- DigitalKoot — Playing games in Digitalkoot fixes mistakes in our index of old Finnish newspapers. This greatly increases the accuracy of text-based searches of the newspaper archives. (via Springwise and Imran Ali on Twitter)
- Some Things That Need To Be Said (Amanda Hocking) — A.H. is selling a lot of copies of her ebooks, and she cautions against thinking hers is an easily reproduced model. First, I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. Middlemen give you time in exchange for money. Second, By all accounts, he has done the same things I did, even writing in the same genre and pricing the books low. And he’s even a better writer than I am. So why am I selling more books than he is? I don’t know. I’m reminded of Duncan Watts’s work MusicLab which showed that “hits” aren’t predictable. It’s entirely possible to duplicate Amanda’s efforts and not replicate her success.
- A Literary Appreciation of the Olson Timezone Database — timezones are fickle political creations, and this is a wonderful tribute to the one database which ruled them all for 25 years.
- TileMill — a tool for cartographers to quickly and easily design maps for the web using custom data. Open source, built on Mapnik.
ENTRIES TAGGED "mapping"
Heritage Games, Unpredictable Publishing, Timezones, and Map Tiles
Chinese Maps, Ops Standards, Android Malware, and Free Fonts
- Guangzhou City Map — Chinese city maps: they use orthographic projection (think SimCity) and not satellite images. A nice compromise for usability, information content, and invisible censorship. (via Hacker News)
- Broken Windows, Broken Code, Broken Systems — So, given that most of us live in the real world where some things are just left undone, where do we draw the line? What do we consider a bit of acceptable street litter, and what do we consider a broken window? When is it ok to just reboot the system, and when do you really need to figure out exactly what went wrong?
- Android Malware — black hat copied apps, added trojans, uploaded to Android Marketplace. Google were slow to respond to original developer’s claims of copying, quick to react to security guy’s report of malware. AppStores are not magic moneypumps in software form, no more than tagging, communities, or portals were. User contributions need editorial oversight.
- The League of Movable Type — a collection of open source fonts, ready for embedding in your web pages.
User-Contributed News, Web Services, Kinect Piano, and Designing Maps
- Send Us Your Thoughts (YouTube) — from the excellent British comedians Mitchell and Webb comes this take on viewer comments in the news. (via Steve Buttry’s News Foo writeup)
- Amazon proves that REST doesn’t matter for Cloud APIs — with the death of WS-* and their prolix overbearing complexity, the difference between REST and basic XML RPC is almost imperceptible. As this essay points out, the biggest cloud API is Amazon’s and it’s built on RPC instead of REST.
- Kinect Piano (YouTube) — turn any surface into a piano. (via David Ascher on Twitter)
- Google Maps Label Readability — detailed analysis of the design decisions that make Google’s labels so much more readable than the competition’s. Fascinating to see the decisions that go into programmatically building a map: leaving white space around cities, carefully avoiding clustering, even how adding an extra level of information can make things simpler.
Twitter Mapped, Bibliographic Data Released, Babies Engadgeted, and Nat's Christmas Present Sorted
- A Day in the Life of Twitter (Chris McDowall) — all geo-tagged tweets from 24h of the Twitter firehose, displayed. Interesting things can be seen, such as Jakarta glowing as brightly as San Francisco. (via Chris’s sciblogs post)
- British Library Release 3M Open Bibliographic Records) (OKFN) — This dataset consists of the entire British National Bibliography, describing new books published in the UK since 1950; this represents about 20% of the total BL catalogue, and we are working to add further releases.
- Gadgets for Babies (NY Times) — cry decoders, algorithmically enhanced rocking chairs, and (my favourite) “voice-activated crib light with womb sounds”. I can’t wait until babies can make womb sound playlists and share them on Twitter.
- GP2X Caanoo MAME/Console Emulator (ThinkGeek) — perfect Christmas present for, well, me. Emulates classic arcade machines and microcomputers, including my nostalgia fetish object, the Commodore 64. (via BoingBoing’s Gift Guide)
AppEngine Gripes, LIDAR Hacking, Web Stripping, and Map Storytelling
- Goodbye App Engine — clear explanation of the reasons why Google AppEngine isn’t the right thing to build your startup on. Don’t read the comments unless you want to lose faith in humanity. (via Michael Koziarski on Twitter)
- Neato Robotics XV-11 Tear-down — the start of hackable LIDAR, which would enable cheap and easy 3D mapping, via a Roomba-like robovacuum with a LIDAR module in it. (via Chris Anderson on Twitter)
- Boilerpipe — code to remove boilerplate wrappers from a webpage, returning just the text you care about. (via Andy Baio)
- Visual Eyes — web-based authoring tool developed at the University of Virginia to weave images, maps, charts, video and data into highly interactive and compelling dynamic visualizations. (via Courtney Johnston’s Instapaper feed)
Mapping 311 data, the social effects of traffic, Google Maps and border disputes, and a natural language processing challenge.
This issue of Strata Week follows the path of data through cities, streets and border conflicts. We conclude our journey with a little brain work, as a programming challenge is announced to automatically identify topics and trends in Twitter and Facebook updates.
Where 2.0 2011 welcomes a new co-chair.
Laurel Ruma and Brady Forest will co-chair Where 2.0 2011, running April 19-21, 2011 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Digits of pi, extruding images with iPads, and mapping the past on top of the present
In this edition of Strata Week: The 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of pi is calculated with an assist from Hadoop and MapReduce; a new technique uses iPads to extrude light paintings across a long exposure shot; Historypin links historical photos to Google Street View shots; and this is the last week for Strata Conference proposal submissions.
Crowdsourced Climate Science, Underground Map of Science, Programming Clue, and Great Molbio Writing
- GalaxyZoo for Climate Science? — GalaxyZoo is the crowdsourced physics research. A group of climate scientists want the same, to help predict “weather events”. See also the Guardian article. (via adw_tweets on Twitter)
- Crispian’s Science Map — gorgeous Underground-style map showing scientists and their contributions. (via arjenlentz on Twitter)
- Programming Things I Wish I Knew Earlier (Ted Dziuba) — opinionated piece, but boils down to “keep it simple until you can’t”, and “the more you know about the actual hardware, the better you can code”. With EC2, when Amazon says “I/O performance: High”, what does that even mean? Is that suitable for a heavy random read scenario? (via Hacker News)
- The Molecular Biology Carnival, 2ed — collection of excellent blog writing about molecular biology. (via BioinfoTools on Twitter)
Science Blogs, AppEngine Community, Kickstarter for Good, Manmade Geography
- Guardian Science Blogs — the latest in a series of science blog aggregators. Nobody is too sure what benefits a blog umbrella like Discovery or Nature (or the Guardian) offers bloggers. Regardless of this, the content is fantastic.
- v2ex: A Community Running on AppEngine — no hosting costs, massive scalability.
- Raising Money for Vanuatu Arts Center — a Kickstarter project to fund a 6-hectare/14.8-acre off-the-grid artists retreat, cultural preservation and technological education space in the remote Pacific island of Vanuatu. Kickstarter is incredible. (via BoingBoing)
- Orbiter (XKCD) — names are human artifacts, as every Internet mapping company knows. I’m reminded of how Gracenote, who run CDDB, store every datum submitted to them, and consequently have nearly fifty spellings of Britney Spears.