- Turing Complete User — General Purpose Users can write an article in their e-mail client, layout their business card in Excel and shave in front of a web cam. They can also find a way to publish photos online without flickr, tweet without twitter, like without facebook, make a black frame around pictures without instagram, remove a black frame from an instagram picture and even wake up at 7:00 without a “wake up at 7:00” app. [... They are] users who have the ability to achieve their goals regardless of the primary purpose of an application or device. (via BoingBoing)
- Bootstrap Live Editor — a WYSIWYG HTML5 Editor built for Bootstrap. It offers a nice and elegant way to edit and beautify html content with Bootstrap-ready UI elements. I love how Bootstrap has become this framework for simpler website creation. I’m just disappointed they’re all startups chasing $ instead of being open source infrastructure.
- DCMA Exemption Recommended for Remix — recommended expanding the noncommercial remix exemption to cover both DVDs and online services. The reference to “motion pictures” covers “movies, television shows, commercials, news, DVD extras, etc.”
- New Tool Gives Structural Strength to 3-D Printed Works (Science Daily) — Findings were detailed in a paper presented during the SIGGRAPH 2012 conference in August. Former Purdue doctoral student Ondrej Stava created the software application, which automatically strengthens objects either by increasing the thickness of key structural elements or by adding struts. The tool also uses a third option, reducing the stress on structural elements by hollowing out overweight elements. (via BoingBoing)
ENTRIES TAGGED "hacks"
Turing Complete Users, Live Bootstrap Editor, Remix Exemptions, and Automatically Strengthening 3D Designs
Prank or mistake? A QR code on a TSA poster links to a non-TSA site.
Fred Trotter discovers that a QR code embedded in a TSA poster at the Orlando airport links to justinsomnia.org, which is about as far as you can get from a government website.
SQL Injection, Optical Stick, SQL for Crowdsourcing, and DIY Medical Records
- SQL Injection Pocket Reference (Google Docs) — just what it sounds like. (via ModSecurity SQL Injection Challenge: Lessons Learned)
- isostick: The Optical Drive in a Stick (KickStarter) — clever! A USB memory stick with drivers that emulate optical drives so you can boot off .iso files you’ve put on the memory stick. (via Extreme Tech)
- CrowdDB: Answering Queries with Crowdsourcing (Berkeley) — CrowdDB uses human input via crowdsourcing to process queries that neither database systems nor search engines can adequately answer. It uses SQL both as a language for posing complex queries and as a way to model data. (via Big Data)
- The DIY Electronic Medical Record (Bryce Roberts) — I had a record of my daily weight, my exercising (catalogued by type), my walking, my calories burned and now, with the addition of Zeo, my nightly sleep patterns. All of this data had been passively collected with little to no manual input required from me. Total investment in this personal sensor network was in the range of a couple hundred dollars. And, as I rummaged through my data it began to hit me that what I’ve really been doing is creating my own DIY Electronic Medical Record. The Quantified Self is about more than obsessively cataloguing your bowel movements in low-contrast infographics. I’m less enthused by the opportunities to publicly perform private data, a-la the wifi body scale, than I am by opportunities to gain personal insight.
Solar Wireless Sensors, CSS Lint, Options Explained, and Web Hacks
- Solar Powered Wireless Sensor Network — Chris is building wireless sensor networks using open source software and hardware that could be used in a variety of applications like air quality or home energy monitoring. It looks like he was inspired by Tweetawatt and is using xBee and ASUS wifi for communication in conjunction with Pachube for data display. (via MindKits)
- CSS Lint — validate and quality check your CSS. (via Jacine Luisi)
- An Introduction to Stock Options for the Tech Entrepreneur or Startup Employee (Scribd) — nice introduction to board, stock, options, finance, dilution, and more.
- Interesting Web Hacks (Quora) — You can quickly run HTML in the browser without creating a HTML file: Enter this in the address bar: data:text/html,<h1>Hello, world!<h1> (via Alex Gibson)
ASCII Diagrams, Bayesian Textbook, Telehacks Interview, and Table Resizing in CSS
- ASCII Flow — create ASCII diagrams. Awesome. (via Hacker News)
- Principles of Uncertainty — probability and statistics textbook, for maths students to build up to understanding Bayesian reasoning.
