ENTRIES TAGGED "books"

Four short links: 9 August 2012

Four short links: 9 August 2012

Economics of Innovation, Bio Imagery, Open Source EEG for Smartphone, and Feynman Bio

  1. Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy (Amazon) — soon-to-be-released book by Bill Janeway, of Warburg-Pincus (and the O’Reilly board). People raved about his session at scifoo. I’m bummed I missed it, but I’ll console myself with his book.
  2. Cell Image Librarya freely accessible, easy-to-search, public repository of reviewed and annotated images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing cell architecture, intracellular functionalities, and both normal and abnormal processes. The purpose of this database is to advance research, education, and training, with the ultimate goal of improving human health. And an excellent source of desktop images.
  3. Smartphone EEG Scanner — unusually, there’s no Kickstarter project for an iPhone version. (Designs and software are open source)
  4. Feynman — excellent graphic novel bio of Feynman, covering the science as well as the personality. Easy to read and very enjoyable.
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Four short links: 9 May 2012

Four short links: 9 May 2012

Version Control for Real Stuff, Educators on Food Stamps, Gestural Exploration, and Book Marketing

  1. We Need Version Control for Real Stuff (Chris Anderson) — This is pointing us toward the next step, a GitHub for stuff. If open source hardware is going to take off like open source software, we need this. (via Evil Mad Scientist)
  2. Graduates and Post-Graduates on Food Stamps (Chronicle of Higher Education) — two points for me here: the inherent evil of not paying a living wage; and the pain of market signals that particular occupations and specialisations are not as useful as once they were. I imagine it’s hard to repurpose the specific knowledge in a Masters of Medieval History to some other field, though hopefully the skills of diligent hard work, rapid acquisition of knowledge, and critical thought will apply to new jobs. Expect more of this as we replace human labour with automation. I look forward to the software startup which creates work for people outside the organisation; the ultimate “create more value than you capture”.
  3. Explore Exoplanets with Gestural Interfaces — uses John Underkoffler’s Oblong gestural interface. Underkoffler came up with the Minority Report interface which has fed the dreams of designers for years.
  4. Book Marketing Lessons Learned (Sarah Milstein) — I really liked this honest appraisal of how Baratunde Thurston marketed his “How to be Black” book, and am doubly chuffed that it appeared on the O’Reilly Radar blog. I was fascinated by his Street Team, but knew I wanted to bring it to your attention when I read this. Start with your inner circle. I had an epiphany with Gary Vaynerchuk. I asked: “Did I ever ask you to buy my book?” He said, “Yeah, I bought it yesterday.” I talked about his book, but cash on the table — it didn’t happen. He wished he had identified everyone he knows, sending a personal note explaining: “A) buy the book; B) this means a lot to me. You owe me or I will owe you. Here’s some things you can do to help: If you have speaking opportunities, let me know. For instance, I would love to speak at schools.” Make it easy for people who want to help you. Everything else is bonus. If you haven’t already converted the inner circle, you’ve skipped a critical step. “Let the people who already love you show it” is the skill I feel like I’ve spent years working on, and still have years to go.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 17 April 2012

Four short links: 17 April 2012

Animal Imagery, Infectious Ideas, Internet v Books, and Transparency Projects

  1. Penguins Counted From Space (Reuters) — I love the unintended flow-on effects of technological progress. Nobody funded satellites because they’d help us get an accurate picture of wildlife in the Antarctic, but yet here we are. The street finds a use …
  2. What Makes a Super-Spreader?A super-spreader is a person who transmits an infection to a significantly greater number of other people than the average infected person. The occurrence of a super spreader early in an outbreak can be the difference between a local outbreak that fizzles out and a regional epidemic. Cory, Waxy, Gruber, Ms BrainPickings Popova: I’m looking at you. (via BoingBoing)
  3. The Internet Did Not Kill Reading Books (The Atlantic) — reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.
  4. Data Transparency Hacks — projects that came from the WSJ Data Transparency Codeathon.
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Four short links: 11 April 2012

