- Mining the World’s Data by Selling Street Lights and Farm Drones (Quartz) — Depending on what kinds of sensors the light’s owners choose to install, Sensity’s fixtures can track everything from how much power the lights themselves are consuming to movement under the post, ambient light, and temperature. More sophisticated sensors can measure pollution levels, radiation, and particulate matter (for air quality levels). The fixtures can also support sound or video recording. Bring these lights onto city streets and you could isolate the precise location of a gunshot within seconds.
- An Investor’s Guide to Hardware Startups — good to know if you’re thinking of joining one, too.
- WebScaleSQL — a MySQL downstream patchset built for “large scale” (aka Google, Facebook type loads).
ENTRIES TAGGED "startups"
MSR Open Access, Light Table Open Source, Virality Unleashed, and Holacracy's Founder
- Microsoft Research Adopts Open Access Policy for Publications — +1
- Light Table is Open Source — this matters because these experiments in semantic interactivity inform technical UIs of the future, and the more ubiquitous this code is then the more effect it can have and the sooner we can have the future.
- The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze and Astound You (New Yorker) — Berger and Milkman found that two features predictably determined an article’s success: how positive its message was and how much it excited its reader. The obvious part is that we develop immunity to things that catch our attention: our brains are well-developed systems for filtering, and the only constant is that advertisers will need novelty.
- The Story of Holacracy’s Founder (Quartz) — background on the interesting flat organisation culture system that’s gaining traction in startups.
Startups Class, Container Deployment, Cryptopocalypse, and Program Design
- EP245 Downloads — class materials from the Udacity “How to Build a Startup” course.
- scrz.io — easy container deployment.
- The Factoring Dead: Preparing for the Cryptopocalypse — how RSA and Diffie-Helman crypto might be useless in the next few years.
- How to Design Programs — 2ed text is a work-in-progress.
Positive Copyright Coalition, Programmable World, Clever Inventors Interviewed, and Weighty Words
- Our Fair Deal — international coalition (EFF, InternetNZ, Demand Progress, Creative Freedom Foundation, many others) raising awareness and petitioning lawmakers to reject copyright proposals that restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights. (via Susan Chalmers)
- Welcome to the Programmable World (Wired) — For the Programmable World to reach its full potential, we need to pass through three stages. The first is simply the act of getting more devices onto the network—more sensors, more processors in everyday objects, more wireless hookups to extract data from the processors that already exist. The second is to make those devices rely on one another, coordinating their actions to carry out simple tasks without any human intervention. The third and final stage, once connected things become ubiquitous, is to understand them as a system to be programmed, a bona fide platform that can run software in much the same manner that a computer or smartphone can. (via Sacha Judd)
- Inventables On The Road (YouTube) — new series where the Inventables folks interview their customers to show awesome projects. We’re trying to demystify the process of digital fabrication, give some visibility to people working on interesting things, and have some fun.
- Psychological Pitfalls and Lessons of a Designer Founder (Aza Raskin) — You are a founder, which means each word you say lands like an anvil. Even in a very small company, and especially in a larger one, it takes fortitude and courage for a team member to honestly critique your work. The courage required isn’t a one-time cost. It’s incurred every single time. By nature of being a founder, you are used to saying things with charisma and force and you will undoubtedly be excited by your solution and argue for it. This just makes it worse. A final note: it doesn’t matter how nice you are, or how close you are to your team. As a founder, your words are always more powerful than you think.
China Threat, China Opportunity, Open Source Sustainability, and SQL for Cohort Analysis
- China = 41% of World’s Internet Attack Traffic (Bloomberg) — numbers are from Akamai’s research. Verizon Communications said in a separate report that China accounted for 96 percent of all global espionage cases it investigated. One interpretation is that China is a rogue Internet state, but another is that we need to harden up our systems. (via ZD Net)
- Open Source Cannot Live on Donations Alone — excellent summary of some of the sustainability questions facing open source projects.
- China Startups: The Gold Rush (Steve Blank) — dense fact- and insight-filled piece. Not only is the Chinese ecosystem completely different but also the consumer demographics and user expectations are equally unique. 70% of Chinese Internet users are under 30. Instead of email, they’ve grown up with QQ instant messages. They’re used to using the web and increasingly the mobile web for everything, commerce, communication, games, etc. (They also probably haven’t seen a phone that isn’t mobile.) By the end of 2012, there were 85 million iOS and 160 million Android devices in China. And they were increasing at an aggregate 33 million IOS and Android activations per month.
