"museums" entries

Four short links: 9 March 2011

Four short links: 9 March 2011

R IDE, Audience Participation, Machine Learning, Surviving Success

  1. R Studio — AGPLv3-licensed IDE for R. It brings your R console, source code, plots, help, history, and workspace browser into one cohesive package. We’ve added some neat productivity features like a searchable endless command history, function/symbol completion, data import dialog with preview, one-click Sweave compile, and more. Source on github. Built as a web-app on Google AppEngine, from Joe Cheng who did Windows Live Writer at Microsoft. (via DeWitt Clinton)
  2. Adventures in Participatory Audience — Nina Simon helped thirteen students produce three projects to encourage participation in museum audiences: Xavier, Stringing Connections, and Dirty Laundry. My favourite was Dirty Laundry, where people shared secrets connected to works of art. Nina’s description of what she learned has some nuggets: friendly faces welcoming people in gets better response than a card with instructions, and I am still flummoxed as to what would make someone admit to an affair or bad parenting in a sterile art gallery, or the devastating one that read, “I avoid the important, difficult conversations with those I love the most.” Audience participation in the real world has lessons on what works for those who would build social software.
  3. Why Generic Machine Learning FailsReturns for increasing data size come from two sources: (1) the importance of tails and (2) the cost of model innovation. When tails are important, or when model innovation is difficult relative to cost of data capture, then more data is the answer. […] Machine learning is not undifferentiated heavy lifting, it’s not commoditizable like EC2, and closer to design than coding. The Netflix prize is a good example: the last 10% reduction in RMSE wasn’t due to more powerful generic algorithms, but rather due to some very clever thinking about the structure of the problem; observations like “people who rate a whole slew of movies at one time tend to be rating movies they saw a long time ago” from BellKor.
  4. Anatomy of a Crushing — Maciej Ceglowski describes how pinboard.in survived the flood of Delicious émigrées. It took several rounds of rewrites to get the simple tag cloud script right, and this made me very skittish about touching any other parts of the code over the next few days, even when the fixes were easy and obvious. The part of my brain that knew what to do no longer seemed to be connected directly to my hands.
Four short links: 4 November 2010

Four short links: 4 November 2010

Better Travel, Incidental Media, Social Switch, and Crumbling Cookies

  1. The Journey (Matt Jones) — an incredible reimagining of what travel could be if we used technology subtly, playfully, and helpfully. This is beautiful and brilliant. Read the explanation of the different elements in the video, there’s a month’s worth of sparking ideas in just a few paragraphs.
  2. Incidental Media (Jack Schulze) — beautiful playful visual demonstration of what happens when surfaces are active but do not claim our full attention. From the same BERG London work that prompted The Journey above. I don’t normally put two links to the same site in the one edition of Four Short Links, but these are both mindbuggeringly good.
  3. 1st Fans Shifts to Meetup — Brooklyn Museum’s online connection to their community moves from Facebook+Twitter to Meetup. There’s a wonderfully honest and informative explanation of why the two big social sites didn’t work for them. Great to see them sharing what they learned.
  4. HTTP Cookies, or How Not To Design a Protocol — detailed deconstruction of the deeply broken state of web site cookies. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
Four short links: 2 November 2010

Four short links: 2 November 2010

Participation, iPhone Games Programming, Mobile Keypad Magic, and Web App Security

  1. Lessons from the Johnny Cash ProjectWhen a participatory activity is designed without a goal in mind, you end up with a bunch of undervalued stuff and nowhere to put it. (via Courtney Johnston)
  2. Doom iPhone Review — fascinating explanation of how the iPhone works for programmers, and how the Doom source code works around some of the less-game-friendly features. (via Tom Carden on Delicious)
  3. The 8 Pen — new alphanumeric entry system for Android.
  4. Salesforce Security — lots of information for web developers, most generally applicable. (via Pete Warden)
Four short links: 22 October 2010

Four short links: 22 October 2010

Image Remapping, Internet Futures, Ebook Reader, and Open Cloud Computing

  1. Historical Images Remapped — Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum released historical images from their collections, and a historical photo site Sepiatown geolocated and oriented them so they can be viewed side-by-side with current Google Street View images of the same place. And then contributed the refined metadata back to the museum. A great example of your users helping to improve your data.
  2. Future Internet Scenarios — results of scenario planning by the Internet Society, some possible futures from open and competitive to anticompetitive centralised walled-gardens.
  3. OpenLibrary Bookreader — the Internet Archive’s book reader is (naturally) open source for you to reuse and improve. (via Kevin Marks on Twitter)
  4. OpenStack Austin Release — code to compute controller and object storage released. Competition and interoperability require exactly this kind of open cloud environment.
Four short links: 20 October 2010

Four short links: 20 October 2010

Bad Game Mechanics, Under NoSQL Covers, the LAN of Things, and the Smithsonian Commons

  1. Pwned: Gamification and its Discontents (Slideshare) — hear, hear! Video games are not fun because they’re video games, but if and only they are well-designed. Just adding something from games isn’t a guarantee for fun. (via jameshome on Twitter)
  2. Redis Under the Hood — explanation of the insides and mechanisms of this popular distributed key-value store. (via tlockney on delicious)
  3. The LAN of Things (Mike Kuniavsky) — Before we can have an Internet of Things, we will need to have a LAN of things.[…] Most of the utility of a LAN came from its local functionality. Thus, before we can build a useful (from a user perspective) Internet of Things, we need to learn to build useful LANs of Things. […] I think it’s important to start thinking about what the highly localized uses of sparsely distributed technology can be. What can we do when there are only a couple of things with RFIDs in our house? What totally great service can be built on having two light switches that report their telemetry in the house? What totally valuable information can you tell me if I only wear my motion sensor every once in a while? Love it. (via Matt Jones on Delicious)
  4. Mike Edson’s Talk at Powerhouse Museum — the Director of Web and New Media Technology at the Smithsonian is smart, articulate, and trying to do something cool with the Smithsonian Commons prototype. (via sebchan on Twitter)
Four short links: 26 July 2010

