- Spokeo — abysmal indictment of society, first prize in mankind’s race to the bottom. Uncover personal photos, videos, and secrets … GUARANTEED! Spokeo deep searches within 48 major social networks to find truly mouth-watering news about friends and coworkers. PS, anybody who gives their gmail username and password to a site that specializes in dishing dirt can only be described as a fucking idiot. (via Jim Stogdill, who was equally disappointed in our species)
- Biologists rally to sequence ‘neglected’ microbes (Nature) — The Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea is project to sequence genomes from more branches of the evolutionary tree of life. Eisen’s team selected and sequenced more than 100 ‘neglected’ species that lacked close relatives among the 1,000 genomes already in GenBank. The researchers reported earlier this year at the JGI’s Fourth Annual User Meeting that even mapping the first 56 of these microbes’ genomes increased the rate of discovery of new gene and protein families with new biological properties. It also improved the researchers’ ability to predict the role of genes with unknown functions in already sequenced organisms. (via Jonathan Eisen)
- Mail Learning: The What and the How (Simon Cozens) — a few things that a really good mail analysis tool needs to do. I hope that my mail client and server does these out of the box in the next five years.
- Introducing the Open Web Foundation Agreement — The Open Web Foundation Agreement itself establishes the copyright and patent rights for a specification, ensuring that downstream consumers may freely implement and reuse the licensed specification without seeking further permission. In addition to the agreement itself, we also created an easy-to-read “Deed” that provides a high level overview of the agreement. Applying the open source approach to better standards.
Great Mail Feature, Speed Talks, Virtualisation History, Science Literacy
- GMail Labs: Got The Wrong Bob? — When’s the last time you got an email from a stranger asking, “Are you sure you meant to send this to me?” and promptly realized that you didn’t? Looks at the clusters of CCs you send and, if you normally send to Bob X but are trying to send it to Bob Y, asks you “did you mean Bob X?”. This might be the best thing to happen to email since webmail and full-text search–it’s ridiculous how little innovation is happening in email given how widely and heavily it is used.
- Speedgeeks LA at Shopzilla — eight talks about making websites faster. Latency Improvements for PicasaWeb – Gavin Doughtie (Google) – Great tips from a web guru about what makes PicasaWeb fast. Watch for when the slides to more talks become available.
- 10 Years of Virtual Machine Performance Semi-Demystified — fascinating history of virtualisation from someone who worked for VMware. Since 2005, VMware and Xen have gradually reduced the performance overheads of virtualization, aided by the Moore’s law doubling in transistor count, which inexorably shrinks overheads over time. AMD’s Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI – 2007) and Intel’s Extended Page Tables (EPT – 2009) substantially improved performance for a class of recalcitrant workloads by offloading the mapping of machine-level pages to Guest OS “physical” memory pages, from software to silicon. In the case of operations that stress the MMU—like an Apache compile with lots of short lived processes and intensive memory access—performance doubled with RVI/EPT. (Xen showed similar challenges prior to RVI/EPT on compilation benchmarks.)
- Pew Research Science Quiz — To test your knowledge of scientific concepts and recent scientific findings and events, we invite you to take this 12-question science knowledge quiz. Then see how you did in comparison with the 1,005 randomly sampled adults asked the same questions.
XMPP, Future of Web Frameworks, Infrastructure Stories, Better Email Client
- App Engine Now Supports XMPP (Jabber) — messaging servers, whether XMPP or PubSubHubBub, are becoming an increasingly important way to loosely join the small pieces. Google’s incorporation of XMPP into GAE reflects this (and the fact that Wave is built on XMPP). (via StPeter on Twitter)
- Snakes on the Web (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) — The best way to predict the future of web development, I think, is to keep asking ourselves the question that led to all the past advances: what sucks, and how can we fix it? So: what sucks about web development? An excellent and thought-provoking talk about the possible directions for improvement in web framework design.
- Ravelry (Tim Bray) — We’ve got 430,000 registered users, in a month we’ll see 200,000 of those, about 135,000 in a week and about 70,000 in a day. We peak at 3.6 million pageviews per day. That’s registered users only (doesn’t include the very few pages that are Google accessible) and does not include the usual API calls, RSS feeds, AJAX. […] We have 7 servers running Gentoo Linux and virtualized into a total of 13 virtual servers with Xen. […]”. Interesting technical and business discussion with an unexpected busy site.
- So’s Your Facet: Faceted Global Search for Mozilla Thunderbird — email clients are LONG overdue for improvement. Encouraging to see an active and open research project to improve it from the folks at Mozilla Messaging.
- Easter Eggs for Real Life (Neil Gaiman) — ok, I know easter eggs are already part of real life, but this is still cool. Gaiman recommends a restaurant run by a friend, and the friend has set up a special phrase that to mention to the server, at which point something good and special will happen for them to eat or drink. Think of it as a restaurant Easter Egg. I love language, I love Gaiman’s books, I love surprises, and I love that here Gaiman’s using the digital sense of Easter Egg (surprise hidden in a program) rather than the analog sense (because there’s no searching involved).
- ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings (EFF) — what the title suggests. You are lost in a twisty maze of rights, all policed by vampires. From ASCAP’s point of view, this is a legitimate claim. From anyone else’s point of view, it’s ridiculous.
- Tooling Up The Body (MInd Hacks) — using tools has lots of interesting effects on our perception is the general gist of an intriguing study that provides further evidence for the theory that the brain treats tools as temporary body parts. We talk about using the Internet as our “offsite brain”, so it tickles me to learn that the brain treats tools as offsite body parts.
- Email Patterns Can Predict Impending Doom (New Scientist) — when Enron was about to collapse, email patterns changed: the number of active email cliques, defined as groups in which every member has had direct email contact with every other member, jumped from 100 to almost 800 around a month before the December 2001 collapse. Messages were also increasingly exchanged within these groups and not shared with other employees. Menezes thinks he and Collingsworth may have identified a characteristic change that occurs as stress builds within a company: employees start talking directly to people they feel comfortable with, and stop sharing information more widely. (via BoingBoing)
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