ENTRIES TAGGED "china"

Four short links: 6 July 2011

Four short links: 6 July 2011

China Snaffling Facebook Stock, DNS Douchebaggery, Corporate Whores, and Comic Relief

  1. China Wants to Buy Facebook (Forbes) — Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough “to matter.” This has implications for Facebook entering China. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is reportedly “wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there.” If she loses her argument with Zuckerberg and Facebook enters China, the company will eventually be subject to demands to censor its sites, those both inside and outside China. That’s apparently why the Chinese want to own a big stake in Facebook. They are, in short, looking for control in the long run. No other explanation is consistent with the Party’s other media and “educational” initiatives. Again the world’s most desirable emerging market is fraught for those who would enter it.
  2. Cisco Helping China Build Surveillance (WSJ, subscription probably needed) — Western companies including Cisco Systems Inc. are poised to help build an ambitious new surveillance project in China—a citywide network of as many as 500,000 cameras that officials say will prevent crime but that human-rights advocates warn could target political dissent. Check out the mealy-mouthed weasel from HP: “We take them at their word as to the usage.” He added, “It’s not my job to really understand what they’re going to use it for. Our job is to respond to the bid that they’ve made.” (a) buyers don’t bid, vendors bid; (b) you’re a piss-poor vendor if you don’t understand what the client hopes to achieve; (c) really, maintaining plausible denial is the best way to preserve your brand’s integrity? Hewlett and Packard are turning in their graves, the heat given off from which could be detected by sensors, routed through Cisco boxes and displayed on HP terminals.
  3. US Claims .net and .com In Their JurisdictionThe US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) wants to take down web sites that use the .com and .net top level domains (TLD) regardless of whether their servers are based in the US. Not only do DNS interventions like this not stop the copying, they’re the thin end of the political wedge into yet another piece of critical Internet infrastructure. Who woke up this morning and thought, “I want a copyright rentacop to decide which websites I can see”? The generative power of the Internet is eroded with every misguided meddling such as this.
  4. SVK Launches — BERG London finally launch their excellent comic. “Comic?” you ask. Noted science future awesome Warren Ellis wrote it, and it features some clever augmented reality hardware. I have one, and I am happy. You can be too, for only ten pounds plus shipping.
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Four short links: 26 May 2011

Four short links: 26 May 2011

Fibre Horse, Forced Gold Farming, Google Correlate, Internet GDP

  1. Draft Horses Bring Fibre to Remote Locations — I love the conjunction of old and new, as draft horses prove the best way to lay fibre in remote Vermont. (via David Isenberg)
  2. Chinese Political Prisoners Gold-Farming (Guardian) — “Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu told the Guardian. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”
  3. CorrelateGoogle Correlate finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends. You upload your time series or geographic data, they find search terms that correlate. Very cool!
  4. McKinsey Internet Matters Report (PDF, free registration required) — Internet responsible for 3.4% of GDP in the countries they studied, 21% of GDP growth in last 5 years in mature countries, 2.6 jobs created for every one lost, and 75% of the Internet’s impact arises from traditional industries. Lots more like this in here. The United States captures more than 30 percent of global internet revenues and more than 40 percent of net income.
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Four short links: 23 May 2011

Four short links: 23 May 2011

PC in JS, Musical Visualization, S3 Parallel, and Tech-led Ed

  1. PC Emulator in Javascript — days later and it’s mindboggling.
  2. US Home Prices as Opera (Flowing Data) — reminded me of Douglas Adams’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” which has software that turns your company’s performance numbers into music. The yearly accounts of most British companies emerged sounding like the Dead March from “Saul”, but in Japan they went for it like a pack of rats. It produced lots of cheery company anthems that started well, but if you were going to criticise you’d probably say that they tended to get a bit loud and squeaky at the end.
  3. s3cmd Parallel — command-line tool with parallel uploads to s3. (via Nelson Minar)
  4. Eight of China’s Top Nine Government Officials are Scientists (Singularity Hub) — the article’s idiotic reduction to performance on standardised tests misses America’s primary strength against China, namely creative and flexible workforce. China will get there, but it’s not there yet.
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Four short links: 2 May 2011

Four short links: 2 May 2011

Internet Cafe Culture, Image Processing, Library Mining, and MediaWiki Parsing

  1. Chinese Internet Cafes (Bryce Roberts) — a good quick read. My note: people valued the same things in Internet cafes that they value in public libraries, and the uses are very similar. They pose a similar threat to the already-successful, which is why public libraries are threatened in many Western countries.
  2. SIFT — the Scale Invariant Feature Transform library, built on OpenCV, is a method to detect distinctive, invariant image feature points, which easily can be matched between images to perform tasks such as object detection and recognition, or to compute geometrical transformations between images. The licensing seems dodgy–MIT code but lots of “this isn’t a license to use the patent!” warnings in the LICENSE file. (via Joshua Schachter)
  3. The Secret Life of Libraries (Guardian) — I like the idea of the most-stolen-books revealing something about a region; it’s an aspect of data revealing truth. For a while, Terry Pratchett was the most-shoplifted author in England but newspapers rarely carried articles about him or mentioned his books (because they were genre fiction not “real” literature). (via Brian Flaherty)
  4. Sweble — MediaWiki parser library. Until today, Wikitext had been poorly defined. There was no grammar, no defined processing rules, and no defined output like a DOM tree based on a well defined document object model. This is to say, the content of Wikipedia is stored in a format that is not an open standard. The format is defined by 5000 lines of php code (the parse function of MediaWiki). That code may be open source, but it is incomprehensible to most. That’s why there are 30+ failed attempts at writing alternative parsers. (via Dirk Riehle)
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Four short links: 26 April 2011

