- Program Synthesis Explained — The promise of program synthesis is that programmers can stop telling computers how to do things, and focus instead on telling them what they want to do. Inductive program synthesis tackles this problem with fairly vague specifications and, although many of the algorithms seem intractable, in practice they work remarkably well.
- Creating a Data-Driven Culture — new (free!) ebook from Hilary Mason and DJ Patil. The editor of that team is the luckiest human being alive.
- Ev Williams on Metrics — a master-class in how to think about and measure what matters. If what you care about — or are trying to report on — is impact on the world, it all gets very slippery. You’re not measuring a rectangle, you’re measuring a multi-dimensional space. You have to accept that things are very imperfectly measured and just try to learn as much as you can from multiple metrics and anecdotes.
- Nature, the IT Wizard (Nautilus) — a fun walk through the connections between information theory, computation, and biology.
Aussies Dump Huawei, History of Information, Corner Vision, and Questioning Higher Ed Effectiveness
- Australian NSA Forces National Broadband Network to Dump Huawei — Australia’s government security organization knocked Huawei out of the eligible bidding list. “It’s the exact area where we have been the sole supplier in the United Kingdom for the past six years,” Huawei’s director of corporate and public affairs, Jeremy Mitchell, told the Financial Review. Governments ask themselves how to be assured of information security when routers, firewalls, etc. are made in countries that have fostered attacks against other states and corporations.
- From Cave Paintings to the Internet — a timeline of many (many) milestones in the history of information.
- How to See Around Corners (Nature) — love the production of the demo video, but interesting to see how computation is becoming integral to vision apps. (via Ed Yong)
- Are Undergraduates Actually Learning Anything? (Chronicle of Higher Ed) — Growing numbers of students are sent to college at increasingly higher costs, but for a large proportion of them the gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication are either exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent. At least 45 percent of students in our sample did not demonstrate any statistically significant improvement in Collegiate Learning Assessment [CLA] performance during the first two years of college. [Further study has indicated that 36 percent of students did not show any significant improvement over four years.] Why your graduate intake feels disappointing: it is. (via Counterpunch)
Google Maps alternatives, inside Dart, and the upside of offline.
This week on O'Reilly: StreetEasy's Sebastian Delmont explained why his team left Google Maps behind, we looked at the ins and outs of the Dart programming platform, and Jim Stogdill considered the alternatives to always-on living.
Turning off, opting out, and disconnecting to save my brain for the things I really want to use it for.
Jim Stogdill is tired of running on the info treadmill, so he's changing his media habits. His new approach: "Where I can, adapt to my surroundings, where I can't, adapt my surroundings to me."
Clay Johnson on info overload vs. info overconsumption.
Clay Johnson, author of "The Information Diet," says information consumption, not the information itself, is what needs to be managed.
As sources become less important, filters are the natural target for those who want to sway opinion.
When people are trawling so many content sources, it no longer pays to concentrate on sources at all. It makes much more sense to study how the trawlers work and become part of the filtering infrastructure.
Traditional methods come through when connected systems fail.
A couple of months ago, I had a remarkable demonstration of the fragility of the "always on" connected mindset.
When information has structure we can use it to see change more clearly.
Think about the records that describe the status of your health, finances, insurance policies, vehicles, and computers. If the systems that manage these records could produce timestamped JSON snapshots when indicators change, it would be much easier to find out what changed, and when.
We become effective publishers when we carefully package and layer our information.
Headlines matter. They're always visible to a scan or a search, while other information — like decks and leads — are active in far fewer contexts.