- The Disturbing, Unchecked Rise of the Administrative Subpoena (Wired) — With a federal official’s signature, banks, hospitals, bookstores, telecommunications companies and even utilities and internet service providers — virtually all businesses — are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation. Low barrier to obtain one, no oversight–the officials aren’t required to keep track of the subpoenas they issue!
- Black Swan Farming (Paul Graham) — The first time Peter Thiel spoke at YC he drew a Venn diagram that illustrates the situation perfectly. He drew two intersecting circles, one labelled “seems like a bad idea” and the other “is a good idea.” The intersection is the sweet spot for startups.
- Learning C with GDB (Hacker School) — hells yes.
ENTRIES TAGGED "jquery"
Bypassing Oversight, Gantt Charts, Startup Ideas, and Learning C
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)
jQuery Video Plugin, Open Source Data View, QR Insanity, and Measuring Citizen Science
- jPlayer — jQuery plugin for audio and video in HTML5. Dual-licensed MIT and GPL.
- QR Code Madness — I recently received an MMS (multimedia text message) with a picture to a QR code. First, it’s bad enough advertising agencies still randomly text people ads. Second, what am I supposed to scan that with? My eyes? But check out the photo for maximum silliness.
- Galaxy Zoo: Crowdsourcing Citizen Scientists (Guardian) — yes, the headline is a collection of buzzwords but the Galaxy Zoo project remains fantastic. My eye was caught by Working 12 hours a day non-stop for a week, [Kevin] Schawinski had managed the not inconsiderable task of detailing the characteristics of 50,000 galaxies. He needed a pint. [... they built Galaxy Zoo in a day of two ...] Within 24 hours of it being announced on Lintott’s website, Galaxy Zoo was receiving 70,000 classifications an hour. They still measure their hit-rate in “Kevin weeks” – a unit of 50,000. “Soon after that we were doing many Kevin weeks per hour,” Schawinski says. (via Roger Dennis)
jQuery Performance, George Dyson, VLC 2.0, and Power Laws
- Stop Paying Your jQuery Tax (Sam Saffron) — performance advice for front-end developers. The faster your site responds, the more customers will use it.
- George Dyson Interviewed (Wired) — a different perspective on computing, worth reading.
- VLC 2.0.0 — VLC lets you bypass manufacturers’ designed-in brokenness so your computer can play media. Glad to see it still being actively developed.
- Critical Truth About Power Laws (Science Magazine) — Although power laws have been reported in areas ranging from finance and molecular biology to geophysics and the Internet, the data are typically insufficient and the mechanistic insights are almost always too limited for the identification of power-law behavior to be scientifically useful (see the figure). Indeed, even most statistically “successful” calculations of power laws offer little more than anecdotal value. (no PDF available unless you pay, because that’s how great science works)
Nondeterministic Multicore, Cloning UI, jQuery Secrets, and MapReduce Alternative
- Many Core Processors — not the first time I’ve heard nondeterministic computing discussed as a solution to some of our parallel-programming travails. Can’t imagine what a pleasure it is to debug.
- Pinterest Cloned — it’s not the pilfering of the idea that offends my sensibilities, it’s the blatant clone of every aspect of the UI. I never thought much of the old Apple look’n’feel lawsuit but this really rubs me the wrong way.
- Spark — Scala-implemented alternative framework to the model of parallelism in MapReduce. (via Pete Warden)
Underground Map Viz, Teaching Programming, Humanities Visualization, Mobile Browser Test
- Subway Map jQuery Plugin — create your own London Underground-style maps. (via Chris Spurgeon)
- Webcraft and Programming for Free Range Students — a p2pu class for teachers of web stuff and programming.
- Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks 2012 — CFP for a conference in Chicago, looking for visualization and data-analysis papers with a background in the humanities.
- How to Go Mo — clever idea. Everyone at a company should be able to say “hey, our site looks like crap on mobile browsers!”, bringing pressure to fix it. 1/3 of people browse the web on their phone.
Tables to Charts, Crowdsourcing Incentives, Domain Boondoggles, and Conquering Complexity
- Chartify — jQuery plugin to create Google charts from HTML tables. (via Rasmus Sellberg)
- Designing Incentives for Crowdsourcing Workers (Crowdflower) — In a tough turn for the sociologists and psychologists, none of the purely social/psychological treatments had any significant effects at all.
- The gTLD Boondoggle — ICANN promised back in 1998 that they would bring the world lots of new domains. So far they haven’t, the world has not come to an end, and the Internet has not collapsed. The absence of demand for new TLDs from actual users (as opposed to domain promoters and the occasional astroturf) is deafening. What we do see is a lot of concern that there will be more mistakes like .XXX, and pressure from governments both via the GAC and directly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s a bugger when you go hunting for a new product’s domain name and realize “all the good ones are taken”, but that’s an argument against domain squatters/speculators not an argument for opening up new top-level-domain vistas.
- Atul Gawande’s Medical School Commencement Address (New Yorker) — every lesson in here about healthcare is just as applicable to software development. Read it. (via Courtney Johnston)
Bogus Analysis x 2, API Classifications, and Expansive Text
- Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data (PDF) — excellent article from Notices of the American Mathematical Society about the flaws in “value-added modelling”, the latest fad whereby data about students’ results in different classes are analysed to identify the effect of each teacher. People recognize that tests are an imperfect measure of educational success, but when sophisticated mathematics is applied, they believe the imperfections go away by some mathematical magic. But this is not magic. What really happens is that the mathematics is used to disguise the problems and intimidate people into ignoring them—a modern, mathematical version of the Emperor’s New Clothes. A critical instance of Hilary Mason’s Clean data > More Data > Fancy Math. (via Audrey Watters)
- Classification of HTTP-based APIs — The classification achieves an explicit differentiation between the various kinds of uses of HTTP and provides a foundation to analyse and describe the system properties induced. (via Brian Mulloy)
- Cancer Clusters (BBC) — straightforward demonstration of how naive analysis of random numbers can yield “patterns”.
- FitText.js — a jQuery plugin for inflating type.
Syntax Highlighting, Forkability, Product Invention, Science Animations
- Fear of Forking — (Brian Aker) GitHub has begun to feel like the Sourceforge of the distributed revision control world. It feels like it is littered with half started, never completed, or just never merged trees. If you can easily takes changes from the main tree, the incentive to have your tree merged back into the canonical tree is low.
- Product Invention Workshops (BERG London) — Matt Webb explains what they do with customers. Output takes the form, generally, of these microbriefs. A microbrief is how we encapsulate recommendations: it’s a sketch and short description of a new product or effort that will easily test out some hypothesis or concept arrived at in the workshop. It’s sketched enough that people outside the workshop can understand it. And it’s a hook to communicate the more abstract principles which have emerged in the days. Their process isn’t their secret weapon, it’s their creativity, empathy, and communication skills that make them so valuable.
- OneMicron — Janet Isawa’s beautiful animations of biological science. (via BoingBoing who linked to this NYTimes piece)