- Ed Startups in a Nutshell (Dan Meyer) — I couldn’t agree with Dan more: The Internet is like a round pipe. Lecture videos and machine-scored exercises are like round pegs. They pass easily from one end of the pipe to the other. But there are square and triangular pegs: student-student and teacher-student relationships, arguments, open problems, performance tasks, projects, modeling, and rich assessments. These pegs, right now, do not flow through that round pipe well at all.
- 3D Printed Portraiture: Past, Present, and Future — impressive collection of 3D scans of museum collections of portraiture. Check out his downloadable design files. (via Bruce Sterling)
- Versu — interactive storytelling, with AI and conversation modeling.
- Weird Things Found on Taobao (NSFW) — this is what I never ow my head. (via Beta Knowledge)
EdTech Startups, 3D Portraits, Interactive Storytelling, and Bizarre Consumer Items
Gadgets Over Time, Telco Evil, Open Source Savings, and Plus-Sized Husky Tablet
- Electronic Gadgets in the NZ Consumer Price Index — your CPI is just as bizarre, trust me. (via Julie Starr)
- Captive Audience: Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Gilded Age (Amazon) — Foo camper and former Washington insider, now truth-teller about broken telco industry in the US. From Time’s review of the book and interview with her: Meanwhile, Comcast has sharply reduced its capital expenditures, which have now fallen to 14% of revenues from over 35% a decade ago, even as it enjoys a whopping 95% profit margin on its broadband service. “They’re not expanding and they’re not enhancing their service,” Crawford says. “They’ve done their investment, now they’re just harvesting.” Not surprisingly, Comcast’s stock price increased over 50% in the last year, and nearly 200% over the last four years. “Shareholders are doing well,” Crawford says. “The rest of the country, not so great.”
- Barclays Cut Software Expenditure 90% With Open Source (The Inquirer) — “We’ve been making significant savings in our technology platform by doing a lot of the work in-house to develop and launch our own applications rapidly,” he said. “It means we can write new applications once and then develop them using an open source model, rather than rewriting them again for legacy systems.” (via The Linux Foundation)
- Lenovo Has a 27″ Tablet Due This Summer — USD1700 and I want one. The label “tablet” is a tough pill to swallow (ho ho) but it’d make an awesome table. That you could never put anything on. Hmm.
Twitter Mapped, Bibliographic Data Released, Babies Engadgeted, and Nat's Christmas Present Sorted
- A Day in the Life of Twitter (Chris McDowall) — all geo-tagged tweets from 24h of the Twitter firehose, displayed. Interesting things can be seen, such as Jakarta glowing as brightly as San Francisco. (via Chris’s sciblogs post)
- British Library Release 3M Open Bibliographic Records) (OKFN) — This dataset consists of the entire British National Bibliography, describing new books published in the UK since 1950; this represents about 20% of the total BL catalogue, and we are working to add further releases.
- Gadgets for Babies (NY Times) — cry decoders, algorithmically enhanced rocking chairs, and (my favourite) “voice-activated crib light with womb sounds”. I can’t wait until babies can make womb sound playlists and share them on Twitter.
- GP2X Caanoo MAME/Console Emulator (ThinkGeek) — perfect Christmas present for, well, me. Emulates classic arcade machines and microcomputers, including my nostalgia fetish object, the Commodore 64. (via BoingBoing’s Gift Guide)
With IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited just days away, this week brings plenty of buzz about new ereaders, tablets and more.
The IFA traditionally offers an early indication of what gadgets will sell well through Christmas. It's no wonder so much attention is focused on the show with order volume stemming from last year's show reaching nearly $3.8 billion.
Minds for Sale, Heat Death of the Web, Handheld Wireless Magazines, Joking Computers
- Jonathan Zittrain on “Minds for Sale” — video of a presentation he gave at the Computer History Museum about crowdsourcing. In the words of one attendee, Zittrain focuses on the potential alienation and opportunities for abuse that can arise with the growth of distributed online production. He also contemplates the thin line that separates exploitation from volunteering in the context of online communities and collaboration. Video embedded below.
- Anatomy of a Bad Search Result — Physicists tell us that the 2nd law of Thermodynamics predicts that eventually everything in the universe will be the same temperature, the way a hot bath in a cold room ends up being a lukewarm bath in a lukewarm room. The web is entering its own heat death as SEO scum build fake sites with stolen content from elsewhere on the web. If this continues, we won’t be able to find good content for all the bullshit. The key is to have enough dishwaster-related text to look like it’s a blog about dishwashers, while also having enough text diversity to avoid being detected by Google as duplicative or automatically generated content. So who created this fake blog? It could have been Consumersearch, or a “black hat” SEO consultant, or someone in an affiliate program that Consumersearch doesn’t even know. I’m not trying to imply that Consumersearch did anything wrong. The problem is systematic. When you have a multibillion dollar economy built around keywords and links, the ultimate “products” optimize for just that: keywords and links. The incentive to create quality content diminishes.
- Magplus — gorgeous prototyping for how magazines might work on new handheld devices.
- Glasgow’s Joking Computer — The Glasgow Science Centre in Scotland is exhibiting a computer that makes up jokes using its database of simple language rules and a large vocabulary. It’s doing better than most 8 year old children. In fact, if we were perfectly honest, most adults can’t pun to save themselves. Q: What do you call a shout with a window? A: A computer scream. (via Physorg News)
Jeff Gomez, in his series on owning a Kindle, voices a preference for multiple gadgets each doing one thing well: One thing that I don't mind about the Kindle is that it's an extra device. I used to think that I wanted an integrated device — one thing that did everything — and that I wouldn't want to carry…