- Mobile Maps (Luke Wroblewski) — In the US, Google gets about 31 million users a month on its Maps app on iOS. On average those users spend more than 75 minutes apiece in the app each month.
- The Importance of Public Traffic Data (Anil Dash) — Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s first collaboration was a startup called Traf-O-Data, which recorded and analyzed traffic at intersections in their hometown using custom-built devices along with some smart software. Jack Dorsey’s first successful application was a platform for dispatch routing, designed to optimize the flow of cars by optimizing the flow of information. It’s easy to see these debates as being about esoteric “open data” battles with governments and big corporations. But it matters because the work we do to build our cities directly drives the work we do to build our communities online.
- Mozilla Thimble — Write and edit HTML and CSS right in your browser. Instantly preview your work. Then host and share your finished pages with a single click.
- Design of the Guardian iPad App (Mark Porter) — thoughtful analysis of the options and ideas behind the new Guardian iPad app. Unlike the iPhone and Android apps, which are built on feeds from the website, this one actually recycles the already-formatted newspaper pages. A script analyses the InDesign files from the printed paper and uses various parameters (page number, physical area and position that a story occupies, headline size, image size etc) to assign a value to the story. The content is then automatically rebuilt according to those values in a new InDesign template for the app. (via Josh Porter)
Map Usage, Transit Data, Mozilla Web Maker, and Print-to-Web Design
Early Jobs, Personal Computing Sticks, Short-Sighted Profits, and Ford's Software Business
- Steve Jobs in Early NeXT Days (YouTube) — documentary footage of the early retreats at NeXT, where Jobs talks about plans and priorities. Very interesting to watch this knowing how the story ends. I’m astonished by how well Jobs spoke, even then, and delighted by the glimpses of impatience and dismissiveness. I wonder where the raw footage went. (via The Next Web)
- Cotton Candy Prototype — an Android-running computer on a USB stick. Plug it in, use the software on the stick to talk to the onboard OS, and you’re off. The ease of carrying your systems and data with you like this is the only long-term challenge I can see to the convenience of cloud storage of your digital life. For more details see Laptop Mag.
- Clayton Christensen on Short-Sighted Pursuit of Profits (Forbes) — love this quote from an overseas semiconductor manufacturer: You Americans measure profitability by a ratio. There’s a problem with that. No banks accept deposits denominated in ratios.
- Ford Just Became a Software Company (Information Week) — Ford are shipping memory sticks with software upgrades to the touchscreen computer in their cars. This is the future of manufacturing: your physical products will need software, which will for your business to have software competencies you haven’t begun to dream of. Business opportunity?
Car Monitoring with iPhone, Multitasking, Privacy, and Cool Unix Tools
- ODB to iPhone Converter — hardware to connect to your car’s onboard computer and display it on an iPhone app. (via Imran Ali)
- Multitasking Brains (Wired) — interesting pair of studies: old brains have trouble recovering from distractions; hardcore multitaskers have trouble focusing. (via Stormy Peters)
- Social Privacy — Danah Boyd draft paper on teens’ attitudes to online privacy. Interesting take on privacy as about power: This incident does not reveal that teens don’t understand privacy, but rather that they lack the agency to assert social norms and expect that others will respect them. (via Maha Shaikh)
- Cool but Obscure Unix Tools — there were some new tricks for this old dog (iftop, socat). (via Andy Baio)
Rethinking Education, Printing Roads, Outsource Security, and Designing Phones
- Building a New Culture of Thinking and Learning (Vimeo) — interesting farewell lecture from a university physicist disillusioned with the state of teaching. He went on to work on skateboarding video games. (via Kevin Marks)
- The Road Printer (BLDGBLOG) — a machine that lays cobblestone roads, looking remarkably like a printer as it does so. Not the future, but a whiff of it. (via Brenda Wallace)
- Watersheds in Communications Security (Bruce Schneier) — Whit talked about three watersheds in modern communications security. The first was the invention of the radio. […] The second watershed was shared computing. […] The third watershed is cloud computing, or whatever you want to call the general trend of outsourcing computation. The punchline: Diffie’s final point is that we’re entering an era of unprecedented surveillance possibilities. It doesn’t matter if people encrypt their communications, or if they encrypt their data in storage. As long as they have to give their data to other people for processing, it will be possible to eavesdrop on. Of course the methods will change, but the result will be an enormous trove of information about everybody.
- John’s Phone — a critical look at an elegant approach to mobile phones. it’s not a smart phone, it’s not a dumb phone, it’s the phone equivalent of a snappy dresser who’s great to talk to but who doesn’t do much. Proof, however, that there are many design surprises left in the phone world. The iPhone 4 is not the final coming of the JesusPhone.
Facebook Behaviour, Multitouch Modelling, Early Ads, and Gaming Public Transportation
- Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook (danah boyd) — Mikalah uses Facebook but when she goes to log out, she deactivates her Facebook account. She knows that this doesn’t delete the account – that’s the point. She knows that when she logs back in, she’ll be able to reactivate the account and have all of her friend connections back. But when she’s not logged in, no one can post messages on her wall or send her messages privately or browse her content. Two very interesting practices designed to maintain not just some abstract idea of “privacy” but, more important, control.
- Beautiful Modeler — a software tool for gestural sculpting using a multi-touch controller such as an iPad. (via Andy Baio)
- How Telephone Directories Transformed America — this caught my eye: Less than a year after the New Haven District Telephone Company issued its first directory, it issued a second, and that one augmented listings with advertising. (via Pete Warden)
- Chromarama — a game that shows you your movements and location as you swipe your Oyster Card in and out of the Tube. Points are awarded for avoiding rush hour, visiting new stations, etc. They say they want to change behaviour, but I don’t believe people ride public transportation to collect points, so they travel when they have to and so won’t change their commute times. Would love to be proven wrong, though. (via Roger Dennis)
Portland, Oregon's open data lessons can apply elsewhere.
Skip Newberry's IgniteGov talk highlighted the potential of open data initiatives to create more economic activity, civic engagement and improve the life of citizens.
Best Science Blogging, Nat Friedman, State of the World, MTA Data
- The Open Laboratory — collection of the best science writing on blogs from the last year. For more, see an interview with the author. Part of a growing trend where online comes first and feeds offline. (via sciblogs)
- Nat Friedman Leaving Novell — one of the original Ximian founders, with interests in many directions and the coding chops to make them real. He’ll found another startup, topic as yet unknown, which will be one to watch.
- Bruce Sterling’s State of the World 2010 — sometimes funny, often thought-provoking, always interesting. Americans really want and need and desire a Futuristic Vision Thing, they get all lonesome and moody without one, but it’s absolutely gotta be one of those good-old-fashioned American Futuristic Vision Things, just like the Americans had in the 1950s when everybody else was still on fire from total war and cleaning up the death camps.
- MTA Releases Data — NYC finally releases transit data, free for developers to reuse. (via timoreilly on Twitter)