Four short links: 26 July 2010

Maturing Wikileaks, Connectivity as a Right, Music from Proteins, Preserved Source

  1. Is Wikileaks Growing Up? — I linked earlier to FAS commentator Steven Aftergood, who had ripped Wikileaks as irresponsible and dangerous. The latest leaks, however, get grudging respect. “the latest dump deals with a perfectly newsworthy topic and — judging from my initial glances at the news coverage — Wikileaks itself has acknowledged the necessity of withholding certain portions of the documents that might endanger individuals who are named in them. If so, that is commendable.” (via jayrosen_nyu on Twitter)
  2. Open Connectivity and Open Data — is access to the Internet a human right? Video of a presentation by Jon Penney, the InternetNZ CyberLaw Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
  3. ProteoMusictwisted music inspired by genomes and proteins. (via christianbok on Twitter)
  4. MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Donated to Computer Museum — source is as much a historical artifact worthy of preservation as hardware, and will be increasingly so. Should Library of Congress require submission of distributed computer code the same as for published books? (via Andy Baio)

When it comes to new media, the Smithsonian is all in

Michael Edson on how the Smithsonian uses crowdsourcing and transparency to further its mission

Michael Edson, director of web and new media strategy for the Smithsonian, discusses the Institution's online presence and its Commons initiative.

Four short links: 7 May 2010

Four short links: 7 May 2010

Learning Languages, URL Mastery, Free as in Life, Heritage Remix

  1. Flash is Not a Right (Ian Bogost) — I worry that we’re losing a sense of diversity in computation. This seems to be happening at both the formal and informal levels. Georgia Tech’s computer science bachelor’s degree doesn’t require a language survey class, for example (although one is offered as an elective). This year in the Computational Media curriculum committee, we’ve been discussing the idea of creating a history of programming languages course as a partial salve, one that would explain how and why a number of different languages and environments evolved. Such a course would explicitly focus on how to learn new languages and environments, since that process is not always obvious. It’s a wonderful and liberating feeling to become familiar with and then master different environments, and everyone truly interested in computing should experience that joy.
  2. What Every Developer Should Know About URLs — a lot of detail of how the pieces hook together. (via bengebre on Delicious)
  3. Ryzom is an Open Source MMORPG — existing game, now GNU Affero licensed code for server, client, and tools, with CC-BY-SA licensed assets. (via Slashdot)
  4. Remix American High Style with Polyvore — the greatest challenge to heritage institutions is irrelevance, not penury. Brooklyn Museum is unsurpassed in creating relevance for its collections and its existence, and they do it by reaching out, where people are and not expecting them to come directly to us. If you’re at a gallery, museum, library, or archive and your first reaction is to protect what you’ve got, you’re doing it wrong. Report to Brooklyn for make-up classes. (via auchmill on Twitter)
Four short links: 12 March 2010

Four short links: 12 March 2010

Seasonal Colours, Fast Peripherals, Wikipedian-in-Residence, Location Abomination

  1. Flickr Flow — a “season wheel”, showing the relative popularity of colours in Flickr photos at different times of the year. Beautiful. (via gurneyjourney)
  2. Light Peak — optical peripheral cabling and motherboard connections. (via timoreilly on twitter)
  3. British Museum Pilots “Wikipedian in Residence”Liam’s underlying task will be to be to build a relationship between the
    Museum and the Wikipedian community through a range of activities both
    internally and public-facing
    . (via straup on Delicious)
  4. Twitter’s Location PolicyIf you chose to tweet with a place, but not to share your exact coordinates, Twitter still needs to use your coordinates to determine your Place. In order to improve the accuracy of our geolocation systems (for example, the way we define neighborhoods and places), Twitter will temporarily store those coordinates for 6 months. Because how could anything go wrong if there’s a database containing 6 months of my precise locations stored on the Internet even when I’ve chosen not to share my precise location? (via straup on Delicious)
Four short links: 8 March 2010

Four short links: 8 March 2010

Vigilantes, Yawn Digital, Interactivity Advice, eBook Design

  1. China’s Cyberposse (NY Times) — is vigilante justice ok if the cause is right? Is it okay if there wouldn’t be justice without it? Does the end justify the means? Many interesting questions raised by this large-scale Internet-based “human-flesh-search” in China. In the future we are all 4chan. (via waxy, who also recommended this article on the same subject)
  2. Questioning “Born Digital” (The Economist) — an interesting collection of healthy skepticism about how the “born digital” folks will change everything. […] many of his incoming students have only a superficial familiarity with the digital tools that they use regularly, especially when it comes to the tools’ social and political potential. Only a small fraction of students may count as true digital natives, in other words. The rest are no better or worse at using technology than the rest of the population.
  3. The Participatory Museum — a new book by the mighty museum mind, Nina Simon. The ideas are very usable outside of the museum world: raid this for social and engagement ideas for your own situation.
  4. Designing for Digital: What Print-Book Designers Should Know About Ebooks — course notes covering format choice, tools, and (yes) typesetting. (via liza on Twitter)