- The Untold Story of Microsoft’s Surface Hub (FastCo) — great press placement from Microsoft, but good to hear what Jeff Han has been working on. And interesting comment on the value of manufacturing in the US: “I don’t have to send my folks over to China, so they’re happier,” Han says. “It’s faster. There’s no language, time, or culture barrier to deal with. To have my engineers go down the hallway to talk to the guys in the manufacturing line and tune the recipe? That’s just incredible.”
- Five Years of Google Closure (Derek Slager) — Despite the lack of popularity, a number of companies have successfully used Google Closure for their production applications. Medium, Yelp, CloudKick (acquired by Rackspace), Cue (acquired by Apple), and IMS Health (my company) all use (or have used) Google Closure to power their production applications. And, importantly, the majority of Google’s flagship applications continue to be powered by Google Closure.
- Moving Fast with Software Verification (Facebook) — This paper describes our experience in integrating a verification tool based on static analysis into the software development cycle at Facebook. Contains a brief description of dev and release processes at Facebook: no QA …
- The Death of the von Neumann Architecture — A computer program is the direct execution of any idea. If you restrict the execution, you restrict the idea. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis for software.
- MegaPWN (GitHub) — Your MEGA master key is supposed to be a secret, but MEGA or anyone else with access to your computer can easily find it without you noticing. Browser crypto is only as secure as the browser and the code it runs.
- When Smart Homes Get Hacked (Forbes) — Insteon’s flaw was worse in that it allowed access to any one via the Internet. The researchers could see the exposed systems online but weren’t comfortable poking around further. I was — but I was definitely nervous about it and made sure I had Insteon users’ permission before flickering their lights.
- A Stick Figure Guide to Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) — exactly what it says.
Ubiquitous Multitouch, Bitcoin Bust, vim Text Concepts, and Storage Troubles
- OmniTouch: Wearable Interaction Everywhere — compact projector + kinect equivalents in shoulder-mounted multitouch glory. (via Slashdot)
- Price of Bitcoin Still Dropping — currency is a confidence game, and there’s no confidence in Bitcoins since the massive Mt Gox exchange hack.
- vim Text Objects — I’m an emacs user, so this is like reading Herodotus. “On the far side of the Nile is a tribe who eat their babies and give birth to zebras made of gold. They also define different semantics for motion and text objects.”
- Hard Drive Shortage Predicted (Infoworld) — flooding in Thailand has knocked out 25% of the world’s hard drive manufacturing capacity. Interested to see the effects this has on cloud providers. (via Slashdot)
With Metro, it's clear Microsoft has put a lot of thought into touchscreen design.
Microsoft's Metro interface offers plenty for digital book designers to study. The best part? Whether or not Microsoft actually ships something that matches their demo, designers can benefit from the great thinking they've done.
Data Businesses, Multitouch Charting, 3D-Printing Glass, and Synthetic Biology
- Competitive Advantage Through Data — the applications and business models for erecting barriers around proprietary data assets. Sees data businesses in these four categories: contributory data sourcing, offering cleaner data, data generated from service you offer, and viz/ux. The author does not yet appear to be considering when open or communal data is better than proprietary data, and how to make those projects work. (via Michael Driscoll)
- Solar Cutter, Solar 3D Printer — prototypes of solar powered maker devices. The cutter is a non-laser cutter that focuses the sun’s rays to a super-hot point. The printer makes glass from sand (!!!!). Not only is this cool, but sand is widespread and cheap.
- Synthetic Biology Open Language — a language for the description and the exchange of synthetic biological parts, devices, and systems. Another piece of the synthetic biology puzzle comes together. The parallel development of DIY manufacturing in the worlds of bits and basepairs is mindboggling. We live in exciting times. (via krs)
Facebook Behaviour, Multitouch Modelling, Early Ads, and Gaming Public Transportation
- Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook (danah boyd) — Mikalah uses Facebook but when she goes to log out, she deactivates her Facebook account. She knows that this doesn’t delete the account – that’s the point. She knows that when she logs back in, she’ll be able to reactivate the account and have all of her friend connections back. But when she’s not logged in, no one can post messages on her wall or send her messages privately or browse her content. Two very interesting practices designed to maintain not just some abstract idea of “privacy” but, more important, control.
- Beautiful Modeler — a software tool for gestural sculpting using a multi-touch controller such as an iPad. (via Andy Baio)
- How Telephone Directories Transformed America — this caught my eye: Less than a year after the New Haven District Telephone Company issued its first directory, it issued a second, and that one augmented listings with advertising. (via Pete Warden)
- Chromarama — a game that shows you your movements and location as you swipe your Oyster Card in and out of the Tube. Points are awarded for avoiding rush hour, visiting new stations, etc. They say they want to change behaviour, but I don’t believe people ride public transportation to collect points, so they travel when they have to and so won’t change their commute times. Would love to be proven wrong, though. (via Roger Dennis)
Cleaning HTML, 3D Android Home, Autoupdating, Data Refining
- Bleach — HTML sanitizer, which some might say is an impossible task.
