- 5 Is The New 10 — I have limited sympathy for the “app developers can’t predict their fortunes” complaint: creative arts have always been long tail hit-based businesses, possibly because hits have a large random component.
- Lessons for Kickstarter Creators (Mat Howie) — great case study of a disastrous KS project. Preparation, research, and comms are what let this one down. (via Mat Howie
- CSV Kit — commandline tools for working with CSV files. (via Hadley Wickham)
- Science of Magic — magic tricks which help you teach students how to apply the scientific method. Magic and science both built off flaws in human perception and intuition: science tries to avoid them, magic to exploit them. (via Maria Popova)
App Economics, Kickstarter Lessons, CSV Code, and Science Magic
Tim Carmody on the lessons from Netflix and the facade of inevitability.
In this interview, Wired.com writer Tim Carmody examines the recent missteps of Netflix and he takes a broad look at how technology shapes the reading experience.
Ubicomp Project, Data Volumes, Yahoo! Cocktails, and Fighting Cybercrime
- Twine (Kickstarter) — modular sensors with connectivity, programmable in If This Then That style. (via TechCrunch)
- Small Sample Sizes Lead to High Margins of Error — a reminder that all the stats in the world won’t help you when you don’t have enough data to meaningfully analyse.
- UK Govt To Help Businesses Fight Cybercrime (Guardian) — I view this as a good thing, even though the conspiracy nut in me says that it’s a step along the path that ends with the spy agency committing cybercrime to assist businesses.
Quantified Learner, Text Extraction, Backup Flickr, and Multitouch UI Awesomeness
- Learning With Quantified Self — this CS grad student broke Jeopardy records using an app he built himself to quantify and improve his ability to answer Jeopardy questions in different categories. This is an impressive short talk and well worth watching.
- Evaluating Text Extraction Algorithms — The gold standard of both datasets was produced by human annotators. 14 different algorithms were evaluated in terms of precision, recall and F1 score. The results have show that the best opensource solution is the boilerpipe library. (via Hacker News)
- Parallel Flickr — tool for backing up your Flickr account. (Compare to one day of Flickr photos printed out)
- Quneo Multitouch Open Source MIDI and USB Pad (Kickstarter) — interesting to see companies using Kickstarter to seed interest in a product. This one looks a doozie: pads, sliders, rotary sensors, with LEDs underneath and open source drivers and SDK. Looks almost sophisticated enough to drive emacs :-)
Jesse Potash on how he's approaching the publishing model differently with Pubslush Press.
In this podcast, Jesse Potash, founder of Pubslush Press, talks about how his company differs from self-publishing platforms — and from Kickstarter — and how he’s using it to help eradicate global illiteracy.
Education Startups, Smartphone Robotics, Google SQL, and Deleted Timezones
- Why Education Startups Do Not Succeed –This fundamental investment vs. expenditure mindset changes everything. You think of education as fundamentally a quality problem. The average person thinks of education as fundamentally a cost problem. This and many other insights that repay the reading. (via Hacker News)
- Romo — smartphone robotics platform Kickstarter project.
- Google Cloud SQL — Google offers proper SQL for AppEngine. Edd notes that this happened just as Oracle offered a NoSQL server. Worth remembering that the label on the technology isn’t a magic bullet to solve your problems: SQL and NoSQL aren’t what’s important, you still must understand how they work with your particular data types and patterns of access.
- Olson Timezone Database Deleted — the USA permits copyrighting of facts, whereas facts [not being the product of a creative act] are not copyrightable in much of the rest of the world. One of the sources for historical timezone data threatened legal action, and the maintainers chose to delete their database. This is a bugger: without it, there’s no way to map GMT onto local time for arbitrary times in the past.
Personal Video, Open Source Sensors, Bad Science No Biscuit, and Playing the Odds
- Skate Through NYC With A GoPro — this is the first I’ve seen of the GoPro cameras, which are two dimensions of clever. First, it’s video instrumentation for activities where we haven’t had this before. Second, it’s clever specialization of the Flip-style solid-state recording videocameras. (via Infovore)
- Pulse Sensor — open source heart rate sensor project on Kickstarter. DIY hardware has made the quantified self phenomenon possible; look for many more gadgets that build your personal data cloud. (via Brady Forrest)
- Science’s Bad Ideas (Peter Griffin) — a recap of a lecture by Lord Robert Winston where he the dark side of science and catalogues numerous instances where scientific progress has been accompanied by unforeseen consequences, ethical atrocities and detrimental impacts on society. [...] The overall message is that science can’t remain aloof from society, that scientists must engage and better understand the needs and concerns of society as they introduce new technologies that could bring about profound changes.
- A Game With a Windfall For a Knowing Few — gambling is a tax on bad math, but poorly designed games sometimes rewards those who are good at math. Because of a quirk in the rules, when the jackpot reaches roughly $2 million and no one wins, payoffs for smaller prizes swell dramatically, which statisticians say practically assures a profit to anyone who buys at least $100,000 worth of tickets. During these brief periods – “rolldown weeks’’ in gambling parlance – a tiny group of savvy bettors, among them highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern University, virtually take over the game. Just three groups, including the Selbees, claimed 1,105 of the 1,605 winning Cash WinFall tickets statewide after the rolldown week in May, according to lottery records. (via Hacker News)
Access to data and tools is putting scientific exploration into anyone's hands.
How can opening access to scientific data, equipment and lab space spur innovation? BioCurious' Eri Gentry and Ariel Waldman from Spacehack.org share a few ideas.
SQL Injection, Optical Stick, SQL for Crowdsourcing, and DIY Medical Records
- SQL Injection Pocket Reference (Google Docs) — just what it sounds like. (via ModSecurity SQL Injection Challenge: Lessons Learned)
- isostick: The Optical Drive in a Stick (KickStarter) — clever! A USB memory stick with drivers that emulate optical drives so you can boot off .iso files you’ve put on the memory stick. (via Extreme Tech)
- CrowdDB: Answering Queries with Crowdsourcing (Berkeley) — CrowdDB uses human input via crowdsourcing to process queries that neither database systems nor search engines can adequately answer. It uses SQL both as a language for posing complex queries and as a way to model data. (via Big Data)
- The DIY Electronic Medical Record (Bryce Roberts) — I had a record of my daily weight, my exercising (catalogued by type), my walking, my calories burned and now, with the addition of Zeo, my nightly sleep patterns. All of this data had been passively collected with little to no manual input required from me. Total investment in this personal sensor network was in the range of a couple hundred dollars. And, as I rummaged through my data it began to hit me that what I’ve really been doing is creating my own DIY Electronic Medical Record. The Quantified Self is about more than obsessively cataloguing your bowel movements in low-contrast infographics. I’m less enthused by the opportunities to publicly perform private data, a-la the wifi body scale, than I am by opportunities to gain personal insight.
A new service lets authors pitch ideas and collect funding from readers. Would you donate?
With the launch of the Unbound.co.uk publishing platform, readers can fund the books they want to read — and the startup launched with some pretty big-name authors. Would you fund the next book from your favorite author?