- Groupon Editorial Manual (Scribd) — When introducing something nonsensical (fake history, mixed metaphors), don’t wink at the reader to let them in on the joke. Don’t call it out with quotes, parenthesis, or any other narrative device. Speak your ignorance with total authority. Assert it as fact. This is how you can surprise the reader. If you call out your joke, even in a subtle way, it spoils the surprise. Think of yourself as an objective, confident, albeit totally unqualified and frequently blatantly ignorant voice speaking at a panel you shouldn’t have been invited to. It’s interesting to see a quirky voice encoded in rules. Corporates obviously need this, to scale and to ensure consistency between staff, whereas in startups it emerges through the unique gifts and circumstance of employees (think Flickr’s Friendly Hipster voice). (via Brady Forrest on Twitter)
- Deloitte Corporate gTLD (Slideshare) — Deloitte one of the early bidders to buy their own top-level domain as a branding move. The application fee alone is $185,000.
- Haikuleaks — automated finder of haiku from within the wikileaked cables. (via Andy Baio on Twitter)
- PS3 Code-signing Key Broken — the private keys giving Sony a monopoly on distributing games for the PS3 have been broken. Claimed to be to let Linux run on the boxes, rather than pirated games. Remains to be seen whether the experience of the PS3 user will become richer for the lack of Sony gatekeeping. There’s even a key generator now. (via Hacker News)
Systematic Voice, gTLD Branding, Haikuleaks, and PS3 Code Signing
Big Companyitis, Spyware Apps, Maturing Cloud, and Mobile Sync
- Cash Cow Disease — quite harsh on Google and Microsoft for “ingesting not investing” in promising startups, then disconnecting them from market signals. Like pixie dust, potential future advertising revenues can be sprinkled on any revenue-negative scheme to make it look brilliant. (via Dan Martell)
- Your Apps Are Watching You (Wall Street Journal) — the iPhone apps transmitted more data than the apps on phones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system […] Both the Android and iPhone versions of Pandora, a popular music app, sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks. iPhone and Android versions of a game called Paper Toss—players try to throw paper wads into a trash can—each sent the phone’s ID number to at least five ad companies. Grindr, an iPhone app for meeting gay men, sent gender, location and phone ID to three ad companies. […] Among all apps tested, the most widely shared detail was the unique ID number assigned to every phone. It is effectively a “supercookie,” […] on iPhones, this number is the “UDID,” or Unique Device Identifier. Android IDs go by other names. These IDs are set by phone makers, carriers or makers of the operating system, and typically can’t be blocked or deleted. “The great thing about mobile is you can’t clear a UDID like you can a cookie,” says Meghan O’Holleran of Traffic Marketplace, an Internet ad network that is expanding into mobile apps. “That’s how we track everything.”
- On Undo’s Undue Importance (Paul Kedrosky) — The mainstream has money and risks, and so it cares immensely. It wants products and services where big failures aren’t catastrophic, and where small failures, the sorts of thing that “undo” fixes, can be rolled back. Undo matters, in other words, because its appearance almost always signals that a market has gone from fringe to mainstream, with profits set to follow. (via Tim O’Reilly on Twitter)
- libimobiledevice — open source library that talks the protocols to support iPhone®, iPod Touch®, iPad® and Apple TV® devices without jailbreaking or proprietary libraries.
Systems Programming, Peer Review, Web Mining, Facebook Design
- Down the ls(1) Rabbit Hole — exactly how ls(1) does what it does, from logic to system calls to kernel. This is the kind of deep understanding of systems that lets great programmers cut great code. (via Hacker News)
- Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates (Royal Society) — peer-reviewed published paper that was initially reviewed and improved in Google Docs and got comments there, in FriendFeed, and on his blog. The bitter irony: Royal Society charged him €2000 to make it available for free download. (via Fabiana Kubke)
- Bixo — an open source web mining toolkit. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
- How Facebook Does Design — podcast (with transcript) with stories about how tweaking design improved the user activity on Facebook. One of the designers thought closing your account should be more like leaving summer camp (you know a place which has all your friends, and you don’t want to leave.) So he created this page above for deactivation which has all your friends waving good-bye to you as you deactivate. Give you that final tug of the heart before you leave. This reduced the deactivation rate by 7%.
Trading platforms, truth in graphs, European financial stats, and Mandelbrot's passing.
In this edition of Strata Week: The London Stock Exchange moves from .Net to open source; learn how graphical scales can lie; the Euroean Central Bank president calls for better financial statistics; and we bid farewell to the father of fractals.
Personal Ad Preferences, Android Kernel, EC2 Deconstructed, Symbian Opened
- Google Ad Preferences — my defaults look reasonable and tailored to my interest. Creepy but kinda cool: I guess that if I have to have ads, they should be ones I’m not going to hate. (via rabble on Twitter)
- Android and the Linux Kernel — the Android kernel is forked from the standard Linux kernel, and a Linux kernel maintainer says that Google has made no efforts to integrate. (via Slashdot)
- On Amazon EC2’s Underlying Architecture — fascinating deconstruction of the EC2 physical and virtual servers, without resorting to breaking NDAs. (via Hacker News)
- First Full Open Source Symbian Release (BBC) — source code will be available for download from the Symbian Foundation web site as of 1400GMT. Nokia bought Symbian for US$410M in 2008 (for comparison, AOL bought Netscape for $4.2B in 1999 but the source code tarball had been escape-podded from the company a year before the deal closed). This makes Symbian more open than Android, says the head of the foundation: “About a third of the Android code base is open and nothing more,” says Williams. “And what is open is a collection of middleware. Everything else is closed or proprietary.” (quote from Wired’s story).
Best Science Blogging, Nat Friedman, State of the World, MTA Data
- The Open Laboratory — collection of the best science writing on blogs from the last year. For more, see an interview with the author. Part of a growing trend where online comes first and feeds offline. (via sciblogs)
- Nat Friedman Leaving Novell — one of the original Ximian founders, with interests in many directions and the coding chops to make them real. He’ll found another startup, topic as yet unknown, which will be one to watch.
- Bruce Sterling’s State of the World 2010 — sometimes funny, often thought-provoking, always interesting. Americans really want and need and desire a Futuristic Vision Thing, they get all lonesome and moody without one, but it’s absolutely gotta be one of those good-old-fashioned American Futuristic Vision Things, just like the Americans had in the 1950s when everybody else was still on fire from total war and cleaning up the death camps.
- MTA Releases Data — NYC finally releases transit data, free for developers to reuse. (via timoreilly on Twitter)