- HCI Pioneers — Ben Schneiderman’s photo collection, acknowledging pioneers in the field. (via CCC Blog)
- A Burglar’s Guide to the City (BLDGBLOG) — For the past several years, I’ve been writing a book about the relationship between burglary and architecture. Burglary, as it happens, requires architecture: it is a spatial crime. Without buildings, burglary, in its current legal form, could not exist. Committing it requires an inside and an outside; it’s impossible without boundaries, thresholds, windows, and walls. In fact, one needn’t steal anything at all to be a burglar. In a sense, as a crime, it is part of the built environment; the design of any structure always implies a way to break into it. Connection to computer security left as exercise to the reader.
- Trial by Machine (Roth) — The current landscape of mechanized proof, liability, and punishment suffers from predictable but underscrutinized automation pathologies: hidden subjectivities and errors in “black box” processes; distorted decision-making through oversimplified — and often dramatically inaccurate — proxies for blameworthiness; the compromise of values protected by human safety valves, such as dignity, equity, and mercy; and even too little mechanization where machines might be a powerful debiasing tool but where little political incentive exists for its development or deployment. […] The article ultimately proposes a systems approach – “trial by cyborg” – that safeguards against automation pathologies while interrogating conspicuous absences in mechanization through “equitable surveillance” and other means. (via Marginal Revolution)
- Distributed Ledger Technology: Blackett Review (gov.uk) — Distributed ledgers can provide new ways of assuring ownership and provenance for goods and intellectual property. For example, Everledger provides a distributed ledger that assures the identity of diamonds, from being mined and cut to being sold and insured. In a market with a relatively high level of paper forgery, it makes attribution more efficient, and has the potential to reduce fraud and prevent “blood diamonds” from entering the market. Report includes recommendations for policy makers. (via Dan Hill)
Positive Copyright Coalition, Programmable World, Clever Inventors Interviewed, and Weighty Words
- Our Fair Deal — international coalition (EFF, InternetNZ, Demand Progress, Creative Freedom Foundation, many others) raising awareness and petitioning lawmakers to reject copyright proposals that restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights. (via Susan Chalmers)
- Welcome to the Programmable World (Wired) — For the Programmable World to reach its full potential, we need to pass through three stages. The first is simply the act of getting more devices onto the network—more sensors, more processors in everyday objects, more wireless hookups to extract data from the processors that already exist. The second is to make those devices rely on one another, coordinating their actions to carry out simple tasks without any human intervention. The third and final stage, once connected things become ubiquitous, is to understand them as a system to be programmed, a bona fide platform that can run software in much the same manner that a computer or smartphone can. (via Sacha Judd)
- Inventables On The Road (YouTube) — new series where the Inventables folks interview their customers to show awesome projects. We’re trying to demystify the process of digital fabrication, give some visibility to people working on interesting things, and have some fun.
- Psychological Pitfalls and Lessons of a Designer Founder (Aza Raskin) — You are a founder, which means each word you say lands like an anvil. Even in a very small company, and especially in a larger one, it takes fortitude and courage for a team member to honestly critique your work. The courage required isn’t a one-time cost. It’s incurred every single time. By nature of being a founder, you are used to saying things with charisma and force and you will undoubtedly be excited by your solution and argue for it. This just makes it worse. A final note: it doesn’t matter how nice you are, or how close you are to your team. As a founder, your words are always more powerful than you think.
Lucrative Downloads, Mobile Money Malware, Robotrading Reality Check, and PITA Programmers
- Recording Revenues for the Typical Artist (Digital Music News) — more than 82 percent of their revenue from paid downloads, with CDs accounting for more than 11 percent. That leaves streaming revenues – including Spotify – with a scant 6.5 percent contribution. (via Simon Grigg)
- Chinese SMS Payment Malware — the virus — which lurks in wallpaper apps and ‘activates’ post-download – quietly gains access to users’ SMS functionality before exploiting a vulnerability within China Mobile’s SMS payment gateway to carry out transactions and access data.
- Wall Street’s Robots Are Not Out To Get You (Renee DiResta) — injecting some reality into the robotrading “IMMINENT DEATH OF MONEY PREDICTED” hypetastrophe.
- Blocker Flash Cards (Gamasutra) — a collection of common ways game developers try to stall progress on something they don’t like. Not common to the games industry, though: I think I’ve encountered every single one of the tactics in various guises. In other news, many human beings are passive-aggressive meatsacks waiting to be composted for the good of the planet.
Facebook Behaviour, Multitouch Modelling, Early Ads, and Gaming Public Transportation
- Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook (danah boyd) — Mikalah uses Facebook but when she goes to log out, she deactivates her Facebook account. She knows that this doesn’t delete the account – that’s the point. She knows that when she logs back in, she’ll be able to reactivate the account and have all of her friend connections back. But when she’s not logged in, no one can post messages on her wall or send her messages privately or browse her content. Two very interesting practices designed to maintain not just some abstract idea of “privacy” but, more important, control.
