimacy from your audience is a sign that you’re doing things wrong, but it’s how fame works: the things people say to people in the public eye, on and off the web, are astonishingly presumptuous and familiar. Then again perhaps I should retreat back to the British Isles from which my frosty social distance comes and tend my tweed elbow patch farm until I die from bad teeth, bad beer, or a surfeit of Benny Hill.
- Promoting Open Government (Economist) — state and central governments are making expenditure public, in varyingly useful ways. Links to Missouri Accountability Portal and ReadTheStimulus.org (the former as well-designed, the latter as crowd-sourcing).
Hello from Whakapapa, a ski resort in New Zealand. These four links come to you via the wifi at the “highest hotel in New Zealand“, which serves as a useful reminder that no matter how unremarkable one might seem, anyone can have a claim to fame if only they work at it.
- Apple Show Us DRM’s True Colors – the EFF checks out where Apple has DRM in its products and discovers that in most cases it has little to do with piracy and more about eliminating legitimate competition. DRM is “bundling” for the 2000s. (via stinky)
- Rules of Database Aging – this is so true. I think everyone who read this said, “this is so true”. Cue Santayana quote.
- Blog Converters Released – apparently Google has Data Liberation Front that has released a converter to let you switch between Blogger, LiveJournal, MovableType, and WordPress formats for blog archives. When they add Twitter, they might make Tim Bray feel better about Twitter. (via waxy)
- Hana – an absolutely beautiful screensaver for OS X (other platforms soon, I hope) that simulates every flower it shows. I could try to justify this as tied into the growing trend of simulations as the skills of simulation drive more fields of life, but really it’s just pretty. And who doesn’t need a drop more pretty in their life?