- Minimum Viable Block Chain — What follows is an attempt to explain, from the ground up, why the particular pieces (digital signatures, proof-of-work, transaction blocks) are needed, and how they all come together to form the “minimum viable block chain” with all of its remarkable properties.
- Common Ground and Coordination in Joint Activity (PDF) — research paper on the components and requirements and failure modes of collaboration, with an eye to how machine actors can participate as collaborators. (via John Allspaw)
- Engineering a Safer World (Nancy Leveson) — Systems thinking applied to safety. Free download of the MIT Press ebook. (via John Allspaw)
- Scott Hanselman’s Tips — Keep your emails to 3-4 sentences, Hanselman says. Anything longer should be on a blog or wiki or on your product’s documentation, FAQ or knowledge base. “Anywhere in the world except email because email is where you keystrokes go to die,” he says.
ENTRIES TAGGED "collaboration"
Pandemic, a collaborative board game, casts a different light on competition and gaming.
At a recent board games night hosted by Greg Brown (@practicingruby), we played a game called “Pandemic” that made me rethink the meaning of games. I won’t bother you with a detailed description; it’s enough to say that there are four or five players who take turns, and the goal is to defeat outbreaks of disease.
What makes this game unique is that you’re not playing against the other players, you’re playing against the game itself. It’s almost impossible to win, particularly at higher levels of difficulty (which Greg encourages, even for newbies). But you quickly realize that you don’t have a chance of winning if you don’t cooperate with the other players. The game is all about cooperation and collaboration. The players don’t all have equal abilities; one can move other players’ pieces around on the board, another can create research centers, another can cure larger swaths of disease. On your turn, you could just move and do whatever you think is best; but once you get the hang of it, you spend a good bit of time before each move discussing with the other players what the best strategy is, whether there are other effective ways to accomplish the same goal, and so on. You’re always discussing whether it would be better to solve a problem yourself, or move someone else so they can solve the problem more effectively on their turn.
In some ways, it’s not all that different from a role-playing game, but there is never any advantage to stabbing another player in the back or striking out on your own. But at the same time, even though it’s radically collaborative, it’s challenging. As I said, it’s almost impossible to win, and the game is structured to become more difficult the longer it goes on.
It’s a great example of rethinking gaming and rethinking competition, all in a little game that comes in a box and is played with pawns on a board.
Compete on Convenience, Minimal Viable Operating System, Awesome Font, Collaboration Integration
- Add Torrent Links to IMDB (Userscripts) — a glimpse at what the Internet could look like: from the site you research movies on, with one click you could then launch the download. If only the company that ran the movie research site had rights to the OneClick patent and the ability to offer movies for download. Oh wait, those aren’t the barriers. If only the movie companies would cease being nutjobs insisting on flogging their DRM-hobbled nags when the black market has x264 racehorses for less. They’re not competing on price, they’re not competing on convenience, they’re competing on the expected value of litigation. Now *that’s* a business model!
- JeOS — I hadn’t heard this term before: Just Enough Operating System. Take a standard distro, and strip it down to the bare essentials that you actually need.
- Font Awesome — a font with a zillion pictograms and icons. “An iconic font designed for use with Twitter Bootstrap”.
- Collabograte — a collection of integration recipes for collaboration tools so you aren’t broken on the “how do I get this thing set up with LDAP auth?” wheel which others have reinvented with their nose to the mixed metaphor grindstone. (via Kartik Subbarao)
Deployment, Image Distribution, Open Source Sharing, and Soulless Programming
- Thoughts on Web Application Deployment (OmniTI) — if your web site is your business, this stuff is critical and it’s under-taught. Everyone learns it on the job, and there’s not a lot of standardization between gigs.
- Github Enterprise — GitHub Enterprise is delivered in the industry-standard OVF format, which means you’ll be able to run it on virtualization layers like VMware, VirtualBox, and Oracle VM. An increasingly common way to sell web apps, but it’ll trigger GPL-style distribution terms in software licenses.
- SparkleShare — open source sharing tool that markets itself as “like Dropbox”. Uses git as a backend, so you can share via github.
- Whatever Happened to Programming? — When I was fourteen, I wrote space-invader games in BASIC on a VIC-20. If you were interested in computers back in 1982, I bet you did the same. When I was 18, I wrote multi-user dungeons in C on serial terminals attached to a Sun 3. [...] Today, I mostly paste libraries together. So do you, most likely, if you work in software. Doesn’t that seem anticlimactic? Any time you are in the “someone else’s code is almost right, make the changes to improve it” situation, you’re doing unsatisfying programming. It’s factory assembly of software, not craftsmanship. Welcome to the future: you have been replaced by a machine, and the machine is you.
This short article outlines some ideas about an open source, online platform for making books, based on WordPress.