Developer Experience — new site from ex-Google developer evangelist Pamela Fox, talking about the experience that API- and software-offering companies give to the developers they’re wooing.
Pros and Cons of Mechanical Turk for Scientific Surveys (Scientific American blogs) — So far, some indicators suggest Turk is a trustworthy source. Rand (2011) used IP address logging to verify subjects’ self-reported country of residence, and found that 97% of responses are accurate. He also compared the consistency of a range of demographic variables reported by the same subjects across two different studies, and found between 81% and 98% agreement, depending on the variable. (via Vaughan Bell)
HTTP Archive Mobile — mobile performance data. The top 100 web pages average out at 271kb vs 401kb for their desktop incarnations, which still seems unjustifiably high to me.
Skype at Conferences — The two editors of the book were due to lead the session but were at the wrong ends of a skype three way video conference which stuttered into a dalekian half life without really quite making the breakthrough into comprehensibility. After various attempts to rewire, reconfigure and reboot, we gave up and had what turned into a good conversation among the dozen people round the table in London. Conference organizers, take note: Skype at conferences is a recipe for fail.
Fundraising on Facebook — only 7% [of companies surveyed] cited social networking as one of their most effective sources for customer acquisition [...] only 2.4% of non-profits were able to raise over 10k through Facebook in 2010. (via Chris Brogan)
Groklaw Closes — There will be other battles, and there already are, because the same people that propped SCO up are still going to try to destroy Linux, but the battlefield has shifted, and I don’t feel Groklaw is needed in the new battlefield the way it was in the SCO v. Linux wars. PJ did a wonderful thing and we’ll miss both her and GrokLaw. (via Don Christie)
Google Maps ToC Changes — we now require that any new Maps API applications going forward display any advertising delivered in the maps imagery, unless the site concerned has a Google Maps API Premier license. (via Flowing Data)
Root Strikers — Lessig’s new project. Thoreau wrote, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” The root of our political evils is money. Our goal is to build a network of rootstrikers—to talk about this issue, clearly identify the problem, and work together towards practical reforms. At the moment it’s “post and comment” site, a forum, but I hope he’s building an army to channel to other acts. Check out his splendid talk on the subject.
Debt: The First 5,000 Years — Throughout its 5000 year history, debt has always involved institutions – whether Mesopotamian sacred kingship, Mosaic jubilees, Sharia or Canon Law – that place controls on debt’s potentially catastrophic social consequences. It is only in the current era, writes anthropologist David Graeber, that we have begun to see the creation of the first effective planetary administrative system largely in order to protect the interests of creditors. (via Tim O’Reilly)
MIT Autonomous Quadcopter — MIT drone makes a map of a room in real time using an X Box Kinect and is able to navigate through it. All calculations performed on board the multicopter. Wow. (via Slashdot and Sara Winge)
How Great Entrepreneurs Think — leaving aside the sloppy open-mouth kisses to startups that “great entrepreneurs” implies, an interesting article comparing the mindsets of corporate execs with entrepreneurs. I’d love to read the full interviews and research paper. Sarasvathy explains that entrepreneurs’ aversion to market research is symptomatic of a larger lesson they have learned: They do not believe in prediction of any kind. “If you give them data that has to do with the future, they just dismiss it,” she says. “They don’t believe the future is predictable…or they don’t want to be in a space that is very predictable.” [...] the careful forecast is the enemy of the fortuitous surprise. (via Sacha Judd)
Android Tablet — the PanDigital Novel is a wifi-enabled book-reader that’s easily modded to run Android and thus a pile of other software. Not available for sale yet, but “coming soon”. A hint of the delights to come as low-cost Android tablets hit the market.
Smart Materials in Architecture — Using thermal bimetals can allow architects to experiment with shape-changing buildings, Ritter said. Thermal bimetals include a combination of materials with different expansion coefficients that can cause a change in. Under changing temperatures this can lead one side of a compound to bend more than the other side, potentially creating an entirely different shape, he said. A little impractical at the moment, but think of it as hackers experimenting with what’s possible, iterating to find the fit between materials possibility and customer need. (via Liminal Existence)
Google OCR API — The server will attempt to extract the text from the images; creating a new Google Doc for each image. Experimental at this stage, and early users report periodic crashes. Still, it’s a useful service. I wonder whether they’re seeing how people correct the scan text and using that to train the OCR algorithms. (via Waxy)
My O’Reilly Podcast: Dan Meyer — I’m not pimping this because it’s O’Reilly (O’R do heaps of stuff I don’t mention) but because it’s the astonishingly brilliant Dan Meyer. For everything it does well, the US model of math education conditions students to anticipate narrowly defined problems with narrowly prescribed solutions. This puts them in no place to anticipate the ambiguous, broadly defined, problems they’ll need to solve after graduation, as citizens. This webcast will define two contributing factors to this intellectual impatience and then suggest a solution.
Peak Web (Chris Heathcote) — My biggest problem is that people always perceive the near-past, present and near-future as having the most technological change, and the speed of decline of the old new media feels wrong. I am, however, thinking that there’s something true in one reading of the graph: we may be at or past Peak Web.
Crowdsourcing the Cleanup with Freeze Tag — The Awe-Worthy Brooklyn Museum, like all cultural institutions, have more objects than they can add metadata to. They let users provide metadata through tagging, but all crowdsourcing projects permit vandals. Their solution: crowdsource the cleanup. My only question is whether this will become a game between vandals and janitors. Brooklyn Museum is noteworthy for their insanely great use of the web, check them out and please support them if you like what you see.