The Age of Fanfiction — We live in a time where copyright means very little to younger people, and it’s not just because they want free movies or free music. More than that, they want to be able to play with the amazing toys that they’ve been given by filmmakers and comic book writers and TV creators, and they want to do so without the constraints that copyright creates. Eloquent and thoughtful piece on what this means for Hollywood and how “the Age of Fanfiction is reflected in what Hollywood’s making. (via Sacha Judd)
How Khan Academy is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery — it is bloody hard to know when a student has mastered a subject, both for real live teachers and for roboteachers like Khan Academy. This is a detailed discussion of a change in assessment within Khan Academy. if we define proficiency as your chance of getting the next problem correct being above a certain threshold, then the streak becomes a poor binary classifier. Experiments conducted on our data showed a significant difference between students who take, say, 30 problems to get a streak vs. 10 problems right off the bat — the former group was much more likely to miss the next problem after a break than the latter.
UK Govt To Help Businesses Fight Cybercrime (Guardian) — I view this as a good thing, even though the conspiracy nut in me says that it’s a step along the path that ends with the spy agency committing cybercrime to assist businesses.
Subtext — social bookreading by adding chat, links, etc. to a book. I haven’t tried the implementation yet but I’ve wanted this for years. (Just haven’t wanted to jump into the cesspool of rights negotiations enough to actually build it :-) (via David Eagleman)
Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing (PDF) — AM is a group of emerging technologies that create objects from the bottom-up by adding material one cross-sectional layer at a time. [...] Ultimately, AM has the potential to be as disruptive as the personal computer and the internet. The digitization of physical artifacts allows for global sharing and distribution of designed solutions. It enables crowd-sourced design (and individual fabrication) of physical hardware. It lowers the barriers to manufacturing, and allows everyone to become an entrepreneur. (via Bruce Sterling)
Three Ages of Google — from batch, to scaling through datacenters, and finally now to techniques for real-time scaling. Of interest to everyone interested in low-latency high-throughput transactions. Datacenters have the diameter of a microsecond, yet we are still using entire stacks designed for WANs. Real-time requires low and bounded latencies and our stacks can’t provide low latency at scale. We need to fix this problem and towards this end Luiz sets out a research agenda, targeting problems that need to be solved. (via Tim O’Reilly)
eReaders and eBooks (Luke Wroblewski) — many eye-opening facts. In 2010 Amazon sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperback books. 65% of eReader owners use them in bed, in fact 37% of device usage is in bed.
VT220 on a Mac — dead sexy look. Impressive how many adapters you need to be able to hook a dingy old serial cable up to your shiny new computer.
Pleasanton Protects Bicyclists with Microwave (Mercury News) — no, not by pre-emptive cooking. The device monitors the intersection and can differentiate between vehicles and bicyclists crossing the road and either extends or triggers the light if a cyclist is detected.