Four short links: 11 April 2012

Inside Apple, Microsoft Acquires Netscape Patents, Open Science, and Smart Meters

  1. Inside Apple (Amazon) — If Apple is Silicon Valley’s answer to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, then author Adam Lashinsky provides readers with a golden ticket to step inside. In this primer on leadership and innovation, the author will introduce readers to concepts like the “DRI” (Apple’s practice of assigning a Directly Responsible Individual to every task) and the Top 100 (an annual ritual in which 100 up-and-coming executives are tapped a la Skull & Bones for a secret retreat with company founder Steve Jobs). Hopefully it can provide a better template for successful executive behaviour than “be an arsehole who has opinions about design” which seems to be all that many have taken from the life and works of Steve Jobs. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Microsoft Buys Netscape Patents from AOL (Slashgear) — when your employer says “we need you to file for a patent on this, just so we can build up our defensive arsenal”, bear this in mind: you can never know that the defensive portfolio won’t be bought by an aggressive competitor in the future. I’m not sure that we can all sleep sound knowing that Microsoft owns autofill and SSL.
  3. Open Data and The Gulf Oil Spill (Ars Technica) — competing interests meant uncoordinated data collection, reporting distorted research by omitting caveats on preliminary work and findings, and talking openly about what you’re doing can jeopardise your chance of publication in many journals. I found data collection stories particularly horrifying. (via Pete Warden)
  4. Smart Meter HacksListon and Weber have developed a prototype of a tool and software program that lets anyone access the memory of a vulnerable smart meter device and intercept the credentials used to administer it. Weber said the toolkit relies in part on a device called an optical probe, which can be made for about $150 in parts, or purchased off the Internet for roughly $300. “This is a well-known and common issue, one that we’ve warning people about for three years now, where some of these smart meter devices implement unencrypted memory,” Weber said. “If you know where and how to look for it, you can gather the security code from the device, because it passes them unencrypted from one component of the device to another.” Also notable for the fantastic line: “What you’re hearing is the sound of [a] paradigm shifting without a clutch,” Former said.
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Four short links: 2 April 2012

Four short links: 2 April 2012

Wind Viz, CS For Fun, Software Defined Radio, and Copyright's Collateral Damage

  1. Wind Map — beautiful visualization of the winds across America.
  2. Computer Science for Fun — magazine for beginning students of computing.
  3. Cheap SDR — software defined radio for as little as $11. (via Slashdot)
  4. The Missing 20th Century (The Atlantic) — check out those graphs for a glaring hole caused by an overdose of copyright.
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Four short links: 16 March 2012

Four short links: 16 March 2012

Squirrel Targeting with Computer Vision, Audio Recognition, Single Page Apps, and Persisting at Failing

  1. Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and Computer Vision (video) — using a water cannon, computer video, Arduino, and Python to keep marauding squirrel hordes under control. See the finished result for Yakkity Saxed moist rodent goodness.
  2. Soundbite — dialogue search for Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Boris Soundbite quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase spoken in recorded media. Shoot squirrels with computer vision, search audio with computer hearing. We live in the future, people. (via Andy Baio)
  3. Single Page Apps with Backbone.js — interesting and detailed dissection of how one site did it. Single page apps are where the server sends back one HTML file which changes (via Javascript) in response to the user’s activity, possibly with API calls happening in the background, but where the browser is very definitely not requesting more full HTML pages from the server. The idea is to have speed (pull less across the wire each time the page changes) and also to use the language you already know to build the web page (Javascript).
  4. Why Finish Books? (NY Review of Books) — the more bad books you finish, the fewer good ones you”ll have time to start. Applying this to the rest of life is left as an exercise for the reader.
Comments: 5
Four short links: 16 February 2012

