- The Shape of the Internet Has Changed — 98 percent of internet traffic now consists of content that can be stored on servers. 45% of Internet traffic today is from CDNs, and a handful of them at that, which makes CDNs like Artur Bergman’s fastly super-important. (via Donald Clark)
- Be a Good Dictator (Rowan Simpson) — There is no shortage of advice online about how to be a good designer or a good software developer. But what about advice for those who aspire to be good product dictators? Guidance seems pretty thin on the ground. […] Being a deep expert in just one area is not enough for good dictators. You need to be a polymath living at an intersection.
- Hardware is Dead — 7-inch tablet, Wi-Fi only with all the attributes of a good tablet. Capacitive touchscreen. Snappy processor. Front facing camera. 4GB of internal memory and an expandable memory slot. for USD75. At these levels there is almost no profit margin left in the hardware business. A $45 tablet is cheap enough to be an impulse purchase at the check-out line in Best Buy. A $45 price puts tablets within reach of a whole host of other activities not traditionally associated with computers. (via Steve Bowbrick)
- Car Transmissions and Syncromesh (YouTube) — cheesy old Chevy educational movie that does a great job of explaining how manual transmissions work. Such videos were the screencasts for the auto DIY folks. (via Nat Friedman)
Distributing Content, Effective Project Dictatorship, Ubiquitous Hardware, Wheelcasts
Big Data, Science Revealed, Web Security, and Everything's Getting Worse
- The Future of Big Data (Pew Internet) — A doubtful anonymous respondent observed, “Apparently this ‘Internet of Things’ idea is beginning to encourage yet another round of cow-eyed Utopian thinking. Big Data will yield some successes and a lot of failures, and most people will continue merely to muddle along, hoping not to be mugged too frequently by the well-intentioned (or not) entrepreneurs and bureaucrats who delight in trying to use this shiny new toy to fix the world.” Always easier to be negative than positive: if you’re wrong, nobody cares because the world is better; but if you’re right, you get to say “I told you so” as the world slides into chaos and ruin. Reminded of a politician in NZ who was said to have “predicted 8 of the last 4 recessions”. (via Jim Stogdill)
- Science in a Nutshell (Guardian) — it’s a book review, but Adam Rutherford nails the heart of science in just a few short paragraphs. (And I bought one of the books he was reviewing)
- Living with HTTPS — short rundown of the security considerations around HTTPS transported web pages.
- False Economy — it’s a political blog, but the interesting part is the table showing railway carriage mean-time-between-failures numbers for carriages bought in 1971, 1972, 1979, 1986, and 2011. Monotonically decreasing. In so many ways, they don’t make them like they used to.
Post-Capture Zoom, Load Gen, Inventive Malware, and Manufactured Normalcy
- SnapItHD — camera captures full 360-degree panorama and users select and zoom regions afterward. (via Idealog)
- Iago (GitHub) — Twitter’s load-generation tool.
- AutoCAD Worm Stealing Blueprints — lovely, malware that targets inventions. The worm, known as ACAD/Medre.A, is spreading through infected AutoCAD templates and is sending tens of thousands of stolen documents to email addresses in China. This one has soured, but give the field time … anything that can be stolen digitally, will be. (via Slashdot)
- Designing For and Against the Manufactured Normalcy Field (Greg Borenstein) — Tim said this was one of his favourite sessions at this year’s Foo Camp: breaking the artificial normality than we try to cast over new experiences so as to make them safe and comfortable.
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.
- 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)
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.