- Programmable Bluetooth Watch — OLED display, bluetooth, vibration, button, timers, and two-way Bluetooth. I’m enchanted by the possibilities of our environment talking to us through such a device. (via Tom Coates on Twitter)
- Flying Cars (XKCD) — a reminder to appreciate the future we live in, and not grizzle too hard that the ones we dreamt of in the 60s haven’t eventuated yet. (Part of my optimism riff)
- Presumed Guilty (James Boyle) — setting to rights a bizarre op-ed by Scott Turow (head of the Authors Guild) which sought to make Shakespeare sound like an argument for copyright law. The argument is so strange it is hard to know where to begin. The problem is not simply that Shakespeare flourished without copyright protection for his work. It is that he made liberal use of the work of others in his own plays in ways that would today almost certainly generate a lawsuit.
- Context First: A Unified Theory of Publishing (Vimeo) — Brian O’Leary’s talk at TOC. (via Liza Daly on Twitter)
ENTRIES TAGGED "future"
Are we working on the right problems?
We face a choice between a future of accelerating technological progress and an age of declining possibilities and narrowing horizons. That choice depends on the problems we choose to solve.
Programmable Watch, Flying Cars, Shakespeare's Copywrongs, and Publishing Unified
Commandline for Story, Dystopic Predictions, Studying Failures, and Two Great Tastes
- Curveship — a new interactive fiction system that can tell the same story in many different ways. Check out the examples on the home page. Important because interactive fiction and the command-lines of our lives are inextricably intertwined.
- Egypt’s Revolution: Coming to an Economy Near You (Umair Haque) — more dystopic prediction, but this phrase rings true: The lesson: You can’t steal the future forever — and, in a hyperconnected world, you probably can’t steal as much of it for as long.
- Why Startups Fail — failure is a more instructive teacher than success, so simply studying successful startups isn’t enough. (via Hacker News)
- Computer Science and Philosophy — Oxford is offering a program studying CS and Philosophy together. the two disciplines share a broad focus on the representation of information and rational inference, embracing common interests in algorithms, cognition, intelligence, language, models, proof, and verification. Computer Scientists need to be able to reflect critically and philosophically about these, as they push forward into novel domains. Philosophers need to understand them within a world increasingly shaped by computer technology, in which a whole new range of enquiry has opened up, from the philosophy of AI, artificial life and computation, to the ethics of privacy and intellectual property, to the epistemology of computer models (e.g. of global warming). I wish every CS student had taken a course in ethics.
Microsoft and the Web, URL Library, Optimism, and NoSQL Instruction
- Dive Into 2010 (Mark Pilgrim) — Mark wrote a hugely popular guide to HTML5 which was available online and published by O’Reilly. 6% of visitors used some version of Internet Explorer. That is not a typo. The site works fine in Internet Explorer — the site practices what it preaches, and the live examples use a variety of fallbacks for legacy browsers — so this is entirely due to the subject matter. Microsoft has completely lost the web development community.
- google-url — the Google URL-parsing library, designed to be embeddable.
- Reasons to be Cheerful (Charlie Stross) — if all we ever do is gripe about ways in which the world is not perfect, we will make ourselves miserable and fail to appreciate ways in which things are getting better. Important.
- NoSQL Tapes — videos of lectures on NoSQL topics. (via Hacker News)
Data Structures, Technoptimism, China, and Web Math
- Synopsis Data Structures for Massive Data Sets (PDF) — survey of data structures that reduce the problem space when dealing with large data sets. (via Pete Warden)
- Optimism — you build what you’re thinking of. Time to figure out the optimistic future and build that. “Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.” –attributed to Alasdair Gray.
- Velocity China — in case you were wondering, yes: China is on our radar.
Artists on Piracy, Web Tracking, Thinking about Future Food, and Library Futures
- Pirate Verbatim — artists, in their own words, talking about piracy. The mix of opinions, attitudes, and nuance shows that there’s far from any single consistent view out there. (via Graham Linehan)
- What Rapleaf Knows About You — aggregating information from various sites, and your ad clickthroughs, to build a dossier about you that relates your email address to real name, age, shopping history, political leaning, and more. How do I control others’ ability to gather information about me? (via Mauricio Freitas)
- By Design — Australian radio show episode where five interesting people (artist, author, etc.) talk about water, electricity, food, and technology and then have Q&A. Dan Hill helped it happen.
