- Every Day, More iPhones Sold Than Babies Born — Malthusian explosion of iPhones predicted once there’s an iPhone-to-3D-printer dongle. (via Luke Wroblewski)
- No Safe Harbour — a collection of political essays, texts, and discussions that help explain and educate about Pirate Party positions. Available for purchase or free download, natch. (via BoingBoing)
- Patagonia Roadtests New Sustainability Legal Status — California has new corporation types: Flexible Purpose Corporations and Benefit Corporations, which are aimed at permitting directors to consider more than purely “maximizing shareholder value” (e.g., environmental impact, social consequences, etc.).
- Zynga Adds 15Tb/Day of Data (Dell) — Zynga’s goal is to drive player actions that improve financial conversion (i.e. player paying real money for elements of the game) and player retention. To accomplish this Zynga uses the results of continuous data analyses of player actions to test, iterate, and fine tune features in their games. Don’t bother clicking through–the rest of the post is basically PR for Dell’s analytics partnerships. That data point is awe-inspiring, though.
More iPhones Than Babies, Pirate Bay Book, New Corporation Types, and Big Zynga Data
The problem for publishers is that customers don't know what a book is anymore.
The publishing world needs some new language that describes what happens and, more importantly, what is possible when the words are separated from the paper.
Android Strategy, Fad Books, Ubiquitous Product Design, and Android Headers Apology
- The Freight Train That is Android — Google’s aim is defensive not offensive. They are not trying to make a profit on Android or Chrome. They want to take any layer that lives between themselves and the consumer and make it free (or even less than free). […] In essence, they are not just building a moat; Google is also scorching the earth for 250 miles around the outside of the castle to ensure no one can approach it. (via Fred Wilson)
- Group Think (New York Magazine) — Big Idea tomes typically pull promiscuously from behavioral economics, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology. They coin phrases the way Zimbabwe prints bills. They relish upending conventional wisdom: Not thinking becomes thinking, everything bad turns out to be good, and the world is—go figure—flat. (With Gladwell’s Blink, this mania for the counterintuitive runs top-speed into a wall, crumples to the ground, and stares dizzily at the little birds circling overhead. This is, let me remind you, a best-selling book about the counterintuitive importance of thinking intuitively.) A piercing take on pop science/fad management books.
- Product Design at GitHub — Every employee at GitHub is a product designer. We only hire smart people we trust to make our product better. We don’t have managers dictating what to work on. We don’t require executive signoff to ship features. Executives, system administrators, developers, and designers concieve, ship, and remove features alike. (via Simon Willison)
- Linus on Android Headers Claims — “seems totally bogus”. I blogged the Android headers claim earlier, have been meaning to run this rather definitive “ignore it, it was noise” note. Apologies for showing you crap that was wrong: that’s why I try not to show weather-report “news”, but to find projects that illustrate trends.
Library Game, Mac Security, Natural Programming, Selecting Metrics
- Find The Future — New York Public Library big game, by Jane McGonigal. (via Imran Ali)
- Enable Certificate Checking on Mac OS X — how to get your browser to catch attempts to trick you with revoked certificates (more of a worry since security problems at certificate authorities came to light). (via Peter Biddle)
- Clever Algorithms — Nature-Inspired Programming Recipes from AI, examples in Ruby. I hadn’t realized there were Artificial Immune Systems. Cool! (via Avi Bryant)
- Rethinking Evaluation Metrics in Light of Flickr Commons — conference paper from Museums and the Web. As you move from “we are publishing, you are reading” to a read-write web, you must change your metrics. Rather than import comments and tags directly into the Library’s catalog, we verify the information then use it to expand the records of photos that had little description when acquired by the Library. […] The symbolic 2,500th record, a photo from the Bain collection of Captain Charles Polack, is illustrative of the updates taking place based on community input. The new information in the record of this photo now includes his full name, death date, employer, and the occasion for taking the photo, the 100th Atlantic crossing as ocean liner captain. An additional note added to the record points the Library visitor to the Flickr conversation and more of the story with references to gold shipments during WWI. Qualitative measurements, like level of engagement, are a challenge to gauge and convey. While resources expended are sometimes viewed as a cost, in this case they indicate benefit. If you don’t measure the right thing, you’ll view success as a failure. (via Seb Chan)
Budget Treemap, Foo Encapsulated, Book Recommendations, Hackers and Data
- Interactive Treemap for the Budget (NY Times) — why don’t government departments produce and release these automatically? (via Flowing Data)
- Hold Conversations Not Meetings (HBR) — that sentence perfectly captures the heart of Foo Camp. (via Hacker News)
- Kiwi Foo 2011 Book Recommendations — we held a “which books are you reading, or would recommend?” session and this is the collected output.