Four short links: 26 April 2011

Android Nook, Market Failure, Social Spread Analysis, and Chinese eBooks

  1. Barnes and Noble Nook Color Gets Android Upgrade (Wired) — was an e-reader, but now Barnes and Noble are offering an upgrade to turn it into a fully-fledged Android tablet. The only thing you won’t be able to do is download apps from the Google marketplace. The Nook retails for $250. (via Glyn Moody)
  2. Anime Site Treats Piracy as Market Failure (Ars Technica) — “In almost all cases, piracy is not an issue of legality,” says Kun Gao, CEO of the anime streaming site Crunchyroll. It’s often a market issue—and Crunchyroll turns a profit by offering anime lovers what they want: legal access to anime shows right after new episodes have aired in Japan. [...] Kun claims that piracy drops “60 to 70 percent” for shows carried by Crunchyroll. (via Glyn Moody)
  3. Project Cascade — New York Times project analyzing tweets, retweets, bit.ly uses, and other events in the online lifecycle of stories. Built using Processing and MongoDB. (via Flowing Data)
  4. Survey Indicates e-book Boom in China (Xinhua) — estimates of 613M ebooks read, 23% on mobile phones. Contains the sobering the acceptable price to download an e-book from the Internet is 1.33 yuan (0.2 U.S. dollars), and nearly 54 percent of digital readers say they would pay an average of 3.45 yuan to download e-books. (via Tim O’Reilly)
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ePayments Week: Android's predicted ascendance

ePayments Week: Android's predicted ascendance

Android could soon own half the market, NFC Simm cards in China, and Quova challenges developers

Gartner says Android can take half the smartphone market by the end of 2012. Also, China's mobile customers can slip NFC SIMM cards into their handsets, and geolocation company Quova challenges developers.

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Hints of iPhone envy in China

An informal poll finds 43% of Chinese phone owners who don't have an iPhone wish they had one.

A survey of Chinese phone owners conducted through the Sina micro-blog service finds that iPhones are a prized possession, while Android interest is tepid and things aren't looking good for Nokia.

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Four short links: 6 April 2011

Four short links: 6 April 2011

Timelines, Hardware Pilgrimage, Ubiquitous Play Computing, Eye-Tracking

  1. Timeline Setter — ProPublica-released open source tool for building timelines from spreadsheets of event data. See their post for more information. (via Laurel Ruma)
  2. Return to Shenzhen Part 1 — Nate from SparkFun makes a trip to component capital of the world. It’s like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for geeks. a special market that dealt exclusively with bulk cell phones. That’s right, you could buy a pile of cell phones. [...] This market was truly amazing. It was one of most dense I’ve been to, shoulder to shoulder with very little standing room. Every device imaginable was available (checkout the pile of iPads) and people were literally negotiating a spot price minute by minute. The raw phones were sold for cash and then taken to other parts of the market for parts, resale, or recycling.
  3. Suwappu Toys in Media (BERG London) — a concept video for a toy project. This is not primarily a technology demo, it’s a video exploration of how toys and media might converge through computer vision and augmented video. We’ve used video both as a communication tool and as a material exploration of toys, animation, augmented reality and 3D worlds.
  4. Predator Eye-Tracking Video (YouTube) — neat technology. The source was released, retracted, reposted to GitHub by a third party, then retracted but rumours are it will be properly released soon.
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Four short links: 3 March 2011

Four short links: 3 March 2011

Chinese Maps, Ops Standards, Android Malware, and Free Fonts

  1. Guangzhou City Map — Chinese city maps: they use orthographic projection (think SimCity) and not satellite images. A nice compromise for usability, information content, and invisible censorship. (via Hacker News)
  2. Broken Windows, Broken Code, Broken SystemsSo, given that most of us live in the real world where some things are just left undone, where do we draw the line? What do we consider a bit of acceptable street litter, and what do we consider a broken window? When is it ok to just reboot the system, and when do you really need to figure out exactly what went wrong?
  3. Android Malware — black hat copied apps, added trojans, uploaded to Android Marketplace. Google were slow to respond to original developer’s claims of copying, quick to react to security guy’s report of malware. AppStores are not magic moneypumps in software form, no more than tagging, communities, or portals were. User contributions need editorial oversight.
  4. The League of Movable Type — a collection of open source fonts, ready for embedding in your web pages.
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Four short links: 17 February 2011

Four short links: 17 February 2011

Kindle Economics, Real-World Typography, Private Social Networks, and Cultural Capitalism

  1. The True Cost of Publishing on the Kindle — an article, apparently by a horrified negotiator with Amazon, revealing that magazine and newspaper publishers pay the WhisperNet delivery costs of their editions. That’s not Amazon overhead, it comes out of the publisher’s royalty slice. (via Hacker News)
  2. Fonts in Use — examples of sweet typography and the fonts that were used.
  3. Ffffound — social network for graphic designers (invite only) with a “people who liked also liked” type of recommendation system. Very clever. So as you research “I want to build a cheesy 70s logo”, you thumbs up the images you like and soon the system is suggesting designs with elements of cheesy 70s logos to you. I love that it is invitation-only: you’re trusting the judgement of the other people, so you had better only let in people whose judgement you trust.
  4. China’s Second Wives and Gift Culture — second wives, status, and brand. But any city that has a middle class is going to have Second Wives. [...] Even Jiang Zemin, the former President, had a very high profile mistress – a singer called Song Zuying who appears on the Chinese New Year programme every year. And it’s not a scandal. A reminder that if you think you can export your crappy business built on American status symbols, you’re leaping into the Sea of Fail. (via Sciblogs)
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