- Tupac Coachella Behind the Technology (CBS) — interesting to me is Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were considering taking Shakur with them on tour. Just as Hobbit, Tintin, etc. are CG-ing characters to look normal, is the future of “live” spectacle to be this kind of CG show? Will new acts be competing against the Rolling Stones forever?
- wkhtmltopdf (Google Code) — Simple shell utility to convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine, and qt. My first piece of “I wrote this, now you can use it too” open source was an HTML to PS converter (this was 1994 or so) via LaTeX. It’s a useful thing, no really.
- Nicira (Wired) — moving network management into software so the network hardware is as dumb as possible. Interesting continuation of the End-to-End principle, whereby smarts live at the edges of the network and the conduits are dumb.
Healthcare Ain't Silicon Valley, Math for Makers, Open Source Musician Tools, and Learn to Make Languages
- Five Tough Lessons I Had To Learn About Healthcare (Andy Oram) — I don’t normally link to things from Radar but this gels 110% with my limited experience with the healthcare industry.
- Makematics: Math for Makers — I want the hardware hackers who are building the next generation of DIY 3D printers to be able to turn topological algorithms and concepts into open source tool path generation software that creates more efficient gcode and enables the fabrication of previously impossible physical forms. I don’t know the best way to go about this, but this site is intended to act as home for my experiments.
- CASH Music — they build open source tools for musicians and labels to make money. What WordPress did for bloggers, we’re doing for musicians. (via New York Times)
Open Access, Retro Crypto, Open Source Q&A, and Music Visualization
- Open Access Week — a global event promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research.
- The Copiale Cipher — cracking a historical code with computers. Details in the paper: The book describes the initiation of “DER CANDIDAT” into a secret society, some functions of which are encoded with logograms. (via Discover Magazine)
- Coordino — open source Quota-like question-and-answer software. (via Smashing Magazine)
- Baroque.me — visualization of the first prelude from the first Cello Suite by Bach. Music is notoriously difficult to visualize (Disney’s Fantasia is the earliest attempt that I know of) as there is so much it’s possible to capture. (via Andy Baio)
Library Licensing, Mac Graphics, Coal Computing, and Human Augmentation
- Just Say No To Freegal — an interesting view from the inside, speaking out against a music licensing system called Freegal which is selling to libraries. Libraries typically buy one copy of something, and then lend it out to multiple users sequentially, in order to get a good return on investment. Participating in a product like Freegal means that we’re not lending anymore, we’re buying content for users to own permanently so they don’t have to pay the vendor directly themselves. This puts us in direct competition with the vendor’s sales directly to consumers, and the vendors will never make more money off of libraries than they will off of direct consumer sales. What that does is put libraries in a position of being economic victims of our own success. I would think that libraries would remember this lesson from our difficulties with the FirstSearch pay-per-use model that most of us found to be unsustainable.
- Cost of Computing in Coal (Benjamin Mako Hill) — back-of-the-envelope estimation of the carbon costs of running an overnight multicore Amazon number-crunching job. Thinking about the environmental costs of your crappy coding might change the way you code, much as punched cards encouraged you to model and test the program by hand before you ran it. How many tons of coal are burnt to support laziness or a lack of optimization in my software?
- Friction in Computer Human Symbiosis (Palantir blog) — Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process. (via Tim O’Reilly)
Eliza Aftermath, Open Textbook, Crowdsourcing Music Fingerprinting, Singularity Skepticism
- Eliza pt 3 — delightful recapitulation of the reaction to Eliza and Weizenbaum’s reaction to that reaction, including his despair over the students he taught at MIT. Weizenbaum wrote therein of his students at MIT, which was of course all about science and technology. He said that they “have already rejected all ways but the scientific to come to know the world, and [they] seek only a deeper, more dogmatic indoctrination in that faith (although that word is no longer in their vocabulary).”
- Computer Vision Models — textbook written in the open for public review. (via Hacker News)
- Echoprint — open source and open data music fingerprinting service from MusicBrainz and others. I find it interesting that doing something new with music data requires crowdsourcing because nobody has the full set.
- Three Arguments Against The Singularity (Charlie Stross) — We clearly want machines that perform human-like tasks. We want computers that recognize our language and motivations and can take hints, rather than requiring instructions enumerated in mind-numbingly tedious detail. But whether we want them to be conscious and volitional is another question entirely. I don’t want my self-driving car to argue with me about where we want to go today. I don’t want my robot housekeeper to spend all its time in front of the TV watching contact sports or music videos. And I certainly don’t want to be sued for maintenance by an abandoned software development project.
PC in JS, Musical Visualization, S3 Parallel, and Tech-led Ed
- US Home Prices as Opera (Flowing Data) — reminded me of Douglas Adams’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” which has software that turns your company’s performance numbers into music. The yearly accounts of most British companies emerged sounding like the Dead March from “Saul”, but in Japan they went for it like a pack of rats. It produced lots of cheery company anthems that started well, but if you were going to criticise you’d probably say that they tended to get a bit loud and squeaky at the end.
- s3cmd Parallel — command-line tool with parallel uploads to s3. (via Nelson Minar)
- Eight of China’s Top Nine Government Officials are Scientists (Singularity Hub) — the article’s idiotic reduction to performance on standardised tests misses America’s primary strength against China, namely creative and flexible workforce. China will get there, but it’s not there yet.
San Francisco band Severed Fifth wants to create a new template for success.
Chart success would be nice, but Severed Fifth has a loftier goal than most bands. They want to use hallmarks of the open source movement — specifically, community involvement and free distribution — to change the music business.
Artists on Piracy, Web Tracking, Thinking about Future Food, and Library Futures
- Pirate Verbatim — artists, in their own words, talking about piracy. The mix of opinions, attitudes, and nuance shows that there’s far from any single consistent view out there. (via Graham Linehan)
- What Rapleaf Knows About You — aggregating information from various sites, and your ad clickthroughs, to build a dossier about you that relates your email address to real name, age, shopping history, political leaning, and more. How do I control others’ ability to gather information about me? (via Mauricio Freitas)
- By Design — Australian radio show episode where five interesting people (artist, author, etc.) talk about water, electricity, food, and technology and then have Q&A. Dan Hill helped it happen.
- Rare Book Room — read high-resolution scans of important and beautiful old books (Shakespeare Folios, Galileo, Books of Hours, etc.) online. Digital for libraries means new ways for customers to view materials, and new customers: I can read an item from the Bodleian Library, but I’m in New Zealand and they’re in Oxford. Am I a Bodleian customer? Do they change what they do to support me? Who pays for the services I use? These are the questions many collections organisations are struggling with. (via Paul Steele)
Location Services, Clever Cursors, Intuitive Trouble, and Maturity Wins
- Universal Location Service — API access to location information from mobiles on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T. “Universe” here is defined, naturally, to be “United States of America”.
- The Revenge of the Intuitive (Brian Eno, Wired) — now I’m struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity […] This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users – when given a choice – prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can’t have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else.
- “Wait, What?” (Alex Russell) — I didn’t try to organize people who didn’t see the value in organization: instead, I tried to organize folks whose experience was valuable in terms of personal maturity and not just facility with code. We picked a hard technical problem and an easier social problem knowing that the social aspects were more critical.
To fund copyright-free recordings, Musopen asked for $11k. They got $55k.
The music of Beethoven and Brahms isn't covered by copyright, but performances and sheet music are. With an assist from KickStarter, MusOpen has raised more than enough money to right that wrong by recording and releasing classics into the public domain.