ENTRIES TAGGED "collaboration"

Four short links: 23 June 2014

Blockchain Intro, Machine Collaboration, Safety Systems Thinking, and Where Keystrokes Go To Die

  1. Minimum Viable Block ChainWhat 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.
  2. 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)
  3. Engineering a Safer World (Nancy Leveson) — Systems thinking applied to safety. Free download of the MIT Press ebook. (via John Allspaw)
  4. Scott Hanselman’s TipsKeep 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.
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Four short links: 14 June 2014

Four short links: 14 June 2014

UK Gov 2.0, Remote Work, Git + App Engine, and Amazon Sells 3D Printer Goodies

  1. How Geeks Opened up the UK Government (Guardian) — excellent video introduction to how the UK is transforming its civil service to digital delivery. Most powerful moment for me was scrolling through various depts’ web sites and seeing consistent visual design.
  2. Tools for Working Remotely — Braid’s set of tools (Trello, Hackpad, Slingshot, etc.) for remote software teams.
  3. Git Push to Deploy on Google App EngineEnabling this feature will create a remote Git repository for your application’s source code. Pushing your application’s source code to this repository will simultaneously archive the latest the version of the code and deploy it to the App Engine platform.
  4. Amazon’s 3D Printer Store — printers and supplies. Deeply underwhelming moment of it arriving on the mainstream.
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Rethinking games

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.

Comments: 10
Four short links: 15 May 2012

Four short links: 15 May 2012

Mobile Money, Actors in java, Actors in python, and a Decision-Making Tool

  1. Mobile Money (The Economist) — Many people know that “mobile money”—financial transactions on mobile phones—has taken off in Africa. How far it has gone, though, still comes as a bit of a shock. Three-quarters of the countries that use mobile money most frequently are in Africa, and mobile banking in some of them has reached extraordinary levels.
  2. Akka — Apache-licensed Java high-performance concurrency library built around the concept of “actors“. (via Hacker News)
  3. Pykka — actors in Python. (via Hacker News)
  4. Loom.io Project — help crowdfund a collaborative decision-making tool. They’re using it as they build the tool, and it’s the implementation of a process they use in real life. I know many organisations who need a free open-source web application that helps groups make better decisions together. You should probably read more about the interesting company Enspiral which is behind loom.io.
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Four short links: 8 March 2012

Four short links: 8 March 2012

Compete on Convenience, Minimal Viable Operating System, Awesome Font, Collaboration Integration

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Font Awesome — a font with a zillion pictograms and icons. “An iconic font designed for use with Twitter Bootstrap”.
  4. 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)
Comments: 8
Four short links: 2 November 2011

Four short links: 2 November 2011

Deployment, Image Distribution, Open Source Sharing, and Soulless Programming

  1. 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.
  2. Github EnterpriseGitHub 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.
  3. SparkleShare — open source sharing tool that markets itself as “like Dropbox”. Uses git as a backend, so you can share via github.
  4. 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.
Comments: 2
Four short links: 10 January 2011

Four short links: 10 January 2011

Online Collaboration, Reputable Twitterers, Old Computers, and Web Experiments

  1. Tools and Practices for Working Virtually — a detailed explanation of how the RedMonk team works virtually.
  2. Twitter Accounts for All Stack Overflow Users by Reputation (Brian Bondy) — superawesome list of clueful people.
  3. The Wonderful World of Early Computing — from bones to the ENIAC, some surprising and interesting historical computation devices. (via John D. Cook)
  4. Overlapping Experiment Infrastructure (PDF) — they can’t run just one test at a time, so they have infrastructure to comprehensively test all features against all features and in real time pull out statistical conclusions from the resulting data. (via Greg Linden)
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An Open, Webby, Book-Publishing Platform

This short article outlines some ideas about an open source, online platform for making books, based on WordPress.

Comments: 75
Four short links: 11 May 2010

Four short links: 11 May 2010

Computational Design, Instructive Games, Collaboration, and Good Bad Code

  1. ToxicLibsan independent, open source library collection for computational design tasks with Java & Processing. (via joshua on Delicious)
  2. RibbonHero — a game for learning the new Microsoft Office. (via azaaza on Twitter)
  3. Teambox — open source project collaboration tool.
  4. Google Web Security Tutorials — the classes given to new recruits, including Jarlsberg, a bug-ridden very vulnerable demo app for would-be security gurus to fix. I like the idea of releasing antitheses, bad code that can be just as instructive as good code.
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Second "Open Feedback" Title Now Online

Over on the O'Reilly Labs blog, Keith Fahlgren talks about the latest title to go live in our Open Feedback Publishing System, which gives authors and readers a way to discuss a book while it's being written. The latest book, Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, also features a very nice upgrade to the system's CSS (its look-and-feel)….

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