## Four short links: 30 January 2015

### FAA Rules, Sports UAVs, Woodcut Data, and Concurrent Programming

1. FAA to Regulate UAVs? (Forbes) — and the Executive Order will segment the privacy issues related to drones into two categories — public and private. For public drones (that is, drones purchased with federal dollars), the President’s order will establish a series of privacy and transparency guidelines. See also How ESPN is Shooting the X Games with Drones (Popular Mechanics)—it’s all fun and games until someone puts out their eye with a quadrocopter. The tough part will be keeping within the tight restrictions the FAA gave them. Because drones can’t be flown above a crowd, Calcinari says, “We basically had to build a 500-foot radius around them, where the public can’t go.” The drones will fly over sections of the course that are away from the crowds, where only ESPN production employees will be. That rule is part of why we haven’t seen drones at college football games.
2. Milestones for SaaS Companies“Getting from $0-1m is impossible. Getting from$1-10m is unlikely. And getting from \$10-100m is inevitable.” —Jason Lemkin, ex-CEO of Echosign. The article proposes some significant milestones, and they ring true. Making money is generally hard. The nature of the hard changes with the amount of money you have and the amount you’re trying to make, but if it were easy, then we’d structure our society on something else.
3. Woodcut Data VisualisationRecently, I learned how to operate a laser cutter. It’s been a whole lot of fun, and I wanted to share my experiences creating woodcut data visualizations using just D3. I love it when data visualisations break out of the glass rectangle.
4. Why is Concurrent Programming Hard?on the one hand there is not a single concurrency abstraction that fits all problems, and on the other hand the various different abstractions are rarely designed to be used in combination with each other. We are due for a revolution in programming, something to help us make sense of the modern systems made of more moving parts than our feeble grey matter can model and intuit about.

## Four short links: 29 January 2015

### Security Videos, Network Simulation, UX Book, and Profit in Perspective

1. ShmooCon 2015 Videos — videos to security talks from ShmooCon 2015.
2. Comcast (Github) — Comcast is a tool designed to simulate common network problems like latency, bandwidth restrictions, and dropped/reordered/corrupted packets. On BSD-derived systems such as OSX, we use tools like ipfw and pfctl to inject failure. On Linux, we use iptables and tc. Comcast is merely a thin wrapper around these controls.
3. The UX ReaderThis ebook is a collection of the most popular articles from our [MailChimp] UX Newsletter, along with some exclusive content.
4. Bad AssumptionsApple lost more money to currency fluctuations than Google makes in a quarter.

## Four short links: 27 January 2015

### Autonomous Corporations, Abstract Thought, Down Rounds, and Distributed Messaging

1. Decentralised Autonomous Corporations — Charlie Stross’s near-future fiction of Accelerando comes closer to reality: Malice – revenge for waking him up – sharpens Manfred’s voice. “The president of agalmic.holdings.root.184.97.AB5 is agalmic.holdings.root.184.97.201. The secretary is agalmic.holdings.root.184.D5, and the chair is agalmic.holdings.root.184.E8.FF. All the shares are owned by those companies in equal measure, and I can tell you that their regulations are written in Python. Have a nice day, now!” He thumps the bedside phone control and sits up, yawning, then pushes the do-not-disturb button before it can interrupt again. After a moment he stands up and stretches, then heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth, comb his hair, and figure out where the lawsuit originated and how a human being managed to get far enough through his web of robot companies to bug him.
2. Coding is Not the New Literacy (Chris Grainger) — We build mental models of everything – from how to tie our shoes to the way macro-economic systems work. With these, we make decisions, predictions, and understand our experiences. If we want computers to be able to compute for us, then we have to accurately extract these models from our heads and record them. Writing Python isn’t the fundamental skill we need to teach people. Modeling systems is. Amen!
3. Let’s Stop Laughing at Groupon (Fortune) — it is much easier to survive a valuation decline as a public company than as a private one.
4. nsq — Bitly’s open sourced realtime distributed messaging platform.

## Four short links: 31 December 2014

### Feudal Employment, Untrusted Computing, Nerd Entitlement, and Paxos Explained

1. Governance for the New Class of Worker (Matt Webb) — there is a new class of worker. They’re not inside the company – not benefiting from job security or healthcare – but their livelihoods in large part dependent on it, the transaction cost of moving to a competitor deliberately kept high. Or the worker is, without seeing any of the upside of success, taking on the risk or bearing the cost of the company’s expansion and operation.
2. Hidden Code in Your Chipset (Slideshare) — there’s a processor that supervises your processor, and it’s astonishingly fully-featured (to the point of having privileged access to the network and being able to run Java code).
3. On Nerd EntitlementPrivilege doesn’t mean you don’t suffer. The best part of 2014 was the tech/net feminist consciousness-raising/uprising. That’s probably the wrong label for it, but bullshit is being called that was ignored years ago. I think we’ve collectively found the next thing we fix that future generations will look back on us and wonder why it went unremarked-upon for so long.
4. Understanding Paxos — a simple introduction, with animations, to one of the key algorithms in distributed systems.

