"gov2.0" entries

Four short links: 21 September 2012

Four short links: 21 September 2012

Farm Servers, Federal GitHub Activity, Industrial Robots, and Crowdfunding Medical Appliances

  1. Business Intelligence on FarmsMachines keep track of all kinds of data about each cow, including the chemical properties of its milk, and flag when a particular cow is having problems or could be sick. The software can compare current data with historical patterns for the entire herd, and relate to weather conditions and other seasonal variations. Now a farmer can track his herd on his iPad without having to get out of bed, or even from another state. (via Slashdot)
  2. USAxGITHUB — monitor activity on all the US Federal Government’s github repositories. (via Sarah Milstein)
  3. Rethinking Robotics — $22k general purpose industrial robot. “‘It feels like a true Macintosh moment for the robot world,’ said Tony Fadell, the former Apple executive who oversaw the development of the iPod and the iPhone. Baxter will come equipped with a library of simple tasks, or behaviors — for example, a “common sense” capability to recognize it must have an object in its hand before it can move and release it.” (via David ten Have)
  4. Shift LabsShift Labs makes low-cost medical devices for resource-limited settings. [Crowd]Fund the manufacture and field testing of the Drip Clip [...] a replacement for expensive pumps that dose fluid from IV bags.
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Four short links: 29 August 2012

Four short links: 29 August 2012

NeoVictorian Computing, Participatory Budgeting, Micro Thrusters, and Geopositioning Accuracy

  1. NeoVictorian Computing (Mark Bernstein) — read this! I think we all woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say the factory is going to close and move somewhere else. [...] The Arts & Crafts movement failed in consumer goods, but it could succeed in software. (via James Governor)
  2. Participatory Budgetingresearch shows participation is more effective than penalties in taxation compliance. Participation is more effective than penalties in almost everything.
  3. MIT-Developed Microthrustersa flat, compact square — much like a computer chip — covered with 500 microscopic tips that, when stimulated with voltage, emit tiny beams of ions. Together, the array of spiky tips creates a small puff of charged particles that can help propel a shoebox-sized satellite forward. You say satellite, but it’s only a matter of time until this powers a DIY RC rocket with a camera payload. (via Hacker News)
  4. Yelp Checkins to Measure Geopositioning Accuracy Across PhonesBy analyzing millions of data points, we can easily see how, on average, different platforms perform. iPhones consistently have the most accurate positioning, with a fairly small accuracy radius. Android phones are often inaccurate, but reliably reported that inaccuracy. And finally, iPods using Wi-Fi positioning proved the least accurate and usually reported incorrect accuracy radii.
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Four short links: 10 July 2012

Four short links: 10 July 2012

Assembly Crack, Political Pieces, Better Select Boxes, and Fairly Using Orphans

  1. Learn to Write 6502 Assembly Language — if retro-gaming is the gateway drug you’re using to attract kids to programming, this is the crack you wheel out after three months of getting high. Ok, this metaphor is broken on many levels. (via Hacker News)
  2. Small Political Pieces, Loosely Joined — MySociety: We believe that the wrong answer to this challenge is to just say “Well then, everyone should build their own sites from scratch.” [...] Our plan is to collaborate with international friends to build a series of components that deliver quite narrow little pieces of the functionality that make up bigger websites. Common software components, perhaps interchangeable data … good things coming.
  3. Select 2a jQuery based replacement for select boxes. It supports searching, remote data sets, and infinite scrolling of results. Useful. (via Javascript Weekly)
  4. How Fair Use Can Solve Orphan Works — preprint of legal paper claiming non-profit libraries can begin to work on orphaned works under the aegis of free use. Finally, regardless of a work’s orphan status, many uses by libraries and archives will fit squarely under the umbrella of uses favored by the first fair use factor (the “purpose of the use”), and their digitization of entire works for preservation and access should often be justified under the third fair use factor (the amount used). As such, fair use represents an important, and for too long unsung, part of the solution to the orphan works problem.
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Four short links: 2 July 2012

Four short links: 2 July 2012

Predictive Policing, Public Sector Tech Benefits, Wireless Joystick on a Ring, and Recruiter Honeypot

  1. Predicting Crime Before It Occurs (SFGate) — The new program used by LAPD and police in the Northern California city of Santa Cruz is more timely and precise, proponents said. Built on the same model for predicting aftershocks following an earthquake, the software promises to show officers what might be coming based on simple, constantly calibrated data — location, time and type of crime. The software generates prediction boxes — as small as 500 square feet — on a patrol map. When officers have spare time, they are told to “go in the box.”
  2. Realising Benefits From Six Public Sector Technology Projects (PDF) — New Zealand report from the Auditor-General. Conclusion specifically calls out agile development, open source, and open data as technology tools that helped deliver success.
  3. Ringbow (Kickstarter) — a D-pad style joystick controller, built into a ring and designed for use with touchscreen games.
  4. The Recruiter Honeypot (Elaine Wherry) — Brilliant! Trying to ramp up Meebo’s staff, Elaine created a fake employee profile to see where recruiters hunted and to identify the best. Her lessons are great advice for anyone also trying to hire up fast in the Bay Area. Worth reading if only for the squicky stories of sleazy recruiters.
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Four short links: 25 June 2012

Four short links: 25 June 2012

Public Spending Links, Telemedicine Questioned, Comments Re-examined, and Informed Consent

