- Homebrew Bioweapons Not Imminent Threat — you need a safe facility, lab instruments, base strain, design and execution skills, and testing. None of these are easy until the Amazon-Google cloud wars finally cause them to move into “bioweapons as a service.”
- Apple Removes App That Tracks Drone Strikes — “there are certain concepts that we decide not to move forward with, and this is one,” says Apple. (via BoingBoing)
- gitrob — a command line tool that can help organizations and security professionals find such sensitive information. The tool will iterate over all public organization and member repositories and match filenames against a range of patterns for files, that typically contain sensitive or dangerous information.
- How Much is a Leader’s Integrity Worth? — Kiel found that high-integrity CEOs had a multi-year return of 9.4%, while low-integrity CEOs had a yield of just 1.9%. What’s more, employee engagement was 26% higher in organizations led by high-integrity CEOs. (via Neelan Choksi)
Learning Machine Learning, Pokemon Coding, Drone Coverage, and Optimization Guide
- CalTech Machine Learning Video Library — a pile of video introductions to different machine learning concepts.
- Awesome Pokemon Hack — each inventory item has a number associated with it, they are kept at a particular memory location, and there’s a glitch in the game that executes code at that location so … you can program by assembling items and then triggering the glitch. SO COOL.
- Drone Footage of Bangkok Protests — including water cannons.
- The Mature Optimization Handbook — free, well thought out, and well written. My favourite line: In exchange for that saved space, you have created a hidden dependency on clairvoyance.
Drone Journalism, Mobile Web Dev, JS Book, and Chrome App Dev
- Drone Journalism — “The newspaper was for still images,” said Mr. Whyld, who builds his own drones, “but the Internet is for this.” is the money shot from a NY Times piece (not linked to directly, as is paywalled)
- Best UX Patterns for Mobile Web Apps (Luke Wroblewski) — advice from Google Chrome Dev Summit.
- You Don’t Know JS (Github) — book in progress, funded by a Kickstarter.
- Spark — A Chrome app based development environment with a reusable library of GUI widgets.
Downloading Kindle Highlights, Balanced Photos, Long Form, and Crap Regulation
- bookcision — bookmarklet to download your Kindle highlights. (via Nelson Minar)
- Algorithm for a Perfectly Balanced Photo Gallery — remember this when it comes time to lay out your 2013 “Happy Holidays!” card.
- Long Stories (Fast Company Labs) — Our strategy was to still produce feature stories as discrete articles, but then to tie them back to the stub article with lots of prominent links, again taking advantage of the storyline and context we had built up there, making our feature stories sharper and less full of catch-up material.
- Massachusetts Software Tax (Fast Company Labs) — breakdown of why this crappily-written law is bad news for online companies. Laws are the IEDs of the Internet: it’s easy to make massively value-destroying regulation and hard to get it fixed.
Sensor journalism will augment our ability to understand the world and hold governments accountable.
When I went to the 2013 SXSW Interactive Festival to host a conversation with NPR’s Javaun Moradi about sensors, society and the media, I thought we would be talking about the future of data journalism. By the time I left the event, I’d learned that sensor journalism had long since arrived and been applied. Today, inexpensive, easy-to-use open source hardware is making it easier for media outlets to create data themselves.
“Interest in sensor data has grown dramatically over the last year,” said Moradi. “Groups are experimenting in the areas of environmental monitoring, journalism, human rights activism, and civic accountability.” His post on what sensor networks mean for journalism sparked our collaboration after we connected in December 2011 about how data was being used in the media.
At a SXSW panel on “sensoring the news,” Sarah Williams, an assistant professor at MIT, described how the Spatial Information Design Lab At Columbia University* had partnered with the Associated Press to independently measure air quality in Beijing.
Prior to the 2008 Olympics, the coaches of the Olympic teams had expressed serious concern about the impact of air pollution on the athletes. That, in turn, put pressure on the Chinese government to take substantive steps to improve those conditions. While the Chinese government released an index of air quality, explained Williams, they didn’t explain what went into it, nor did they provide the raw data.
The Beijing Air Tracks project arose from the need to determine what the conditions on the ground really were. AP reporters carried sensors connected to their cellphones to detect particulate and carbon monoxide levels, enabling them to report air quality conditions back in real-time as they moved around the Olympic venues and city. Read more…
A Pew report says paywalls could yield content that justifies a price tag.
The Pew Research Center is out with its annual “State of the News Media” report. Much of it is what you’d expect: newspapers and local television are struggling, mobile is rising, digital revenue hasn’t — and can’t — replace traditional print revenue, and on and on.
But read carefully, and you’ll find hope.
For example, Pew says the embrace of paywalls might improve the quality of the content:
“The rise of digital paid content could also have a positive impact on the quality of journalism as news organizations strive to produce unique and high-quality content that the public believes is worth paying for.”
I used to criticize paywalls. I thought they could only work for specialized content or material that’s attached to a desired outcome (i.e. subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, use the insights to make money).
My concern was that publishers would slam walls around their existing content and ask people to pay for an experience that had once been free. That made no sense. Who wants to pay for slideshows and link bait and general news?
But content that’s “worth paying for” is a different thing altogether. Publishers who go this route are acknowledging that a price tag requires justification.
Will it work? Maybe. What I might pay is different than what you might pay. There’s that pesky return-on-investment thing to consider as well.
However, my bigger takeaway — and this is why I’m changing my tune on paywalls — is that value is now part of the paywall equation. That’s a good start.