- Google Wins Book Scanning Case (Giga Om) — will probably be appealed, though many authors will fear it’s good money after bad tilting at the fair use windmill.
- IBM Watson To Be A Platform (IBM) — press release indicates you’ll soon be able to develop your own apps that use Watson’s machine learning and text processing.
- MiniMetalMaker (IndieGogo) — 3D printer that can print detailed objects from specially blended metal clay and fire.
- MicroPython (KickStarter) — Python for Microcontrollers.
"google books" entries
Scan Win, Watson Platform, Metal Printer, and Microcontroller Python
Urine Checkins, News Summaries, Zombie Ideas, and Scanner Plans
- Mark Your Territory — Urine integration for Foursquare. (via Beta Knowledge)
- TL;DR — news summaries. Finally.
- Zombie Ideas and Online Instruction — The repeated return of mistaken ideas captures well my experiences with technologies in schools and what I have researched over decades. The zombie idea that is rapidly being converted into policies that in the past have been “refuted with evidence but refuse to die” is: new technologies can cure K-12 and higher education problems of teaching and learning. The most recent incarnation of this revolving-door idea is widespread access to online instruction in K-12 education cyber-charter schools, blended schools where online instruction occurs for a few hours a day, and mandated courses that children and youth have to take.
- Google Open Sources Their Book Scanner — hardware designs for their clever system for high-throughput non-destructive book-scanning. (via Hackaday)
Future Tech, Book Lawsuits, Site Design, and Sundae Problems
- Russell Davies: Four Thought (audio) — some very nice thinking on the future of technology.
- The Fight Over the Future of Digital Books (The Atlantic) — Authors Guild v. HathiTrust is a strange legal twist. For an association of professional writers, the Guild seems to have forgotten some of the basic principles of its craft, such as not placing sympathetic figures like librarians in the role of villains. Almost comically, the Guild’s press release trumpeting its lawsuit against HathiTrust augurs a dark day in the not-too-distant future when old works, including obscure Yiddish texts, are “abducted” and “released” to thousands of students and professors.
- The Design Behind How Many Really — this is fantastic stuff, showing the evolution of their thinking.
- Science Museums are Failing Grownups — I think this is a sundae problem. A sundae is a bowl full of ice cream. You put some stuff on top of it, but it remains, fundamentally, a bowl full of ice cream. And when I talk about examples of really great adult engagement in science museums, I am, generally, talking about the sprinkles, not the ice cream. The museums acknowledge the problem, but they’re dealing with it by adding in a couple of things here and there. A traveling exhibit. One exhibit out of the whole museum. One night a month. What they really need are serious changes to the bulk of the experience. Sundae problem. I like this.
Newspapers bundle tablets and content, Google gets an ereader.
In the latest Publishing News: Sister newspapers in Philadelphia announced a tablet program, Iriver launched an ereading device with the Google eBookstore on board, and Peter Meyers says digital can fix footnotes.
Renegotiation of the Google Books agreement is a possibility, and involved parties seem amenable.
The rejection of the Google Books agreement was more of a setback than an outright rejection.
Intrusion Recovery, MTurk Spam, Open Source, and Google Pottymouth
- Gawker Tech Team Didn’t Adequately Secure Our Platform — internal memo from CTO to staff after the break-in. Notable for two things: the preventative steps, which include things like two-factor authentication and not collecting commenter details; and the lack of defensiveness. When your executives taunt 4chan and your systems get pwned as a result, it must be mighty hard not to point the finger at those executives. I hope I can be as adult as Tom Plunkett when shit next happens to me. (via Andy Baio)
- Mechanical Turk Spam — 40% of the HITs from new requesters are spam. The list of tasks is the online fraud hitlist: faking votes/comments/etc on social sites, making fake accounts, submitting fake leads through lead gen sites, fake clicks on ads, posting fake ads to Craigslist, requesting personal info of the MTurk worker. (via Andy Baio who is on fire)
- 2010 The Year Open Source Went Invisible (Matt Asay) — All of which is a long way of saying that while open source has become integral to so much software development, it hasn’t remotely ended the reign of proprietary software. Indeed, much (most?) open-source software is paid for out of proprietary profits. This might have been shocking news in, say, 2004, but it’s common knowledge in 2010. Open source is how we do business 10 years into this new millennium.
- Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books (Science) — We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. This is related to Google Labs’ latest toy, the n-gram viewer whose correct name should be Google Pottymouth if the things people are graphing are anything to go by.
Measuring Life Success, Music Industry Woes, Google Humanities, Open Source Hardware
- How Will You Measure Your Life? (HBR) — Clayton Christenson’s advice to the Harvard Business School’s graduating class, every section a gem. If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most. (via mjasay on Twitter)
- Lyle Lovett Yet To Make a Penny From Record Sales (TechDirt) — read with Virgin Sues Platinum-Selling Band and Zoe Keating’s ongoing exploration of life outside a label. Big record companies take the album profits but give you visibility so you can tour. This sucks if you’re a good musician but can’t tour (e.g., just had a #cellobaby). (via danjite on Twitter)
- Google’s Commitment to Digital Humanities (Google) — giving grants to universities to work with digital works. Will also be releasing more corpora like the collection of ancient Greek and Latin texts.
- Open Source Hardware Definition — up to v0.3, there’s momentum building. There’s an open hardware summit in September. The big issue in the wild is how much of the complex multi-layered hardware game must be free-as-in-speech for the whole deal to be free-as-in-speech. See, for example, Bunnie Huang’s take.
Passionate Users, Mail APIs, Phone Hacking, and Patent Data Online
- How to Get Customers Who Love You Even When You Screw Up — a fantastic reminder of the power of Kathy Sierra’s “I Rock” moments. In that moment I understood Tom’s motivation: Tom was a hero. (via Hacker News)
- Yahoo! Mail is Open for Development — you can write apps that sit in Yahoo! Mail, using and extending the UI as well as taking advantage of APIs that access and alter the email.
- Canon Hack Development Kit — hack a PowerShot to be controlled by scripts. (via Jon Udell)
- 10TB of US PTO Data (Google Books) — the PTO has entered into a two year deal with Google to distribute patent and trademark data for free. At the moment it’s 10TB of images and full text of grants, applications, classifications, and more, but it will grow over time: in the future we will be making more data available including file histories and related data. (via Google Public Policy blog post)
ACTA, Google Books, and APIs vs Data
- PublicACTA — New Zealand is hosting the final round of ACTA negotiations, and InternetNZ and other concerned technology-aware citizens will also host a PublicACTA conference. The goal is to produce a statement from the citizens, one which can be given to the negotiators ahead of the final round. If you can’t make it to NZ for April 10, the site has an interesting blog and the conference itself will be live streamed.
- Submission on Copying in the Digital Environment — ahead of the ACTA round, New Zealand negotiators invited submissions around certain questions. This fantastic response from an artist and author reminds me why the fight is so important. 2. The idea that all copying must be authorised (or else be illegal) makes no sense in the digital environment. The internet works through copying – that’s how the technology of it functions, and it’s also how its power to promote and market ideas and art is unleashed. For example, when my work “goes viral” – i.e. is copied from website to blog to aggregation site to tweet to email (and so on) – I benefit enormously from that exposure. This is not something I can engineer or control, and when it has happened it has always come as a pleasant surprise. I have benefited from these frenzies of “unauthorised” copying in a number of ways, from international commissions to increased sales. I have learned that such copying is in my interests; in fact, it is essential to my success in the digital environment. (via starrjulie on Twitter)
- Jon Orwant of Google Books — Jon’s an O’Reilly alum, and engineering manager for Google Books. David Weinberger liveblogged a talk Jon gave to Harvard librarians. Google Books want to scan all books. Has done 12M out of the 120 works (which have 174 manifestations — different versions and editions, etc.). About 4B pages, 40+ libraries, 400 languages (“Three in Klingon”). Google Books is in the first stage: Scanning. Second: Scaling. Third: What do we do with all this? 20% are public domain.
- We Have an API — Nat Friedman asks for a “download all the data” link instead of an API that dribbles out data like a pensioner with a prostate problem (my words, not his). I loved Francis Irving’s observation, buried in the comments, that A “download data” item is just an API call that can return all the data..