- Calculating Rolling Cohort Retention with SQL — just what it says. (via Max Lynch)
Massive Security Problems, Hardware Locks, Closed Libraries, and Entrepreneurial Chaos in Detroit
- Information Security Breaches 2013 Report (UK Gov) — over 80% of small UK firms reported a breach, and over 90% of large. (via The Register)
- Google Glass Forbids Resales (Wired) — leaving aside the braying naysayers with their “GLASS WILL DESTROY THE SOCIAL FABRIC AND OUR ESSENTIAL HUMANITY”, there’s a valid point about software being used to control what users do with their devices. Given that this run of Glass is limited edition and they’ve hand-picked to whom they go and for what reason, Ed from Philadelphia is both greedy and naive if he believes Google’s letting him buy a pair to resell on eBay.
- Locked Stacks — As the British Library makes a glacially paced transition from being an analog behemoth to being a digitized one, an opportunity arises to lower the institution’s ivory tower-like walls and to create extensive access to its impressive catalog. The only problems, of course, are a lack of money and the currently insurmountable problem of UK copyright law.
- Young Community Entrepreneurs Rebuilding Detroit (Fast Company) — from information-sharing real estate ventures to transportation startups and doomsday clocks to see how close the city is to bankruptcy, it’s a crazy world out there. Should be easy for them: Detroit comes pre-disrupted.
Hardware is back and makers are driving it. Here are some of the signals.
Wikileaks Code, Account Afterlife, Digital in Museums, and Companies and Conferences
- Wikileaks ProjectK Code (Github) — open-sourced map and graph modules behind the Wikileaks code serving Kissinger-era cables. (via Journalism++)
- Plan Your Digital Afterlife With Inactive Account Manager — you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube. Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided. (via Chris Heathcote)
- Leo Caillard: Art Games — Caillard’s images show museum patrons interacting with priceless paintings the way someone might browse through slides in a personal iTunes library on a device like an iPhone or MacBook. Playful and thought-provoking. (via Beta Knowledge)
- Lanyrd Pro — helping companies keep track of which events their engineers speak at, so they can avoid duplication and have maximum opportunity to promote it. First paid product from ETecher and Foo Simon Willison’s startup.
- A Quantitative Literary History of 2,958 Nineteenth-Century British Novels: The Semantic Cohort Method (PDF) — This project was simultaneously an experiment in developing quantitative and computational methods for tracing changes in literary language. We wanted to see how far quantifiable features such as word usage could be pushed toward the investigation of literary history. Could we leverage quantitative methods in ways that respect the nuance and complexity we value in the humanities? To this end, we present a second set of results, the techniques and methodological lessons gained in the course of designing and running this project. Even litcrit becoming a data game.
- Easy6502 — get started writing 6502 assembly language. Fun way to get started with low-level coding.
- How Analytics Really Work at a Small Startup (Pete Warden) — The key for us is that we’re using the information we get primarily for decision-making (should we build out feature X?) rather than optimization (how can we improve feature X?). Nice rundown of tools and systems he uses, with plug for KissMetrics.
Living Poetry, Distributed Systems, Hardware Incubator, and Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
- Xenotext — Sci Foo Camper Christian Bök is closer to his goal of “living poetry”: A short stanza enciphered into a string of DNA and injected into an “unkillable” bacterium, Bök’s poem is designed to trigger the micro-organism to create a corresponding protein that, when decoded, is a verse created by the organism. In other words, the harmless bacterium, Deinococcus radiodurans (known as an extremophile because of its ability to survive freezing, scorching, or the vacuum of outer space), will be a poetic bug.
- Notes on Distributed Systems for Young Bloods — why distributed systems are different. Coordination is very hard. Avoid coordinating machines wherever possible. This is often described as “horizontal scalability”. The real trick of horizontal scalability is independence – being able to get data to machines such that communication and consensus between those machines is kept to a minimum. Every time two machines have to agree on something, the service is harder to implement. Information has an upper limit to the speed it can travel, and networked communication is flakier than you think, and your idea of what constitutes consensus is probably wrong.
- Lemnos Labs — hardware incubator in SF. (via Jim Stogdill)
- OLPC Built the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer — Neil Stephenson imagined it, OLPC built it. Science fiction is a hugely powerful focusing device for creativity and imagination. (via Matt Jones)