- TOS;DR — terms of service rendered comprehensible. “Make the hard stuff easy” is a great template for good ideas, and this just nails it.
- Sick of Impact Factors — typically only 15% of the papers in a journal account for half the total citations. Therefore only this minority of the articles has more than the average number of citations denoted by the journal impact factor. Take a moment to think about what that means: the vast majority of the journal’s papers — fully 85% — have fewer citations than the average. The impact factor is a statistically indefensible indicator of journal performance; it flatters to deceive, distributing credit that has been earned by only a small fraction of its published papers. (via Sci Blogs)
- A Generation Lost in the Bazaar (ACM) — Today’s Unix/Posix-like operating systems, even including IBM’s z/OS mainframe version, as seen with 1980 eyes are identical; yet the 31,085 lines of configure for libtool still check if and exist, even though the Unixen, which lacked them, had neither sufficient memory to execute libtool nor disks big enough for its 16-MB source code. [...] That is the sorry reality of the bazaar Raymond praised in his book: a pile of old festering hacks, endlessly copied and pasted by a clueless generation of IT “professionals” who wouldn’t recognize sound IT architecture if you hit them over the head with it. It is hard to believe today, but under this embarrassing mess lies the ruins of the beautiful cathedral of Unix, deservedly famous for its simplicity of design, its economy of features, and its elegance of execution. (Sic transit gloria mundi, etc.)
- History as Science (Nature) — Turchin and his allies contend that the time is ripe to revisit general laws, thanks to tools such as nonlinear mathematics, simulations that can model the interactions of thousands or millions of individuals at once, and informatics technologies for gathering and analysing huge databases of historical information.
ENTRIES TAGGED "law"
Decoding ToS, Impact Factors are Nonsense, Crappy Open Source Code, and Data Mining History
Hawaii's new law cuts through health care complexity. It's a move that should be lauded and copied.
UK Copyright Modernisation, Lessons from Cisco's Evil, Automation, and Kinect Tool
- HM Government Consultation on Modernising Copyright (PDF) — from all appearances, the UK Govt is prepared to be progressive and tech-savvy in considering updates to copyright law. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (i.e., wait and see whether the process is coopted by maximalists) but an optimistic start.
- Cisco Provides a Lesson (Eric Raymond) — This is why anyone who makes excuses for closed source in network-facing software is not just a fool deluded by shiny marketing but a malignant idiot whose complicity with what those vendors do will injure his neighbors as well as himself. [...] If you don’t own it, it will surely own you.
- Automate or Perish (Technology Review) — As the MIT economist David Autor has argued, the job market is being “hollowed out.” [...] Any work that is repetitive or fairly well structured is open to full or partial automation. Being human confers less and less of an advantage these days.
- Kinectable Pipe (Github) — command-line tool that writes skeleton data (as reported by Kinect) to stdout as text. Because Kinect programming is a pain in the neck, and by trivializing the device’s output into a simple text format, it becomes infinitely easier to digest in the scripting language of your choice.
Artist Nina Paley on pushing the boundaries of copyright.
"Sita Sings the Blues" creator Nina Paley explains her "intellectual disobedience" stance on copyright and notes that current copyright laws are "completely out of touch with human behavior."
Buffett Lessons, Crypto Startup, HTTP 451, and Fixing Academic Publishing
- Warren Buffett Lessons — nice anthology of quotes, reordered into almost a narrative on different topics. (via Rowan Simpson)
- Silent Circle — Phil Zimmermann’s new startup, encrypting phone calls for iPhone and Android for $20/month. “I’m not going to apologize for the cost,” Zimmermann told CNET, adding that the final price has not been set. “This is not Facebook. Our customers are customers. They’re not products. They’re not part of the inventory.” (via CNET)
- New HTTP Code for “Legally Restricted” — it’s status code 451.
- PeerJ — changing the business model for academic publishing: instead of charging you each time you publish, we ask for a single one off payment, giving you the lifetime right to publish articles with us, and to make those articles freely available. Lifetime plans start at just $99. O’Reilly a happy investor.
Three Strikes, Cloud Sovereignty, Flipped Classroom, and Open Tactical Playbook
- How’s That Three Strikes Thing Working Out? (Paul Brislen) — The rights holders in New Zealand put together an ad campaign based on the destruction of value of New Zealand content, yet it hasn’t defended a single New Zealand artist.
- USTR Telling You Where To Stick Your Data — A number of US companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely, the Department of Defence, The National Archives of Australia, the Department of Finance and Deregulation, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) and the State of Victoria’s Privacy Commissioner had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that “hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinised by foreign governments”. Negative message, but a true one. (via Slashdot)
- On Flipping the Classroom (Wired) — Moving a lecture online changes where that information is consumed, not necessarily the degree of student engagement or its effectiveness. Curricula provider Mathalicious critiqued Khan Academy as “one of the most dangerous phenomena in education today.” Hear, hear. Praise Khan for the feedback it provides teachers on where their kids are at, but even in Stanford’s trials in schools they find kids use the videos as absolute last resort for learning something.
