"geo" entries

Four short links: 19 July 2012

Four short links: 19 July 2012

Answers not Maps, Government in Web Sites, Future of Manufacturing, The .000063% Influencers

  1. The Future of a Map is Its Information (The Atlantic) — maps are how we display data when we, the brain, wish to answer a question. Technology is rapidly expanding the questions we don’t need to look at a map to answer: directions, weather forecasts, dining …. (via Flowing Data)
  2. Governments Don’t Have Websites, Governments Are Websites (MySociety) — the best part about MySociety’s recent funding is that Tom Steinberg is blogging more. The majority of citizens don’t have deep, all encompassing, everyday interactions with the state – at most they drop their kids at school every day, or visit the GP a few times a year. That’s as physically close as they get. To these people, interacting with government already feels somewhat like interacting with Amazon. It sends them benefits, passports, recycling bins, car tax disks from mysterious dispatch offices and it demands money and information in return. The difference is in emotional tone – the Amazon online interactions tend to be seamless, the government online interactions either painful or impossible – time to pick up the phone.
  3. The Future of Manufacturing is America not China (Foreign Policy) — robots + AI + low-cost or shared public manufacturing facilities = the future of manufacturing.
  4. Captured America (The Atlantic) — Larry Lessig observes the tilted playing field responsible for America’s inability to govern itself: A tiny number of Americans — .26 percent — give more than $200 to a congressional campaign. .05 percent give the maximum amount to any congressional candidate. .01 percent give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent — 196 Americans — have given more than 80 percent of the super-PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far.
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Four short links: 20 June 2012

Four short links: 20 June 2012

Talkative Virus Writer, QR Codes, Digital Reconstruction, and Renewable Energy

  1. Researcher Chats To Hacker Who Created The Virus He’s ResearchingChicken: I didn’t know you can see my screen. Hacker: I would like to see your face, but what a pity you don’t have a camera.
  2. Economist on QR CodesThree-quarters of American online retailers surveyed by Forrester, a research firm, use them. In April nearly 20% of smartphone users in America scanned one, up from 14% in May last year.
  3. Reconstructing the Ruins of Warsaw — what an amazing accomplishment!
  4. The Great German Energy Experiment (Technology Review) — political will: the risk and the successes. Certainly a huge gulf between Germany and America in where they are, and political will to be more renewable.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 19 June 2012

Four short links: 19 June 2012

Map Usage, Transit Data, Mozilla Web Maker, and Print-to-Web Design

  1. Mobile Maps (Luke Wroblewski) — In the US, Google gets about 31 million users a month on its Maps app on iOS. On average those users spend more than 75 minutes apiece in the app each month.
  2. The Importance of Public Traffic Data (Anil Dash) — Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s first collaboration was a startup called Traf-O-Data, which recorded and analyzed traffic at intersections in their hometown using custom-built devices along with some smart software. Jack Dorsey’s first successful application was a platform for dispatch routing, designed to optimize the flow of cars by optimizing the flow of information. It’s easy to see these debates as being about esoteric “open data” battles with governments and big corporations. But it matters because the work we do to build our cities directly drives the work we do to build our communities online.
  3. Mozilla ThimbleWrite and edit HTML and CSS right in your browser. Instantly preview your work. Then host and share your finished pages with a single click.
  4. Design of the Guardian iPad App (Mark Porter) — thoughtful analysis of the options and ideas behind the new Guardian iPad app. Unlike the iPhone and Android apps, which are built on feeds from the website, this one actually recycles the already-formatted newspaper pages. A script analyses the InDesign files from the printed paper and uses various parameters (page number, physical area and position that a story occupies, headline size, image size etc) to assign a value to the story. The content is then automatically rebuilt according to those values in a new InDesign template for the app. (via Josh Porter)
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Four short links: 18 April 2012

Four short links: 18 April 2012

Cartographic Data Tool, Astronomical Volumes of Astronomical Data, Faster Touch, and Why MS Open Source?

  1. CartoDB (GitHub) — open source geospatial database, API, map tiler, and UI. For feature comparison, see Comparing Open Source CartoDB to Fusion Tables (via Nelson Minar).
  2. Future Telescope Array Drives Exabyte Processing (Ars Technica) — Astronomical data is massive, and requires intense computation to analyze. If it works as planned, Square Kilometer Array will produce over one exabyte (260 bytes, or approximately 1 billion gigabytes) every day. This is roughly twice the global daily traffic of the entire Internet, and will require storage capacity at least 10 times that needed for the Large Hadron Collider. (via Greg Linden)
  3. Faster Touch Screens More Usable (Toms Hardware) — check out that video! (via
    Greg Linden)
  4. Why Microsoft’s New Open Source Division (Simon Phipps) — The new “Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.” provides an ideal firewall to protect Microsoft from the risks it has been alleging exist in open source and open standards. As such, it will make it “easier and faster” for them to respond to the inevitability of open source in their market without constant push-back from cautious and reactionary corporate process.
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Four short links: 17 April 2012

