- Automated Essay Grading To Come to EdX (NY Times) — shortly after we get software that writes stories for us, we get software to read them for us.
- AMD Calls End of Moore’s Law in Ten Years (ComputerWorld) — story based on this video, where Michio Kaku lays out the timeline for Moore’s Law’s wind-down and the spin-up of new technology.
- Addressing Human Trafficking Through Technology (danah boyd) — technologists love to make tech and then assert it’ll help people. Danah’s work on teens and now trafficking steers us to do what works, rather than what is showy or easiest.
- Product Management (Rowan Simpson) — hand this to anyone who asks what product management actually is. Excellent explanation.
ENTRIES TAGGED "parallel"
Living Poetry, Distributed Systems, Hardware Incubator, and Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
- Xenotext — Sci Foo Camper Christian Bök is closer to his goal of “living poetry”: A short stanza enciphered into a string of DNA and injected into an “unkillable” bacterium, Bök’s poem is designed to trigger the micro-organism to create a corresponding protein that, when decoded, is a verse created by the organism. In other words, the harmless bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans (known as an extremophile because of its ability to survive freezing, scorching, or the vacuum of outer space), will be a poetic bug.
- Notes on Distributed Systems for Young Bloods — why distributed systems are different. Coordination is very hard. Avoid coordinating machines wherever possible. This is often described as “horizontal scalability”. The real trick of horizontal scalability is independence – being able to get data to machines such that communication and consensus between those machines is kept to a minimum. Every time two machines have to agree on something, the service is harder to implement. Information has an upper limit to the speed it can travel, and networked communication is flakier than you think, and your idea of what constitutes consensus is probably wrong.
- Lemnos Labs — hardware incubator in SF. (via Jim Stogdill)
- OLPC Built the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer — Neil Stephenson imagined it, OLPC built it. Science fiction is a hugely powerful focusing device for creativity and imagination. (via Matt Jones)
Steve Vinoski on when to make the leap to functional programming.
Drone Conflict, 3D Scanning Booths, Bitcoin Consensus, and Moar Coders
- Beware the Drones (Washington Times) — the temptation to send difficult to detect, unmanned aircraft into foreign airspace with perceived impunity means policymakers will naturally incline towards aggressive use of drones and hyperactive interventionism, leading us to a future that is ultimately plagued by more, not less warfare and conflict. This. Also, what I haven’t seen commented on with the Israeli air force shooting down a (presumably Hezbollah) drone: low cost of drones vs high cost of maintaining an air force to intercept, means this is asymmetric unmanned warfare.
- Scanbooth (github) — a collection of software for running a 3D scanning booth. Greg Borenstein said to me, “we need tools to scan and modify before 3D printing can take off.” (via Jeremy Herrman)
- Bitcoin’s Value is Decentralization (Paul Bohm) — Bitcoin isn’t just a currency but an elegant universal solution to the Byzantine Generals’ Problem, one of the core problems of reaching consensus in Distributed Systems. Until recently it was thought to not be practically solvable at all, much less on a global scale. Irrespective of its currency aspects, many experts believe Bitcoin is brilliant in that it technically made possible what was previously thought impossible. (via Mike Loukides)
- Blue Collar Coder (Anil Dash) — I am proud of, and impressed by, Craigslist’s ability to serve hundreds of millions of users with a few dozen employees. But I want the next Craigslist to optimize for providing dozens of jobs in each of the towns it serves, and I want educators in those cities to prepare young people to step into those jobs. Time for a Massively Multiplayer Online Economy, as opposed to today’s fun economic games of Shave The Have-Nots and Race To The Oligarchy.
Disappearing Optimism, Delayed Drones, Multicore Conference, and Massive 3D Printer
- Stewart Brand Interview (Wired) — full of interesting tidbits. This line from the interviewer, Kevin Kelly, resonated: One other trajectory I have noticed about the past 20 years: Excitement about the future has waned. The future is deflating. It is simply not as desirable as it once was. (via Matt Jones)
- Commercial Use of Small Drones Still Without Regulations — FAA officials have also been working for the past five years on regulations to allow commercial use of small drones, which are generally defined as weighing less than 55-pounds and flying at altitudes under 4,000 feet. The agency has drafted regulations that were initially expected to be published late last year, but have been repeatedly delayed. Five years. That’s as long as the iPhone has existed. Just sayin’. (via Jim Stogdill)
- Multicore World 2013 — conference just for multicore. Check out the last conference’s program for what to expect. No word on whether it’ll have parallel sessions, ho ho ho.
