- “Poetic” Statistical Machine Translation: Rhyme and Meter (PDF) — Google Research paper on how to machine translate text into poetry. This is the best paper I’ve read in a long time: clever premise, straightforward implementation, and magnificent results. There’s a very workable translation of Oscar Wilde’s “Ballad of Reading Gaol” into a different meter, which you’ll know isn’t easy if you’ve ever tried your hand at poetry more complex than “there once was a young man called Enis”. (via Poetic Machine Translation on the Google Research blog)
- Android Most Popular Operating System in US Among Recent Smartphone Buyers (Nielsen blog) — the graphs say it all. Note how the growth in Android handset numbers doesn’t come at the expense of Blackberry or iPhone users? Android users aren’t switchers, they’re new smartphone owners. (via Hacker News)
- Government Data to be Machine Readable (Guardian) — UK government to require all responses to Freedom of Information Act requests to be machine readable.
- jQuery Fundamentals — CC-SA-licensed book on jQuery programming. (via darren on Twitter)
Ebooks are already a big part of our publishing business, and we know many of those ebooks are read on iOS devices. Having those ebooks available for sale in the iBookstore makes it even easier to find, buy, and read hundreds of O'Reilly and Microsoft Press titles on iOS devices.
Poetry Translation, Smartphone Sales, Freedom for Machines to Read Information, and Free jQuery Book
Scientific Literacy, Load Balancing, Indoors Geolocation, and iPhone Security
- The Myth of Scientific Literacy — I’d love it if there was a simple course we could send our elected officials on which would guarantee future science policy would be reliably high quality. Being educated in science (or even “about science”) isn’t going to do it. It’s social connections that will. We need to keep our elected officials honest, constantly check they are applying the evidence we want them to, in the ways we want them to. And if the scientific community want to be listened to, they need to work to build connections. Get political and scientific communities overlapping, embed scientists in policy institutions (and vice versa), get MP’s constituents onside to help foster the sorts of public pressure you want to see: build trust so scientists become people MPs want to be briefed by. (via foe on Twitter)
- Three Papers on Load Balancing (Alex Popescu) — three papers on distributed hash tables.
- Meridian — iPhone app that does in-building location, sample app is the AMNH Explorer which shows you maps of where you are. Uses wifi-based positioning. (via raffi on Twitter)
- Fixing What Apple Won’t — the jailbreakers are releasing security patches for systems that Apple have abandoned. (via ardgedee on Twitter)
Theodore Gray on true interactivity and apps vs. ebooks.
Theodore Gray, author/creator of "The Elements," shares his thoughts on interactivity in ebooks, why programmers should be treated like authors, and why he believes the print form will continue to exist for quite some time.
Alasdair Allan has a practical goal for AR: putting names to faces.
Alasdair Allen, author of Programming iPhone Sensors, says real-time facial identification — the sort that pairs names and faces on the fly — is closer than you might think. He expands on that topic and a number of others in this video interview.
Hardware Hacking, BI Reporting Tool, Book Recommendations, and Winning the Futurist Lottery
- Dangerous Prototypes — “a new open source hardware project every month”. Sample project: Flash Destroyer, which writes and verifies EEPROM chips until they blow out.
- Wabit — GPLv3 reporting tool.
- Because No Respectable MBA Programme Would Admit Me (Mike Shaver) — excellent book recommendations.
- The Most Prescient Footnote Ever (David Pennock) — In footnote 14 of Chapter 5 (p. 228) of Graham’s classic Hackers and Painters, published in 2004, Graham asks “If the the Mac was so great why did it lose?”. His explanation ends with this caveat, in parentheses: “And it hasn’t lost yet. If Apple were to grow the iPod into a cell phone with a web browser, Microsoft would be in big trouble.”
The power of the App Store is defined by more than direct revenue.
The App Store has exposed incumbents in the mobile industry to the same sort of asymmetric competition that has reshaped the media industry over the past decade. Developers are responding in droves to the economic incentives that lower barriers to entry create, as well as the fact that the App Store has generated $1 billion in royalty payments in just a few years.
I spend a lot of time talking with companies that want to resell O'Reilly ebooks. Some are large companies you've certainly heard of, others are small startups that haven't yet launched. But what's remarkably consistent is that few of them offer many of the options and features we at O'Reilly consider critical for customers. Because I'm sure these will come…
Google does not have to dominate the smartphone business; they just have to make sure that there’s an environment in which the business of selling ads thrives. While Apple wants to dominate smartphones, Google undeniably dominates online ad sales–and they clearly see ad placement on mobile as a huge opportunity. Conversely, failure to dominate mobile ad sales would be disastrous. At best, it would limit their potential; at worst, if we’re heading for the end of the “desktop/laptop era”, it could seriously threaten their core business.