The Unengageables (Dan Meyer) — They signed their “didactic contract” years and years ago. They signed it. Their math teachers signed it. The agreement says that the teacher comes into class, tells them what they’re going to learn, and shows them three examples of it. In return, the students take what their teacher showed them and reproduce it twenty times before leaving class. Then they go home with an assignment to reproduce it twenty more times. Then here you come, Ms. I-Just-Got-Back-From-A-Workshop, and you want to change the agreement? Yeah, you’ll hear from their attorney. Applies to management as much as to teaching.
Fixing Signin — The general principle can be stated simply, in two parts: first, give users a trust-worthy way to identify themselves. Second, do so with as little information as possible, because users don’t want to (and simply can’t) remember things like passwords in a secure way. (via Tim Bray)
Mieko Haire — Apple’s fictious demo lady. Or is she fictitious? This is a new aesthetic-esque glitch, but while most glitches are glitches because you see something that doesn’t exist, this is glitchy because the fictions are actual people. Ok, maybe I need to lay off the peyote.
Practical HTTP Host Header Attacks — lots of cleverness like So, to persuade a cache to serve our poisoned response to someone else we need to create a disconnect between the host header the cache sees, and the host header the application sees. In the case of the popular caching solution Varnish, this can be achieved using duplicate Host headers. Varnish uses the first host header it sees to identify the request, but Apache concatenates all host headers present and Nginx uses the last host header.
Madeye — collaborative code editing inside a Google Hangout. (via Andy Baio)
Too Momentous for the Medium — Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit – all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them. (Brian Eno’s words)
Where the Happy Talk about Corporate Culture is All Wrong (NY Times) — I think there are two types of happiness in a work culture: Human Resources Happy and High Performance Happy. Fast-growth success has everything to do with the latter and nothing to do with the former. Lazy false opposition, and he describes an asshole-rich workplace that would only please a proctologist. (via Sara Winge)
The Rapture of the Nerds (Charlie Stoss, Cory Doctorow) — available for download and purchase under a CC-A-NC-ND license.
Amazon Maps API — if there is an API layer of general use to developers, Amazon will build it. They want to be the infrastructure for the web. Tim identified “the Internet Operating System”, and Amazon figured out how to put a pricetag on every syscall.
Turing Centenary Speech (Bruce Sterling) — so many thoughtbombs, this repays rereading. We’re okay with certain people who “think different” to the extent of buying Apple iPads. We’re rather hostile toward people who “think so very differently” that their work will make no sense for thirty years — if ever. We’ll test them, and see if we can find some way to get them to generate wealth for us, but we’re not considerate of them as unusual, troubled entities wandering sideways through a world they never made. … Cognition exists, and computation exists, but they’re not the same phenomenon with two different masks on. … Explain to me, as an engineer, why it’s so important to aspire to build systems with “Artificial Intelligence,” and yet you’d scorn to build “Artificial Femininity.” What is that about? … Every day I face all these unstable heaps of creative machinery. How do we judge art created with, by, and or through these devices? What is our proper role with them? […] How do we judge what we’re doing? How do we distribute praise and blame, rewards and demerits, how do to guide it, how do we attribute meaning to it? … oh just read the whole damn piece, it’s the best thing you’ll read this month.
Handsontable — Excel-like grid editing plugin for jQuery (MIT-licensed).
Lumoback (Kickstarter) — smart posture sensor which provides a gentle vibration when you slouch to remind you to sit or stand straight. It is worn on your lower back and designed to be slim, sleek and so comfortable that you barely feel it when you have it on. (via Tim O’Reilly)
The Internet of Things That Do What You Tell Them: Cory Doctorow passionately explains how computers are already entwined in our lives, which means laws that support lock-in are much more than inconveniences.