- Beautiful Modeler — a software tool for gestural sculpting using a multi-touch controller such as an iPad. (via Andy Baio)
- How Telephone Directories Transformed America — this caught my eye: Less than a year after the New Haven District Telephone Company issued its first directory, it issued a second, and that one augmented listings with advertising. (via Pete Warden)
- Chromarama — a game that shows you your movements and location as you swipe your Oyster Card in and out of the Tube. Points are awarded for avoiding rush hour, visiting new stations, etc. They say they want to change behaviour, but I don’t believe people ride public transportation to collect points, so they travel when they have to and so won’t change their commute times. Would love to be proven wrong, though. (via Roger Dennis)
Moody Twitter, Future Geohistory, News Sucks, Whyless in Wonderland
- TwitterMood — using Twitter as a giant mood sensor for the world (see also temporal correlations, via kellan on delicious).
- What Will Remain of Us — The sea that brought trade to Dunwich was not entirely benevolent. The town was losing ground as early as 1086 when the Domesday Book, a survey of all holdings in England, was published; between 1066 and 1086 more than half of Dunwich’s taxable farmland had washed away. Major storms in 1287, 1328, 1347, and 1740 swallowed up more land. By 1844, only 237 people lived in Dunwich. Today, less than half as many reside there in a handful of ruins on dry land. (via blackbeltjones on Delicious)
- The Three Key Parts of Stories You Don’t Usually Get — In reality, these longstanding facts provide the true foundation of journalism. But in practice, they play second-fiddle to the news, condensed beyond all meaning into a paragraph halfway down in a news story, tucked away in a remote corner of our news sites. Take a look at that WaPo page again. Currently, a link sits on the far right side of the page, a third of the way down, labeled “What you need to know.” Click on that link, and you’re taken here: a linkless, five-paragraph blog post from May. This basically captures our approach to providing the necessary background to follow the news.
- Eulogy to _why — a pseudonymous Ruby character, _why the Lucky Stiff, recently vanished from the net: all his sites and accounts were deleted. It’s possible this is because someone tried to identify him, it’s possible that his accounts were hacked. Either way, this is a touching tribute to him from John Resig. I for one would like to see more appreciation while the people are still around. Today, tell two good people that you enjoy what they do. You know you can.
Propaganda, Computer Science, Web Science, CS History
- The Propaganda Newspapers — London councils increasingly providing their own newspapers, masquerading as mass-market popular appeal newspapers but without anything critical of the council that produces it. This is an evolutionary dead-end for reinventing newspapers, and is why the non-profit/trust structure works so well.
- Time for Computer Science to Grow Up — publish in journals so conferences can be community events. I’ve seen academics at Sci Foo look around at the unconference structure, or lightning talks, and say “why can’t my normal conferences be like this?!”, and not just in computer science too. Science conferences need a heart transplant. (via David Pennock)
- Science Online 2010 — conference on science and the Web. Our goal is to bring together scientists, physicians, patients, educators, students, publishers, editors, bloggers, journalists, writers, web developers, programmers and others to discuss, demonstrate and debate online strategies and tools for doing science, publishing science, teaching science, and promoting the public understanding of science. (via kubke on Twitter)
- E.W. Dijkstra Archive — a collection of over 1,000 manuscripts that EWD sent around during his career. EWD 1036, “On the cruelty of really teaching computing science”. “From a bit to a few hundred megabytes, from a microsecond to a half an hour of computing confronts us with completely baffling ratio of 109” (via S. Lott)
Ada Lovelace Day helps to "make sure that whenever the question Who are the leading women in tech? is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues". I was tempted to talk about Mitchell Baker (Chief Lizard Wrangler at Mozilla) but the Ada Day specifically requested "unsung heroes", so I'm going to give…
Luck, craft, coding, and strategy today on Four Short Links:
- Because — After a NZ big-money low-success e-tailer closed, there was widespread “ha! about time!” in the blogosphere. This post, by one of New Zealand’s most successful web entrepreneurs, is a fantastically humble reality check. “Build it and they won’t necessarily come, no matter how good you think it is and how much you try and tell them about it. Looking at a high profile failure, and thinking that you just need to do to the opposite to be successful can be quite misleading.”
- Ira Glass’s Manifesto — the man behind This American Life talks about the art and craft of creating great radio stories. I learned a lot from reading it, and not just about radio. “I’m not against manipulating feelings. The whole job is about manipulating feelings. If you don’t get in front of that and embrace it with a big bear hug, you’re not doing your job as a radio producer. You just don’t want to be all corny about it.” It’s the great lesson I’m still learning from Sara Winge at O’Reilly, that humans are built of emotions and stories and if we want to reach a human then we must speak with emotions and stories.
- Switching from scripting languages to Objective C and iPhone: useful libraries — Matt Biddulph notes some libraries that made his first Objective C programming easier.
- Three Freemium Strategies — I’ve been looking for an excuse to link to this blog, Startup Lessons Learned. It’s well-written and informative. “Strategy is all about what you’re not going to do; for a freemium business, it’s about which users you’re willing to turn away. Knowing which model you’re in can make these decisions a little less excruciating.”