Huginn — MIT-licensed system for building agents that perform automated tasks for you online. They can read the Web, watch for events, and take actions on your behalf. Huginn’s Agents create and consume events, propagating them along a directed graph. Think of it as a hackable Yahoo! Pipes plus IFTTT on your own server.
Evidence-Oriented Programming — design programming language syntax and features based on what research shows works. They tested Perl and Java, found apparently not detectably easier to use for novices than a language that my student at the time, Susanna Kiwala (formerly Siebert), created by essentially rolling dice and picking (ridiculous) symbols at random.
Narcos GPS-Spoofing Border Drones — not only are the border drones expensive and ineffective, now they’re being tricked. Basic trade-off: more reliability or longer flight times?
A Model Explanation System (PDF) — you can explain any machine-learned decision, though not necessarily the way the model came to the decision. Confused? This summary might help. Explainability is not a property of the model.
Comments Off on Four short links: 23 December 2015
Face Director — Disney software to match faces between takes. We demonstrate that our method can synthesize visually believable performances with applications in emotion transition, performance correction, and timing control.
Move Fast and Fix Things — blow by blow of an engineering rewrite of some key functionality at GitHub, interesting from a “oh so that’s how they do it” point of view (if blow-by-blow engineering rewrites qualify as “interesting” to you).
Old Book Illustrations — public domain book illustrations, tagged and searchable. Yes, like Font Awesome of engraving.
uitable — cute library for tabular data in console golang programs.
Did Carnegie Mellon Attack Tor for the FBI? (Bruce Schneier) — The behavior of the researchers is reprehensible, but the real issue is that CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) has lost its credibility as an honest broker. The researchers discovered this vulnerability and submitted it to CERT. Neither the researchers nor CERT disclosed this vulnerability to the Tor Project. Instead, the researchers apparently used this vulnerability to deanonymize a large number of hidden service visitors and provide the information to the FBI. Does anyone still trust CERT to behave in the Internet’s best interests? Analogous to the CIA organizing a fake vaccination drive to get close to Osama. “Intelligence” agencies.
GIF It Up — very clever remix campaign to use heritage content—Friday is your last day to enter this year’s contest, so get creating! My favourite.
Uber’s Drivers: Information Asymmetries and Control in Dynamic Work — Our conclusions are two-fold: first, that the information asymmetries produced by Uber’s system are fundamental to its ability to structure indirect control over its workers; and second, that Uber relies heavily on the evolving rhetoric of the algorithm to justify these information asymmetries to drivers, riders, as well as regulators and outlets of public opinion.
ANNABELL — unsupervised language learning using artificial neural networks, install your own four year old. The paper explains how.
Spinnaker — an open source, multi-cloud continuous delivery platform for releasing software changes with high velocity and confidence.
Comments Off on Four short links: 17 November 2015
Taiga — open source agile software project management tool (backlog, kanban, tasks, sprints, burndown charts, that sort of thing). (via Jef Vratny)
Confidant — a secret management system, for AWS, from Lyft. If you build services that need to talk to each other, it quickly gets difficult to distribute and manage permissions to those services. So, naturally, the solution is to add another service. (In accordance with the Fundamental Theorem of Computer Science.)
Librarian of Congress Grants Limited DRM-Breaking Rights (Cory Doctorow) — The Copyright Office said you will be able to defeat locks on your car’s electronics, provided: You wait a year first (the power to impose waiting times on exemptions at these hearings is not anywhere in the statute, is without precedent, and has no basis in law); You only look at systems that do not interact with your car’s entertainment system (meaning that car makers can simply merge the CAN bus and the entertainment system and get around the rule altogether); Your mechanic does not break into your car — only you are allowed to do so. The whole analysis is worth reading—this is not a happy middle-ground; it’s a mess. And remember: there are plenty of countries without even these exemptions.
Lessons from a Decade of IT Failures (IEEE Spectrum) — full of cautionary tales like, Note: No one has an authoritative set of financials on ECSS. That was made clear in the U.S. Senate investigation report, which expressed frustration and outrage that the Air Force couldn’t tell it what was spent on what, when it was spent, nor even what ECSS had planned to spend over time. Scary stories to tell children at night.
Unicorn: A System for Searching the Social Graph (Facebook) — we describe the data model and query language supported by Unicorn, which is an online, in-memory social graph-aware indexing system designed to search trillions of edges between tens of billions of users and entities on thousands of commodity servers. Unicorn is based on standard concepts in information retrieval, but it includes features to promote results with good social proximity. It also supports queries that require multiple round-trips to leaves in order to retrieve objects that are more than one edge away from source nodes.
Alberto Cairo Interview — So, what really matters to me is not the intention of the visualization – whether you created it to deceive or with the best of intentions; what matters is the result: if the public is informed or the public is misled. In terms of ethics, I am a consequentialist – meaning that what matters to me ethically is the consequences of our actions, not so much the intentions of our actions.
HyperCam (PDF) — paper from Ubicomp 2015 on a low-cost implementation of a multispectral camera and a software approach that automatically analyzes the scene and provides a user with an optimal set of images that try to capture the salient information of the scene. Can see ripeness of fruit, and veins in hands.
Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity — In both studies, we found that developers perceive their days as productive when they complete many or big tasks without significant interruptions or context switches. Yet, the observational data we collected shows our participants performed significant task and activity switching while still feeling productive. (via Never Work in Theory)
The Language of Choice — In the ’50s John McCarthy invented conditional expressions. Utility computing, AI, Lisp, and now what I know as C’s ?: syntax. His legend lives on.
Soul-Searching in TV Land Over the Challenges of a New Golden Age (NY Times) — The number of scripted shows produced by networks, cable networks and online services ballooned to 371 last year, according to statistics compiled by FX. Mr. Landgraf believes that figure will pass 400 this year, which would nearly double the 211 shows made in 2009. […] predicted that the number of shows would slowly return to about 325 over the next few years, in large part because scripted television is expensive.