- Dan Kaminsky on Bitcoin (Slideshare) — short version: banks are an emergent property as it scales.
- Unethical Ventures (All Things D) — astonishing slam on the new venture fund that Michael Arrington (founder of TechCrunch) will be running while still writing for TechCrunch. This could have been a lot cleaner, of course, by Arrington simply resigning from TechCrunch, becoming a VC and perhaps starting a new blog where his agenda is much clearer, from which he could huff and puff away as he does with much entertaining gusto at real and (mostly) imagined slights. There is certainly precedent for VCs blogging, including Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Ben Horowitz. And, despite my criticisms about ethics, it is clear that Arrington is a talented writer whose unique voice would be even stronger if it was truly seen as separate from what has become a news organization. But because of his obvious need to be the center of attention — requiring the ermine kingmaker mantle and foisting his patented I’m-here-to-tell-it-like-it-is attitude on us all — that appears to be impossible.
- An iOS Developer Takes on Android — a very easy to follow comparison of the two platforms from a developer who worked on both and who is carefully not partisan. I hadn’t realized before what an advantage OpenGL confers to the iOS devices. It’s not just for 3D games any more (he says, catching up with 2008).
- Clever Algorithms — book of 45 nature-inspired algorithms, code in Ruby.
Bitcoin Banks, Journo Ethics, Android and iOS, and Clever Algorithms
Android Charting, Illusion of Insight, Mapping API, and Science Storytelling
- A Chart Engine — Android charting engine.
- The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight — we are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are others.
- Urban Mapping API — add rich geographic data to web and non-web applications.
- Tell Us A Story, Victoria — a university science story-telling contest.
Why a new proposal for making the news business sustainable deserves attention.
A new paper from the Reynolds Journalism Institute deserves a look from anyone interested in publishing, social networking, or democratic discourse.
Twitter Numbers, Online News, Emotional Complexity, and Making Described
- Twitter Numbers — growing at half a million accounts a day (how many are spammers, d’ya think?), over 140M tweets sent each day.
- Online vs Newspaper News (Mashable) — The Poynter Institute, a landmark of American journalism research, has determined that as of the end of 2010, more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers — and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too. (via Sacha Judd)
- Blue Lacuna: Lessons Learned Writing the World’s Longest Interactive Fiction (PDF) — While I felt Progue was largely a success, the extreme complexity of the character’s code made difficulties with him both intensely difficult to diagnose and repair, and failures all the more mimesis-breaking for an engaged audience. In addition, the subtle text substitutions and altered behaviors provided in many cases too opaque a window into Progue’s interior workings. From informal interviews and published reviews I gathered that players could often not tell which conversation responses might cause Progue to become more submissive, paternal, and so on. In many cases, the change was not noticeable at all, and did not successfully indicate to players that their actions had had an eect on the character. More mechanisms to let the player shape their relationship with Progue more directly might have created a stronger feeling of agency for players, and an increased ability to shape the story more to their liking. Lessons for people designing complex emotional states into their products. (via Zack Urlocker)
- From Head to Hand (Slate) — I was searching for the place where someone, anyone, writes about that epiphany where you see what you have made and it is different from what you had conceived. I was searching for a description of how an object can displace a bit of the world. I was avid. I wanted someone to write a description of Homo faber, the maker of things. I wanted a story of making told without the penumbra of romanticising how hard it is, without nostalgia.
Vesting Incentives, Camera Hacks, iPad Longform Saviour?, and Bogus Science
- Stephen Elop is a Flight Risk (Silicon Beat) — a foresight-filled 2008 article that doesn’t make Nokia’s new CEO look good. A reminder to boards and CEOs that option vesting schedules matter. (via Hacker News)
- CHDK — Canon Hack Development Kit gives point-and-shoot Canon digital camera new features like RAW images, motion detection, a USB remote, full control over exposure and so on. (via Sennheiser HD 555 to HD 595 Mod)
- The Atavist – iPad app for original long-form nonfiction (what used to be called “journalism”). (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Why Most Published Findings are False (PLoS Medicine) — as explained by John D. Cook, Suppose you have 1,000 totally ineffective drugs to test. About 1 out of every 20 trials will produce a p-value of 0.05 or smaller by chance, so about 50 trials out of the 1,000 will have a “significant” result, and only those studies will publish their results. The error rate in the lab was indeed 5%, but the error rate in the literature coming out of the lab is 100 percent!.
BBC Pares Web, Data Interaction Design, Long-Form Commerce, and Dangers of Free Themes
- BBC Web Cuts Show Wider Disconnect (The Guardian) — I forget that most people still think of the web as a secondary add-on to the traditional way of doing things rather than as the new way. Interesting article which brings home the point in the context of the BBC, but you can tell the same story in almost any business.
- 40p Off a Latte (Chris Heathcote) — One of the bits I enjoyed the most was unpacking the old ubiquitous computing cliche of your phone vibrating with a coupon off a latte when walking past a Starbucks. This whole presentation is brilliant. I’m still zinging off how data can displace actions in time and space: what you buy today on Amazon will trigger a recommendation later for someone else.
- Long-Form Reporting Finds Commercial Hope in E-Books — ProPublica and New York Times have launched long-form reporting in Kindle Singles, Amazon’s format for 5k-30k word pieces. On Thursday, he told me his job involved asking the question, “How do you monetize the content when it is not news anymore?” Repackaging and updating the paper’s coverage of specific topics is a common answer.
- Why You Should Never Search for Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else — short answer: free themes are full of SEO rubbish or worse. Every hit on your site boosts someone else’s penis pills site, and runs the risk that search engines will decide your site is itself spam.
A look at free services that reveal traffic data, server details and popularity.
You no longer have to be a technical specialist to find exciting and surprising data. In this excerpt from Pete Warden's ebook, "Where are the bodies buried on the web? Big data for journalists," Pete looks at four services that reveal underlying information about web pages and domains.
Etherpad, Scala, Journalism, and Mazes from Ruby
- ietherpad — continuation of the etherpad startup. Offers pro accounts, and promise an iPad app to come. (via Steve O’Grady on Twitter)
- Scala Collections Quickref — quick reference card for the Scala collections classes. (via Ian Kallen on Twitter)
- Raw Data and the Rise of Little Brother — Turns out, despite the great push for citizen journalism, citizens are not, on average, great at “journalism.” But they are excellent conduits for raw material — those documents, videos, or photos.
- Theseus 1.0 — impressive source maze builder in Ruby contributed to the public domain. (via Hacker News)
Long-form content, the importance of context, and rebuilding trust emerged as important topics at the first News Foo.
The first News Foo provided an opportunity to take a deep look into the future of media, news, journalism, publishing and communication technology. Here's a collection of themes and takeaways from the event.