## Four short links: 29 December 2014

### Open Source Submersible, Web Language, Cheap Robot Arm, and Visualisation Trends

1. OpenROV — open source submersible, funded in 1 day on Kickstarter, now available for purchase.
2. Ur/Web — web application language that’s functional, pure, statically typed, and strict. (via IT World)
3. MeArm (Thingiverse) — a low cost robot arm. The meArm is designed to be light weight and inexpensive – to be the perfect introduction to robotics. Design on Thingiverse, kickstarting the controller.
4. Eric Rodenbeck on Running a Studio (Flowing Data) — Stamen’s founder on the challenges of staying current. I hadn’t realised quite how quickly the visualisation field is changing.

## Four short links: 26 December 2014

### Science Software, Better Bitmaps, Pushy Internet, and Graphical Perception

2. Roaring Bitmapscompressed bitmaps which tend to outperform conventional compressed bitmaps such as WAH, EWAH or Concise. In some instances, they can be hundreds of times faster and they often offer significantly better compression.
3. Two Eras of the Internet: From Pull to Push (Chris Dixon) — in which the consumer becomes the infinite sink for an unending and constant stream of updates, media, and social mobile local offers to swipe right on brands near you.
4. Graphical Perception: Theory, Experimentation, and Application to the Development of Graphical Methods (PDF) — research on how well people decode visual cues. In order: Position along a common scale e.g. scatter plot; Position on identical but nonaligned scales e.g. multiple scatter plots; Length e.g. bar chart; Angle & Slope (tie) e.g. pie chart; Area e.g. bubbles; Volume, density, and color saturation (tie) e.g. heatmap; Color hue e.g. newsmap. (via Flowing Data)

## Four short links: 25 December 2015

### Smart Cities, Blockchain Innovation, Brain Interfaces, and Knowledge Graphs

1. Smartest Cities Rely on Citizen Cunning and Unglamorous Technology (The Guardian) — vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Siemens, Cisco and Hitachi construct the resident of the smart city as someone without agency; merely a passive consumer of municipal services – at best, perhaps, a generator of data that can later be aggregated, mined for relevant inference, and acted upon. Should he or she attempt to practise democracy in any form that spills on to the public way, the smart city has no way of accounting for this activity other than interpreting it as an untoward disruption to the orderly flow of circulation.
2. Second Wave of Blockchain Innovation — the economic challenges of innovating on the blockchain.
3. Introduction to the Modern Brain-Computer Interface Design (UCSD) — The lectures were first given by Christian Kothe (SCCN/UCSD) in 2012 at University of Osnabrueck within the Cognitive Science curriculum and have now been recorded in the form of an open online course. The course includes basics of EEG, BCI, signal processing, machine learning, and also contains tutorials on using BCILAB and the lab streaming layer software.

## Four short links: 23 December 2014

### Useful Metrics, Trouble at Mill, Drug R&D, and Disruptive Opportunities

1. Metrics for Operational Performance — you’d be surprised how many places around your business you can meaningfully and productively track time-to-detection and time-to-resolution.
2. Steel Mill Hacked — damage includes a blast furnace that couldn’t be shut down properly.
3. Cerebros — drug-smuggling’s equivalent of corporate R&D. (via Regine Debatty)
4. Ramble About Bitcoin (Matt Webb) — the meta I’m trying to figure out is: when you spot that one of these deep value chains is at the beginning of a big reconfiguration, what do you do? How do you enter it as a small business? How, as a national economy, do you help it along and make sure the transition happens healthily?

## Four short links: 22 December 2014

### Manufacturers and Consumers, Time Management, Ethical Decisions, and Faux Faces

1. Manufacturers and Consumers (Matt Webb) — manufacturers never spoke to consumers before. They spoke with distributors and retailers. But now products are connected to the Internet, manufacturers suddenly have a relationship with the consumer. And they literally don’t know what to do.
2. Calendar Hacks (Etsy) — inspiration for your New Year’s resolution to waste less time.
3. Making an Ethical Decision — there actually is an [web] app for that.
4. Masks That Look Human to Computers — an artist creates masks that look like faces to face-recognition algorithms, but not necessarily to us. cf Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled.