- Visual Strategies — book of useful tips for improving visualisations, described as “a useful Tufte”. (via NY Times)
- Copyright Enforcement Bots Killed Hugo Streaming (io9) — automated content policing ‘bots killed the live stream, and uStream wouldn’t bring it back. This is the problem with automated enforcement: bots can’t tell all permitted uses, let alone fair use.
- High Resolution 3D Printer — 5m/s at micrometer precision. Looking forward to my nanoscale RepRap.
- Museum Datasets (Seb Chan) — collections metadata aren’t generally in good quality (often materials are indexed at the “box level”, ie this item number is a BOX and it contains photos of these things), and aren’t all that useful. The story about the Parisian balcony grille is an excellent reminder that the institution’s collections aren’t a be-all and end-all for researchers.
- Hurricane Electric BGP Toolkit — open source tools for diagnosing network problems. (via Nelson Minar)
- Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine — computer vision to straighten up photographed pages of the notebook, and the app recognizes special stickers placed on the book as highlights and selections. Nifty micro-use of augmented reality.
Broadband Data, Being Evil, DIY Access Control, and In-Place Web Page Editing
- International Broadband Pricing Study Dataset for Reuse — 3,655 fixed and mobile broadband retail price observations, with fixed broadband pricing data for 93 countries and mobile broadband pricing data for 106 countries.
- The Dictator’s Practical Internet Guide to Power Retention — tongue-in-cheek “The goal of this guide is to provide leaders of authoritarian, autocratic, theocratic, totalitarian and other single-leader or single-party regimes with a basic set of guidelines on how to use the internet to ensure you retain the most power for the longest time. The best way to achieve this is to never have your authority contested. This guide will accompany you in the obliteration of political dissidence. By having everyone agree with you, or believe that everyone agrees with you, your stay at the head of state will be long and prosperous.” (via BoingBoing)
- Ultra Cinnamon (GitHub) — arduino-based monitor & access system for restricted locations.
- Speak Like a Pro (iTunes) — practice public speaking, and your phone will rate your performance and give you tips to improve. (via Idealog)
- R Open Sci — open source R packages that provide programmatic access to a variety of scientific data, full-text of journal articles, and repositories that provide real-time metrics of scholarly impact.
- Keeping Your Site Alive (EFF) — guide to surviving DDOS attacks. (via BoingBoing)
- What’s Next for Newspapers? — three approaches: Farm it [...] Milk it [...] Feed it. (via Stijn Debrouwere)
- Why The Fundamental Attribution Error Exists (MindHacks) — assuming causation, rather than luck or invisible effects, is how we learn.
- Stuff Makes Us Sad (Boston.com) — The scientists working with UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families studied the dual-income families the same way they would animal subjects. They videotaped the activities of family members, tracked their moves with position-locating devices, and documented their homes, yards, and activities with thousands of photographs. They even took saliva samples to measure stress hormones. Studying our lives with an eye to understanding and improving it: the qualified self. (Long story short, as Cory Doctorow summarized: Stuff makes us sad)
Assembly Crack, Political Pieces, Better Select Boxes, and Fairly Using Orphans
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
Turing Talk, Table Editor, Posture Sensor, and Cheating 'Bot
- Turing Centenary Speech (Bruce Sterling) — so many thoughtbombs, this repays rereading. We’re okay with certain people who “think different” to the extent of buying Apple iPads. We’re rather hostile toward people who “think so very differently” that their work will make no sense for thirty years — if ever. We’ll test them, and see if we can find some way to get them to generate wealth for us, but we’re not considerate of them as unusual, troubled entities wandering sideways through a world they never made. … Cognition exists, and computation exists, but they’re not the same phenomenon with two different masks on. … Explain to me, as an engineer, why it’s so important to aspire to build systems with “Artificial Intelligence,” and yet you’d scorn to build “Artificial Femininity.” What is that about? … Every day I face all these unstable heaps of creative machinery. How do we judge art created with, by, and or through these devices? What is our proper role with them? [...] How do we judge what we’re doing? How do we distribute praise and blame, rewards and demerits, how do to guide it, how do we attribute meaning to it? … oh just read the whole damn piece, it’s the best thing you’ll read this month.
- Handsontable — Excel-like grid editing plugin for jQuery (MIT-licensed).
- Lumoback (Kickstarter) — smart posture sensor which provides a gentle vibration when you slouch to remind you to sit or stand straight. It is worn on your lower back and designed to be slim, sleek and so comfortable that you barely feel it when you have it on. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Robot Hand Beats You At Rock-Paper-Scissors (IEEE) — tl;dr: computer vision and fast robotics means it chooses after you reveal, but it happens so quickly that you don’t realize it’s cheating. (via Hacker News)
Ubicomp Middleware, Big Dairy Data, Privacy, and Timelines
- Electric Imp — yet another group working on the necessary middleware for ubiquitous networked devices.
- How Big Data Transformed the Dairy Industry (The Atlantic) — cutting-edge genomics company Illumina has precisely one applied market: animal science. They make a chip that measures 50,000 markers on the cow genome for attributes that control the economically important functions of those animals.
- The Curious Case of Internet Privacy (Cory Doctorow) — I’m with Cory on the perniciousness of privacy-digesting deals between free sites and users, but I’m increasingly becoming convinced that privacy is built into business models and not technology.