- Hackers, Transparency, and the Zen of Failure — If hackers can’t create something with the data, they won’t do anything with it. The idea of an “army of armchair auditors” becomes a functional paradox, as the people the Government has in mind for the data apparently sit in armchairs, while the hackers sit in cafes, meet in pubs, and generally find comfy chairs far too comfy to code in. (via Public Strategist)
New Copyright Laws Proposed, GMail APIs, Internet Book Roundup, and Chrome Farm
- White House Will Propose New Digital Copyright Laws (CNet) — If the Internet were truly empowering citizenry and bringing us this new dawn of digital democracy, the people who run it would be able to stop the oppressive grind of the pro-copyright machinery. There’s no detail about what the proposed law would include, except that it will be based on a white paper of “legislative proposals to improve intellectual property enforcement,” and it’s expected to encompass online piracy. I predict a jump in the online trading of those “You can keep the change” posters that were formerly the exclusive domain of the Tea Party, and the eventual passage of bad law. As the article says, digital copyright tends not to be a particularly partisan topic..
- The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us (New Yorker) — thoughtful roundup of books and their positions on whether the Internet’s fruits are good for us. He divides them into never better, better never (as in “we’d be better off if it had never been invented”), and ever-was (as in, “we have always been changed by our technology, so big deal”). (via Bernard Hickey on Twitter)
- New Chrome Extension Blocks Sites from Search Results — Google testing whether users successfully identify and report content farms.
- Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property (MIT Press) — with essays by knowledgeable folks such as Yochai Benkler, Larry Lessig, and Jo Walsh. Available as open access (free) ebook as well as paper. I love it that we can download these proper intellectuals’ intellectual property. (via BoingBoing)
- Be Open from Day One — advice from Karl Fogel (author of the excellent Producing Open Source Software, which O’Reilly publishes) for projects that think they may some day be open source: f you’re running a government software project and you plan to make it open source eventually, then just make it open source from the beginning. Waiting will only create more work. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
- MALLET — open source (CPL-licensed) Java-based package for statistical natural language processing, document classification, clustering, topic modeling, information extraction, and other machine learning applications to text.
Poetry Translation, Smartphone Sales, Freedom for Machines to Read Information, and Free jQuery Book
- “Poetic” Statistical Machine Translation: Rhyme and Meter (PDF) — Google Research paper on how to machine translate text into poetry. This is the best paper I’ve read in a long time: clever premise, straightforward implementation, and magnificent results. There’s a very workable translation of Oscar Wilde’s “Ballad of Reading Gaol” into a different meter, which you’ll know isn’t easy if you’ve ever tried your hand at poetry more complex than “there once was a young man called Enis”. (via Poetic Machine Translation on the Google Research blog)
- Android Most Popular Operating System in US Among Recent Smartphone Buyers (Nielsen blog) — the graphs say it all. Note how the growth in Android handset numbers doesn’t come at the expense of Blackberry or iPhone users? Android users aren’t switchers, they’re new smartphone owners. (via Hacker News)
- Government Data to be Machine Readable (Guardian) — UK government to require all responses to Freedom of Information Act requests to be machine readable.
- jQuery Fundamentals — CC-SA-licensed book on jQuery programming. (via darren on Twitter)
Python Exercises, Maker Revolution, Dodgy Memes, and Government Licenses
- Learn Python The Hard Way — Zed Shaw’s book on programming Python, written as 52 exercises: Each exercise is one or two pages and follows the exact same format. You type each one in (no copy-paste!), make it run, do the extra credit, and then move on. If you get stuck, at least type it in and skip the extra credit for later. This is brilliant—you learn by doing, and this book is all doing.
- When The Revolution Comes They Won’t Recognize it (Anil Dash) — nails the importance of Makers. Dale Dougherty and the dozens of others who have led Maker Faire, and the culture of “making”, are in front of a movement of millions who are proactive about challenging the constrictions that law and corporations are trying to place on how they communicate, create and live. The lesson that simply making things is a radical political act has enormous precedence in political history.
- Truthy — project tracking suspicious memes on Twitter.
- UK Open Government License — standard license for open government information in the UK.
Design Principles, Mario AI, Open Source Wave, and 3D Google Earth Sound
- Arranging Things: The Rhetoric of Object Placement (Amazon) — […] the underlying principles that govern how Western designers arrange things in three-dimensional compositions. Inspired by Greek and Roman notions of rhetoric […] Koren elucidates the elements of arranging rhetoric that all designers instinctively use in everything from floral compositions to interior decorating. (via Elaine Wherry)
- 2010 Mario AI Championship — three tracks: Gameplay, Learning, and Level Generation. Found via Ben Weber’s account of his Level Generation entry. My submission utilizes a multi-pass approach to level generation in which the system iterates through the level several times, placing different types of objects during each pass. During each pass through the level, a subset of each object type has a specific probability of being added to the level. The result is a computationally efficient approach to generating a large space of randomized levels.
- Wave in a Box — Google to flesh out existing open source Wave client and server into full “Wave in a Box” app status.
- 3D Sound in Google Earth (YouTube) — wow. (via Planet In Action)