  1. Stop Treating People Like Idiots (Tom Steinberg) — governments miss the easy opportunities to link the tradeoffs they make to the point where the impacts are felt. My argument is this: key compromises or decisions should be linked to from the points where people obtain a service, or at the points where they learn about one. If my bins are only collected once a fortnight, the reason why should be one click away from the page that describes the collection times.
  2. UK Study Finds Mixed Telemedicine BenefitsThe results, in a paper to the British Medical Journal published today, found telehealth can help patients with long-term conditions avoid emergency hospital care, and also reduce deaths. However, the estimated scale of hospital cost savings is modest and may not be sufficient to offset the cost of the technology, the report finds. Overall the evidence does not warrant full scale roll-out but more careful exploration, it says. (via Mike Pearson)
  3. Pay Attention to What Nick Denton is Doing With Comments (Nieman Lab) — Most news sites have come to treat comments as little more than a necessary evil, a kind of padded room where the third estate can vent, largely at will, and tolerated mainly as a way of generating pageviews. This exhausted consensus makes what Gawker is doing so important. Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder and publisher, Thomas Plunkett, head of technology, and the technical staff have re-designed Gawker to serve the people reading the comments, rather than the people writing them.
  4. Informed Consent Source of Confusion (Nature) — fascinating look at the downstream uses of collected bio data and the difficulty in gaining informed consent: what you might learn about yourself (do I want to know I have an 8.3% greater chance of developing Alzheimers? What would I do with that knowledge besides worry?), what others might learn about you (will my records be subpoenable?), and what others might make from the knowledge (will my data be used for someone else’s financial benefit?). (via Ed Yong)
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Four short links: 21 June 2012

Four short links: 21 June 2012

Randomized Trials for Policy, Crowdfunding Equity, Safe DIYBio, and Easy Unique Experiences

  1. Test, Learn, Adapt (PDF) — UK Cabinet Office paper on randomised trials for public policy. Ben Goldacre cowrote.
  2. UK EscapeTheCity Raises GBP600k in Crowd Equity — took just eight days, using the Crowdcube platform for equity-based crowd investment.
  3. DIY Bio SOPs — CC-licensed set of standard operating procedures for a bio lab. These are the SOPs that I provided to the Irish EPA as part of my “Consent Conditions” for “Contained Use of Class 1 Genetically Modified Microorganisms”. (via Alison Marigold)
  4. Shuffling Cards — shuffle a deck of cards until it’s randomised. That order of cards probably hasn’t ever been seen before in the history of mankind.
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Four short links: 22 May 2012

Four short links: 22 May 2012

Budget App, Health Insurance Data, Perl Release, and HTML5 WYSIWYG Editor

  1. New Zealand Government Budget App — when the NZ budget is announced, it’ll go live on iOS and Android apps. Tablet users get details, mobile users get talking points and speeches. Half-political, but an interesting approach to reaching out to voters with political actions.
  2. Health Care Data Dump (Washington Post) — 5B health insurance claims (attempted anonymized) to be released. Researchers will be able to access that data, largely using it to probe a critical question: What makes health care so expensive?
  3. Perl 5.16.0 Out — two epic things here: 590k lines of changes, and announcement quote from Auden. Auden is my favourite poet, Perl my favourite programming language.
  4. WYSIHTML5 (GitHub) — wysihtml5 is an open source rich text editor based on HTML5 technology and the progressive-enhancement approach. It uses a sophisticated security concept and aims to generate fully valid HTML5 markup by preventing unmaintainable tag soups and inline styles.
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Four short links: 17 May 2012

Four short links: 17 May 2012

Demythologizing Big Data, Online Scams, A Useful Computer Vision Library, and Opening Politics

  1. The Mythology of Big Data (PDF) — slides from a Strata keynote by Mark R. Madsen. A lovely explanation of the social impediments to the rational use of data. (via Hamish MacEwan)
  2. Scamworld — amazing deconstruction of the online “get rich quick” scam business. (via Andy Baio)
  3. Ceres: Solving Complex Problems with Computing Muscle — Johnny Lee Chung explains the (computer vision) uses of the open source Ceres Non-Linear Least Squares Solver library from Google.
  4. How to Start a Think Tank (Guardian) — The answer to the looming crisis of legitimacy we’re facing is greater openness – not just regarding who met who at what Christmas party, but on the substance of policy. The best way to re-engage people in politics is to change how politics works – in the case of our project, to develop a more direct way for the people who use and provide public and voluntary services to create better social policy. Hear, hear. People seize on the little stuff because you haven’t given them a way to focus something big with you.
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Four short links: 7 May 2012

Four short links: 7 May 2012

Democratic Software, Gesturable Objects, Likeable Fashion, and Crowdsourcing Drug Design

  1. Liquid Feedback — MIT-licensed voting software from the Pirate Party. See this Spiegel Online piece about how it is used for more details. (via Tim O’Reilly)
  2. Putting Gestures Into Objects (Ars Technica) — Disney and CMU have a system called Touché, where objects can tell whether they’re being clasped, swiped, pinched, etc. and by how many fingers. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Real-time Facebook ‘likes’ Displayed On Brazilian Fashion Retailer’s Clothes Racks (The Verge) — each hanger has a digital counter reflecting the number of likes.
  4. Foldit Games Next Play: Crowdsourcing Better Drug Design (Nature Blogs) — “We’ve moved beyond just determining structures in nature,” Cooper, who is based at the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science in Seattle, told Nature Medicine. “We’re able to use the game to design brand new therapeutic enzymes.” He says players are now working on the ground-up design of a protein that would act as an inhibitor of the influenza A virus, and he expects to expand the drug development uses of the game to small molecule design within the next year.
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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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