ENTRIES TAGGED "cs"
Spatial Search, Exposing Your Phone's Perfidity, School Unconference, and Wikipedia Viz
- VP Trees — a data structure for fast spatial searching. A form of nearest neighbour, useful for melodies (PDF) and image retrieval (PDF) and poetry. (via Reddit)
- iYou — iTunes plugin to show you all the stuff your phone collects about you.
- Bar Camps in Primary Schools — NZ teacher deploys bar camps among students. Great things happen.
- Realtime Wikipedia Edits — fascinating and hypnotic and inspirational and appalling and irrelevant all at once.
University Relevance, Free as in Dom, Patent Trolls, and Facebook Teams
- Questioning University — my take on the issue of whether a university education (particularly CS) is still relevant or whether kids should go straight to startups. So what do I tell my kids? Should I urge them to go to university? Should I tell them to jack it all in and run off and join a startup? This is what’s occupying my mind now.
- Still Cripped by Free (Simon Phipps) — the freedoms of free and open software (the ability to use it for whatever you want, to improve it or give it to others who can then improve it) represent creative and financial independence. Fifteen years after open source and business really started to get dirty with each other, the misunderstanding is still widespread that it’s about price. Simon has a clear and robust essay about the latest UK procurement guidelines to show why price can be subverted in a way that freedom cannot.
- The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls — Using stock market event studies around patent lawsuit filings, we find that NPE lawsuits are associated with half a trillion dollars of lost wealth to defendants from 1990 through 2010, mostly from technology companies. Moreover, very little of this loss represents a transfer to small inventors. Instead, it implies reduced innovation incentives. (via BoingBoing)
- Facebook’s Teams and Use of Data — great talk by Adam Mosseri of Facebook, where he covers the composition of teams at Facebook, how they use data to make decisions, and when they don’t use data to make decisions. (via Bryce Roberts)
Relativity in Short Words, Set Math, Design Inspiration, and Internet of Things
- Theory of Relativity in Words of Four Letters or Less — this does just what it says, and well too. I like it, as you may too. At the end, you may even know more than you do now.
- Effective Set Reconciliation Without Prior Context (PDF) — paper on using Bloom filters to do set union (deduplication) efficiently. Useful in distributed key-value stores and other big data tools.
- Mental Notes — each card has an insight from psychology research that’s useful with web design. Shuffle the deck, peel off a card, get ideas for improving your site. (via Tom Stafford)
- The Internet of Things To Come (Mike Kuniavsky) — Mike lays out the trends and technologies that will lead to an explosion in Internet of Things products. E.g., This abstraction of knowledge into silicon means that rather than starting from basic principles of electronics, designers can focus on what they’re trying to create, rather than which capacitor to use or how to tell the signal from the noise. He makes it clear that, right now, we have the rich petrie dish in which great networked objects can be cultured.
Bitcoin Banks, Journo Ethics, Android and iOS, and Clever Algorithms
- Dan Kaminsky on Bitcoin (Slideshare) — short version: banks are an emergent property as it scales.
- Unethical Ventures (All Things D) — astonishing slam on the new venture fund that Michael Arrington (founder of TechCrunch) will be running while still writing for TechCrunch. This could have been a lot cleaner, of course, by Arrington simply resigning from TechCrunch, becoming a VC and perhaps starting a new blog where his agenda is much clearer, from which he could huff and puff away as he does with much entertaining gusto at real and (mostly) imagined slights. There is certainly precedent for VCs blogging, including Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Ben Horowitz. And, despite my criticisms about ethics, it is clear that Arrington is a talented writer whose unique voice would be even stronger if it was truly seen as separate from what has become a news organization. But because of his obvious need to be the center of attention — requiring the ermine kingmaker mantle and foisting his patented I’m-here-to-tell-it-like-it-is attitude on us all — that appears to be impossible.
- An iOS Developer Takes on Android — a very easy to follow comparison of the two platforms from a developer who worked on both and who is carefully not partisan. I hadn’t realized before what an advantage OpenGL confers to the iOS devices. It’s not just for 3D games any more (he says, catching up with 2008).
- Clever Algorithms — book of 45 nature-inspired algorithms, code in Ruby.
