- Museum Datasets (Seb Chan) — collections metadata aren’t generally in good quality (often materials are indexed at the “box level”, ie this item number is a BOX and it contains photos of these things), and aren’t all that useful. The story about the Parisian balcony grille is an excellent reminder that the institution’s collections aren’t a be-all and end-all for researchers.
- Hurricane Electric BGP Toolkit — open source tools for diagnosing network problems. (via Nelson Minar)
- Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine — computer vision to straighten up photographed pages of the notebook, and the app recognizes special stickers placed on the book as highlights and selections. Nifty micro-use of augmented reality.
A letter asking for an introduction meets a meditation on self-reliance.
In 1905 Mark Twain wrestled with the sort of request that many readers here have undoubtedly encountered: a new writer with the most tenuous of connections (her uncle was briefly a neighbor in a Nevada mining town) asks Twain to use his influence to get her manuscript published.
It never hurts to carry an introduction from a well-regarded intermediary, as long as your introducer can actually speak to the quality of your work. I think of Twain’s anguished reply every time I’m asked to recommend someone or something I don’t know — or am tempted to ask the same favor of someone else.
Twain’s message is ultimately optimistic: don’t simply try to accumulate influence. Instead, come up with a good idea and sell it on its merits. The world will listen.
- 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.
Mobile Data, Startup Ideas, Sci Foo, and Instapaper
- The Coming Mobile Data Apocalypse (Redmonk) — it is clear that the appetite for mobile bandwidth will grow exponentially over the next twelve to eighteen months. With high volumes of smartphones shipping, more and larger form factors entering the market, and the accelerating build out of streaming services, bandwith consumption is set to spike. Equally apparent is that the carriers are ill provisioned to address this demand, both from a network capacity perspective as well as with their pricing structures.
- Hamster Burial Kit and 998 Other Ideas — For Seth Godin’s Alternative MBA program, this week the nine of us came up with 111 business ideas each. But ideas are only valuable when someone (like you) makes something happen. What follows are our 999 business ideas, free for the taking.
- Sci Foo Short Videos — questions posed to Sci Foo attendees with interesting answers. I liked “What Worries You?”
- Instapaper 3 Released — all the features are ones I’ve wanted, which tells me Marco is listening very closely to his customers. Again I say: Instapaper changes the way I use the web as much as RSS did.
Ethics, Regulation, TCP/IP, and Time Travel
- Ethics and Economics — This paper looks at the evidence that suggests that ethical behaviour is good for the economy.
- FCC to Regulate Broadband — Two FCC officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.
- TCP/IP and IMS Sequence Diagrams — watch SYN, ACK, payload, etc. packets to and fro to understand what really happens each time you fetch mail or surf the web. This is what Velocity-type devops performance folks care about.
- How to Build a Time Machine (Daily Mail) — extremely readable article by Stephen Hawking about the possibilities of time travel.
Wireless Hacks, Real Time Web, 3D Christmas, Mac Sync
- DD-WRT — replacement firmware for cheap wireless router boxes that add new functionality like wireless bridging and quality-of-service controls (so Skype doesn’t break up while you’re web-browsing). Not a new thing, but worth remembering that it exists.
- Brain Dump of Real Time Web and WebSocket — long primer on the different technology for real-time web apps. Conclusion is that there’s no silver bullet yet, so more development work is needed. (via TomC on Delicious)
- Data Decs — 3d-printing Christmas decorations based on social network data. My favourite is the blackletter 404. (via foe on Delicious)
- ZSync — open source syncing application that makes it easy for app writers to connect desktop apps and iPhone apps. (via Dave Wiskus)