- Rare Book Room — read high-resolution scans of important and beautiful old books (Shakespeare Folios, Galileo, Books of Hours, etc.) online. Digital for libraries means new ways for customers to view materials, and new customers: I can read an item from the Bodleian Library, but I’m in New Zealand and they’re in Oxford. Am I a Bodleian customer? Do they change what they do to support me? Who pays for the services I use? These are the questions many collections organisations are struggling with. (via Paul Steele)
Image Remapping, Internet Futures, Ebook Reader, and Open Cloud Computing
- Historical Images Remapped — Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum released historical images from their collections, and a historical photo site Sepiatown geolocated and oriented them so they can be viewed side-by-side with current Google Street View images of the same place. And then contributed the refined metadata back to the museum. A great example of your users helping to improve your data.
- Future Internet Scenarios — results of scenario planning by the Internet Society, some possible futures from open and competitive to anticompetitive centralised walled-gardens.
- OpenLibrary Bookreader — the Internet Archive’s book reader is (naturally) open source for you to reuse and improve. (via Kevin Marks on Twitter)
- OpenStack Austin Release — code to compute controller and object storage released. Competition and interoperability require exactly this kind of open cloud environment.
- Interview with Marcin Wichary (Ajaxian) — interview with the creator of Google’s Pacman logo, the original HTML5 slide deck. One of the first popular home video game consoles was 1977′s Atari VCS 2600. It was an incredibly simple piece of hardware. It didn’t even have video memory – you literally had to construct pixels just moments before they were handed to the electron gun. It was designed for very specific, trivial games: two players, some bullets and a very sparse background. All the launch games looked like that. But within five years, companies figured out how to make games like Pitfall, which were much, much cooler and more sophisticated. Here’s the kicker: if you were to take those games, go back in time, and show them even to the *creators* of VCS, I bet they would tell you “Naah, it’s impossible to do that. The hardware we just put together won’t ever be able to handle this.” Likewise, if you were to take Google Maps or iPhone Web apps, take your deLorean to 1991 and show them to Tim Berners-Lee, he’d be all like “get the hell out of here.” (via Russ Weakley)
- Liberating Lives — The historian Tim Hitchcock, behind projects such as the Old Bailey Online and London Lives, has reflected on the impact of digitisation on our access to archives. Archives, he notes, tend to reflect the assumptions and practices of the institutions that created them. But by providing new ways into these records systems, technology can undermine the power relations that persist within their structures. Read the entire post, which has a moving description of the bureaucracy of Australia’s racism and the modern-day projects built on it. (via spanishmanners on Twitter)
- Deblurring Images — interesting research work reconstructing original scenes from blurred images. (via anselm on Twitter)
- 50 Years of Cyborgs: I Have Not the Words (Quinn Norton) — We need language that lets us talk about the terrorism of little changes. Be they good or bad, they are terrible in aggregate. Thought-provoking essay pushing our ideas of change, future, technology, and culture until they break. (via kevinmarks on Twitter)
Hardware Hacking, BI Reporting Tool, Book Recommendations, and Winning the Futurist Lottery
- Dangerous Prototypes — “a new open source hardware project every month”. Sample project: Flash Destroyer, which writes and verifies EEPROM chips until they blow out.
- Wabit — GPLv3 reporting tool.
- Because No Respectable MBA Programme Would Admit Me (Mike Shaver) — excellent book recommendations.
- The Most Prescient Footnote Ever (David Pennock) — In footnote 14 of Chapter 5 (p. 228) of Graham’s classic Hackers and Painters, published in 2004, Graham asks “If the the Mac was so great why did it lose?”. His explanation ends with this caveat, in parentheses: “And it hasn’t lost yet. If Apple were to grow the iPod into a cell phone with a web browser, Microsoft would be in big trouble.”