- Web-Scale User Modeling for Targeting (Yahoo! Research, PDF) — research paper that shows how online advertisers build profiles of us and what matters (e.g., ads we buy from are more important than those we simply click on). Our recent surfing patterns are more relevant than historical ones, which is another indication that value of data analytics increases the closer to real-time it happens. (via Greg Linden)
- Information Technology and Economic Change — research showing that cities which adopted the printing press no prior growth advantage, but subsequently grew far faster than similar cities without printing presses. [...] The second factor behind the localisation of spillovers is intriguing given contemporary questions about the impact of information technology. The printing press made it cheaper to transmit ideas over distance, but it also fostered important face-to-face interactions. The printer’s workshop brought scholars, merchants, craftsmen, and mechanics together for the first time in a commercial environment, eroding a pre-existing “town and gown” divide.
- They Just Don’t Get It (Cameron Neylon) — curating access to a digital collection does not scale.
- Should Libraries Get Out of the Ebook Business? — provocative thought: the ebook industry is nascent, a small number of patrons have ereaders, the technical pain of DRM and incompatible formats makes for disproportionate support costs, and there are already plenty of worthy things libraries should be doing. I only wonder how quickly the dynamics change: a minority may have dedicated ereaders but a large number have smartphones and are reading on them already.
ENTRIES TAGGED "history"
Inside Personalized Advertising, Printing Presses Were Good For The Economy, Digital Access, and Ebooks in Libraries
A look at the historical accuracy of "Downton Abbey's" language.
Ben Schmidt ran the script of the "Downton Abbey" season two finale through Google Ngrams to see how the show's language matches up with history.
jQuery Performance, George Dyson, VLC 2.0, and Power Laws
- Stop Paying Your jQuery Tax (Sam Saffron) — performance advice for front-end developers. The faster your site responds, the more customers will use it.
- George Dyson Interviewed (Wired) — a different perspective on computing, worth reading.
- VLC 2.0.0 — VLC lets you bypass manufacturers’ designed-in brokenness so your computer can play media. Glad to see it still being actively developed.
- Critical Truth About Power Laws (Science Magazine) — Although power laws have been reported in areas ranging from finance and molecular biology to geophysics and the Internet, the data are typically insufficient and the mechanistic insights are almost always too limited for the identification of power-law behavior to be scientifically useful (see the figure). Indeed, even most statistically “successful” calculations of power laws offer little more than anecdotal value. (no PDF available unless you pay, because that’s how great science works)
Google+ Ruining Search, C64 Demos, Telegraph Hacks, and QR Meh
- Google+ Is Going to Mess Up The Internet (ReadWriteWeb) — Google thought I would prefer to click through Google+ to find my article than to go straight to it. Severe rip of the negative effects G+ has on the search experience. (via Hacker News)
- Behind the Scenes of a C64 Demo (Chaos Communications Congress) — the tricks they use when fitting all that goodness into a 64K machine. Video and slides. (via Reddit Programming)
- Gentleman Hacker’s 1903 Lulz (New Scientist) — how Marconi’s telegraph demo was haxx0red. (via Imran Ali)
- Results of a QR Trial (Brooklyn Museum) — At first glance this looks like a win, right? Well, that’s true until you compare pre and post QR code use. These numbers are a little tricky for various reasons, but when looking at Gallery Tag as an example we saw a five-fold drop in use….and five-fold is a very conservative extrapolation from the stats. Cold water in the face to wake you up from those dreams of 2d-barcode glory.
Version Control, Web-based ID, Mobile Design, and Node.js Tools
- The History of Version Control (Francis Irving) — concise history of the key advances in managing source code versions. Worth it just for the delicious apposition of “history” and “version control”.
- A Look Inside Mobile Design Patterns — Sample chapter on how different apps handle invitations, from a new [O'Reilly-published, huzzah!] book on mobile design patterns. (via David Kaneda)
- Node Toolbox — concise compendium of resources for node.js development.
Newton's Notebooks, Creative Commons, Node HTTP, and Data Business
- Newton’s Notebooks Digitised — wonderful for historians, professional and amateur. I love (a) his handwriting; (b) the pages full of long division that remind us what an amazing time-saver the calculator and then computer was; (c) use of “yn” for “then (the y is actually a thorn, pronounced “th”, and it’s from this that we get “ye”, actually pronounced pronounced “the”). All that and chromatic separation of light, inverse square law, and alchemical mysteries.
- Creative Commons Kicks Off 4.0 Round — public discussion process around issues that will lead to a new version of the CC licenses.
- Holding Back the Age of Data (Redmonk) — Absent a market with well understood licensing and distribution mechanisms, each data negotiation – whether the subject is attribution, exclusivity, license, price or all of the above – is a one off. Very good essay into the evolution of a mature software industry into an immature data industry.
Free Service Isn't Sustainable, Big Data, Crowdsourced Historic Science, and Cognitive Biases
- Don’t Be a Free User (Maciej Ceglowski) — pay for your free services, else they’ll go away.
- Katta — Lucene for massive data sets in the cloud. (via Pete Warden)
- Old Weather — crowdsourced transcription of old nautical journals to yield historical information for climate researchers. (via National Digital Forum)
- Siddhartha Mukherjee Talks About Cancer (Guardian) — fascinating profile of the author of a “biography of cancer”. Touches on the cognitive biases we’re all prone to, and their damaging effects on patients. Mukherjee cites a study which found that women with breast cancer recalled eating a high-fat diet, whereas women without cancer did not. But the very same study had asked both sets of women about their diets long before any of them developed cancer, and the diet of those who now had breast cancer had been no more fatty than the rest (via Courtney Johnston)
Reconstructing People, Digital Preservation Costs, Open Source Everything, and Coding Education
- Reconstructing My Grandfather (JP Rangaswami) — this is how libraries will be used in the future, by ordinary people (i.e., not professional researchers) reconstructing their families. See my library essay for more thoughts on this.
- Physical Conservation vs Digitisation for Preservation (Leeds) — they chose deliberately compromised paper materials (acid-riddled paper) and found that it still would take 50 years for digitisation to pay off. Digitisation, even destructive, is bloody expensive compared to just keeping the paper ticking along.
- Open Source Everything (Tom Preston-Werner) — reprises a lot of the discussion we had around the boardroom as we figured out how to articulate why we keep Silverstripe open source. It was interesting to see this the same day Doom3 was open-sourced. (via Hacker News)
- Coding is the New Latin (BBC) — in elite England, “Latin” means that it’s part of a classical education which leads to new career opportunities and social mobility.
City Finances, Low-Power Computers, Future History, and Learner's Mindset
- California and Bust (Vanity Fair) — Michael Lewis digs into city and state finances, and the news ain’t good.
- Tonido Plug 2 — with only watts a day, you could have your own low-cost compute farm that runs off a car battery and a cheap solar panel.
- William Gibson Interview (The Paris Review) — It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online. But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.
- Zen and the Art of Making (Phil Torrone) — thoughts on the difference between beginners and experts, and why the beginner’s mindset is intoxicating and addictive.