- Moral Machines — it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call. (via BoingBoing)
- Hystrix — a latency and fault tolerance library designed to isolate points of access to remote systems, services and 3rd party libraries, stop cascading failure and enable resilience in complex distributed systems where failure is inevitable. More information. (via Tom Loosemore)
- Offline First: A Better HTML5 Experience — can’t emphasize how important it is to have offline functionality for the parts of the world that don’t have blanket 3G/LTE/etc coverage. (280 south from SF, for example).
- Disaster of Biblical Proportions (Business Insider) — impressive collection of graphs and data showing commodity prices indicate our species is living beyond its means.
Ethical Machines, Fault Tolerance, Offline HTML5, and Doomy Data
Researchers visualize 5 million bicycle treks on London's Barclays Cycle Hire system.
Jo Wood, professor of visual analytics at City University in London, England, along with collaborator Andrew Huddart, put together an animated visualization of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire system, beginning with its launch in 2010.
In a post at NewScientist, Douglas Heaven explains that Wood and Huddart pulled data from 5 million commuter bicycle treks. The visualization not only shows the routes taken, but the animation allows users to see a progression of the data that reveals even further insights. Heaven reports:
Around the 1-minute mark, structure emerges from the chaos and three major systems become clear: routes around, and through, the lozenge-shaped Hyde Park in the west, and commutes in and out of King’s Cross St Pancras in the north and between Waterloo and the City in the east.
Urban Design, Vehicle Interfaces, Maldrones, and Cloud Translation
- Christchurch’s Shot at Being Innovation Central (Idealog) — Christchurch, rebuilding a destroyed CBD after earthquakes, has released plans for the new city. I hope there’s budget for architects and city developers to build visible data, sensors, etc. so the Innovation Precinct doesn’t become the Tech Ghetto.
- Torque Pro (Google Play Store) — a vehicle / car performance/diagnostics tool and scanner that uses an OBD II Bluetooth adapter to connect to your OBD2 engine management/ECU. Can lay out out your dashboards, track performance via GPS, and more. (via Steve O’Grady)
- Drone Pilots (NY Times) — at the moment, the stories are all about the technology helping our boys valiantly protecting the nation. Things will get interesting when the new technology is used against us (we just saw the possibility of this with 3D printing guns). (via Dave Pell)
- Avalon (GitHub) — A cloud based translation and localization utility for Python which combines human and machine translation. There’s also a how-to. (via Brian McConnell)
Map Usage, Transit Data, Mozilla Web Maker, and Print-to-Web Design
- 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)
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.