"opensource" entries

Four short links: 25 November 2009 Four short links: 25 November 2009

Four short links: 25 November 2009

Sexy HTTP Parser, 9/11 Pager Leaks, Open Source Science, GLAM and Newspapers

  1. http-parserThis is a parser for HTTP messages written in C. It parses both requests and responses. The parser is designed to be used in performance HTTP applications. It does not make any allocations, it does not buffer data, and it can be interrupted at anytime. It only requires about 128 bytes of data per message stream (in a web server that is per connection). Extremely sexy piece of coding. (via sungo on Twitter)
  2. Wikileaks to Release 9/11 Pager Intercepts — they’re trickling the half-million messages out in simulated real time. The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences. (via cshirky on Twitter)
  3. Promoting Open Source Science — interesting interview with an open science practitioner, but also notable for what it is: he was interviewed and released the text of the interview himself because his responses had been abridged in the printed version. (via suze on Twitter)
  4. Copyright, Findability, and Other Ideas from NDF (Julie Starr) — a newspaper industry guru attended the National Digital Forum where Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums talk about their digital issues, where she discovered that newspapers and GLAMs have a lot in common. We can build beautiful, rich websites till the cows come home but they’re no good to anyone if people can’t easily find all that lovely content lurking beneath the homepage. That’s as true for news websites as it is for cultural archives and exhibitions, and it’s a topic that arose often in conversation at the NDF conference. I’ve been cooling on destination websites for a while. You need to have a destination website, of course, but you need even more to have your content out where your audience is so they can trip over it often and usefully.
Comments: 4
Four short links: 20 November 2009 Four short links: 20 November 2009

Four short links: 20 November 2009

Social Network Search for Morons, Bulking Up Bio Data, Better E-Mail, Better Standards

  1. Spokeo — abysmal indictment of society, first prize in mankind’s race to the bottom. Uncover personal photos, videos, and secrets … GUARANTEED! Spokeo deep searches within 48 major social networks to find truly mouth-watering news about friends and coworkers. PS, anybody who gives their gmail username and password to a site that specializes in dishing dirt can only be described as a fucking idiot. (via Jim Stogdill, who was equally disappointed in our species)
  2. Biologists rally to sequence ‘neglected’ microbes (Nature) — The Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea is project to sequence genomes from more branches of the evolutionary tree of life. Eisen’s team selected and sequenced more than 100 ‘neglected’ species that lacked close relatives among the 1,000 genomes already in GenBank. The researchers reported earlier this year at the JGI’s Fourth Annual User Meeting that even mapping the first 56 of these microbes’ genomes increased the rate of discovery of new gene and protein families with new biological properties. It also improved the researchers’ ability to predict the role of genes with unknown functions in already sequenced organisms. (via Jonathan Eisen)
  3. Mail Learning: The What and the How (Simon Cozens) — a few things that a really good mail analysis tool needs to do. I hope that my mail client and server does these out of the box in the next five years.
  4. Introducing the Open Web Foundation AgreementThe Open Web Foundation Agreement itself establishes the copyright and patent rights for a specification, ensuring that downstream consumers may freely implement and reuse the licensed specification without seeking further permission. In addition to the agreement itself, we also created an easy-to-read “Deed” that provides a high level overview of the agreement. Applying the open source approach to better standards.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 19 November 2009

Four short links: 19 November 2009

Chumby One, Gorgeous IE Debugger, Freer Than Free, and Phone-a-Friend for Government IT

