- Choose Your Own Adventure — numerical and visual analysis of the Choose Your Own Adventure novels. The distinguishing characteristic of My Kind Of People is that they appreciate the quantitative study of the commonplace. (via Bryan O’Sullivan)
- Tracking Droid Numbers — uLocate, the makers of the Where app for Android, have been tracking the growth of the Droid phone using the data they get from the Android app store. (via BoyGenius Report)
- Fly Eyes Makes Better Robot Vision — to make smaller flying robots, researchers would like to find a simpler way of processing motion. Inspiration has come from the lowly fly, which uses just a relative handful of neurons to maneuver with extraordinary dexterity. And for more than a decade, O’Carroll and other researchers researchers have painstakingly studied the optical flight circuits of flies, measuring their cell-by-cell activity and turning evolution’s solutions into a set of computational principles. [...] Intriguingly, the algorithm doesn’t work nearly as well if any one operation is omitted. The sum is greater than the whole, and O’Carroll and Brinkworth don’t know why. Because the parameters are in constant feedback-driven flux, it produces a cascade of non-linear equations that are difficult to untangle in retrospect, and almost impossible to predict. (via Slashdot)
- Meat Band Aids and Mass Production of Living Tissue — Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions), that, when applied to chronic wounds (particularly nasty problems like diabetic sores), can seed healing and regeneration. This Gizmodo Q&A is informative.
"book related" entries
Visualizing Adventures, Droid Deployments, Fly Vision, and Mass Meat For You
Barcode Scanning, Downloadable Community Book, Gov Hack Day, Android Kludges
- Red Laser — “impossibly accurate barcode scanning”. Uses Google Product Search to identify products that you scan using the camera on the phone. I remember Rael and I talking to Jeff Bezos about this years ago, before camphones had the resolution to decode barcodes. The future is here and it’s $1.99 on the App Store … (via Ed Corkery on Twitter)
- The Art of Community For Free Download — Jono Bacon’s O’Reilly book on community management now available for free download (still available for purchase!).
- Gov Hack — Australian government ran a hack day with their open data, this is their writeup.
- Android Mythbusters — slides for talk by Matt Porter at Embedded Linux Conference Europe. A (long) catalogue of the kludges in Android.
- Open Access Week — world-wide, dedicated to raising awareness of open access to research. (via Creative Commons Aotearoa).
- 1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right — Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection.
- The Elements of Statistical Learning 2ed — classic book (I have the 1st edition) that is now available as a free PDF download. (via Hacker News)
At Velocity this year Microsoft, Google and Shopzilla each presented data on how web performance directly impacts revenue. Their data showed that slow sites get fewer search queries per user, less revenue per visitor, fewer clicks, fewer searches, and lower search engine rankings. They found that in some cases even after site performance was improved users continued to interact as if it was slow. Bad experiences have a lasting influence on customer behavior.
Bad Writing, Tech Immigration, Long Tail Fail?, and The Real McKoi
- Dan Brown’s 20 Worst Sentences — awful awful writing, and glorious glorious mockery of it.
Deception Point, chapter 8: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.
It’s not clear what Brown thinks ‘precarious’ means here.
- From Australia to the World: The Story of Google Maps and Google Wave (PDF, HTML Cached here) — history of Google Maps and Wave, from the creator. This particularly struck me: I know few matters more frustrating than finding funding for a start-up. Immigration tops the list.
- Rethinking The Long Tail: How to Define ‘Hits’ and ‘Niches’ — the argument comes down to absolute vs relative measurements of popularity. Anderson says that relative hides too much, because percentages are meaningless in a world of infinite inventory. Researchers respond that hits and niches are defined in absolute numbers (top 10, bottom 100). The real takeaway is that infinite inventory requires excellent discovery tools drawing upon collective intelligence systems (hence the Netflix recommendation contest). (via timoreilly on Twitter)
- The Mckoi Database — MckoiDDB is a database system used by software developers to create applications that store data over a cluster of machines in a network. It is designed to be used in online environments where there are very large sets of both small and big data items that need to be stored, accessed and indexed efficiently in a network cluster. The focus of the MckoiDDB architecture is to support low latency query performance, provide strong data consistency through snapshot transaction isolation, and provide tools to manage logical data models that may change dramatically in physical network environments that may experience similar dramatic change. (via joshua on delicious)
Mobile jQuery, API to Google Book Search, Open Learning, Popularity Algorithms
- jQTouch — jQuery library for mobile web app development. (via brian on Delicious)
- GData API to Google Book Search — search full text, get back metadata, modify “my library” collections, etc.
