- Canonical’s New Plan for Banshee — Canonical prepare the Linux distribution Ubuntu. They will distribute the popular iTunes-alike Banshee, but instead of the standard Amazon store plugin (which generates much $ in affiliate revenue for the GNOME Foundation) they will have Canonical’s own Amazon store plugin and keep 75% of the revenue (25% going to the GNOME Foundation). They’re legally within their rights, and it underscores for me how the goal of providing freedom from control is incompatible with a goal of making money. Free and open source software gives self-destination with software, and that includes the right to replace your money pump with theirs.
- Oluolu — an open source query log mining tool which works on Hadoop. This tool provides resources to add new features to search engines. Concretely Oluolu supports automatic dictionary creation such as spelling correction, context queries or frequent query n-grams from query log data. The dictionaries are applied to search engines to add features such as ‘did you mean’ or ‘related keyword suggestion’ service in search engines. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
- Information is Beautiful Process (David McCandless) — David’s process for creating his beautiful and moving visualizations.
- Facebook for Repressive Regimes — The purpose of this blog post is not to help repressive regimes use Facebook better, but rather to warn activists about the risks they face when using Facebook. (via Justine Sanderson on Delicious)
Banshee Bucks, Log Mining, Visualization Secrets, and Repression Tools
Jeopardy was fun, but Watson's practical applications are what's really interesting.
Aside from whipping the pants off two Jeapardy geniuses, the Watson computer is opening the door to new monetization possibilities for search.
Aditi Muralidharan on improving discovery and building intuition into search.
Ph.D. student Aditi Muralidharan aims to make life easier for researchers and scientists with WordSeer, a text analysis tool that examines and visualizes language use patterns.
Commentary: Copy or theft? How Google set themselves up to get Bing’d.
Is Google's recent war of words with Microsoft a case of calling a thief out by name, or a matter of pot calling kettle black?
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)
Crawlable Ajax, Security Lessons, Graph Database, and Toy Hardware
- Making Ajax Applications Crawlable (Google) — Google’s system for allowing Ajax applications to provide HTML snapshots for search engines. (via alexdong on twitter)
- Security Lessons Learned from the Diaspora Launch — great explanation of the programming mistakes that were in the Diaspora code, and the security risks that resulted. Again, I recommend the OWASP site if you aren’t aware of the types of security mistakes you are making.
- A Brief Tour of Graphd — the triplestore behind Freebase. Want. (via timclicks on Twitter)
- Toybots — startup working on Internet-aware hardware for toymakers: 3G, WiFi, GPS, and accelerometer waiting to be embedded in toys.
Search Tips, Web Parsing, DNS Blacklists, Complex Machines
- Hidden Features of Google (StackExchange) — rather than Google’s list of search features, here are the features that real (sophisticated) users find useful. My new favourite: the ~ operator for approximate searching. (via Hacker News)
- Natural Language Parsing for the Web — JSON API to the Stanford Natural Language Parser. I wonder why the API to the library isn’t an open source library, given the Stanford parser is GPLv2. It’d be super-cool to have this as an EC2 instance, Ubuntu package, or Chef recipe so it’s trivial to add to an existing hosted project.
- Taking Back the DNS (Paul Vixie) — defining a spec whereby you can subscribe to blacklists for DNS, as Most new domain names are malicious.
- Building Complex Machines with Lego — I saw the (Lego) Antikythera Mechanism at Sci Foo. It’s as amazing as it looks.