  1. Chumby One (Bunnie Huang) — new Chumby product released. In addition to being about half the price of the original chumby, the new device added some features: it has an FM radio, and it has support for a rechargeable lithium ion battery (although it’s not included with the device, you have to buy one and install it yourself). There’s also a knob so you can easily/quickly adjust the volume. But I don’t think those are really the significant new features. What really gets me excited about this one is that it’s much more hackable.
  2. Deep Tracing of Internet Explorer (John Resig) — very sexy deep inspection of Internet Explorer. Finally, something IE does better than Firefox (other than exploits). dynaTrace Ajax works by sticking low-level instrumentation into Internet Explorer when it launches, capturing any activity that occurs – and I mean virtually any activity that you can imagine. (via Simon Willison)
  3. Less Than Free — begins by talking about Google giving away turn-by-turn directions on Android, and then analyses Google’s “less than free” business model: Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an “out” if they part ways with Google in the future. I then asked my friend, “so why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version.” Here was the big punch line – because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version! That’s right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the “less than free” business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally “less than free” price point, Symbian or windows mobile would need to subsidize. Double ouch!!
  4. Expert Labsa new independent initiative to help policy makers in our government take advantage of the expertise of their fellow citizens. How does it work? Simple: 1. We ask policy makers what questions they need answered to make better decisions. 2. We help the technology community create the tools that will get those answers. 3. We prompt the scientific & research communities to provide the answers that will make our country run better. New non-profit from Anil Dash.
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Turning Predictions into Opportunities

The view from the eye of a recession isn't great. When companies are going bust, unemployment growing, and everyone's scouring their budgets for costs to cut, it can be hard to see opportunities. However, when Tim pointed to Stephen O'Grady's fine set of 2010 predictions I found myself popping with "oh, so naturally this will happen next …" thoughts. Think…

Comments: 8
Defense Department Releases Open Source Memo

Defense Department Releases Open Source Memo

I’ve been holding my breath for so long waiting for this memo that I may not remember how to start breathing again, but here it is. The Department of Defense Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren has signed and released “Clarifying Guidance on Open Source Software.”

Comments: 11
Thoughts on the Whitehouse.gov switch to Drupal

Thoughts on the Whitehouse.gov switch to Drupal

Yesterday, the new media team at the White House announced via the Associated Press that whitehouse.gov is now running on Drupal, the open source content management system. That Drupal implementation is in turn running on a Red Hat Linux system with Apache, MySQL and the rest of the LAMP stack. Apache Solr is the new White House search engine. This move is obviously a big win for open source. While open source is already widespread throughout the government, its adoption by the White House will almost certainly give permission for much wider uptake.

Comments: 62
Four short links: 13 October 2009 Four short links: 13 October 2009

Four short links: 13 October 2009

Open Source, Gov 2.0, Gaming, Education

  1. Our Open Source School — blog of Albany Senior High School in New Zealand, which only runs open source software.
  2. Behind The Scenes at What Do They Know — interesting post showing details behind the What Do They Know web site. In the last year there have been only seven significant cases where requests have been hidden from public view on the site due to concerns relating to potential libel and defamation. Three of those cases have involved groups of twenty or so requests made by the same one or two users. While actual number of requests we have had to hide is around 70 (0.4% of the total) even this small fraction overstates the situation due to the repetition of the same potentially libelous accusations comments in different requests. In all cases we have kept as much information up on the site as possible. Our policy with respect to all requests to remove information from the site is that we only take down information in exceptional circumstances; generally only when the law requires us to do so.
  3. The Complete History of Lemmings — a must-read for videogamers from the early 90s. Theres been much debate over the choice of colours as well, but the colours were selected, not because they were the easiest to choose, but because of the PC EGA palette. With the limited choice, it was decided the green hair was nicer than blue, and with that, the final Lemming was born. I was actually the next person to code up a demo on the Commodore 64, but I only got so far as having a single Lemming walking over the landscape before Dave put me onto another project.
  4. Google Replaces TeleAtlasTele Atlas confirms that Google has decided to stop using Tele Atlas map data for the U.S. Google will now use its own map data. Our relationship with Google for map coverage continues outside of the U.S. in dozens of geographies.
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Four short links: 9 October 2009 Four short links: 9 October 2009

