- How to Redesign Your App Without Pissing Everybody Off (Anil Dash) — the basic straightforward stuff that gets your users on-side. Anil’s making a career out of being an adult.
- Clockwork Raven (Twitter) — open source project to send data analysis tasks to Mechanical Turkers.
- Updates from the Tour in China (Bunnie Huang) — my dream geek tourism trip: going around Chinese factories and bazaars with MIT geeks.
- How to Implement an Algorithm from a Scientific Paper — I have implemented many complex algorithms from books and scientific publications, and this article sums up what I have learned while searching, reading, coding and debugging. (via Siah)
ENTRIES TAGGED "mechanical turk"
Comms 101, RoboTurking, Geek Tourism, and Implementing Papers
Talking About Your Product, Moving On, Visible Turk, and Digital Nativity
- What Twitter’s API Anouncement Could Have Said (Anil Dash) — read this and learn. Anil shows how powerful it is to communicate from the perspective of the reader. People don’t care about your business model or platform changes except as it applies to them. Focus on what you’re doing for the user, because that’s why you make every change–right? Your average “we’ve changed things” message focuses on the platform not the user: “*we* changed things for *our* reasons” and the implicit message is because *we* have all the power”. Anil’s is “you just got this Christmas present, because we are always striving to make things better for you!”. If it’s deceitful bullshit smeared over an offensive money grab, the reader will smell it. But if you’re living life right, you’re telling the truth. And they can smell that, too.
- Goodbye, Everyblock — Adrian Holovaty is moving on and ready, once more, to make something awesome.
- Turkopticon — transparency about crappy microemployers for people who work on Mechanical Turk. (via Beta Knowledge)
- Digital Natives, 10 Years After (PDF) — we need to move away from this fetish of insisting in naming this generation the Digital/Net/Google Generation because those terms don’t describe them, and have the potential of keeping this group of students from realizing personal growth by assuming that they’ve already grown in areas that they so clearly have not.
Intrusion Recovery, MTurk Spam, Open Source, and Google Pottymouth
- Gawker Tech Team Didn’t Adequately Secure Our Platform — internal memo from CTO to staff after the break-in. Notable for two things: the preventative steps, which include things like two-factor authentication and not collecting commenter details; and the lack of defensiveness. When your executives taunt 4chan and your systems get pwned as a result, it must be mighty hard not to point the finger at those executives. I hope I can be as adult as Tom Plunkett when shit next happens to me. (via Andy Baio)
- Mechanical Turk Spam — 40% of the HITs from new requesters are spam. The list of tasks is the online fraud hitlist: faking votes/comments/etc on social sites, making fake accounts, submitting fake leads through lead gen sites, fake clicks on ads, posting fake ads to Craigslist, requesting personal info of the MTurk worker. (via Andy Baio who is on fire)
- 2010 The Year Open Source Went Invisible (Matt Asay) — All of which is a long way of saying that while open source has become integral to so much software development, it hasn’t remotely ended the reign of proprietary software. Indeed, much (most?) open-source software is paid for out of proprietary profits. This might have been shocking news in, say, 2004, but it’s common knowledge in 2010. Open source is how we do business 10 years into this new millennium.
- Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books (Science) — We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. This is related to Google Labs’ latest toy, the n-gram viewer whose correct name should be Google Pottymouth if the things people are graphing are anything to go by.
Ebook Sharing, Distributed Labour Laws, and Two Graduation Speeches
- Publishers Who Don’t Know History … (Cory Ondrejka) — interesting thoughts on publishing. Friends share, borrow, and recommend books. Currently, publishers are generally being stupid about this.
- Regulating Distributed Work — should Mechanical Turk and so on have specific labour laws? This is the case in favour.
- We Are What We Choose — Jeff Bezos’s graduation speech to Princeton’s Class of 2010. Well worth reading.
- The Velluvial Matrix (New Yorker) — Atul Gawande’s graduation speech to Stanford’s School of Medicine. The truth is that the volume and complexity of the knowledge that we need to master has grown exponentially beyond our capacity as individuals. Worse, the fear is that the knowledge has grown beyond our capacity as a society. When we talk about the uncontrollable explosion in the costs of health care in America, for instance—about the reality that we in medicine are gradually bankrupting the country—we’re not talking about a problem rooted in economics. We’re talking about a problem rooted in scientific complexity. (via agpublic on Twitter)
How can you set up crowdsourcing where most people work for free but some are paid, and present it to participants in a way that makes it seem fair? This situation arises all the time, with paid participants such as application developers and community managers, but there's a lot of scary literature about "crowding out" and other dangers. One basic challenge is choosing what work to reward monetarily. I can think of several dividing lines, each with potential problems.
- Comparing genomes to computer operating systems in terms of the topology and evolution of their regulatory control networks (PNAS) — paper comparing structure and evolution of software design (exemplified by the Linux operating system) against biological systems (in the form of the e. coli bacterium). They found software has a lot more “middle manager” functions (functions that are called and then in turn call) as opposed to biology, where “workers” predominate (genes that make something, but which don’t trigger other genes). They also quantified how software and biology value different things (as measured what persists across generations of organisms, or versions of software): Reuse and persistence are negatively correlated in the E. coli regulatory network but positively correlated in the Linux call graph[...]. In other words, specialized nodes are more likely to be preserved in the regulatory network, but generic or reusable functions are persistent in the Linux call graph. (via Hacker News)
- Virtual Keyboards in Google Search — rolling out virtual keyboards across all Google searches. Very nice solution to the problem of “how the heck do I enter that character on this keyboard?”. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
- Information and Quantum Systems Lab at HP — working on the mathematical and physical foundations for the technologies that will form a new information ecosystem, the Central Nervous System for the Earth (CeNSE), consisting of a trillion nanoscale sensors and actuators embedded in the environment and connected via an array of networks with computing systems, software and services to exchange their information among analysis engines, storage systems and end users. (via dcarli on Twitter)
Mechanical Turk service provider CrowdFlower and microwork non-profit Samasource have teamed up to make their services available to iPhone users. Users of CrowdFlower’s mechanical turk platform can now opt to send their tasks to iPhone users. The Give Work iPhone app takes tasks (created by real companies) and sends it to iPhone users who volunteer to complete them. Meanwhile, workers in a Kenyan refugee camp perform the same tasks using CrowdFlower’s regular web interface. In essence, Kenyan refugees work to increase the accuracy of the results provided by the army of volunteer iPhone mechanical turks.
What do Google, WalMart, and MyBarackObama.com have in common, besides their extraordinary success? They are organizations that are infused with IT in such a way that it leads to a qualitative change in their entire business. I get frustrated when I see people highlighting use of social media–blogging, wikis, twitter, customer feedback systems like Dell IdeaStorm or MyStarbucksIdea–as if they…
News Roundup: The Crowdsourced Cat Book, Infinite Permutations of the Digital Book, EBay vs. Amazon (Round 2)
The Crowdsourced Cat Book Amazing but True Cat Stories is a 38-page coffee table book born from the combined efforts of Mechanical Turk contributors. The creator/editor of the book, Björn Hartmann, describes the genesis of the project on his blog: The idea for this book was born in Terminal A at Washington Dulles, where I was stranded for some hours…