- OpenROV Funded in 1 Day (Kickstarter) — an open source robotic submarine designed to make underwater exploration possible for everyone. (via BoingBoing)
- McAfee Digital Divide Study (PDF) — lots of numbers showing parents are unaware of what their kids do. (via Julie Starr)
- Herdict — crowdsourced transparency to reveal who is censoring what online. (via Twitter)
- You Really Really Like Me (NY Times) — cute collection of visual riffs on “like” and “tweet this” iconography. I like my humour pixellated.
OpenROV Funded, Teen Surprises, Crowdsourced Net Transparency, and Like Humour
Predictive Policing, Public Sector Tech Benefits, Wireless Joystick on a Ring, and Recruiter Honeypot
- Predicting Crime Before It Occurs (SFGate) — The new program used by LAPD and police in the Northern California city of Santa Cruz is more timely and precise, proponents said. Built on the same model for predicting aftershocks following an earthquake, the software promises to show officers what might be coming based on simple, constantly calibrated data — location, time and type of crime. The software generates prediction boxes — as small as 500 square feet — on a patrol map. When officers have spare time, they are told to “go in the box.”
- Realising Benefits From Six Public Sector Technology Projects (PDF) — New Zealand report from the Auditor-General. Conclusion specifically calls out agile development, open source, and open data as technology tools that helped deliver success.
- Ringbow (Kickstarter) — a D-pad style joystick controller, built into a ring and designed for use with touchscreen games.
- The Recruiter Honeypot (Elaine Wherry) — Brilliant! Trying to ramp up Meebo’s staff, Elaine created a fake employee profile to see where recruiters hunted and to identify the best. Her lessons are great advice for anyone also trying to hire up fast in the Bay Area. Worth reading if only for the squicky stories of sleazy recruiters.
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)
Why We Make, Kickstarter Stats, Dodgy Domains, and Pretty Pretty Pictures
- Reality Bytes — We make things because that’s how we understand. We make things because that’s how we pass them on, and because everything we have was passed on to us as a made object. We make things in digital humanities because that’s how we interpret and conserve our inheritance. Because that’s how we can make it all anew. Librarians, preservation, digital humanities, and the relationship between digital and physical. Existential threats don’t scare us. We’re librarians.
- Kickstarter Stats — as Andy Baio said, it’s the one Kickstarter feature that competitors won’t be rushing to emulate. Clever way to emphasize their early lead.
- ICANN is Wrong (Dave Winer) — Dave is right to ask why nobody’s questioning the lack of public registration in the new domains. You can understand why, say, the Australia-New Zealand bank wouldn’t let Joe Random register in .anz, but Amazon are proposing to keep domains like .shop, .music, .app for their own products. See all the bidders for the new gTLDs on the ICANN web site.
- The Art of GPS (Daily Mail) — beautiful visualizations of uncommon things, such as the flights that dead bodies make when they’re being repatriated to their home states. Personally, I think they tend too much to the “pretty” and insufficient to the “informative” or “revealing”, but then I’m notorious for being too revealing and insufficiently informative.
Maker Tribe, Concept Mapping, Magic Wand, and Site Performance Matters
- Last Saturday My Son Found His People at the Maker Faire — aww to the power of INFINITY.
- Dictionaries Linking Words to Concepts (Google Research) — Wikipedia entries for concepts, text strings from searches and the oppressed workers down the Text Mines, and a count indicating how often the two were related.
- Magic Wand (Kickstarter) — I don’t want the game, I want a Bluetooth magic wand. I don’t want to click the OK button, I want to wave a wand and make it so! (via Pete Warden)
- E-Commerce Performance (Luke Wroblewski) — If a page load takes more than two seconds, 40% are likely to abandon that site. This is why you should follow Steve Souders like a hawk: if your site is slower than it could be, you’re leaving money on the table.
Font Games, Open Source Lessons, Kickstarter Insight, and Anonymous
- TypeConnection — a game that teaches you how to match fonts and why successful matches work. (via Sacha Judd)
- Lessons Learned Building Open Source Software (Mitchel Hashimoto) — the creator of Vagrant talks about the lesson he’s learned building a great open source project.
- Kickstarter Post-Mortem (Ze Frank) — excellent dig into the details of his campaign, what worked, what didn’t, and how he structured it.
- In Lulz We Trust (Gabriella Coleman) — her excellent Webstock talk about Anonymous.
The nuances of location language, game devs find funding through Kickstarter, and the state of ebook pricing.
This week on O'Reilly: Computational linguist Robert Munro explained why location language is far more complex than many realize, we looked at how Kickstarter's crowdfunding is helping game developers, and Joe Wikert explored the major trends shaping ebook prices.
From games to reference books, crowdsourcing is shaking up industries.
Crowdsourcing is changing how software development gets funded. It's also driving one of the great reference guides of the 20th century out of print.
Forced Facebook Violation, Motivating Learners, Freeing Books, and Browser Local Storage Sucks
- Government Agencies and Colleges Demand Applicants’ Facebook Passwords (MSN) — “Schools are in the business of educating, not spying,” he added. “We don’t hire private investigators to follow students wherever they go. If students say stupid things online, they should educate them … not engage in prior restraint.” Hear, hear. Reminded me of danah boyd on teen password sharing.
- Changing Teaching Techniques (Alison Campbell) — higher ed is a classic failure of gamification. The degree is an extrinsic reward, so students are disengaged and treat classes like gold farming in an MMORPG: the dull slog you have to get through so you can do something fun later. Alison, by showing them a “why” that isn’t “6 credits towards a degree”, is helping students identify intrinsic rewards. Genius!
- GlueJar — interesting pre-launch startup, basically Kickstarter to buy out authors and publishers and make books “free”. We in the software world know “free” is both loaded and imprecise. Are we talking CC-BY-NC-ND, which is largely useless because any sustainable distribution will generally be a commercial activity? I look forward to watching how this develops.
- There Is No Simple Solution for Local Storage (Mozilla) — excellent dissection of localStorage‘s inadequacies.