Four short links: 9 October 2009

Negative Karma, Wal-Mart TQI, Idiot Airlines, and Native iPhone Apps in Lua

  1. Don’t Display Negative Karma — A fascinating insight for those building social software, whether for collective intelligence or otherwise: There can be no negative public karma-at least for establishing the trustworthiness of active users. A bad enough public score will simply lead to that user’s abandoning the account and starting a new one, a process we call karma bankruptcy. This setup defeats the primary goal of karma-to publicly identify bad actors. Assuming that a karma starts at zero for a brand-new user that an application has no information about, it can never go below zero, since karma bankruptcy resets it. Just look at the record of eBay sellers with more than three red stars-you’ll see that most haven’t sold anything in months or years, either because the sellers quit or they’re now doing business under different account names. (I love finding articles like this, thinking “they should write a book for us!” and then realizing “oh, they already are!”) (via Hacker News)
  2. Information Wants to be Free, Even At Wal-Mart (Pete Warden) — an interesting piece on the value of opening up data, sharing information in negotiations so the best outcome can be reached. I’d argue that this trust argument is usually a cop-out, hiding worries about turf and control. In most cases it’s clear that it’s not in the other party’s best interest to screw you over, and if it is, why are you dealing with them at all? The worst cases I saw were between departments within the same company, often we shared more information with competitors than the guys down the hall. The other reason I see people not sharing is shame: many companies (and individuals) work hard to present a facade of competence and quality that facts belie.
  3. The Forest, The Trees, and the Bag FeesThe bean counters can’t track the revenue dilution of all these new fees. They don’t want to. We miss the forest for the goddamed trees all the time. And the CEO acts as if fees are found cash. Meanwhile, no one asks why our overall revenue is plunging and we’re losing money quarter after quarter. Everyone acts as if one thing has nothing to do with the other. A reminder to watch the important numbers, e.g. cash in bank, profit, customer satisfaction. (via Bryan O’Sullivan)
  4. Native iPhone Apps Written in Lua — open source port of Lua with Cocoa bindings for the iPhone. This is a tutorial showing you how to install and get past Hello, World. Apple have already approved one app written using it.
Comments: 2
Four short links: 17 September 2009 Four short links: 17 September 2009

Four short links: 17 September 2009

Involuntarily Opened Geodata, Sense Organ, Doc Vis, 3D Open Source Bodies

  1. Wikileaks Now Holds UK Postcode Database — the UK does not have open geodata in the way that we know it. A state-owned enterprise, Ordnance Survey, is responsible for maintaining all sorts of baseline data and they charge (through the nose) for that data. This is the release of 1,841,177 post codes, geographic boundaries, and more. Postcodes in the UK are far more useful than US ZIP codes–they identify a handful of houses, rather than a few thousand houses.
  2. My New Sense Organ — a strap with buzzers and a compass, so you always have physical reminder of orientation. For people like me who can get lost putting on pants in the morning, this would be a godsend. (via Slashdot)
  3. Saving is Obsolete — EtherPad adds a Wave-like replay feature to help you see the history of a document.
  4. Open Source 3D People — incredible software to design realistic 3D faces and bodies. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
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Four short links: 19 August 2009

Four short links: 19 August 2009

Survivor Bias, Algorithmic Trading, S3 Tools, DIY GSM

  1. Business Advice Plagued by Survivor Bias“Burying the other evidence: […] Doesn’t most business advice suffer from this fallacy? Harvard Business School’s famous case studies include only success stories. To paraphrase Peter, what if twenty other coffee shops had the same ideas, same product, and same dedication as Starbucks, but failed? How does that affect what we can learn from Starbucks’s success? (via Hacker News)
  2. A Bestiary of Algorithmic Trading Strategies — insight into the algorithms used by quant traders. Statistical arbitrageurs are a sort of squishy area, similar to arbs, but distinct from them. They find “pieces” of securities which are theoretically equivalent. For example, they may notice a drift between prices of oil companies which should revert to a mean value. This mean reversion should happen if the drift doesn’t have anything to do with actual corporate differences, like one company’s wells catching on fire. What you’re doing here is buying and selling the idea of an oil company, or in other words, a sort of oil company market spread risk. You’re assuming these two companies are statistically the same, and so they’ll revert to some kind of mean when one of the prices move. (via Hacker News)
  3. s3cmd — commandline tool for moving files into and out of Amazon S3.
  4. DIY GSM Network — wow. How to build your own GSM network. Bit by bit, the telcos are getting pressured by the hobbyists. This barbarian is looking forward to the day when the walled gardens are sacked. (via Slashdot)
Comments: 3