Four short links: 17 April 2012

Animal Imagery, Infectious Ideas, Internet v Books, and Transparency Projects

  1. Penguins Counted From Space (Reuters) — I love the unintended flow-on effects of technological progress. Nobody funded satellites because they’d help us get an accurate picture of wildlife in the Antarctic, but yet here we are. The street finds a use …
  2. What Makes a Super-Spreader?A super-spreader is a person who transmits an infection to a significantly greater number of other people than the average infected person. The occurrence of a super spreader early in an outbreak can be the difference between a local outbreak that fizzles out and a regional epidemic. Cory, Waxy, Gruber, Ms BrainPickings Popova: I’m looking at you. (via BoingBoing)
  3. The Internet Did Not Kill Reading Books (The Atlantic) — reading probably hasn’t declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.
  4. Data Transparency Hacks — projects that came from the WSJ Data Transparency Codeathon.
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Four short links: 9 March 2012

Four short links: 9 March 2012

Real World User Experience, Biovis your Social Network, Analytics for Phone Sales, and Classy OpenStreetMap

  1. Why The Symphony Needs A Progress Bar (Elaine Wherry) — an excellent interaction designer tackles the real world.
  2. Biologic — view your social network as though looking at cells through a microscope. Gorgeous and different.
  3. The Cost of Cracking — analysis of used phone listings to see what improves and decreases price yields some really interesting results. Phones described as “decent” are typically priced 23% below the median. Who would describe something they’re selling as “decent” and price it below market value unless something fishy was going on? […] On average, cracking your phone destroys 30-50% of its value instantly. Particularly interesting to me since Ms 10 just brought home her phone with *cough* a new starburst screensaver.
  4. OpenStreetMap Welcomes Apple — this is the classy way to deal with the world’s richest company quietly and badly using your work without acknowledgement.
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Four short links: 5 December 2011

Four short links: 5 December 2011

Spatial Search, Exposing Your Phone's Perfidity, School Unconference, and Wikipedia Viz

  1. VP Trees — a data structure for fast spatial searching. A form of nearest neighbour, useful for melodies (PDF) and image retrieval (PDF) and poetry. (via Reddit)
  2. iYou — iTunes plugin to show you all the stuff your phone collects about you.
  3. Bar Camps in Primary Schools — NZ teacher deploys bar camps among students. Great things happen.
  4. Realtime Wikipedia Edits — fascinating and hypnotic and inspirational and appalling and irrelevant all at once.

Comment: 1
Four short links: 8 April 2011

Four short links: 8 April 2011

Varnish Guide, Fields Revealed, Dev Leaderboard, and Map Documentary

  1. A Practical Guide to Varnish — Varnish is the http accelerator used by the discerning devops.
  2. Ferrofluid Sculptures (New Scientist) — hypnotic video of an iron-based fluid that is moulded by magnetic fields, which I include for no good reason than it is pretty pretty science. (via Courtney Johnston)
  3. Twisted Highscores List — clever leaderboard for tickets, reviews, commits, and fixes. A fun retro presentation of the information, rather than a determined effort to jolly up the grim task of software development by spraying on a thin coat of gamejuice. (via Jacob Kaplan-Moss)
  4. Beauty of Maps (YouTube) — BBC’s “Beauty of Maps” tv show is available in full on YouTube. Aspects of visualization and design here, as well as practical cartography. (via Flowing Data)
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Four short links: 5 April 2011

Four short links: 5 April 2011

Big Maps, ssh VPN, Line Maps, and HTML5 Multiplayer Pacman

  1. The Big Map Blog — awesome old maps, for the afficionado. (via Sacha Judd)
  2. sshuttle — poor man’s VPN built over ssh. (via Hacker News)
  3. Remembering LineDrive — I, too, am bummed that LineDrive never became standard. And Maneesh, one of its cocreators. Check out his publications list!
  4. Websockets Pacman — multiplayer Pacman, where players take the role of ghosts. All implemented with WebSockets in HTML5. (via Pete Warden)
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Four short links: 16 December 2010

Four short links: 16 December 2010

Compressing Graphs, Authentication Usability, Extreme Design, and Rails Geo

  1. On Compressing Social Networks (PDF) — paper looking at the theory and practice of compressing social network graphs. Our main innovation here is to come up with a quick and useful method for generating an ordering on the social network nodes so that nodes with lots of common neighbors are near each other in the ordering, a property which is useful for compression (via My Biased Coin, via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
  2. Requiring Email and Passwords for New Accounts (Instapaper blog) — a list of reasons why the simple signup method of “pick a username, passwords are optional” turned out to be trouble in the long run. (via Courtney Johnston’s Instapaper feed)
  3. Extreme Design — building the amazing spacelog.org in an equally-amazing fashion. I want a fort.
  4. rgeo — a new geo library for Rails. (via Daniel Azuma via Glen Barnes on Twitter)
Comment: 1