- Designing RESTful Interfaces (Slideshare) — extremely good presentation on how to build HTTP APIs.
- Manipulating History for Fun and Profit — if you want to make websites that are AJAX-responsive but without breaking the back button or preventing links, read this.
- Why Textbooks Are So Broken (Salon) — Let’s say a publisher hires a developer for a certain low-bid fee to produce seven supplemental math books for grades 3-8. The product specs call for each student book and teacher guide to have page counts of roughly 100 pages and 80 pages, respectively. The publisher wants these seven books ready for press in five weeks—over 1,400 pages. To put this in perspective, in the not too recent past at least six months would be allotted for a project of this size. But publishers customarily shrink their deadlines to get a jump on the competition, especially in today’s math market. Unreasonable turnaround times are part of the new normal, something that almost guarantees a lack of quality right out of the gate.
- exmobaby — wireless biosensor baby pyjamas send ECG, skin temperature, and movement data via Zigbee. (via Jo Komisarczuk)
"quantified self" entries
REST Interfaces, Browser History, Crappy Textbooks, and Wireless Babies
Quantifying your changes + motivational hacks = programmable self.
Taking a cue from the Quantified Self movement, the programmable self is the combination of a digital motivation hack with a digital system that tracks behavior. Here's a look at companies and projects relevant to the programmable self space.
A quick reference for becoming an empowered patient.
The epatient community uses digital tools and the connective power of the Internet to empower patients. Here, Fred Trotter offers epatient resources and first steps.
Quantified Learner, Text Extraction, Backup Flickr, and Multitouch UI Awesomeness
- Learning With Quantified Self — this CS grad student broke Jeopardy records using an app he built himself to quantify and improve his ability to answer Jeopardy questions in different categories. This is an impressive short talk and well worth watching.
- Evaluating Text Extraction Algorithms — The gold standard of both datasets was produced by human annotators. 14 different algorithms were evaluated in terms of precision, recall and F1 score. The results have show that the best opensource solution is the boilerpipe library. (via Hacker News)
- Parallel Flickr — tool for backing up your Flickr account. (Compare to one day of Flickr photos printed out)
- Quneo Multitouch Open Source MIDI and USB Pad (Kickstarter) — interesting to see companies using Kickstarter to seed interest in a product. This one looks a doozie: pads, sliders, rotary sensors, with LEDs underneath and open source drivers and SDK. Looks almost sophisticated enough to drive emacs :-)
Access Over Ownership, Retro Programming, Replaying Writing, and Wearable Sensors
- Steve Case and His Companies (The Atlantic) — Maybe you see three random ideas. Case and his team saw three bets that paid off thanks to a new Web economy that promotes power in numbers and access over ownership. “Access over ownership” is a phrase that resonated. (via Walt Mossberg)
- Back to the Future — teaching kids to program by giving them microcomputers from the 80s. I sat my kids down with a C64 emulator and an Usborne book to work through some BASIC examples. It’s not a panacea, but it solves a lot of bootstrapping problems with teaching kids to program.
- Replaying Writing an Essay — Paul Graham wrote an essay using one of his funded startups, Stypi, and then had them hack it so you could replay the development with the feature that everything that was later deleted is highlighted yellow as it’s written. The result is fascinating to watch. I would like my text editor to show me what I need to delete ;)
- Jawbone Live Up — wristband that sync with iPhone. Interesting wearable product, tied into ability to gather data on ourselves. The product looks physically nice, but the quantified self user experience needs the same experience and smoothness. Intrusive (“and now I’m quantifying myself!”) limits the audience to nerds or the VERY motivated.
Mozilla's Projects, YouTube Insults, iPhone Ultrasound, RoR Intro
- What Mozilla is Up To (Luke Wroblewski) — notes from a talk that Brendan Eich gave at Web 2.0 Summit. The new browser war is between the Web and new walled gardens of native networked apps. Interesting to see the effort Mozilla’s putting into native-alike Web apps.
- YouTube Insult Generator (Adrian Holovaty) — mines YouTube for insults of a particular form.
- Ultrasound for iPhone (Geekwire) — this personal sensor is $8000 today, but bound to drop. I want personal ultrasound at least once a month. How long until it’s in the $200-500 range? (via BERG London)
- Web Applications Class at Stanford OpenClassroom — a Ruby on Rails class taught by John Ousterhout, creator of TCL/Tk and log-structured filesystems.
Quantified Baby, Poverty Simulation, Context vs Core, and Social Good
- Sleep Patterns — my friend Tom has been tracking his baby’s sleeping patterns. We learnt that over the last month or so, our 5 month old baby has never gone to sleep before 10pm. We were trying to get him to go to sleep at 7 or 8pm and this was not working at all. Now it is playtime until 10 and then he just goes to sleep with no trouble, stress or crying at around 10 or 10:30. Data captured with Baby Care android app (over 500k installs) and graphed it in Python. As a father of two, this is the best ad for the quantified self I’ve seen.
- Playspent — a web app that challenges you to balance dollars like someone on the poverty line. This makes the constraints of poverty real in the same way that Sims brings city planning to life.
- Context vs Core — transcription (albeit an imperfect one) of Geoffrey Moore’s excellent talk about separating context from core, innovation, and business. Most of what you do is context, not core, and the most frustrating thing in your life is that the context gets in the way of the core that your context. […] If you don’t get up in the morning and say, core before context, you’ll come to the end of the day and find out that your e-mail trail beat you to death.
- Coders for Social Good (Dave Neary) — notes on the Humanitarian track at the FOSS World Forum. This is stuff that matters. There’s even open source microfinance software.
Tabular Data API, Open Stanford Courses, Wearable TV, and Wearable Sensors
- Tablib — MIT-licensed open source library for manipulating tabular data. Reputed to have a great API. (via Tim McNamara)
- Stanford Education Everywhere — courses in CS, machine learning, math, and engineering that are open for all to take. Over 58,000 have already signed up for the introduction to machine learning taught by Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of Research.
- Wearable LED Television — 160×120 RGBs powered by a 12v battery, built for Burning Man (natch). (via Bridget McKendry)
- Temporary Tattoo Biosensors (Science News) — early work putting flexible sensors into temporary tattoos. (via BoingBoing)
Learning Adventure, Python Data Analysis, Lanyrd Technology, and New Sensor
- Hippocampus Text Adventure — written as an exercise in learning Python, you explore the hippocampus. It’s simple, but I like the idea of educational text adventures. (Well, educational in that you learn about more than the axe-throwing behaviour of the cave-dwelling dwarf)
- Pandas — BSD-licensed Python data analysis library.
- Building Lanyrd — Simon Willison’s talk (with slides) about the technology under Lanyrd and the challenges in building with and deploying it.
- Electronic Skin Monitors Heart, Brain, and Muscles (Discover Magazine blogs) — this is freaking awesome proof-of-concept. Interview with the creator of a skin-mounted sensor, attached like a sticker, is flexible, inductively powered, and much more. This represents a major step forward in possibilities for personal data-gathering. (via Courtney Johnston)