OpenRefine — (edited: 7 Dec 2013) Google abandoned Google bought Freebase’s GridWorks, turned it into the excellent Refine tool for working with data sets, now picked up and developed by open source community.
CC 4.0 Out — The 4.0 licenses are extremely well-suited for use by governments and publishers of public sector information and other data, especially for those in the European Union. This is due to the expansion in license scope, which now covers sui generis database rights that exist there and in a handful of other countries.
Training Lessons Learned: Interactivity (Selena Marie Deckelmann) — again I see parallels between how the best school teachers work and the best trainers. I was working with a group of people with diverse IT backgrounds, and often, I asked individuals to try to explain in their own words various terms (like “transaction”). This helped engage the students in a way that simply stating definitions can’t. Observing their fellow students struggling with terminology helped them generate their own questions, and I saw the great results the next day – when students were able to define terms immediately, that took five minutes the day before to work through.
Poetic License — the BSD license, translated into verse. Do tractor workers who love tractors a lot translate tractor manuals into blank verse? Do the best minds of plumber kid around by translating the California State Code into haikus? Computer people are like other people who love what they do. Computer people just manipulate symbols, whether they’re keywords in Perl or metrical patterns in software licenses. It’s not weird, really. I promise.
Learn Python The Hard Way — Zed Shaw’s book on programming Python, written as 52 exercises: Each exercise is one or two pages and follows the exact same format. You type each one in (no copy-paste!), make it run, do the extra credit, and then move on. If you get stuck, at least type it in and skip the extra credit for later. This is brilliant—you learn by doing, and this book is all doing.
When The Revolution Comes They Won’t Recognize it (Anil Dash) — nails the importance of Makers. Dale Dougherty and the dozens of others who have led Maker Faire, and the culture of “making”, are in front of a movement of millions who are proactive about challenging the constrictions that law and corporations are trying to place on how they communicate, create and live. The lesson that simply making things is a radical political act has enormous precedence in political history.
Truthy — project tracking suspicious memes on Twitter.
Alpha Draft of Mozilla Public License v2 Out — The highlight of this release is new patent language, modeled on Apache’s. We believe that this language should give better protection to MPL-using communities, make it possible for MPL-licensed projects to use Apache code, and be simpler to understand. (via webmink on Twitter)
Challenge.gov — contest-like environment for solving problems. Not all are glowing examples of government innovation: $12,000 for healthy recipes for kids–this is not a previously-unsolved problem. More relevant: NASA Centennial Challenge to build an aircraft that can fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of less than 1 gallon of gas per occupant. (via scilib on Twitter)
A Virtual Counter-Revolution (The Economist) — It is still too early to say that the internet has fragmented into “internets”, but there is a danger that it may splinter along geographical and commercial boundaries. (via mgeist on Twitter)
The Internet of Things That Do What You Tell Them: Cory Doctorow passionately explains how computers are already entwined in our lives, which means laws that support lock-in are much more than inconveniences.