- What Simon Wardley Is Up To (Google Plus) — I’m researching and writing a tactical playbook for competition in an open world based upon concepts of evolution, value chain and ecosystems using techniques such as choke points, barriers, tower and moat, ILC, inertia, economic phases (build, peace, war), new organisational methods etc etc. WANT. (Apologies, don’t know if O’Reilly is publishing this or not–I’m arm’s length from the publishing side of things)
Being Contrary, Microsoft Tools, JOBS Doom Warnings, and Fibre ROI
- Change the Game (Video) — Amy Hoy’s talk from Webstock ’12, on being contrary and being successful. Was one of the standout talks for me.
- Rise4Fun — software engineering tools from Microsoft Research. (via Hacker News)
- Why Obama’s JOBS Act Couldn’t Suck Worse (Rolling Stone) — get ready for an avalanche of shareholder suits ten years from now, since post-factum civil litigation will be the only real regulation of the startup market.
- Socio-economic Return Of FTTH Investment in Sweden (PDF) — This preliminary study analyses the socio-economic impacts of the investment in FTTH. The goal of the study was: Is it possible to calculate how much a krona (SEK) invested in fibre will give back to society? The conclusion is that a more comprehensive statistical data and more calculations are needed to give an exact estimate. The study, however, provides an indication that 1 SEK invested over four years brings back a minimum of 1.5 SEK in five years time. The study estimates the need for investment to achieve 100% fibre penetration, identifies and quantifies a number of significant effects of fibre deployment, and then calculates the return on investment. (via Donald Clark)
Touch-Typing Instruction, HTTP Header Attacks, Sorting Ratings, and Risks of Inspecting Applicants' Facebook Pages
- Typing Club — lessons to improve your touch-typing, building you up letter by letter to speed and mastery. Like how I learned, only without the typewriters and the bibs and the roomful of girls. It wasn’t easy being the only boy in typing class, but somehow I managed. (via EdTech ideas)
- SQL Injection via HTTP Headers — excellent introduction to how some surprising HTTP headers can be attack vectors.
- How Not to Sort by Average Rating (Evan Miller) — so easy to get it wrong, so eye-wateringly complex a formula to do it right. (via Hacker News)
- I Hereby Resign (Reg Braithwaite) — not an actual resignation letter, but it highlights exactly why asking to see applicants’ Facebook pages is a bad idea. “If you are surfing my Facebook, you could reasonably be expected to discover that I am a Lesbian. Since discrimination against me on this basis is illegal in Ontario, I am just preparing myself for the possibility that you might refuse to hire me and instead hire someone who is a heterosexual but less qualified in any way. Likewise, if you do hire me, I might need to have your employment contracts disclosed to ensure you aren’t paying me less than any male and/or heterosexual colleagues with equivalent responsibilities and experience.” Ditto “spouse is pregnant so I’m about to take maternity leave just after you hire me”, etc. Those things you spend days thumping into HR that they aren’t supposed to ask about? All on the applicants’ Facebook pages.
Data Beats The Flip, Copyright Cretins, Clustering Tool, and iOS UI Gallery
- Lessons Learned from a Blended Learning Pilot — the end-of-pilot report from using Khan Academy for 80-90% of class time. Most interesting is the growing feeling that K.A.’s value comes from analytics on exercises and not the videos: The students greatly preferred working through the problem sets to
watching the videos. Students turned to their peers, the hint, and
the classroom teacher much more often than they did the linked Khan
video. (via Dan Meyer)
- Belgian Copyright Society Are Titanic Assholes (BoingBoing) — demanding that public libraries pay royalties when volunteers read to groups of ten or so small children. SABAM is demanding €250 per year from each cash-strapped library. Most authors are great people. Most collecting societies seem to become cultural ass cancer. See also Access Copyright in Canada.
- Bayon (Google Code) — a simple and fast [GPL v2] hard-clustering tool. Bayon supports Repeated Bisection clustering and K-means clustering. (that’s what she said)
- Pttrns — gallery of iOS UI patterns.
Video Encoding, Content Identification, Mobile Numbers, and Unicode Fun
- Pirates Adopt H.264 — no more XViD encoded avi files, now it’s x264. I’m impressed by the rigid rules and structure of The Scene.
- YouTube’s ContentID Disputes Are Judged By The Accuser (Andy Baio) — the last couple years have seen a dramatic rise in Content ID abuse, using it for purposes that it was never intended. Scammers are using Content ID to steal ad revenue from YouTube video creators en masse, with some companies claiming content they don’t own, deliberately or not. The inability to understand context and parody regularly leads to “fair use” videos getting blocked, muted or monetized.
- The Month of 50% in Mobile (Luke Wroblewski) — 47.6% of mobile Internet users use native mobile apps and 47.5% use the Web browser on their devices. This is the first time (in ComScore data) native apps have had more use than the browser.
- Fake Unicode Consortium — excellent collection of better names for Unicode characters. My favourite: U+0CA0: MONOCLE OF DISAPPROVAL. (via Tom Christiansen)