- Turning a Shipping Container into a 3D Printer — a walk-in printer. AWESOME.
RoboTranslation, Basketball Visualization, Distributed Datasets, and UW's Open 3D Printing Lab Reopens
- Microsoft Universal Voice Translator — the promise is that it converts your voice into another language, but the effect is more that it converts your voice into that of Darth You in another language. Still, that’s like complaining that the first Wright Brothers flight didn’t serve peanuts. (via Hacker News)
- Geography of the Basketball Court — fascinating analytics of where NBA shooters make their shots from. Pretty pictures and sweet summaries even if you don’t follow basketball. (via Flowing Data)
- Spark Research — a programming model (“resilient distributed datasets”) for applications that reuse an intermediate result in multiple parallel operations. (via Ben Lorica)
- Opening Up — earlier I covered the problems that University of Washington’s 3D printing lab had with the university’s new IP policy, which prevented them from being as open as they had been. They’ve been granted the ability to distribute their work under Creative Commons license and are taking their place again as a hub of the emerging 3D printing world. (via BoingBoing)
Nondeterministic Multicore, Cloning UI, jQuery Secrets, and MapReduce Alternative
- Many Core Processors — not the first time I’ve heard nondeterministic computing discussed as a solution to some of our parallel-programming travails. Can’t imagine what a pleasure it is to debug.
- Pinterest Cloned — it’s not the pilfering of the idea that offends my sensibilities, it’s the blatant clone of every aspect of the UI. I never thought much of the old Apple look’n'feel lawsuit but this really rubs me the wrong way.
- Spark — Scala-implemented alternative framework to the model of parallelism in MapReduce. (via Pete Warden)
Hadoop 1.0, Approximation Wiki, Printer Firmware Attacks, and Cotton Circuits
- Hadoop Hits 1.0 — open source distributed computation engine, heavily used in big data analysis, hits 1.0.
- Sparse and Low-Rank Approximation Wiki — interesting technique: instead of sampling at 2x the rate you need to discriminate then compressing to trade noise for space, use these sampling algorithms to (intelligently) noisily sample at the lower bit rate to begin with. Promises interesting applications particularly in for sensors (e.g., the Rice single pixel camera). (via siah)
- Rise of Printer Malware — firmware attacks embedded in printed documents. Another reminder that not only is it hard to write safe software, your mistakes can be epically bad. (via Cory Doctorow)
- Electric Circuits and Transistors Made From Cotton — To make it conductive, the researchers coated cotton threads in a variety of other materials. To make conductive “wires,” the team coated the threads with gold nanoparticles, and then a conductive polymer. To turn a cotton wire into a semiconductor, it was dipped in another polymer, and then a further glycol coating to make it waterproof. Neat materials hack that might lend a new twist to wearables.
Libraries and the Internet, Cheap Multicore, Online Exceeds Print, Perpetuating Ignorance
- Libraries: Where It All Went Wrong — I was asked to provocatively help focus librarians on the opportunities offered to libraries in the Internet age. If I ask you to talk about your collections, I know that you will glow as you describe the amazing treasures you have. When you go for money for digitization projects, you talk up the incredible cultural value. ANZAC! Constitution! Treaties! Development of a nation! But then if I look at the results of those digitization projects, I find the shittiest websites on the planet. It’s like a gallery spent all its money buying art and then just stuck the paintings in supermarket bags and leaned them against the wall. CC-BY-SA licensed, available in nicely-formatted A4 and Letter versions.
- Green Array Chips — 144 cores on a single chip, $20 per chip in batches of 10. From the creator of Forth, Chuck Moore. (via Hacker News)
- The Atlantic’s Online Revenue Exceeds Print — doesn’t say how, other than “growth” (instead of the decline of print). (via Andy Baio)
- On the Perpetuation of Ignorance (PDF) — ignorance about an issue leads to dependence leads to government trust leads to avoidance of information about that issue. Again I say to Gov 2.0 advocates that simply making data available doesn’t generate a motivated, engaged, change-making citizenry. (via Roger Dennis)