- Talking to Big Machines (Jon Bruner) — “Selfless machines” coordinate across networks and modify their own operation to improve the output of the entire system.
- Docker Security — Containers do not contain and Stop assuming that Docker and the Linux kernel protect you from malware.
- Your Voice Assistant is Mine (PDF) — Through Android Intent mechanism, VoicEmployer triggers Google Voice Search to the foreground, and then plays prepared audio ﬁles (like “call number 1234 5678”) in the background. Google Voice Search can recognize this voice command and execute corresponding operations. With ingenious designs, our GVS-Attack can forge SMS/Email, access privacy information, transmit sensitive data and achieve remote control without any permission.
- escher (GitHub) — choiceless programming and non-Turing coding. Mind: blown.
ENTRIES TAGGED "mobile"
Selfless Machines, Docker Security, Voice Hacks, and Choiceless Programming
IoT Future, Latency Numbers, Mobile Performance, and Minimum Viable Bureaucracy
- Charlie Stross on 2034 — every object in the real world is going to be providing a constant stream of metadata about its environment — and I mean every object. The frameworks used for channeling this firehose of environment data are going to be insecure and ramshackle, with foundations built on decades-old design errors. (via BoingBoing)
- Latency Numbers Every Programmer Should Know — awesome animation so you can see how important “constants” which drive design decisions have changed over time.
- Extreme Web Performance for Mobile Devices (Slideshare) — notes from Maximiliano Firtman’s Velocity tutorial.
- Minimum Viable Bureaucracy (Laura Thomson) — notes from her Velocity talk. A portion of engineer’s time must be spent on what engineer thinks is important. It may be 100%. It may be 60%, 40%, 20%. But it should never be zero.
Mobile Hacks, Advertising Returns, Solid Writeup, and Predicted Future
- Researchers Find and Decode the Spy Tools Governments Use to Hijack Phones (Wired) — I’m fascinated to learn there’s an Italian company making (and selling) the mobile phone rootkits that governments use.
- On the Near Impossibility of Measuring the Returns on Advertising (PDF) — Statistical evidence from the randomized trials is very weak because the individual-level sales are incredibly volatile relative to the per capita cost of a campaign—a “small” impact on a noisy dependent variable can generate positive returns. (via Slate)
- Reflections on Solid Conference — recap of the conference, great for those of us who couldn’t make it. “Software is eating the world…. Hardware gives it teeth.” – Renee DiResta
- Cybernation: The Silent Conquest (1962) — [When] computers acquire the necessary capabilities…speeded-up data processing and interpretation will be necessary if professional services are to be rendered with any adequacy. Once the computers are in operation, the need for additional professional people may be only moderate [...] There will be a small, almost separate, society of people in rapport with the advanced computers. These cyberneticians will have established a relationship with their machines that cannot be shared with the average man any more than the average man today can understand the problems of molecular biology, nuclear physics, or neuropsychiatry. Indeed, many scholars will not have the capacity to share their knowledge or feeling about this new man-machine relationship. Those with the talent for the work probably will have to develop it from childhood and will be trained as intensively as the classical ballerina. (via Simon Wardley)
Modern Software Development, Internet Trends, Software Ethics, and Open Government Data
- Beyond the Stack (Mike Loukides) — tools and processes to support software developers who are as massively distributed as the code they build.
- Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2014 (PDF) — the changes on slide 34 are interesting: usage moving away from G+/Facebook-style omniblather creepware and towards phonebook-based chat apps.
- Introduction to Software Engineering Ethics (PDF) — amazing set of provocative questions and scenarios for software engineers about the decisions they made and consequences of their actions. From a course in ethics from SCU.
- Open Government Data Online: Impenetrable (Guardian) — Too much knowledge gets trapped in multi-page pdf files that are slow to download (especially in low-bandwidth areas), costly to print, and unavailable for computer analysis until someone manually or automatically extracts the raw data.
Statistical Sensitivity, Scientific Mining, Data Mining Books, and Two-Sided Smartphones
- Car Alarms and Smoke Alarms (Slideshare) — how to think about and draw the line between sensitivity and specificity.
- 101 Uses for Content Mining — between the list in the post and the comments from readers, it’s a good introduction to some of the value to be obtained from full-text structured and unstructured access to scientific research publications.
- 12 Free-as-in-beer Data Mining Books — for your next flight.
- Dual-Touch Smartphone Concept — brilliant design sketches for interactivity using the back of the phone as a touch-sensitive input device.
