Four short links: 23 Feb 2009

Four short links: 23 Feb 2009

  1. Work in Small Batches — I’m obsessed by the pursuit of quality, but at human scale and not in the stultifying ISO9001 process. The ever-wonderful Startup Lessons Learned blog ties together Toyota Quality, Continuous Integration, and Continuous Deployment, with good explanations of why it works. (I’m reminded of “yes it works in practice, but can it work in theory?”)
  2. RSS Hits the Big Time — the stimulus bill requires government departments to offer Atom or RSS feeds of how they spend the money. The “omigod wow RSS in law!” comments remind me of when I first saw a URL on a billboard: it was the all-digital world impinging on my real physical world (or vice-versa). Reminded of William Gibson talking about our fleeting separation of digital and physical worlds.
  3. Objective C Internals — talk by Kiwi Foo Camp alumnus and recent emigre (Pixar’s gain is Australasia’s loss) about the innards of Objective C. I always find that I understand language features better when I understand an implementation mechanism for them.
  4. Prime Minister Delays NZ’s Insane Copyright Law — the delay isn’t the important bit, it’s the committment to abolish the bad law if the ISPs and the recording industry can’t reach an agreement. I was at the press conference, twittering furiously, and it was quite clear that the PM felt the law was crap and if the two parties hadn’t been mid-negotiation then it would have all been repealed. Optimism!
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Four short links: 7 Jan 2009

Four short links: 7 Jan 2009

Draw closer around the flickering firescreen, and hear four tales of brains, words, medical improvement, and the sharp ache of the wisdom teeth of the future poking through the soft gum of the 21st century as diagnosed by Dr Sterling.

  1. Mind Bites – Flickr set of findings from neuroscience on top of beautiful photos. Mind candy meets eye candy.
  2. Dr Johnson’s Dictionary – the original dictionary of the English language, reborn as a word a day blog. Love the old citations, e.g.

    A’DAGE. n.s. [adagium, Lat.] A maxim handed down from antiquity; a proverb.
    Shallow, unimproved intellects, that are confident pretenders
    to certainty; as if, contrary to the adage, science had no friend
    but ignorance. Glanville’s Scepsis Scientifica, c.2.
    Fine fruits of learning! old ambitious fool,
    Dar’st apply that adage of the school;
    As if ’tis nothing worth that lies conceal’d;
    And science is not science ’til reveal’d? Dryd. Pers. Sat. i.

  3. Peter Provonost – prevented untold infections in hospital procedures by instituting a simple checklist. This is a long article, but worth reading as it shows how to institute change. He was diligent, scientific, and worked with the teams instead of against them. For more like this, read The Best Practice: How the New Quality Movement is Transforming MedicineThe Best Practice by Charles Kenney, a fascinating look at the quality movement in healthcare.
  4. Bruce Sterling’s State of the World 2009 – I’m just skipping through reading Bruce’s responses. Some fabulous zingers that make me look forward to his presence at Webstock in February: “The Americans
    don’t have a place to offshore their money. They can offshore their
    LABOR, that’s dead easy, but their money? If the American dollar goes,
    finance as an industry gets the blue screen of death.
    . On urban reinvention: “Suppose you found some dead James Howard Kunstler strip-mall burg,
    bought it for a dollar, and turned it into “OpenSource-opolis” where
    every possible object and service was creatively commonized. Would
    that be heaven, hell — or what we’ve got now only different?”
    On netbooks + cloud slowing the upgrade cycle: “I’ve been a computer “consumer” for decades now, in the sense that I
    follow the trade press and buy computers regularly, but I dunno: if a
    $300 netbook running freeware lets me get the job done, 2009 may be the
    year when I just plain vanish off the radar.”
    . Oh forget it, as is always the way with Sterling every damn sentence is quotable—go read the whole thing yourself and enjoy.
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