- 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.
User-Contributed News, Web Services, Kinect Piano, and Designing Maps
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.
Faces in R, Open Source Web Analytics, Small File Store, Building Mapper
- R Library for Chernoff Faces — faces represent the rows of a data matrix by faces. plot.faces plots faces into a scatterplot. Interesting emotional way to visualize data, which was used to good effect (though not with this library) by BERG in Schooloscope. (via the tutorial at Flowing Data)
- Piwik — GPLed web analytics package.
- Pomegranate — a data store for billions of tiny files. (via the High Scalability blog interview with the creator of Pomegranate)
- New Backpack Makes 3D Maps of Buildings — the backpack indoor equivalent of the Google Maps cars, from Berkeley researchers.
Stemming Demo, Mapping Service, Value of Data, and The Magic of the Valley
- Demo of Stemming Algorithms — type in text and see what it looks like when stemmed with different algorithms provided by NLTK. (via zelandiya on Twitter)
- Crowdmap — hosted Ushahidi. (via dvansickle on Twitter)
- Opinions vs Data — talks about the usability of a new gmail UI element, but notable for this quote from Jakob Nielsen: In my two examples, the probability of making the right design decision was vastly improved when given the tiniest amount of empirical data. (via mcannonbrookes on Twitter)
- The Next Silicon Valley — long and detailed list of the many forces contributing to Silicon Valley’s success as tech hub, arguing that the valley’s position is path-dependent and can simply be grown ab initio in some aspiring nation’s co-prosperity zone of policy whim. (via imran and timoreilly on Twitter)