- Open and Free Courses at the CMU Open Learning Initiative — rather than just a lecture and handout dump, it has interactive exercises and questions to help you practice and figure out whether you’ve learned the subject. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
- How to Build a Popularity Algorithm You Can Be Proud Of — description and brief analysis for the popularity algorithms in Hacker News, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Linkibol. A basic collective intelligence technique that’s not obvious. (via Simon Willison)
EPub FTW, SQL Horror, Computer Vision Explained, and A Massive Dump of Twitter Stats
- Page2Pub — harvest wiki content and turn it into EPub and PDF. See also Sony dropping its proprietary format and moving to EPub. Open standards rock. (via oreillylabs on Twitter)
- SQL Pie Chart — an ASCII pie chart, drawn by SQL code. Horrifying and yet inspiring. Compare to PostgreSQL code to produce ASCII Mandelbrot set. (via jdub on Twitter and Simon Willison)
- How SudokuGrab Works — the computer vision techniques behind an iPhone app that solves Sudoku puzzles that you take a photo of. Well explained! These CV techniques are an essential part of the sensor web. (via blackbeltjones on Delicious)
- Twitter by the Numbers — massive dump of charts and stats on Twitter. I love that there’s a section devoted to social media marketers, the Internet’s head lice. (via Kevin Marks on Twitter)
The market has been on a steady decline since mid-2008 and has continued downward right through the first half of 2009. And there are very few signs that the book-buying slump is going to turn around anytime soon. Overall, the market saw 595,821 fewer units sold in the first half of 2009 than were sold in the same period of 2008. Although we do not have data to show the trends between 2000 and 2003, the market performance this year is the worst we’ve seen since the fall of of 2001. You’ll notice in the chart below that the seasonal patterns have remained consistent, but sales are at a much lower volume than any previous year.
John Viega is the co-editor of Beautiful Security, the latest in O'Reilly's "Beautiful" series. He recently talked to me a bit about what makes security beautiful, and what demands modern security problems place on end users and administrators. James Turner: With Beautiful Code and Beautiful Data, you can think about code or data that's elegant or has a simplicity to…
3D Geometry, The Printable Web, Government Internet Fail, and Real World Cloud Computing
- How to Project on 3D Geometry — the fine art (and math) of distorting an image so that it looks undistorted when projected onto a non-flat 3D surface. Confused? See the images below. (via straup on Delicious)
- ZinePal — Create your own printable magazine from any online content. (via warrenellis on Delicious)
- What The Government Doesn’t Understand About The Internet And What To Do About It — Tom Steinberg from MySociety lays it out. As true for US, NZ, and every other country as it is for the UK (for which it was written). Accept that any state institution that says “we control all the information about X” is going to look increasingly strange and frustrating to a public that’s used to be able to do whatever they want with information about themselves, or about anything they care about (both private and public). This means accepting that federated identity systems are coming and will probably be more successful than even official ID card systems: ditto citizen-held medical records. It means saying “We understand that letting train companies control who can interface with their ticketing systems means that the UK has awful train ticket websites that don’t work as hard as they should to help citizens buy cheaper tickets more easily. And we will change that, now.” What I like about Tom vs the US’s Gov 2.0 is that Tom puts down philosophy that’s hard to argue with, whereas the US is dangerously close to simply focusing on techniques and that’s subvertible.
- Real World Cloud Computing — summary from a panel of startups who are using EC2. The lock-in is latency. Transfering data within the Amazon services is free. Transfering data to an Amazon competitor: not free.