Space, Space, Micromanufacturing, and Sensors:
- Teens Capture Images of Space With £56 Camera and Balloon (Telegraph) — DIY/MAKE culture at its best, four 18-19 year old Spanish students (with guidance of a teacher) rigged a balloon to carry a camera over 100,000 feet (that’s twelve trillion and seven Canadian meters) above the earth, take pictures, and return to the ground. Here’s their project’s web page with a Google gadget to translate it into English. (via @erikapearson)
- The Robot Who Helps Astronomers Identify Stars – IO9 interviewed Fiona Romeo, about the Royal Observatory’s Astronomical Photograph of the Year contest and the astrotagging bot I linked to earlier.
- Clive Thompson on the Revolution in Micromanufacturing — talks about his experiences with Etsy. I was aware of the site but had dismissed it as some sort of urban-hipster thing—until I started seeing chatter about it on discussion boards for wealthy professionals and stay-at-home moms.
- How The FitBit Algorithms Work — The Fitbit’s primary method of collecting data is an accelerometer. Its accelerometer constantly measures the acceleration of your body and algorithms convert this raw data into useful information about your daily life, such as calories burned, steps, distance and sleep quality. How do we develop these algorithms? Our approach is that we have test subjects wear the Fitbit while also wearing a device that produces a “truth” value. [...].
Art, astronomy and more fun for you in today’s four short links:
- Found in Space — there’s an astronomy bot on Flickr that identifies stars in the night sky, and from the unique positions of the stars figures out what bit of the night sky is looked at and then adds notes for interesting parts of the sky visible in the shot. A brilliant use of computer vision techniques to add value to existing data. (via Stinky).
- 99 Secrets Twittered — Matt Webb is posting a secret a day from Carl Steadman’s 99 Secrets, an early piece of art on the web. Matt’s explanation is worth reading. Ze Frank really made me realize that every web app is a medium for art, for provoking human responses, and now I keenly watch for signs of art breaking out.
- Internet Ephemera — a brief muse on “if we start with the assumption that everything we put online is ephemeral, how does that change what we put online?”
- Pockets of Potential (PDF) — a 52-page PDF talking about opportunities for supporting learning with the mobile devices already in kids’ lives (via Derek Wenmoth).
We’re quite addicted to data pr0n here at Flickr. We’ve got graphs for pretty much everything, and add graphs all of the time. -John Allspaw, Operations Engineering Manager at Flickr & author of The Art of Capacity Planning One of the most interesting parts of running a large website is watching the effects of unrelated events affecting user traffic…
Today we have Tom’s Brain on Flickr, the Newspaper Industry’s Death in Context, REST with friends, and Filthy Lucre from Twitter.
- A map of my brain – Tom Coates mindmaps his interests as part of brainstorming for a Webstock talk. I’d love to see these for other geeks. I guess part of keeping up with your friends is building your own models of what their mindmaps look like.
- How Newspapers Tried to Invent the Web – a Slate piece showing that newspapers have always reacted to new media, from buying up airways when radio became big, to videotex and the proprietary information sources that predated the mainstreaming of the Internet. Puts the modern handwringing in context. Sample quote from 1980: “What you’re really worried about is an electronic Yellow Pages that will destroy your advertising base, isn’t it?”
- RESTful Django Practice – the full RESTian mindset is surprisingly difficult to grok, so one programmer has said “here’s how I think it works for a sample app” and his readers are using the comments to describe the choices, drawbacks, pitfalls, and best practices. I love the Internet.
- 1stfans – a mixture of social networking updates, Twitter feeds from artists, and in-person events that the museum hopes will be a good excuse for people to become members and support the museum’s operation. Twitter Feed as Membership Benefit goes into detail on their reasons. It’s always interesting to see people experimenting with finding things to charge for online.
In the recent round of Yahoo! layoffs was someone I'd just met, George Oates. She started the Flickr Commons, where galleries, libraries, archives, and museums can post photos and the community can tag them. She was a tireless ambassador, as well, with a gruelling travel schedule to bring the word to other institutions on what's possible. Her blog post about…
When archives are built incrementally on top of access, instead of access being born of hard labor from accumulated storage, the nature of the archive is transformed. The possibilities for an Obama Presidential Library — built from today and onwards — are transformative.