The Internet of Actual Things — “I have 10 reliable activations remaining,” your bulb will report via some ridiculous light-bulbs app on your phone. “Now just nine. Remember me when I’m gone.” (via Andy Baio)
Announcing the Mozilla Science Lab (Kaitlin Thaney) — We also want to find ways of supporting and innovating with the research community – building bridges between projects, running experiments of our own, and building community. We have an initial idea of where to start, but want to start an open dialogue to figure out together how to best do that, and where we can be of most value..
NAND to Tetris — The site contains all the software tools and project materials necessary to build a general-purpose computer system from the ground up. We also provide a set of lectures designed to support a typical course on the subject. (via Hacker News)
3D From Space Shuttle Footage? — neat idea! Filming in 3D generally requires two cameras that are separated laterally, to create the parallax effected needed for stereoscopic vision. Fortunately, videos shot from Earth orbit can be converted to 3D without a second camera, because the camera is constantly in motion.
Open Source 3D-Printable Optics Equipment (PLOSone) — This study demonstrates an open-source optical library, which significantly reduces the costs associated with much optical equipment, while also enabling relatively easily adapted customizable designs. The cost reductions in general are over 97%, with some components representing only 1% of the current commercial investment for optical products of similar function. The results of this study make its clear that this method of scientific hardware development enables a much broader audience to participate in optical experimentation both as research and teaching platforms than previous proprietary methods.
Mobile Content Strategy — Mobile is a catalyst that can help you make your content tighter without loss of clarity or information. If you make your content work well on mobile, it will work everywhere. Excellent presentation, one I want to thump on every decision-maker’s desk and say “THIS!”.
Math at Google (PDF) — presentation showing the different types of math used to build Google. Good as overview, and as way to motivate highschool and college kids to do their math homework. “See, it really is useful! Really!” (via Ben Lorica)
Explaining WebMaker Crisply (Mark Surman) — if you’ve wondered wtf Mozilla is up to, this is excellent. Mozilla has big priorities right now: the web on the desktop; the web on mobile; and web literacy.
Interview with Alan Kay (Dr Dobbs Journal) — The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs. (via Daniel Bachhuber)
Crackpots, Geniuses, and How to Tell The Difference (BoingBoing) — think critically, all the time. If you’re told you can’t trust any other sources of information (especially because of Big Conspiracy, or because so-and-so expert is a bad person in other areas of his or her life), be cautious. Replication is a powerful tool. It helps us get past accidental and intentional biases to see something closer to the truth. Suppressing replication is also powerful, because it leaves you with no way to check against bias.
Mobile Maps (Luke Wroblewski) — In the US, Google gets about 31 million users a month on its Maps app on iOS. On average those users spend more than 75 minutes apiece in the app each month.
The Importance of Public Traffic Data (Anil Dash) — Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s first collaboration was a startup called Traf-O-Data, which recorded and analyzed traffic at intersections in their hometown using custom-built devices along with some smart software. Jack Dorsey’s first successful application was a platform for dispatch routing, designed to optimize the flow of cars by optimizing the flow of information. It’s easy to see these debates as being about esoteric “open data” battles with governments and big corporations. But it matters because the work we do to build our cities directly drives the work we do to build our communities online.
Mozilla Thimble — Write and edit HTML and CSS right in your browser. Instantly preview your work. Then host and share your finished pages with a single click.
Design of the Guardian iPad App (Mark Porter) — thoughtful analysis of the options and ideas behind the new Guardian iPad app. Unlike the iPhone and Android apps, which are built on feeds from the website, this one actually recycles the already-formatted newspaper pages. A script analyses the InDesign files from the printed paper and uses various parameters (page number, physical area and position that a story occupies, headline size, image size etc) to assign a value to the story. The content is then automatically rebuilt according to those values in a new InDesign template for the app. (via Josh Porter)
StuxNet Deep Dive — extremely technical talk, but this page has a redux. The presenter’s thesis, well-argued, is that StuxNet was absolutely aimed specifically at the Natanz facility. (via Chris Douglas)
AntiMap — open source Android software to gather arbitrary data and visualize it. This enables you to be a 21C Francis Galton, the man who walked the streets of England using a pin to prick holes on a cross of card in his pocket, all to keep track of the relative average beauty of women in different parts of the country. He was such an obsessive data gatherer that, during one particularly boring meeting, he kept track of fidgets from each of the other meeting participants. Now you can too.
The History of Version Control (Francis Irving) — concise history of the key advances in managing source code versions. Worth it just for the delicious apposition of “history” and “version control”.
Q&A with Rob O’Callahan (ComputerWorld) — an excellent insight into how Mozilla sees the world. In particular how proprietary mobile ecosystems are the new proprietary desktop ecosystems, and how the risks for the web are the same (writing for one device, not for all).
Mobile Farm Robots (Wired) — The Harvest Automation robots are knee-high, wheeled machines. Each robot has a gripper for grasping pots, a deck for carrying pots, and an array of sensors to keep track of where it is and what’s around it. Teams of robots zip around nursery fields, single-mindedly spacing and grouping plants. Think Wall-E without the doe eyes and cuddly personality, or the little forest-tending ‘bots in the 1972 sci-fi classic Silent Running.
ThinkUp 1.0 — out of beta, the software to build your own archive of your social network presence is ready for prime time. See Anil’s post for a pointed take on why this is desperately important right now.
The Internet of Things That Do What You Tell Them: Cory Doctorow passionately explains how computers are already entwined in our lives, which means laws that support lock-in are much more than inconveniences.