- The Joy of Stats — Hans Rosling’s BBC documentary on statistics, available to watch online.
- Best Tech Writing of 2010 — I need a mass “add these to Instapaper” button. (via Hacker News)
- Google Shared Spaces: Why We Made It (Pamela Fox) — came out of what people were trying to do with Google Wave.
- The Great Delicious Exodus — traffic graph as experienced by pinboard.
Statistics, Tech Writing, Shared Spaces, and Delicious Exodus
Social recommendations and remixes can benefit the publishing industry.
Up until now, ebooks have mostly been quick-and-dirty conversions of the print product. Joe Wikert looks forward to a future where social options, like recommendations and remixes, fully harness the ebook medium.
The answer to a long-running problem lies in data, not an application.
Given that so much diverse and overlapping information about each of us is spread between applications, why are simple actions — like automatically reacting to known friend requests — still not possible? The answer, notes Terry Jones, lies not with a new application, but in a ball of data. (Part 2 of a 2-part series.)
Yammer is getting viral adoption in the enterprise, but will it convert to sales?
Social Shopping, Data Loss, Open by Google, Better Blogging Tools
- Blippy — Automatically share your favorite purchases from iTunes, Amazon, Zappos, Visa, MasterCard, and more. See what your friends are buying. Interesting premise, and interesting possibilities for buyers to influence each other.
- Thousands of lost Durham health records spark probe — not remarkable in itself but rather indicative that the lost USB key is the new vector for data loss, whereas five years ago it was the “lost laptop”. Each data loss incident like this represents a failure to follow simple protocols to encrypt data placed on moveable media. (via scilib on Twitter)
- The Meaning of Open (Google Blog) — a Google exec writes up what he thinks Open should mean for Google. The open source argument is fairly conventional, but it heats up at the open data section. For a rebuttal, see Daring Fireball.
- On Blogging Tools — Joshua Schachter wonders whether blogging tools can be rebuilt as small pieces loosely joined. I wonder if there is a way to define loose interfaces between these systems so that they could both work together but also not set APIs in concrete solid enough to stop innovation. Because the various pieces of the systems currently are all tightly bound together, it is very hard for the parts to move forward separately. For example, I’ve wanted to be able to specifically reply to comments in place in a visually differentiated way as the publisher, rather than just as another commenter. But this feature hasn’t emerged, and if I hacked it into one platform via plugins, I’d be stuck with it forever.
Inside Botnets, Creating Choropleths, Privacy Simplified, Massively Machiavellian Online Social Gaming
- Your Botnet is My Botnet (PDF) — 2008 USENIX Security paper analysing >70G of data gathered when security researchers hijacked the Torpig botnet. A major limitation of analyzing a botnet from the inside is the limited view. Most current botnets use stripped-down IRC or HTTP servers as their command and control channels, and it is not possible to make reliable statements about other bots. In particular, it is difﬁcult to determine the size of the botnet or the amount and nature of the sensitive data that is stolen. One way to overcome this limitation is to “hijack” the entire botnet, typically by seizing control of the C&C channel. […] As a result, whenever a bot resolves a domain (or URL) to connect to its C&C server, the connection is redirected or sinkholed. This provides the defender with a complete view of all IPs that attempt to connect to the C&C server as well as interesting information that the bots might send..
- cartographer.js — build thematic maps using Google Maps. To be precise, you can build a choropleth, which is my word of the day. (via Simon Willison)
- Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem of Hell (TechCrunch) — many of those games on Facebook that your friends play are evil. To get in-game money or objects, they’ll let you take a survey but at the end you’re signed up for crap you never wanted. Related: this article on monetizing social networks which talks about social gaming’s business model.
Andrew Hyde runs Ignite Boulder and works for Techstars. In this week's episode he shares his thoughts at Ignite ATL about the rapid economic shifts that can be caused by user-generated content. Andrew calls this the Posting Economy. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License…
Delegation, Journalism, Dating Numbers, Learn Git
- Why You Shouldn’t Do It All Yourself — this resonated with where I am in a few projects. One of the hardest things to learn in management is how not to do it all yourself. People often call this a problem with “delegation”. But the problem isn’t with telling others what to do. The problem is learning how not to do it all yourself. (via br3nda)
- The Story Behind The Story (The Atlantic) — I would describe their approach as post-journalistic. It sees democracy, by definition, as perpetual political battle. The blogger’s role is to help his side. Distortions and inaccuracies, lapses of judgment, the absence of context, all of these things matter only a little, because they are committed by both sides, and tend to come out a wash. Nobody is actually right about anything, no matter how certain they pretend to be. The truth is something that emerges from the cauldron of debate. No, not the truth: victory, because winning is way more important than being right. Power is the highest achievement. There is nothing new about this. But we never used to mistake it for journalism. Today it is rapidly replacing journalism, leading us toward a world where all information is spun, and where all “news” is unapologetically propaganda.
- OkTrends — analytics from a dating site show what works in email. We analyzed over 500,000 first contacts on our dating site, OkCupid. Our program looked at keywords and phrases, how they affected reply rates, and what trends were statistically significant. The result: a set of rules for what you should and shouldn’t say when introducing yourself online. (read their note on how they protected privacy before freaking out)
- Learn GitHub — Here we have tried to compile the best online learning Git resource available. There are a number of articles and screencasts, written and arranged to try to make learning Git as quick and easy as possible.
Food, NoSQL, Brain Power, Social Data
- Better BBQ Through Chemistry — food is the perfect ground for geek training: there are measurements, there’s science, it’s easy to know whether you’ve succeeded, and you can eat all but the worst of your failures. (via BoingBoing)
- NoSQL (East) — conference on East Coast for relationless databases.
- Human Brain Processing Speed — clocked at 60bits/second, according to this MIT Technology Review article. Their approach eventually led to Hick’s Law, one of the few laws of experimental psychology. It states that the time it takes to make a choice is linearly related to the entropy of the possible alternatives. The results from various reaction-time experiments seem to show that this is the case. Although one byproduct of this approach is that the results are intimately linked to the type of experiment used to measure the reaction time. And that makes each study peculiarly vulnerable to the idiosyncrasies of the experimental approach. Today, Fermi Moscoso del Prado Martín from the Université de Provence in France proposes a new way to study reaction times by analyzing the entropy of their distribution, rather in the manner of thermodynamics. (via Hacker News)
- Truly Social Data — Data will only be truly social when you can work with it in the kinds of ways we work with information in the real, non-computational, world. In the real world we don’t ask for permission to have an opinion on something, to add to the ball of information surrounding a concept. Our needs don’t have to be anticipated by programmers. We can share information as we please. For example, nobody owns the concept of Barcelona. If I want to essentially “tag” Barcelona as being hot, or noisy, or beautiful, I just do it. I can keep my opinion private, I can share it with certain others, I can hold conflicting opinions, I can organize things in multiple ways at the same time and give things many names.