- 911 Footage — the Internet Archive has published a great collection of video from Sep 11 2001. A tremendous boon to researchers.
- Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? (Smithsonian Magazine) — not sure if why they’re successful is ever definitively anointed, but the article is fascinating reading.
- Why Amazon Can’t Make a Kindle in the USA (Forbes) — the progressive hollowing of manufacturing, driven by short-term gains, leading to long-term losses of industries and the corresponding areas to innovate. This is part of a series, and it’s well worth reading the whole series. (via Pinboard)
Considering the karmic implications of the assembly line.
Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay on "Compensation" was a source of inspiration for Henry Ford. It also affirms some of the cosmic truths Steve Jobs held dear.
Community Deconstructed, Sparklines Explained, NoSQL Navigated, and Foxconn Surveyed
- Open Source Community Types (Simon Phipps) — draws a distinction between extenders and deployers to take away the “who do you mean?” confusion that comes with the term “community”.
- Sparklines — Tufte’s coverage of sparkline graphs in Beautiful Evidence. (via Hacker News)
- Why NoSQL Matters (Heroku blog) — a very nice precis of the use cases for various NoSQL systems. Frequently-written, rarely read statistical data (for example, a web hit counter) should use an in-memory key/value store like Redis, or an update-in-place document store like MongoDB. I’m sure there are as many opinions as there are people, but I’d welcome a “if you want to do X, look at Y” guide to the NoSQL space. If you know of such a beast, please leave pointers in the comments. Thanks!
- The Man Who Makes Your iPhone (BusinessWeek) — a fascinating survey of Foxconn’s CEO, history, operations, culture, and plans. This line resonated for me: “I never think I am successful,” he says. “If I am successful, then I should be retired. If I am not retired, then that means I should still be working hard, keeping the company running.”
Can the United States become more competitive as a maker of things?
Dale Dougherty weaves together recent commentary and his own first-hand observations from the manufacturing world. In this piece, he asks: What can we learn from China? Can the U.S. become more competitive as a maker of things?
Load Testing, Chinese Manufacturing, Heroic Forking, and Ubicomp
- Tsung — GPLed multi-protocol (HTTP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, WebDAV, SOAP, XMPP) load tester written in Erlang.
- Myth of China’s Manufacturing Prowess — The latest data shows […] that the United States is still the largest manufacturer in the world. In 2008, U.S. manufacturing output was $1.8 trillion, compared to $1.4 trillion in China (UN data. China’s data do not separate manufacturing from mining and utilities. So the actual Chinese manufacturing number should be much smaller). Also contains pointers to an interesting discussion of lack of opportunities for college grads in China.
- OpenSSO and the Value of Open Source — Oracle are removing all open source downloads and wiki mentions, leaving only the enterprise OpenSSO product on their web site. A Norwegian company has stepped in and will continue the open source project. This is essentially a fork, but for the forces of good. (via normnz on Twitter)
- The Internet of Things — 5m video on sensor networks, etc. (via imran on Twitter)
Most Dangerous Code, 3D Printing, Artificial Irony, and Live Visualisation
- Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors (MITRE) — I could play bingo with this on some of the programs I wrote when I was learning to code. Now, of course, I am perfect. *cough*cough*
- RepRap Printing in Clay — interesting because of the high price of the plastic that fab units typically use. Other groups are working on this–see, for example, recycled glass, sugar, and maltodextrin.
- Artificial Flight and Other Myths — amusing parody of anti-AI arguments.
- Snake Oil Supplements — visualisation of the scientific evidence for various food supplements. What interested me is that it’s automatically generated from data in this Google Doc.
Scams, Swirl, Crisis, and Coasters
- Top E-Tailers Profiting From Scams — Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion generated more than $1.4 billion by “misleading” Web shoppers, said members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. […] The government says the investigation shows that [the companies] “trick” consumers into entering their e-mail address just before they complete purchases at sites such as Orbitz, Priceline.com, Buy.com, 1-800 Flowers, Continental Airlines, Fandango, and Classmates.com. A Web ad, which many consumers say appears to be from the retailer, offers them cash back or coupon if they key in their e-mail address.
