"open street maps" entries

Four short links: 9 March 2012

Four short links: 9 March 2012

Real World User Experience, Biovis your Social Network, Analytics for Phone Sales, and Classy OpenStreetMap

  1. Why The Symphony Needs A Progress Bar (Elaine Wherry) — an excellent interaction designer tackles the real world.
  2. Biologic — view your social network as though looking at cells through a microscope. Gorgeous and different.
  3. The Cost of Cracking — analysis of used phone listings to see what improves and decreases price yields some really interesting results. Phones described as “decent” are typically priced 23% below the median. Who would describe something they’re selling as “decent” and price it below market value unless something fishy was going on? […] On average, cracking your phone destroys 30-50% of its value instantly. Particularly interesting to me since Ms 10 just brought home her phone with *cough* a new starburst screensaver.
  4. OpenStreetMap Welcomes Apple — this is the classy way to deal with the world’s richest company quietly and badly using your work without acknowledgement.
Four short links: 13 April 2011

Four short links: 13 April 2011

Social Bots, Google Competing with Non-Profits, Open Source EHR, and Javascript Obscurity

  1. Web Ecology ProjectResearching quantized social interaction. Most recent work was a competition to write social bots that would be followed/friended on social networks–essentially scoring 51% on the Turing test. There are privacy implications (often social network buddies see profile information that strangers can’t). (via The Atlantic)
  2. We Need to Stop Google’s Exploitation of Open Communities (Mikel Maron) — much as Google’s ill-fated Knol smelled like an attempt to sidestep Wikipedia, their MapMaker is directly modelled on OSM [OpenStreetMap], but with a restrictive data license, where you can not use the data as you see fit. Mikel argues passionately and pointedly about this. Also interesting: how quickly OSM’s own community is turning against itself on licensing issues. Nothing else divides open communities as much as the license that makes them possible, not even big companies’ dickish behaviour.
  3. A Truly Open VistA — the Veterans Administration attempts to build an open source community (instead of simply releasing the source code). This article by RedHat’s Chief Technology Strategist outlines some of challenges they’re facing: obscure source and bureaucracy. The obscure source is a significant impediment: it’s written in MUMPS which predates C and combines the elegance of roadkill with all the capability for abstract expression of a brick. Existing businesses aren’t an impediment, though: Linux has shown that deforking (aka “contributing”) makes sound business sense once the momentum of new features builds up in the commons. (via Glyn Moody)
  4. Rare Javascript Operators (Timmy Willison) — enlightening, but reminds me of the important gulf between “can” and “should”: Tilde is useful! We can use for any functions that return -1:

    // We can do
    if ( ~checkFoo ) {


    (via Javascript Weekly)

Four short links: 24 November 2010

Four short links: 24 November 2010

Android, Cellphone Photos, Long-Exposure iPhone Apps, and Open Street Map

  1. What Android Is (Tim Bray) — a good explanation of the different bits and their relationship.
  2. Cell Phone Photo Helped in Oil Spill (LA Times) — a lone scientist working from a cell phone photo who saved the day by convincing the government that a cap it considered removing was actually working as designed. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Penki — iPhone app that lets you paint 3D messages which are revealed in long-exposure photographs. (via Aaron Straup Cope on Delicious)
  4. I’m Working at Microsoft and We’re Donating Imagery to OpenStreetMap! (Steve Coast) — MSFT hired the creator of OSM and he says Microsoft is donating access to its global orthorectified aerial imagery to help OpenStreetMappers make the map even better than it already is.

Base Map 2.0: What Does the Head of the US Census Say to Open Street Map?

Ian White, the CEO of Urban Mapping, makes his living collecting and selling geo data. For next week’s Where 2.0 has put together a panel of government mapping agencies (the UK’s Ordnance Survey and the US’s Census Department) and community-built mapping projects (Open Street Map and Waze). Crowdsourced projects like Waze and Open Street Map have forced civic agencies to reconsider their licensing.

Four short links: 26 January 2010

Four short links: 26 January 2010

Kids Online, Balanced IP Law, Open Haiti Street Maps, and Stages of Social Online Experience

  1. If Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online (NYTimes) — kids aged 8-18 spend, on average, 10 hours/day using smart phone, computer, television, or some other electronic device. (via Hamish MacEwan)
  2. Brazil’s WIPO Proposal on Patent Limitations and Exceptions — well-argued proposal for balanced IP law.

    16.Our experience also illustrates how difficult it is to effectively make use of compulsory licenses. Our pharmaceutical industry took almost two years to develop and produce the licensed patent, because, unfortunately the patent, as granted in Brazil and in other countries, was not sufficiently revealed to allow its production as promptly as desired.

    17.We reserve the right to come back to the discussion of this problem in other documents concerning to what extent the disclosure of patents is preserving (or not) the essentials of the patent system. The question we now pose ourselves is: considering the checks and balances of the patent system, what is the value of a patent if a third party cannot use it when it falls into the public domain or, exceptionally, when its compulsory licensing is deemed necessary?

  3. OpenStreetMaps the Default in Haiti — rescue workers are loading OSM street maps onto GPS units to get street-level detail maps of Haiti. The team members are thrilled to have this resource you have created. I wish you could see their faces ‘light up’ when I take their GPS unit and tell them that I’m going to give them street level detail maps. (via Simon Willison)
  4. We-to-Me Participation (Nina Simon) — useful mental framework for thinking about social software and online experiences, both from the point of view of a cultural institution and for any online activity. Stage one provides people with access to the content that they seek. Stage two provides an opportunity for inquiry and for visitors to take action and ask questions. Stage three lets people see where their interests and actions fit in the wider community of visitors to the institution. Stage four helps visitors connect with particular people—staff members and other visitors—who share their content and activity interests. Stage five makes the entire institution feel like a social place, full of potentially interesting, challenging, enriching encounters with other people.