"tech" entries

Four short links: 9 October 2014

Four short links: 9 October 2014

API Docs, Top Trends, Byzantine Fault Tolerance, and Devops in Practice

  1. dashoffline access to API documentation. Useful for those long-haul flights without wifi …
  2. Gartner’s Top Trends for 2015 — ubicomp, IoT, 3d printing, pervasive analytics, context, smart machines, cloud computing, software-defined everything, web-scale IT, and security. Still not the year of the Linux desktop.
  3. Byzantine Fault Tolerance — Wikipedia’s readable introduction to the basic challenge in distributed systems.
  4. Move Fast, Break Nothing (Zach Holman) — Gartner talks about “web-scale IT”, but I think the processes and tools for putting code into product (devops) are far more transformative than the technology that scales the product delivery.
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Four short links: 24 June 2014

Four short links: 24 June 2014

Failure of Imagination, Meat Failure Mode, Grand Challenges, and Data Programming

  1. Maximum Happy Imagination (Matt Jones) — questioning the true vision of Marc Andreessen’s recent Twitter discourse on the great future that awaits us. His analogies run out in the 20th century when it comes to the political, social and economic implications of his maximum happy imagination.
  2. The MirrortocracyIt’s astonishing how many of the people conducting interviews and passing judgement on the careers of candidates have had no training at all on how to do it well. Aside from their own interviews, they may not have ever seen one. I’m all for learning on your own but at least when you write a program wrong it breaks. Without a natural feedback loop, interviewing mostly runs on myth and survivor bias.
  3. Longitude Prize — six prize areas, Grand Challenge style, in clean flight, antibiotic resistance, dementia, food, water, and overcoming paralysis. Mysteriously none for library system that avoids DLL hell.
  4. The Re-Emergence of DatalogMichael Fogus overviews Datalog and provides examples of how it is implemented and used in Datomic, Cascalog, and the Bacwn Clojure library. See also notes from the talk.
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Four short links: 20 June 2014

Four short links: 20 June 2014

Available Data, Goal Setting, Real Tech, and Gamification Numbers

  1. Dynamo and BigTable — good preso overview of two approaches to solving availability and consistency in the event of server failure or network partition.
  2. Goals Gone Wild (PDF) — In this article, we argue that the beneficial effects of goal setting have been overstated and that systematic harm caused by goal setting has been largely ignored. We identify specific side effects associated with goal setting, including a narrow focus that neglects non-goal areas, a rise in unethical behavior, distorted risk preferences, corrosion of organizational culture, and reduced intrinsic motivation.
  3. Tech Isn’t All Brogrammers (Alexis Madrigal) — a reminder that there are real scientists and engineers in Silicon Valley working on problems considerably harder than selling ads and delivering pet food to one another. (via Brian Behlendorf)
  4. Numbers from 90+ Gamification Case Studies — cherry-picked anecdata for your business cases.
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Four short links: 31 March 2014

Four short links: 31 March 2014

Game Patterns, What Next, GPU vs CPU, and Privacy with Sensors

  1. Game Programming Patterns — a book in progress.
  2. Search for the Next Platform (Fred Wilson) — Mobile is now the last thing. And all of these big tech companies are looking for the next thing to make sure they don’t miss it.. And they will pay real money (to you and me) for a call option on the next thing.
  3. Debunking the 100X GPU vs. CPU Myth — in Pete Warden’s words, “in a lot of real applications any speed gains on the computation side are swamped by the time it takes to transfer data to and from the graphics card.”
  4. Privacy in Sensor-Driven Human Data Collection (PDF) — see especially the section “Attacks Against Privacy”. More generally, it is often the case the data released by researches is not the source of privacy issues, but the unexpected inferences that can be drawn from it. (via Pete Warden)
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Four short links: 29 January 2014

Four short links: 29 January 2014

Throwable Sensor, 3D Printer Patents, Internet Inequality, and Carbon Fiber Printing