Four short links: 16 February 2012

Wikipedia Fail, DIY Text Adventures, Antisocial Software, and Formats Matter

  1. The Undue Weight of Truth (Chronicle of Higher Education) — Wikipedia has become fossilized fiction because the mechanism of self-improvement is broken.
  2. Playfic — Andy Baio’s new site that lets you write text adventures in the browser. Great introduction to programming for language-loving kids and adults.
  3. Review of Alone Together (Chris McDowall) — I loved this review, its sentiments, and its presentation. Work on stuff that matters.
  4. Why ESRI As-Is Can’t Be Part of the Open Government Movement — data formats without broad support in open source tools are an unnecessary barrier to entry. You’re effectively letting the vendor charge for your data, which is just stupid.
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Four short links: 24 January 2012

Four short links: 24 January 2012

Facebook Apps, Google+ Remover, Mind Hacks Books, and Pirate Bay Adds Physical Objects

  1. fbootstrap (GitHub) — HTML, CSS, and JS toolkit for Facebook apps based on Twitter’s popular Bootstrap library.
  2. Focus on the User — adds a bookmarklet “Don’t Be Evil” which shows your Google search as it would have been before Google+ began artificially inserting itself into Google search results. Written by Facebook engineer and Firefox co-creator Blake Ross, this is a gloriously subtle commentary on the pollution of search results from the privileging of Google+.
  3. Treasure Hunt for Mysteries of Mind and Brain (Mind Hacks) — one of the coauthors of Mind Hacks, Tom Stafford, has written two small self-published books on the cool things you can do with your brain: exploring your blind spot, and lucid dreaming.
  4. Pirate Bay Launches Physical Object CategoryWe believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years. We at O’Reilly believe this too. (via Annalee Newitz)
Comment: 1
Four short links: 29 December 2011

Four short links: 29 December 2011

Copywars, Pricing, Fragmentation, and Book Clubbery

  1. The Coming War on General Purpose Computation (BoingBoing) — Cory Doctorow’s barnburner talk on how the only way copyright maximalists can win is if general purpose computers are locked down like infectious disease agents or fissionable material.
  2. Valve Price Experiments (Geekwire) — The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates. For example, Russia. You say, oh, we’re going to enter Russia, people say, you’re doomed, they’ll pirate everything in Russia. Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market. [...] We don’t understand what’s going on. All we know is we’re going to keep running these experiments to try and understand better what it is that our customers are telling us. And there are clearly things that we don’t understand because a simple analysis of these statistics implies very contradictory yet reproducible results. Read the whole thing, it’s fascinating.
  3. Android Updates Are a Mess Because of the Business Model (ZDNet) — interesting analysis that hardware fragmentation plus the manufacturer/carrier/consumer disconnect makes delayed updates almost inevitable. The Android community is traveling along a path that the old Windows Mobile platform followed a few years ago. It was a disaster then, and Microsoft wisely abandoned that entire business model when it developed Windows Phone 7. Alas, Google doesn’t have that option, which means that Android users are going to continue to face a mess when it comes to updates.
  4. Organized Readthrough of Godel Escher Bach (Reddit) — online book club, essentially, for this computing classic. First chapters kick off on Jan 17.
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Four short links: 19 December 2011

Four short links: 19 December 2011

Version Control, Web-based ID, Mobile Design, and Node.js Tools

  1. The History of Version Control (Francis Irving) — concise history of the key advances in managing source code versions. Worth it just for the delicious apposition of “history” and “version control”.
  2. BrowserID — Mozilla’s authentication solution. BrowserID aims to provide a secure way of proving your identity to servers across the Internet, without having to create separate usernames and passwords each time. Instead of a new username, it uses your email address as your identity which allows it to be decentralized since anyone can send you an email verification message. It’s currently implemented via JavaScript but hopefully it will be built into the browser in the future. (via Nelson Minar)
  3. A Look Inside Mobile Design Patterns — Sample chapter on how different apps handle invitations, from a new [O'Reilly-published, huzzah!] book on mobile design patterns. (via David Kaneda)
  4. Node Toolbox — concise compendium of resources for node.js development.
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