- Tuffy — a GPL v3 licensed Markov Logic Network inference engine in Java and PostgreSQL that claims to be more scalable than previous tools. (via Hacker News)
- Behind news.me — if you are curious to see what they are reading, if you want to see the world through their eyes, News.me is for you. Many people curate their Twitter experience to reflect their own unique set of interests. News.me offers a window into their curated view of the world, filtered for realtime social relevance via the bit-rank algorithm. A friend and I have been using Instapaper for this, and I’m keen to see how it works. It’s interesting, though: the more people I “share” with, the less insight I get into any one person–it goes from being a mindmeld to ambient zeitgeist.
- Orbital Content — Content shifting allows a user to take a piece of content that they’ve identified in one context and make it available in another. […] Calling Instapaper a content shifter tells only half the story. It puts too much attention on the shifting and not enough on what needs to happen before a piece of content can be shifted. Before content can be shifted, it must be correctly identified, uprooted from its source, and tied to a user. This process, which I call “content liberation” is the common ground between Instapaper, Svpply, Readability, Zootool, and other bookmarklet apps. Content shifting, as powerful as it is, is just the beginning of what’s possible when content is liberated. I think they’re optimistic about liberation retaining attribution (there needs to be compelling self-interest to retain attribution) but otherwise love this piece. (via Courtney Johnston)
- Rate Limiting Traffic with Varnish (Dan Singerman) — I love that the technology which help you deliver web pages quickly also helps you deliver them not too quickly. (via John Clegg).
Why being a default search provider matters, personalized Google News, Bin Laden and search spikes
In the latest Search Notes: Bing is going all out to claim more market share, Google News' personalization features could create an echo chamber, and Osama Bin Laden's death creates a search frenzy.
Twitter Numbers, Online News, Emotional Complexity, and Making Described
- Twitter Numbers — growing at half a million accounts a day (how many are spammers, d’ya think?), over 140M tweets sent each day.
- Online vs Newspaper News (Mashable) — The Poynter Institute, a landmark of American journalism research, has determined that as of the end of 2010, more people get their news from the Internet than from newspapers — and more ad dollars went to online outlets than to newspapers, too. (via Sacha Judd)
- Blue Lacuna: Lessons Learned Writing the World’s Longest Interactive Fiction (PDF) — While I felt Progue was largely a success, the extreme complexity of the character’s code made difficulties with him both intensely difficult to diagnose and repair, and failures all the more mimesis-breaking for an engaged audience. In addition, the subtle text substitutions and altered behaviors provided in many cases too opaque a window into Progue’s interior workings. From informal interviews and published reviews I gathered that players could often not tell which conversation responses might cause Progue to become more submissive, paternal, and so on. In many cases, the change was not noticeable at all, and did not successfully indicate to players that their actions had had an eect on the character. More mechanisms to let the player shape their relationship with Progue more directly might have created a stronger feeling of agency for players, and an increased ability to shape the story more to their liking. Lessons for people designing complex emotional states into their products. (via Zack Urlocker)
- From Head to Hand (Slate) — I was searching for the place where someone, anyone, writes about that epiphany where you see what you have made and it is different from what you had conceived. I was searching for a description of how an object can displace a bit of the world. I was avid. I wanted someone to write a description of Homo faber, the maker of things. I wanted a story of making told without the penumbra of romanticising how hard it is, without nostalgia.
Flipboard and other apps aggregate content in a user-friendly style. But are publishers on board?
Gathering a flurry of news content into one neat and orderly place is nothing new, but recent app releases and new announcements show developers are embracing the user-specific demands of the consumer. Whether publishers go along with these apps is another matter.
- In Praise of the Long Form (Julie Starr) — It can be time consuming sifting through the daily wall of news stories and blogposts to find the handful of gems that genuinely interest or move you. These services, which recommend only a handful of excellent journalism pieces each day, can help. The act of selection, the human process of filtering, remains a valuable service.
- Glu — LinkedIn’s application deployment framework. (via Pete Warden)
- The Risky Cloud (Simon Phipps) — While the Internet itself may have a high immunity to attacks, a monoculture hosted on it does not. We might be able to survive a technical outage, but a political outage or a full-fledged termination of service are likely to put a company that’s relied on the cloud for critical infrastructure out of business.
User-Contributed News, Web Services, Kinect Piano, and Designing Maps
- Send Us Your Thoughts (YouTube) — from the excellent British comedians Mitchell and Webb comes this take on viewer comments in the news. (via Steve Buttry’s News Foo writeup)
- Amazon proves that REST doesn’t matter for Cloud APIs — with the death of WS-* and their prolix overbearing complexity, the difference between REST and basic XML RPC is almost imperceptible. As this essay points out, the biggest cloud API is Amazon’s and it’s built on RPC instead of REST.
- Kinect Piano (YouTube) — turn any surface into a piano. (via David Ascher on Twitter)
- Google Maps Label Readability — detailed analysis of the design decisions that make Google’s labels so much more readable than the competition’s. Fascinating to see the decisions that go into programmatically building a map: leaving white space around cities, carefully avoiding clustering, even how adding an extra level of information can make things simpler.
Street Demographics, Hack for Africa, Opportunity Spotting, News or Filters?
- Brien Lane, Melbourne — an alleyway painted with statistics about the area. Urban spaces as screens. Check out the other photos. (via Pete Warden)
- Apps 4 Africa — from US State Department, The challenge is to build the best digital tools to address community challenges in areas ranging from healthcare to education and government transparency to election monitoring. (via Clay Johnson)
- Hopeful Monsters and the Trough of Disillusionment (Berg London) — this was a great Foo talk, lovely to see the ideas written up and circulated widely.
- Tyranny of the Daily 10 Percent (Julie Starr) — do we have a production quality problem, or do we have a filter problem? Intersection of two trends we’ve seen: “news reinvention” and “information overload”. I find myself wanting to spend more time quantifying what we’ve already got that’s good and being clearer about what we think is missing, before thinking about what to replace it with and how to foot the bill.
Google's Living Stories platform fills a big gap in the content universe
Article-based content is limiting. It's static and can't capture the energy surrounding newsworthy events or interesting topics. That's why Google's Living Stories format — released this week as an open source project — holds so much promise. It can reinvent the form in a way that works with the web, not against it.
Access to local information is great, but context is even better
There’s plenty of enthusiasm for local / hyperlocal projects, but the sweepstakes has yet to be won. So many of these local efforts rely on traditional information delivery through news articles or databases. That material has use, no doubt. Yet few projects take the extra step and put that data into context.