Popcorn Time — interview with the creator. All the elements we used already existed and had done so for a long time. But nobody had put them together in an interface that talked to the user in a nice way, said Abad. Very Anonymous approach to software: Who are you going to sue? The first? The second? The third? I did the design. Was it illegal? I didn’t link the various parts together. There is no comprehensive overview of who did what. For we don’t have any business. We don’t have any headquarters or a general manager.
Slow Chemistry (Nature) — “lazy man’s chemistry”: let a mix of solid reactants sit around undisturbed while they spontaneously transform themselves. More properly called slow chemistry, or even just ageing, the approach requires few, if any, hazardous solvents and uses minimal energy. If planned properly, it also consumes all the reagents in the mix, so that there is no waste and no need for chemical-intensive purification.
Observations of an Internet Middleman — Five of those congested peers are in the United States and one is in Europe. There are none in any other part of the world. All six are large Broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market. In countries or markets where consumers have multiple Broadband choices (like the UK) there are no congested peers. Relevant as competition works for gigabit fibre to consumers.
Open TX — open source firmware for RC radio transmitters. The firmware is highly configurable and brings much more features than found in traditional radios.
Minimum Viable Block Chain — The block chain is agnostic to any “currency”. In fact, it can (and will) be adapted to power many other use cases. As a result, it pays to understand the how and the why behind the “minimum viable block chain”.
iBeacons — low-power, short-distance location monitoring beacons. Any iOS device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy can become an iBeacon, and can detect other iBeacons when they are nearby. Apps can be notified when iBeacons move in and out of range of the device, and can monitor the proximity of iBeacons as their proximity changes over time.
E-Commerce Booming in China (Economist) — bad time for Google to be leaving, just as online sales take off. Chinese consumers in stores check quality by hand but buying online requires trust, aka brands. This is a turn towards Western-style commerce built on trademarks and brand promise of quality, and away from the prevalent wild East style of commerce built on cut corners, deception, and mistrust.
The Glass Box and the Commonplace Book (Steven Johnson) — essay on connected useful text vs frozen glass-walled text. As with paywalls, I am not dogmatic about these things. I don’t think it’s incumbent upon the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal to allow all their content to flow freely through the infosphere with no restrictions. I do not pull out my crucifix when people use the phrase “Digital Rights Management.” If publishers want to put reasonable limits on what their audience can do with their words, I’m totally fine with that. As I said, I think the Kindle has a workable compromise, though I would like to see it improved in a few key areas. But I also don’t want to mince words. When your digital news feed doesn’t contain links, when it cannot be linked to, when it can’t be indexed, when you can’t copy a paragraph and paste it into another application: when this happens your news feed is not flawed or backwards looking or frustrating. It is broken.