- Playable Archaeology: An Interview with the Telehacks Anonymous Creator (Andy Baio) — The inspiration was my son. I had shown him the old movies Hackers, Wargames, and Colossus: The Forbin Project and he really liked them. After seeing Hackers and Wargames, he really wanted to start hacking stuff on his own. I’d taught him some programming, but I didn’t want him doing any actual hacking, so I decided to make a simulation so he could telnet to hosts, hack them, and get the feel of it, but safely. (Andy was the interviewer, not the creator)
- Responsive Data Tables — CSS ways to reformat data tables if the screen width is inadequate for the default table layout. (via Keith Bolland)
Remote Fingerprint Scans, Playdough Circuits, Update-Sync, and Tweet Failage
- AIRPrint — prototype box scans a fingerprint from six feet away. (via Greg Linden)
- Squishy Circuits — teaching electronic circuits with conductive and insulating playdough. (via Hacker News)
- GraphLab — alternative take on Map-Reduce, called Update-Sync, where tasks run on connected sets of nodes rather than on one node at a time.
- Tower Bridge Closed — the @towerbridge account was a cute hack from Tom Armitage, whereby the public site for the London Tower Bridge was scraped and connected to Twitter, so you would see tweets like “I am closing after the MV Dixie has passed Upstream” and get a feel for the ambient activity in your city. Twitter turned over @towerbridge to the most tediously vomit-in-your-own-mouth-they’re-so-anodyne beige corporate tweets ever (account description: “Leading tourist attraction situated inside Tower Bridge”, sample tweet: “Looking for something to do it the City this weekend, check out http://www.visitthecity.co.uk/ and you’re always welcome at @TowerBridge”) and deleted the past history of tweets. Way to embrace the community of engaged passionate fans, guys! Welcome to Twitter, try not to step in your social media strategy as you cross the threshold–oh no, too late.
Elegant Boxes, Dashboard in PHP, Management Theory Disparaged, and Obsolete Technology
- Lines (Mark Jason Dominus) — If you wanted to hear more about phylogeny, Java programming, or tree algorithms, you are about to be disappointed. The subject of my article today is those fat black lines. Anatomy of a clever piece of everyday programming. There is no part of this program of which I am proud. Rather, I am proud of the thing as a whole. It did the job I needed, and it did it by 5 PM. Larry Wall once said that “a Perl script is correct if it’s halfway readable and gets the job done before your boss fires you.” Thank you, Larry.
- PHP Clone of Panic Status Board (GitHub) — The Panic status board shows state of downloads, servers, countdown, etc. It’s a dashboard for the company. This PHP implementation lets you build your own. (via Hacker News)
- The Management Myth (The Atlantic) — a philosophy PhD gets an MBA, works as management consultant, then calls bullshit on the whole thing. Taylorism, like much of management theory to come, is at its core a collection of quasi-religious dicta on the virtue of being good at what you do, ensconced in a protective bubble of parables (otherwise known as case studies). (via BoingBoing)
- Obsolete Technology — or, as I like to think of it, post-Zombie-apocalypse technology. Bone up on your kilns if you want your earthen cookware once our undead overlords are running (or, at least, lurching) the country. (via Bruce Sterling)
Python Unicode, Cognitive Enhancement, Journal Balk, Engineering SaaS
- Unicode in Python, Completely Demystified — a good introduction to Unicode in Python, which helped me with some code. (via Hacker News)
- A Ban on Brain-Boosting Drugs (Chronicle of Higher Education) — Simply calling the use of study drugs “unfair” tells us nothing about why colleges should ban them. If such drugs really do improve academic performance among healthy students (and the evidence is scant), shouldn’t colleges put them in the drinking water instead? After all, it would be unfair to permit wealthy students to use them if less privileged students can’t afford them. As we start to hack our bodies and minds, we’ll face more questions about legitimacy and ethics of those actions. Not, of course, about using coffee and Coca-Cola, ubiquitous performance-enhancing stimulants that are mysteriously absent from bans and prohibitions.
- Copywrongs — Matt Blaze spits the dummy on IEEE and ACM copyright policies. In particular, the IEEE is explicitly preventing authors from distributing copies of the final paper. We write scientific papers first and last because we want them read. When papers were disseminated solely in print form it might have been reasonable to expect authors to donate the copyright in exchange for production and distribution. Today, of course, this model seems, at best, quaintly out of touch with the needs of researchers and academics who no longer desire or tolerate the delay and expense of seeking out printed copies of far-flung documents. We expect to find on it on the open web, and not hidden behind a paywall, either.
- On the Engineering of SaaS — An upgrade process, for example, is an entirely different beast. Making it robust and repeatable is far less important than making it quick and reversible. This is because the upgrade only every happens once: on your install. Also, it only ever has to work right in one, exact variant of the environment: yours. And while typical customers of software can schedule an outage to perform an upgrade, scheduling downtime in SaaS is nearly impossible. So, you must be able to deploy new releases quickly, if not entirely seamlessly — and in the event of failure, rollback just as rapidly.