DroneNet: How to Build It (John Robb) — It’s possible to break the FAA’s “line of sight” rules regarding drones right now and get away with it to enable fast decentralized growth. This strategy works. e.g. PayPal flagrantly broke banking laws and regulations in order to out-compete a field of competitors that decided to follow the law. (via Daniel Bachhuber)
How to Make a BOM (Bunnie Huang) — yet more very useful howto information for people looking into Chinese (or other) manufacturing.
Junior — A front-end framework for building HTML5 mobile apps with a native look and feel.
Which Science to Fund: Time to Review Peer Review? (Peter Gluckman) — The study concluded that most funding decisions are a result of random effects dominated by factors such as who was the lead reviewer. In general the referee and panel review process is considered problematic. Few scientists are trained to fulfil such roles and bad peer review must result in unfair outcomes.
A Bot’s Eye View (National Library of New Zealand) — Yeah, we filmed a drone with a drone.
The Web We Lost (Anil Dash) — so much that has me thumping the table bellowing “YES!” in this, but I was particularly provoked by: Ten years ago, you could allow people to post links on your site, or to show a list of links which were driving inbound traffic to your site. Because Google hadn’t yet broadly introduced AdWords and AdSense, links weren’t about generating revenue, they were just a tool for expression or editorializing. The web was an interesting and different place before links got monetized, but by 2007 it was clear that Google had changed the web forever, and for the worse, by corrupting links.
The Robotics Revolution (Peter Singer) — Moore’s Law has come to warfare. It won’t be tens of thousands of today’s robots, but tens of thousands of tomorrow’s robots, with far different capabilities. [...] The key to what makes a revolutionary technology is not merely its new capabilities, but its questions. Truly revolutionary technologies force us to ask new questions about what is possible that wasn’t possible a generation before. But they also force us to relook at what is proper. They raise issues of right and wrong that we didn’t have to wrestle with before.
Copyright Hardliners Adopt the Language of Reform — Sadly, in the end, Barnier’s “copyright fit for the Internet age” looks depressingly like the current, dysfunctional version: one based on a non-existent scarcity, on treating the public as passive consumers, and on pursuing unachievable enforcement goals with ever-harsher punishments.
Mars and Sleep in Air New Zealand Flights (Idealog) — Air New Zealand in-flight entertainment to include advertisements for Martian timeshares and relaxing music set to a slow continuous shot along a New Zealand country road. Beats the hell out of the Nashville Top 20 channel and that gloaty “still many more hours to go!” map.
Google Drones Target Poachers (World Wildlife Fund) — that’s not the real message of this piece, announcing Google has given a $5M grant to WWF to use technology to protect animals, but that’s the vision I have. I look forward to being able to switch on the reticule on Google Savannah View and smoke a few poachers straight from my phone’s maps app.
BitCoin-Central Becomes Legit Bank — After all this patient work and lobbying we’re finally happy and proud to announce that Bitcoin-Central.net becomes today the first Bitcoin exchange operating within the framework of European regulations. Covered by FDIC-equivalent, can have debit or credit cards connected to the BitCoin account, can even get your salary auto-deposited into your BitCoin account.
The Antifragility of the Web (Kevin Marks) — By shielding people from the complexities of the web, by removing the fragility of links, we’re actually making things worse. We’re creating a fragility debt. Suddenly, something changes – money runs out, a pivot is declared, an aquihire happens, and the pent-up fragility is resolved in a Black Swan moment.
Manufacturing Returning to USA (The Atlantic) — because energy and wages. Oil makes shipping pricey, while “booming” US natural gas helps domestic manufacturing. Wages rising in China, dropping in America.
Drone Crashes Mount at Civilian Airports Overseas (Washington Post) — The drone crashed at a civilian airport that serves a half-million passengers a year, most of them sun-seeking tourists. No one was hurt, but it was the second Reaper accident in five months — under eerily similar circumstances.
Napster, Udacity, and the Academy (Clay Shirky) — the fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it. [...] The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies.
The Hobbit, Redux — the main programmer for The Hobbit game was a woman. Under-credited, as usual.
Aerial Drones — from the Make magazine holiday gift guide. I want five of everything, please Santa.
High Levels of Burnout in US Drone Pilots (NPR) — 17 percent of active duty drone pilots surveyed are thought to be “clinically distressed.” The Air Force says this means the pilots’ stress level has crossed a threshold where it’s now affecting the pilots’ work and family. A large majority of the pilots said they’re not getting any counseling for their stress. (via Beta Knowledge)
The Internet of Middle-Class Things (Russell Davies) — my mind keeps returning to this: you know, commercially, that a technology has succeeded when it’s used for inane middle-class tasks.
Teaching Programming to a Highly Motivated Beginner (CACM) — I don’t think there is any better way to internalize knowledge than first spending hours upon hours growing emotionally distraught over such struggles and only then being helped by a mentor. Me, too. Not struggle for struggle’s sake, but because you have built a strong mental map of the problem into which the solution can lock.
Corona (GitHub) — Facebook opensources their improvements to Hadoop’s job tracking, in the name of scalability, latency, cluster utilization, and fairness. (via Chris Aniszczyk)
One Man’s Trash (Bunnie Huang) — Bunnie finds a Chumby relic in a Shenzhen market stall.
Helping Drones Play Nice With Other Aviation — The U.S. airspace is quickly being filled with simultaneously flying drones. To such an extent, unmanned aircraft could soon become a nightmare for the ATC controllers. The ADS-B will improve Predator B’s crew situational awareness making the drone capable to operate more freely and safely in domestic and international airspace in accordance with civilian air traffic and airspace rules and regulations.
Reclaiming NZ’s Digitised Heritage — Out of a sample of 100 books: 50% of NZ Heritage Books (published before 1890) have been digitised; 90% of digitised texts are fully accessible; 98% of accessible texts are downloadable; Despite all works being in the public domain, only one did not have any licencing restrictions applied to its use. Most groups who digitise then go on to put restrictions around their use. [T]here are also many instances where arbitrary restrictions are being applied to the detriment of the public good.
Self-Spy (GitHub) — Log everything you do on the computer, for statistics, future reference and all-around fun!
Tilt-to-Fly Controller and Copter (Kickstarter) — This looks totally awesome and hackable. The controller has a USB port, the protocol is documented, and you can even connect your own electronics payload, like an Arduino, camera, or homebrewed project to the auxiliary serial (UART + power) port.
The Privacy Game (The Open University) — This game is designed to highlight how privacy and consent work online. Players make decisions about which information they reveal, who they reveal it to and why. For example, you may decide to trade some information for gifts when shopping on a website; or you may decide to keep other information secret when posting on a social networking site. (via BoingBoing)
statwing — very easy analysis and visualization of data.
duraconf — a collection of hardened configuration files for SSL/TLS services. It’s easy to reduce crypto effectiveness with crappy choices and options, so it’s good to have solid configurations to go from.