  1. Bounce Explorer — throwable sensor (video, CO2, etc) for first responders.
  2. Sintering Patent Expires Today — key patent expires, though there are others in the field. Sintering is where the printer fuses powder with a laser, which produces smooth surfaces and works for ceramics and other materials beyond plastic. Hope is that sintering printers will see same massive growth that FDM (current tech) printers saw after the FDM patent expired 5 years ago.
  3. Internet is the Greatest Legal Facilitator of Inequality in Human History (The Atlantic) — hyperbole aside, this piece does a good job of outlining “why they hate us” and what the systemic challenges are.
  4. First Carbon Fiber 3D Printer Announced — $5000 price tag. Nice!
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Four short links: 16 November 2012

Four short links: 16 November 2012

Obama's tech listened for feedback, undervalued books, transcribe music from videos, 3D printable copter

  1. Under the Hood of Team Obama’s Tech Operation (Mother Jones) — The new platform allowed OFA to collect feedback from the ground on an enormous scale, and respond accordingly. In short, it made the flow of information bidirectional. “What it did was it listened, and it trickled up information.”
  2. Surprisingly Undervalued BooksI’m not necessarily talking about obscure books/authors here. I’m talking about the ratio of how good the book is to how good you expect it to be. These are the outliers, the ones that most people don’t talk about very much or haven’t heard of, and yet turn out to be profoundly brilliant.
  3. SoundSlice — Adrian Holovaty’s new tool to help transcribe music from YouTube videos.
  4. 3D Printable Copter — it’s all that. See also assembly instructions.
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Four short links: 28 May 2012

Four short links: 28 May 2012

Canada Shoots Self In Brain, Voracious Mobile Phone, Using Tech in Education, and Mac Tool

  1. Canada Wages War on Knowledge — Library and Archives Canada is ending acquisitions, not digitizing material, dispersing its collection to underfunded private and public collections around Canada, and providing little in the way of access to the scraps they did keep. Apparently Canada has been overrun by Huns and Vandals. Imminent sack of Toronto predicted. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Cyberpunk Dress Code (BoingBoing) — what caught my eye was how many gadgets have been subsumed into the mobile phone.
  3. Brief Intro to TPCK and SAMR (PDF) — slides from a workshop framing technology in education. SAMR particularly good: technology first Substitutes, then Augments (substitutes and improves), then Modifies (changing the task), and then finally Redefines (makes entirely new tasks possible).
  4. Virtual CDRW — awesome Mac tool: gives you a fake CD/RW drive so when you have to play the burn/rip game to get music out of DRM, you don’t have to waste plastic.
Comments: 2
Four short links: 7 November 2011

Four short links: 7 November 2011

City Finances, Low-Power Computers, Future History, and Learner's Mindset

  1. California and Bust (Vanity Fair) — Michael Lewis digs into city and state finances, and the news ain’t good.
  2. Tonido Plug 2 — with only watts a day, you could have your own low-cost compute farm that runs off a car battery and a cheap solar panel.
  3. William Gibson Interview (The Paris Review) — It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online. But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.
  4. Zen and the Art of Making (Phil Torrone) — thoughts on the difference between beginners and experts, and why the beginner’s mindset is intoxicating and addictive.
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Four short links: 13 January 2010 Four short links: 13 January 2010

Four short links: 13 January 2010

Hacked Watch, Hackable Watch, Alpha Biogeeks, and a Tech Sweet Spot

  1. Telling Time with Open Realtime DataSony Ericsson MBW-150 bluetooth watch, showing the next few SF Muni bus arrival times for a nearby stop. The code to fetch the arrival times is running on my Droid phone, and communicating with the watch using Marcel Dopita’s OpenWatch software for the Android platform. This is a neat hack, and reminds us that every object on our person could be programmed. (via Brian Jepson)
  2. EZ430 Chronos — wireless, programmable, pressure sensor, accelerometer, temperature sensor, all in a watch. (via Makezine)
  3. Developing Bioinformatics Methodsthe best method developers, in general, are those people who are both developers and users of their own methods. Regardless of what field you’re in, look for the alpha geeks: those who have both a problem and the means to solve it.
  4. How to Innovate Using Existing Technology (Caterina Fake) — interesting observation, that there’s a sweet spot between “just a feature” and “needs ten years of basic research in academia” to get something that’s defensible, useful, and achievable with the means of a startup. I’m a big fan of augmented human skill: using computers to make humans more effective at doing what humans are good at.
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Ignite Show: Andrew Hyde on The Posting Economy

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…

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