The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society (PDF) — education is dangerous to female extended family members. As can be seen in Table 1, when no exam is imminent the family death rate per 100 students (FDR) is low and is not related to the student’s grade in the class. The effect of an upcoming exam is unambiguous. The mean FDR jumps from 0.054 with no exam, to 0.574 with a mid-term, and to 1.042 with a final, representing increases of 10 fold and 19 fold respectively. (via Hacker News)
Internet: 2012 in Numbers — lots of surprising numbers, with sources. Three that caught my eye: 42.1% – Internet penetration in China; 2.7 billion – Number of likes on Facebook every day; 59% – Share of global mobile data traffic that was video.
2013: The Year Ahead in Mobile (Business Insider) — Mobile is already 1/7 of global Internet traffic and growing its share quickly [...] on pace to top 25% by year end. Interesting prediction that rich people already have devices, so everyone’s working on low-cost units so they can sell to new customers in “growth markets” aka developing world.
Open Source Metrics — Talking about the health of the project based on a single metric is meaningless. It is definitely a waste of time to talk about the health of a project based on metrics like number of software downloads and mailing list activities. Amen!
BitTorrent To Your TV — The first ever certified BitTorrent Android box goes on sale today, allowing users to stream files downloaded with uTorrent wirelessly to their television. The new set-top box supports playback of all popular video formats and can also download torrents by itself, fully anonymously if needed. (via Andy Baio)
Tumblr URL Culture — the FOO.tumblr.com namespace is scarce and there’s non-financial speculation. People hoard and trade URLs, whose value is that they say “I’m cool and quirky”. I’m interested because it’s a weird largely-invisible Internet barter economy. Here’s a rant against it. (via Beta Knowledge)
Design-Fiction Slider Bar of Disbelief (Bruce Sterling) — I love the list as much as the diagram. He lays out a sliding scale from “objective reality” to “holy relics” and positions black propaganda, 419 frauds, design pitches, user feedback, and software code on that scale (among many other things). Bruce is an avuncular Loki, pulling you aside and messing with your head for your own good.
Is It The Internet of Things? — we’ve moved from “they ignore you” to “they laugh at you”. Next up, “they fight you”, then finally the earless RFID-enabled location-aware ambient-sensing Network of All wins. (via BERG London)
The 2012 We Could Have Had — list of famous and interesting works which would have entered the public domain had we not had the 1976 extension of copyright law.
Web Engineer’s Online Toolbox — a list of online, Web-based tools that Web engineers can use for their work in development, testing, debugging and documentation.
R Open Sci — open source R packages that provide programmatic access to a variety of scientific data, full-text of journal articles, and repositories that provide real-time metrics of scholarly impact.
The Best Recruiters, Pt II (Elaine Wherry) — almost all these tips are relevant to the cold-call “hey, you don’t know me but …” email messages you’ll have to send at some point in your life. Read, learn, obey.
Best Websites for Teaching And Learning — as decided by the American Association of School Librarians. Lots of these I didn’t know existed but can see being used in class, e.g. Gamestar Mechanic which walks kids through the process of creating a game, teaching them how to think about games even as they produce one.
Microsoft BASIC for 6502 — reverse-engineering magic, this person has RE’d the assembly language for various versions of the BASIC interpreter that shipped on microcomputers in the 80s. This page talks about the changes in each version, the easter eggs, and the hacks. This, kids, is how real programmers do it :)
The Sudden Rise of Peer-to-Peer Commerce (Casey Research) — Today, business are sprouting up around the world based on the idea of connecting individuals directly to each other to trade products and services. While the idea is very much in its infancy still, like the music business at the dawn of Napster, we’re beginning to grasp the potential. Something we are tracking at O’Reilly as well.
The Sensor/itive Side of Android (Luke Wroblewski) — lots of details about sensors in Android, from a Google I/O talk. Sampling rates change between devices. The data has variance and static because it comes from cost-effective components for mobile phones not robust and industry-grade sensors.
Tale of Two Pwnies (Chromium Blog) — So, how does one get full remote code execution in Chrome? In the case of Pinkie Pie’s exploit, it took a chain of six different bugs in order to successfully break out of the Chrome sandbox. Lest you think all attacks come from mouth-breathing script kiddies, this is how the pros do it. (via Bryan O’Sullivan)
The Future is Specific (Chris Granger) — In traditional web-MVC, the code necessary to serve a single route is spread across many files in many different folders. In a normal editor this means you need to do a lot of context switching to get a sense for everything going on. Instead, this mode replaces the file picker with a route picker, as routes seem like the best logical unit for a website. There’s a revolution coming in web dev tools: we’ve had the programmer adapting to the frameworks with little but textual assistance from the IDE. I am loving this flood of creativity because it has the promise to reduce bugs and increase the speed by which we generate good code.
Makie — design a doll online, they’ll 3d-print and ship it to you. Hello, future of manufacturing, fancy seeing you in a dollhouse!
The Final ROFLcon and Mobile’s Impact on Internet Culture (Andy Baio) — These days, memes spread faster and wider than ever, with social networks acting as the fuel for mass distribution. But it’s possible we may see less mutation and remixing in the near future. As Internet usage shifts from desktops and laptops to mobile devices and tablets, the ability to mutate memes in a meaningful way becomes harder.
Oh Mi Bod — I was impressed to learn that one can buy vibrators that can be controlled from an iPhone. Insert iBone joke here. (via Cary Gibson)