- 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.
ENTRIES TAGGED "book related"
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 Slowing Growth of Wikipedia and More Details of Changing Editor Resistance — researchers at PARC analysed Wikipedia and found the number of new articles and number of new editors have flattened off, and more edits from first-time contributors are being reverted. This is a writeup in their blog, with the numbers and charts. It’s interesting that coverage in New Scientist talked about “quality”, but none of the metrics PARC studied are actually quality. Wikipedia launched a strategic review which aims to tackle this and many other issues. (via ACM TechNews)
- The Information Architecture of Social Experience Design: Five Principles, Five Anti-Patterns and 96 Patterns (in Three Buckets) — teaser for upcoming O’Reilly book with some really good stuff. Balzac once wrote, “The secret of great wealth with no obvious source is some forgotten crime, forgotten because it was done neatly,” and many successful social sites today founded themselves on an original sin, perhaps a spammy viral invitation model or unapproved abuse of new users’ address books. Some companies never lived down the taint and other seems to have passed some unspoken statute of limitations. (via BoingBoing)
- Skulpt — entirely in-browser implementation of Python. (via Andy Baio)
- Why Can’t Local Government and Open Source Be Friends? — the Birmingham example is one of many. Government procurement and tendering processes are often fishing expeditions, which biases responses in favour of commercial software companies making mad margins such that they can respond to RFPs that are really RFIs, etc. It’s an issue everywhere in the world because it happens at local, not just central, level.
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.
Attending the TopCoder Open, the final in-person rounds of an intense programming competition, in support of the TopCoder Cookbook, showed me possibilities that go way beyond programming or books into business models and community I came expecting to see a competition, but found a much more inclusive (and compelling) business model which builds and applies an international community of dedicated developers.