- TAT Home — a gesture-powered 3d home screen for Android.
- Omaha — the autoupdater used in Chrome and other Google projects, open sourced.
- Google Refine — Freebase GridWorks has new home and new name, with new checkins happening all the time. An excellent ETL tool for figuring out what data you have and getting it into the right format.
Book Law, Ubiquitous Touchscreens, Asymmetric Reputation Warfare, Data Liberty
- Copyright and Other Legal Issues Posed by the Google Book Search Settlement (Pam Samuelson) — slides from a talk that comprehensively runs through the questions posted by GBS settlement. Staying in GBSS means authors give up possible claim to 100% rights in e-books, which they might o/w have under Random House v. Rosetta. Lots of angles I hadn’t thought of before.
- Turn Your Kitchen Counter into a Touchscreen (Gizmodo) — researchers [at Intel Labs] have created a rig with two cameras, one to capture the image of the objects and the other to capture depth. The depth cameras help recognize the objects and the difference between the hand touching the table or hovering over it. A pico-projector helps beam the virtual menus. The cameras and the pico-projector can be combined into devices just a little bigger than your cellphone, says Harrison. Sprinkle a few of these in different rooms and point them on tables, and the system is ready to go. (via RDiva on Twitter)
- Hypocrites and Pharisees — Or consider Fast Company, which posted a picture out of context of me holding a bag of white powder. This bag of white powder was something called Piracetam. It is a perfectly legal nutritional supplement along the lines of Ginkgo Biloba- it improves memory. It was in a thread with me asking people what nutritional supplements they take. Out of context, it makes me look like a drug dealer. Such deliberate dishonesty has become a matter of course for “journalists” who have a personal dislike of me. It’s bloody hard to fight Big Media on credibility and win, because Big Media have years of “oh, it’s in print, it must be true” behind them. As is often said, you only need to see a newspaper story on a subject you know something about to question every other story too.
- Poyozo — Poyozo is an automatic, personal diary system to help reclaim and consolidate your ever-expanding digital life with simple visualizations that you can use every day. (via jonrb8 on Delicious)
Being Wrong, Science Malfunding, Touch-screen Libraries, Mining Flickr Photos
- Ira Glass on Being Wrong (Slate) — fascinating interview with Ira Glass on the fundamental act of learning: being wrong. I had this experience a couple of years ago where I got to sit in on the editorial meeting at the Onion. Every Monday they have to come up with like 17 or 18 headlines, and to do that, they generate 600 headlines per week. I feel like that’s why it’s good: because they are willing to be wrong 583 times to be right 17. (via Hacker News)
- Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific Research (PLoSBiology) — very clear presentation of the problems with the current funding models of scientific research, where the acknowledged best scientists spend most of their time writing funding proposals. K.’s plight (an authentic one) illustrates how the present funding system in science eats its own seed corn. To expect a young scientist to recruit and train students and postdocs as well as producing and publishing new and original work within two years (in order to fuel the next grant application) is preposterous.
- jQTouch Roadmap — interesting to me is the primary distinction between Sencha and jQTouch, namely that jQT is for small devices (phones) only, while Sencha handles small and large (tablet) touch-screen devices. (via Simon St Laurent)
- Travel Itineraries from Flickr Photo Trails (Greg Linden) — clever idea, to use metadata extracted from Flickr photos (location, time, etc.) to construct itineraries for travellers, saying where to go, how long to spend there, and how long to expect to spend getting from place to place. Another story of the surprise value that can be extracted from overlooked data.
Fast Scans, Touch Screens, Privacy Newspeak, and Open Source Fonts
- High-Speed Book Scanner — you flip the pages, and it uses high-speed photography to capture images of each page. “But they’re all curved!” Indeed, so they project a grid onto the page so as to be able to correct for the curvature. The creator wanted to scan Manga, but the first publisher he tried turned him down. I’ve written to him offering a pile of O’Reilly books to test on. We love this technology!
- Magic Tables, not Magic Windows (Matt Jones) — thoughtful piece about how touch-screens are rarely used as a controller of abstract things rather than of real things, with some examples of the potential he’s talking about. When we’re not concentrating on our marbles, we’re looking each other in the eye – chuckling, tutting and cursing our aim – and each other. There’s no screen between us, there’s a magic table making us laugh. It’s probably my favourite app to show off the iPad – including the ones we’ve designed! It shows that the iPad can be a media surface to share, rather than a proscenium to consume through alone.
- Mensch Font — an interesting font, but this particularly caught my eye: Naturally I searched for a font editor, and the best one I found was Font Forge, an old Linux app ported to the Mac but still requiring X11. So that’s two ways OS X is borrowing from Linux for font support. What’s up with that? Was there an elite cadre of fontistas working on Linux machines in a secret bunker? Linux is, um, not usually known for its great designers. (via joshua on Delicious)