Adding consistency to Kivy's Python UI tools
Kivy has a wonderful set of built-in widgets that can be extended in numerous ways. They have very useful behaviors, but their look and feel may not integrate well with your App or the platforms you are targeting. Kivy doesn’t support theming out of the box right now, but if you poke around enough, there are a range of options you can use to customize the default look of widgets without having to define your own inherited versions of them.
I’ll first introduce you to Kivy’s image atlases, which are less mysterious than they sound, and are important groundwork for understanding theming in Kivy. Then you’ll learn two different ways to do manual theming in Kivy, with an eye to future automation.
To understand theming, you must first understand atlases. An atlas is essentially a collection of distinct images combined into a single image file for loading efficiency. A JSON file describes the location of the separate images inside that master image file so that Kivy can access them directly. If you’ve ever worked with CSS sprites, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, the following example should explain everything.
Retail Student Data, Hacking Hospitals, Testing APIs, and Becoming Superhuman
- UK Government to Sell Its Students’ Data (Wired UK) — The National Pupil Database (NPD) contains detailed information about pupils in schools and colleges in England, including test and exam results, progression at each key stage, gender, ethnicity, pupil absence and exclusions, special educational needs, first language. The UK is becoming patient zero for national data self-harm.
- It’s Insanely Easy to Hack Hospital Equipment (Wired) — Erven won’t identify specific product brands that are vulnerable because he’s still trying to get some of the problems fixed. But he said a wide cross-section of devices shared a handful of common security holes, including lack of authentication to access or manipulate the equipment; weak passwords or default and hardcoded vendor passwords like “admin” or “1234″; and embedded web servers and administrative interfaces that make it easy to identify and manipulate devices once an attacker finds them on a network.
- Postman — API testing tool.
- App Controlled Hearing Aid Improves Even Normal Hearing (NYTimes) — It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the latest crop of advanced hearing aids are better than the ears most of us were born with. Human augmentation with software and hardware.
Mobile UX, Ideation Tools, Causal Consistency, and Intellectual Ventures Patent Fail
- Samsung UX (Scribd) — little shop of self-catalogued UX horrors, courtesy discovery in a lawsuit. Dated (Android G1 as competition) but rewarding to see there are signs of self-awareness in the companies that inflict unusability on the world.
- Tools for Ideation and Problem Solving (Dan Lockton) — comprehensive and analytical take on different systems for ideas and solutions.
- Don’t Settle for Eventual Consistency (ACM) — proposes “causal consistency”, prototyped in COPS and Eiger from Princeton.
- Intellectual Ventures Loses Patent Case (Ars Technica) — The Capital One case ended last Wednesday, when a Virginia federal judge threw out the two IV patents that remained in the case. It’s the first IV patent case seen through to a judgment, and it ended in a total loss for the patent-holding giant: both patents were invalidated, one on multiple grounds.
Tips and tricks to squeeze the most out of your mobile UI
Editor’s Note: Mobile HTML5 is a book by front-end engineer and frequent speaker Estelle Weyl. It is packed with hands-on examples to make you a stronger web developer–including best practices for SVG, Canvas, and CSS3 tailored to fit mobile devices. In the excerpt below, Estelle walks you through five easy things you can do to improve battery life in your mobile web apps. As throughout the book, the tips she provides come from her own real-life experience with these technologies.
Unlike desktop computers that are tethered to the wall at all times, and even laptop computers that are generally used by stationary users, mobile users do not recharge their devices throughout the day. Mobile users expect their devices to last, at a minimum, 24 hours between recharging.
Your users do realize that calls and GPS usage consume battery power. However, if they think they’re just using their browser to surf the Web, they don’t consider that different websites will drain their battery faster than other sites. It is our job, as developers, to manage the power consumption of our code. Read more…
Internet of Listeners, Mobile Deep Belief, Crowdsourced Spectrum Data, and Quantum Minecraft
- Jasper Project — an open source platform for developing always-on, voice-controlled applications. Shouting is the new swiping—I eagerly await Gartner touting the Internet-of-things-that-misunderstand-you.
- DeepBeliefSDK — deep neural network library for iOS. (via Pete Warden)
- Microsoft Spectrum Observatory — crowdsourcing spectrum utilisation information. Just open sourced their code.
- qcraft — beginner’s guide to quantum physics in Minecraft. (via Nelson Minar)