- AntiMap — open source Android software to gather arbitrary data and visualize it. This enables you to be a 21C Francis Galton, the man who walked the streets of England using a pin to prick holes on a cross of card in his pocket, all to keep track of the relative average beauty of women in different parts of the country. He was such an obsessive data gatherer that, during one particularly boring meeting, he kept track of fidgets from each of the other meeting participants. Now you can too.
- Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices (EFF) — a must read guide for travelers with commercial, political, or personal confidences they would like to keep. (via Marcia Hofmann)
- TextSecure Open Sourced — GPLv3 release of the source code to an encrypting text message app for Android.
- Meet the New Mozilla (David Ascher) — Mozilla looks up from the browser and realizes apps and mobile are the new battlegrounds for proprietary vs open web. Bravo!
Plus, politicians and business talking about tomorrow's manufacturing landscape, and a new source for more than 400,000 electricity-data series
Two makers come together to make a robotic hand for a boy in South Africa (TechCrunch) — The maker movement is adjacent to the industrial Internet, and it’s growing fast as a rich source of innovative thinking wherever machines and software meet. In this case, Ivan Owen and Richard Van As built a robotic hand for a South African five-year-old who was born missing fingers on his right hand. Owen is an automation technician and Van As is a tradesman. They did their work on a pair of donated MakerBots — evidence that design for machines and the physical world at large is more accessible than ever to bright enthusiasts from lots of different backgrounds. The designers even open-sourced their work; the hand’s CAD files are available at Thingiverse. Owen and Van As are running a Fundly campaign; more information is available at their Web site.
WellDone — Utilities in the developed world use remote monitoring widely to keep far-flung equipment running smoothly, but their model is tough to apply in places where communications infrastructure is thin, though. This initiative has adapted the philosophy of the industrial Internet to the infrastructure that’s available: SMS text messaging. WellDone is installing water-flow sensors at local wells that send flow data by SMS to a cloud database. The system will alert local technicians when it detects anomalies in water flows, and the information it gathers will inform future data-driven development projects.
Manufacturing’s Next Chapter (AtlanticLIVE) — I’m visiting this conference in Washington, D.C. today; it’s also being live-streamed at The Atlantic‘s Web site. At 2:35pm Eastern Time and at 3:25pm, panelists will talk about the effect of technology on industry and the rise of advanced manufacturing.
Electricity Data Browser (U.S. Energy Information Administration) — The EIA has made its vast database of detailed electricity statistics available through an integrated interactive portal. The EIA has also built an API that opens more than 400,000 data series available to developers and analysts. Read more…
Be a Data Hound, Secure Traveling, Secure SMS, Mozilla's Wider Focus
- Android Patterns — set of design patterns for Android apps. (via Josh Clark on Twitter)
- Preview of Up and Running with Node.js (O’Reilly) — Tom Hughes-Croucher’s new book in preview form. Just sorting out commenting now. (via Tom on Twitter)
- #Blue Opens for Business — a web app that gets your text messages. You can reply, and there’s an API to give other apps read/write access. Signs the text message is finally becoming a consumer platform.
Disaster SMS, Open Source Win, Confidence, Pirate Experience
- SMS in Disaster Response — Haitians SMS urgent needs to 4636, where they’re translated through crowdsourcing and acted on. All based on the Uhsahidi SMS engine.
- Inside Open Source’s Historic Victory — open source developer wins against someone who took his work, added it to an open patent application, and then sued the open source developer for violating his patent.
- What’s Wrong with Confidence (Pete Warden) — the lean startup approach and the scientific method. Good read, with two magnificent quotes: “Strong opinions, weakly held, and Confidence is vital for getting things done, but it has to be a spur to test your theories, not a lazy substitute for gathering evidence.
- If You’re a Pirate — the user experience of legitimate DVDs is shite. That’s not the only reason that people pirate, but it sure ain’t helping.
SMS Data Collection, Love of Math, Anti-File Sharing Rubbish, Open Manufacturing
- RapidSMS — a free and open-source framework for dynamic data collection, logistics coordination and communication, leveraging basic short message service (SMS) mobile phone technology. UNICEF’s mobile data collection framework, as used in Malawi and other proving grounds. (via gov2expo)
- Groceries — read this and you will realize that Dan Meyer is the math teacher you wish you’d had. He has the geek nature, and his excitement must be great for his students. The express lane isn’t faster. The manager backed me up on this one. You attract more people holding fewer total items, but as the data shows above, when you add one person to the line, you’re adding 48 extra seconds to the line length (that’s “tender time” added to “other time”) without even considering the items in her cart. Meanwhile, an extra item only costs you an extra 2.8 seconds. Therefore, you’d rather add 17 more items to the line than one extra person! I can’t believe I’m dropping exclamation points in an essay on grocery shopping but that’s how this stuff makes me feel.
- How the UK Government Spun 136 People into 7 Million — a radio show looked into the government’s claim of 7 million illegal filesharers and discovered it came down to 136 people in a survey admitting they’d used it. (via br3nda)
- Idle Speculation on the shan zhai and Open Fabrication (Tom Igoe) — shan zhai have established a culture of sharing information about the things they make through open BOMs (bills of materials) and other design materials, crediting each other with improvements. The community apparently self-polices this policy, and ostracizes those that violate it. Open hardware, business, recovery, and more in this fascinating speculation.
Government, Bayes, SMS, and distributed keystores:
- Government Projects the Agile Way — Can It Be Done? (NZ Government) — notes and audio from a workshop at the New Zealand State Services Commission looking to merge agile and government. The pullquotes are mostly generic about agile, but the important thing is that there are agile projects within government and their numbers are growing. Having witnessed the incredibly slow, cautious, and non-agile development processes of government, I know how good this shift can be for budgets and delivery.
- DivMod Reverend — general purpose open source Bayesian classifier in Python (the Ruby port is Bishop). Bayes theorem lies behind the 2000-era spam filters, and there have been plenty of open source libraries to do Bayesian classification, but this one caught my eye because it’s from the very good DivMod folks who are behind the very good Twisted framework. (via noahgift’s delicious stream)
- RapidSMS — a free and open source messaging framework for building SMS applications. Integrates with Django. (via straup’s delicious stream)
- Some Notes on Distributed Key Stores (Leonard Lin) — he had to install and test distributed keystores for a client’s project, and posted his notes. Distributed keystores are one of the recent spates of database-like tools intended to solve some of the problems of big data applications. The distributed stores out there is currently pretty half-baked at best right now. […] Don’t believe the hype. There’s a lot of talk, but I didn’t find any public project that came close to the (implied?) promise of tossing nodes in and having it figure things out. […] Based on the maturity of projects out there, you could write your own in less than a day. It’ll perform as well and at least when it breaks, you’ll be more fond of it. Alternatively, you could go on the conference circuit and talk about how awesome your half-baked distributed keystore is. (via straup’s delicious stream)
I was honored to speak with Mikel Maron at Where2.0 about innovation in Disaster Technology, a topic that is extremely important to me. Here is the video: This talk covers the ongoing efforts of: World Shelters, the UN Joint Logistics Centre, Humanitarian.info, InSTEDD, and Humanlink. You can read about the development of SMS GeoChat, the Sahana effort for Burma/Myanmar (Radar…