Rebooting Manufacturing, Politics, Disney Open Source, and CS Magic
- Laptops and Looms — very thoughtful and thought-provoking summary of a UK conference on the kinds of Future of Manufacturing tools and businesses that Make and O’Reilly are into. It’s easy to romanticise the industry of old but much of it was horrible and remains so in the countries where we now outsource many of our manufacturing needs. If we’re to bring manufacturing back to Britain (which I think will gradually happen over the coming decade) we need to think differently about the economics of consumer goods including the jobs created and how to eliminate the environmental impacts. (via BERG London)
- Can Government Policies Increase National Long-Run Growth Rates? — We obtain time series estimates of the long run growth rates of 17 OECD countries, and test the hypothesis that these are the same across countries. We find that we cannot reject this hypothesis for the first and last three decades of the 20th century. We conclude that: (i) there are few, if any, feasible policies available that have a significant effect on long run growth rates, and; (ii) any policies that can raise national growth rates must be international in scope. The results therefore have bleak implications for the ability of countries to affect their long run growth rates. Data-informed policy analysis for the despair. (via Jez Weston)
- Walt Disney’s Open Source — texture mapping, library for particle formats, and Python unit test generator, among other things. (via Brenda Wallace)
- The Magic of Computer Science — magic tricks and illusions that are informed by computer science. It’s a hook into teaching computer science principles, along the lines of the excellent CS Unplugged.
Tabular Data API, Open Stanford Courses, Wearable TV, and Wearable Sensors
- Tablib — MIT-licensed open source library for manipulating tabular data. Reputed to have a great API. (via Tim McNamara)
- Stanford Education Everywhere — courses in CS, machine learning, math, and engineering that are open for all to take. Over 58,000 have already signed up for the introduction to machine learning taught by Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of Research.
- Wearable LED Television — 160×120 RGBs powered by a 12v battery, built for Burning Man (natch). (via Bridget McKendry)
- Temporary Tattoo Biosensors (Science News) — early work putting flexible sensors into temporary tattoos. (via BoingBoing)
- Which Banks are Enabling Fake AV Scams? — some nice detective work to reveal the mechanisms and actors who take money from the marks in AV scams. (via BoingBoing)
- Developer Experience — new site from ex-Google developer evangelist Pamela Fox, talking about the experience that API- and software-offering companies give to the developers they’re wooing.
- Pros and Cons of Mechanical Turk for Scientific Surveys (Scientific American blogs) — So far, some indicators suggest Turk is a trustworthy source. Rand (2011) used IP address logging to verify subjects’ self-reported country of residence, and found that 97% of responses are accurate. He also compared the consistency of a range of demographic variables reported by the same subjects across two different studies, and found between 81% and 98% agreement, depending on the variable. (via Vaughan Bell)
Organising Conferences, Moving to the JVM, Language Crowdsourcing, and Bayesian Computing
- Conference Organisers Handbook — accurate guide to running a two-day 300-person conference. See also Yet Another Perl Conference guidelines.
- Twitter Shifting More Code to JVM — interesting how, at scale, there are some tools and techniques of the scorned Enterprise that the web cool kids must turn to. Some. Business Process Workflow XML Schemas will never find love.
- Louis von Ahn on Duolingo — from the team that gave us “OCR books as you verify you are a human” CAPTCHAs comes “learn a new language as you translate the web”. I would love to try this, it sounds great (and is an example of what crowdsourcing can be).
- Fully Bayesian Computing (PDF) — A fully Bayesian computing environment calls for the possibility of defining vector and array objects that may contain both random and deterministic quantities, and syntax rules that allow treating these objects much like any variables or numeric arrays. Working within the statistical package R, we introduce a new object-oriented framework based on a new random variable data type that is implicitly represented by simulations. Perl made text processing easy because strings were first-class objects with a rich set of functions to operate on them; Node.js has a sweet HTTP library; it’s interesting to see how much more intuitive an algorithm becomes when random variables are a data type. (via BigData)
Buying a Micro, Education Entrepreneurship, Faceted Search, Vector-Graphics Scripting
- Electric Dreams – The 1980s ‘The Micro Home Computer Of 1982′ (YouTube) — from a reality show where a gadget-using family are forced to relive 30 years of technology invention, one year each day. This clip is where they’re forced to choose a microcomputer from the rush of early hobbyist machines in the 80s: Spectrum, Dragon-32, etc. (via Skud)
- K-12 Entrepreneurship: Slow Entry, Distant Exit (PDF) — paper (from the set I pointed to yesterday) laying out in start terms the difficulty of educational entrepreneurship. Keeping the lights on and a teacher in every classroom consumes most of the annual money spent on education so that little is left over to generate or try new tools, techniques or approaches. Out of every dollar spent on education in 2005, only 3.5 cents was spent on materials, tools and services. Subtract the big mandatory purchases of textbooks and annual testing, and one is left with almost no free funds to deploy creatively. With class size reduction and teacher incentive pay ramping up around the country, the pressure on these budget lines continues to increase, reducing the dollars available for investment in breakthrough tools and services.
- Here Be Dragons (Bryan O’Sullivan) — the thorny problem of printing floating point numbers. Prior to Steele and White’s “How to print floating-point numbers accurately”, implementations of printf and similar rendering functions did their best to render floating point numbers, but there was wide variation in how well they behaved. A number such as 1.3 might be rendered as 1.29999999, for instance, or if a number was put through a feedback loop of being written out and its written representation read back, each successive result could drift further and further away from the original.