- 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)
- Smithsonian Digitizing Items (CNet) — two-person project, only able to do a few items a year, but still an excellent advance. See also Bronwyn Holloway-Smith’s art project around artifact replicas.
- Collusion (Mozilla) — have your browser tell you the third parties tracking your web browsing. (via Hacker News)
- Survivor (Github) — HTML5 implementation of an Atari/C64 game. If you wanted to learn how to write HTML5 arcade games, you could do worse than study this project. (via Andy Baio)
StuxNet Deep Dive, Museum 3D Scanning, Tracking The Trackers, and HTML5 Game Code
Newton's Notebooks, Creative Commons, Node HTTP, and Data Business
- Newton’s Notebooks Digitised — wonderful for historians, professional and amateur. I love (a) his handwriting; (b) the pages full of long division that remind us what an amazing time-saver the calculator and then computer was; (c) use of “yn” for “then (the y is actually a thorn, pronounced “th”, and it’s from this that we get “ye”, actually pronounced pronounced “the”). All that and chromatic separation of light, inverse square law, and alchemical mysteries.
- Creative Commons Kicks Off 4.0 Round — public discussion process around issues that will lead to a new version of the CC licenses.
- Holding Back the Age of Data (Redmonk) — Absent a market with well understood licensing and distribution mechanisms, each data negotiation – whether the subject is attribution, exclusivity, license, price or all of the above – is a one off. Very good essay into the evolution of a mature software industry into an immature data industry.
God Games, Digitised History, git Database, and App Framework
- Let There Be Smite (Pippin Barr) — simple diversion for the 4th of July. It won’t be easy for God to save America. (via Pippin’s blog)
- Basel Wear — to answer the question I know was burning on your lips: “what *did* the Swiss wear in 1634?” Impressively detailed pictures from a 1634 book that is now online. One of the reasons I’m in favour of digitizing cultural collections is that we’re more likely to encounter them on the net and so ask questions like “how did people dress in 1634?”, “why did everyone carry keys?”, and “what is a Sexton?”
- databranches: Using git as a Database — it’s important to approach your design for using git as a database from the perspective of automated merging. Get the merging right and the rest will follow. I’ve chosen to use the simplest possible merge, the union merge: When merging parent trees A and B, the result will have all files that are in either A or B, and files present in both will have their lines merged (and possibly reordered or uniqed).
- Joshfire — open source (dual-licensed GPLv2 and commercial) multiplatform development framework built on HTML5.
Sorting Out 9/11, Tagging Text, Unlocking Scientific Publishing, and Internet Archive's Meatspace Branch
- Sorting Out 9/11 (New Yorker) — the thorniest problem for the 9/11 memorial was the ordering of the names. Computer science to the rescue!
- Tagger — Python library for extracting tags (statistically significant words or phrases) from a piece of text.
- Free Science, One Paper at a Time (Wired) — Jonathan Eisen’s attempt to collect and distribute his father’s scientific papers (which were written while a federal employee, so in the public domain), thwarted by old-fashioned scientific publishing. “But now,” says Jonathan Eisen, “there’s this thing called the Internet. It changes not just how things can be done but how they should be done.”
- Internet Archive Launches Physical Archive — I’m keen to see how this develops, because physical storage has problems that digital does not. I’d love to see the donor agreement require the donor to give the archive full rights to digitize and distribute under open licenses. That’d put the Internet Archive a step in front of traditional archives, museums, libraries, and galleries, whose donor agreements typically let donors place arbitrary specifications on use and reuse (“must be inaccessible for 50 years”, “no commercial use”, “no use that compromises the work”, etc.), all of which are barriers to wholesale digitization and reuse.
PDP-11 Emulated, Crowdsourcing Culture, Deep Knowing, and Scientific Method
- 2010: The Year of Crowdsourcing Transcription — hasn’t finished yet, as NY Public Library shows. Cultural institutions are huge data sets that need human sensors to process, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in years to come as we light up thousands of years of written culture. (via Liza Daley)
- Programming the Commodore 64 — the loss of the total control that we had over our computers back when they were small enough that everything you needed to know would fit inside your head. It’s left me with a taste for grokking systems deeply and intimately, and that tendency is probably not a good fit for most modern programming, where you really don’t have time to go in an learn, say, Hibernate or Rails in detail: you just have to have the knack of skimming through a tutorial or two and picking up enough to get the current job done, more or less. I don’t mean to denigrate that: it’s an important and valuable skill. But it’s not one that moves my soul as Deep Knowing does. This is the kind of deep knowledge of TCP/IP and OS that devops is all about.
- Kids do Science — scientists lets kids invent an experiment, write it up, and it’s published in Biology Letters. Teaching the method of science, not the facts currently in vogue, will give us a generation capable of making data-based decisions.
The first Ignite Smithsonian highlighted the intersection of museums and technology.
Ignite Smithsonian featured innovative ideas about museums, design, art, technology and culture. This Ignite, the first to be held the Smithsonian, brought speakers from in and outside of government, including an international contingent.