- How The Internet Gets Inside Us (The New Yorker) — at any given moment, our most complicated machine will be taken as a model of human intelligence, and whatever media kids favor will be identified as the cause of our stupidity. When there were automatic looms, the mind was like an automatic loom; and, since young people in the loom period liked novels, it was the cheap novel that was degrading our minds. When there were telephone exchanges, the mind was like a telephone exchange, and, in the same period, since the nickelodeon reigned, moving pictures were making us dumb. When mainframe computers arrived and television was what kids liked, the mind was like a mainframe and television was the engine of our idiocy. Some machine is always showing us Mind; some entertainment derived from the machine is always showing us Non-Mind. (via Tom Armitage)
- SWFScan — Windows-only Flash decompiler to find hardcoded credentials, keys, and URLs. (via Mauricio Freitas)
- Paranga — haptic interface for flipping through an ebook. (via Ben Bashford)
- Facebook Gives Politico Deep Access to Users Political Sentiments (All Things D) — Facebook will analyse all public and private updates that mention candidates and an exclusive partner will “use” the results. Remember, if you’re not paying for it then you’re the product and not the customer.
Internet in Culture, Flash Security Tool, Haptic E-Books, and Facebook Mining Private Updates
Information related to the 12/20/11 episode of O'Reilly Radar.
Access the script and associated links from the December 20, 2011 edition of O'Reilly Radar. Featuring: Why Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library is a bad deal for publishers, the arrival of indoor navigation, and Reid Hoffman on how technology can create jobs.
Technological schizophrenia is an American tradition.
Steve Jobs and Ted Kaczynski represent the extreme poles of a deep-seated ambivalence in our attitudes toward technology. It's an ambivalence that's been a part of American history, and part of the American psyche, since the beginning.
The events of the past week generated powerful reactions inside of the Radar team.
In the context of worldwide reactions to the impact of Steve Jobs on the arc of history, recognizing the complexity of his life and offering a balanced assessment of the impact of his legacy on this earth matters. In that context, O'Reilly editors share their reflections on the passing of one of the technology industry's iconic figures.
Future Tech, Book Lawsuits, Site Design, and Sundae Problems
- Russell Davies: Four Thought (audio) — some very nice thinking on the future of technology.
- The Fight Over the Future of Digital Books (The Atlantic) — Authors Guild v. HathiTrust is a strange legal twist. For an association of professional writers, the Guild seems to have forgotten some of the basic principles of its craft, such as not placing sympathetic figures like librarians in the role of villains. Almost comically, the Guild’s press release trumpeting its lawsuit against HathiTrust augurs a dark day in the not-too-distant future when old works, including obscure Yiddish texts, are “abducted” and “released” to thousands of students and professors.
- The Design Behind How Many Really — this is fantastic stuff, showing the evolution of their thinking.
- Science Museums are Failing Grownups — I think this is a sundae problem. A sundae is a bowl full of ice cream. You put some stuff on top of it, but it remains, fundamentally, a bowl full of ice cream. And when I talk about examples of really great adult engagement in science museums, I am, generally, talking about the sprinkles, not the ice cream. The museums acknowledge the problem, but they’re dealing with it by adding in a couple of things here and there. A traveling exhibit. One exhibit out of the whole museum. One night a month. What they really need are serious changes to the bulk of the experience. Sundae problem. I like this.
Unregulated Printing, Mobile Data, Open Source ERP, and Future Technology
- Gun Part on Thingiverse — we’re used to thinking of the legal problems caused by cheap and decentralized copies of digital works. Now the problems we had with pipe bombs (designs are free on the net, the parts are cheap) are just as applicable to every type of restricted object (in this case, a gun). The difference between regulating speech (design of an object) and regulating possession of objects is blurring and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. (via Jesse Robbins)
- Mobile Data (Luke Wrobewski) — Mobile data traffic is now outpacing fixed broadband traffic. Last year, it grew 4.2 times as fast. The entire list of interesting numbers repays reading.
- Technology Time Out (Slideshare) — my presentation to employees embarking on a hackathon, about future trends, the role of software developers, and the need to work on meaningful stuff.
Tech predictions focusing only on technology miss a key component: people.
If you comment on new technology, you should get to know as many of the quirks and biases of human behavior as you can. That's because you're modeling people first and technology second.
Four interviews explore why the eG8 mattered and what's at stake for the Internet.
If the Internet has become the public arena for our time, as the official G8 statement emphasized, then experts say we must defend the openness and freedoms that have supported its development.
Elegant Boxes, Dashboard in PHP, Management Theory Disparaged, and Obsolete Technology
- Lines (Mark Jason Dominus) — If you wanted to hear more about phylogeny, Java programming, or tree algorithms, you are about to be disappointed. The subject of my article today is those fat black lines. Anatomy of a clever piece of everyday programming. There is no part of this program of which I am proud. Rather, I am proud of the thing as a whole. It did the job I needed, and it did it by 5 PM. Larry Wall once said that “a Perl script is correct if it’s halfway readable and gets the job done before your boss fires you.” Thank you, Larry.
- PHP Clone of Panic Status Board (GitHub) — The Panic status board shows state of downloads, servers, countdown, etc. It’s a dashboard for the company. This PHP implementation lets you build your own. (via Hacker News)
- The Management Myth (The Atlantic) — a philosophy PhD gets an MBA, works as management consultant, then calls bullshit on the whole thing. Taylorism, like much of management theory to come, is at its core a collection of quasi-religious dicta on the virtue of being good at what you do, ensconced in a protective bubble of parables (otherwise known as case studies). (via BoingBoing)
- Obsolete Technology — or, as I like to think of it, post-Zombie-apocalypse technology. Bone up on your kilns if you want your earthen cookware once our undead overlords are running (or, at least, lurching) the country. (via Bruce Sterling)
As the Egyptian protests show, technologies that democratize communications can also centralize control.
As the Egyptian government throttles information flow and citizens fight to maintain access to communications, we are seeing the contours of a struggle that will shape political and policy changes.