- Image Swirl (Google Labs) — interesting image search result navigator. It’s fun to play with, trying to figure out why particular sets of images are grouped together.
- Create Crisis (Dan Meyer) — great call to arms for educators. It’s still astonishing to me how few “learning xyz” books follow this advice. Would-be authors, take note! If there were ever an easy way to make your computer book stand out for being better than the rest, this is it!
- Typographic Character Coasters — the single best argument for laser cutters evar. Send the patterns to Ponoko if you don’t have a laser cutter handy.
Web Time Travel, UK Map Data Liberation, Streetview Mashups, 3D Retail
- Memento: Time Travel for the Web — clever versioning hack that uses HTTP’s content negotiation to negotiate about the date!
- Ordnance Survey Maps to Go Online — The prime minister said that by April he hoped a consultation would be completed on the free provision of Ordnance Survey maps down to a scale of 1:10,000, (not the scale of a typical Landranger map set at 1:25,000). The online maps would be free to all, including commercial users who, previously, had to acquire expensive and restrictive licences at £5,000 per usage, a fee many entrepreneurs felt was too high. No word yet on license. (more details here)
- Freedom of Creation Shop — online store for 3D-printed objects. (via Makezine).
SMS Data Collection, Love of Math, Anti-File Sharing Rubbish, Open Manufacturing
- RapidSMS — a free and open-source framework for dynamic data collection, logistics coordination and communication, leveraging basic short message service (SMS) mobile phone technology. UNICEF’s mobile data collection framework, as used in Malawi and other proving grounds. (via gov2expo)
- Groceries — read this and you will realize that Dan Meyer is the math teacher you wish you’d had. He has the geek nature, and his excitement must be great for his students. The express lane isn’t faster. The manager backed me up on this one. You attract more people holding fewer total items, but as the data shows above, when you add one person to the line, you’re adding 48 extra seconds to the line length (that’s “tender time” added to “other time”) without even considering the items in her cart. Meanwhile, an extra item only costs you an extra 2.8 seconds. Therefore, you’d rather add 17 more items to the line than one extra person! I can’t believe I’m dropping exclamation points in an essay on grocery shopping but that’s how this stuff makes me feel.
- How the UK Government Spun 136 People into 7 Million — a radio show looked into the government’s claim of 7 million illegal filesharers and discovered it came down to 136 people in a survey admitting they’d used it. (via br3nda)
- Idle Speculation on the shan zhai and Open Fabrication (Tom Igoe) — shan zhai have established a culture of sharing information about the things they make through open BOMs (bills of materials) and other design materials, crediting each other with improvements. The community apparently self-polices this policy, and ostracizes those that violate it. Open hardware, business, recovery, and more in this fascinating speculation.
iPhone Maps, Tooth Milling, Scratch Updated, Newspapers for All
- Offline Mapping App for iPhone — carry Open Street Maps maps with you even when you’re not in 3G/wifi range. (via Elisabeth)
- My dentist used an in-office CAD & CNC mill to produce a new tooth for me today (Nat Friedman) — hello, future!
- New version of Scratch released — Scratch is an excellent way to teach kids how to program (I’ve had success with lots of 7 and 8 year olds). The new version includes keyboard entry, webcams, and support for Lego WeDo. The user interface has also been changed to work on a Netbook’s 800×600 screen. Kudos to the Scratch team! (via scratchteam on Twitter)
- Newspaper Club – a Work in Progress — blog for the Newspaper Club project. “We’re building a service to help people make their own newspapers. This is the blog where we’re alarmingly honest about where it’s all going wrong.” I can’t figure out whether this is a brilliant decentralisation move that will disrupt the newspaper industry, or a paper form of steampunk. (via Simon Willison)