- Strategic Dialogue Management via Deep Reinforcement Learning (Adrian Colyer) — a neural network learns to play Settlers of Catan. Is nothing sacred?
- scala school — Twitter’s instructional material for coming up to speed on scala.
- Robin Hood Fellowship — fellowship to use technology to increase access to legal services for New Yorkers. Stuff that matters.
- The Echo From Amazon Brims With Groundbreaking Promise (NY Times) — A bit more than a year after its release, the Echo has morphed from a gimmicky experiment into a device that brims with profound possibility. The longer I use it, the more regularly it inspires the same sense of promise I felt when I used the first iPhone — a sense this machine is opening up a vast new realm in personal computing, and gently expanding the role that computers will play in our future.
Four short links: 11 March 2016
Deep-Learning Catan, Scala Tutorials, Legal Services, and Shiny Echo
Four short links: 3 November 2015
Quantum Architectures, Gig Economy Size, Networking Truths, and Twitter's Decay
- Australians Invent Architecture for Full-Scale Quantum Computer (IEEE) — still research paper, so I’ll believe it when it can glitch Hangouts just like a real computer.
- How Big is the Gig Economy? (Medium) — this is one example in which the Labor Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics really have shirked their responsibility to try and assess the size and growth of this dynamic shift to our economy.
- The Twelve Networking Truths — RFC1925 is channeling the epigram-leaking protagonist of Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love. It is easier to move a problem around (for example, by moving the problem to a different part of the overall network architecture) than it is to solve it. This is true for most areas of life: generally easier to make it someone else’s problem than to solve it.
- The Decay of Twitter (The Atlantic) — In other words, on Twitter, people say things that they think of as ephemeral and chatty. Their utterances are then treated as unequivocal political statements by people outside the conversation. Because there’s a kind of sensationalistic value in interpreting someone’s chattiness in partisan terms, tweets “are taken up as magnum opi to be leapt upon and eviscerated, not only by ideological opponents or threatened employers but by in-network peers.”
Four short links: 7 November 2014
Twitter Emoji, Immersive Cinema, Bitcoin Regulation, and Internet Sovereignty
- Twitter Open Sources Their Emoji Library — Emoji are the sparklines of sentiment.
- Interactive 360-degree Films. From Google (Medium) — you move the camera through a movie shot in 360 degrees, and can choose what you’re looking at through the scene. I can’t wait to try this, it sounds brilliant.
- Bitcoin Crackdown — everyone who started exchanges and mutual funds thinking Bitcoin wouldn’t be regulated like a currency is getting an SEC headache.
- Connected Choices: How the Internet is Challenging Sovereign Decisions (PDF) — Ultimately, the Internet remains both a global commons and part of each nation’s sovereign infrastructure, and thus activities in cyberspace must continue to navigate two sets of demands: national interests and global interests. […] Political leaders are responsible for articulating a vision and establishing general principles and policies to achieve their goals and, accordingly, are constantly trying to advance their agendas using policy, law, market mechanisms, regulation, standards, and other initiatives. The evidence is clear; you just have to look for it.
Four short links: 29 October 2014
Tweet Parsing, Focus and Money, Challenging Open Data Beliefs, and Exploring ISP Data
- TweetNLP — CMU open source natural language parsing tools for making sense of Tweets.
- Interview with Google X Life Science’s Head (Medium) — I will have been here two years this March. In nineteen months we have been able to hire more than a hundred scientists to work on this. We’ve been able to build customized labs and get the equipment to make nanoparticles and decorate them and functionalize them. We’ve been able to strike up collaborations with MIT and Stanford and Duke. We’ve been able to initiate protocols and partnerships with companies like Novartis. We’ve been able to initiate trials like the baseline trial. This would be a good decade somewhere else. The power of focus and money.
- Schooloscope Open Data Post-Mortem — The case of Schooloscope and the wider question of public access to school data challenges the belief that sunlight is the best disinfectant, that government transparency would always lead to better government, better results. It challenges the sentiments that see data as value-neutral and its representation as devoid of politics. In fact, access to school data exposes a sharp contrast between the private interest of the family (best education for my child) and the public interest of the government (best education for all citizens).
- M-Lab Observatory — explorable data on the data experience (RTT, upload speed, etc) across different ISPs in different geographies over time.
Everyone wants an alternative to email, but do we really need one?
Editor’s note: this post originally appeared on Medium; it is republished here with permission.
Conventional workplace wisdom declares email a daily scourge. We receive too much of it. We spend too much time replying to it. We concoct elaborate strategies to cope with it and avoid incurring a debt that downward-spirals to email bankruptcy.
We bow down at the altar of Inbox Zero, the methodology that dictates we take prompt, concrete action to dispatch with every single message we receive. Reply to it. Or file it. Or delete it. We turn the drudgery of processing the flood of correspondence into a game. Inbox Zero, FTW! Achievement unlocked … till the next time we hit refresh. Because emails are like gray hairs: for every one we send packing, five more will soon arrive in its place. Any client-side strategy we take to conquer our inboxes is thus limited by the fact that it’s palliative, not ameliorative. Perpetuating Inbox Zero means living in a constant state of vigilance, aggressively and swiftly responding to every incoming message. It means becoming an email answering machine!
Four short links: 19 September 2014
Deep Learning Bibliography, Go Playground, Tweet-a-Program, and Memory Management
- Deep Learning Bibliography — an annotated bibliography of recent publications (2014-) related to Deep Learning.
- Inside the Go Playground — on safely offering a REPL over the web to strangers.
- Wolfram Tweet-a-Program — clever marketing trick, and reminiscent of Perl Golf-style “how much can you fit into how little” contests.
- Memory Management Reference — almost all you ever wanted to know about memory management.
Four short links: 5 September 2014
Pragmatic Ventures?, Pictures Vanishing, Vertical Progress, and Visualising Distributed Consensus
- Intellectual Ventures Making Things (Bloomberg) — Having earned billions in payouts from powerful technology companies, IV is setting out to build things on its own. Rather than keeping its IP under lock and key, the company is looking to see if its ideas can be turned into products and the basis for new companies. Crazy idea. Madness. Building things never works.
- Twitpic Shutting Down — I guess we know what Jason Scott will be doing for the next three weeks.
- Thiel’s Contrarian Strategy (Fortune) — the distinction Thiel draws between transformative, “vertical” change—going from zero to one—and incremental, “horizontal” change—going from one to n. “If you take one typewriter and build 100, you have made horizontal progress,” he explains in the book’s first chapter. “If you have a typewriter and build a word processor, you have made vertical progress.”
- Raft: Understandable Distributed Consensus — making sense of something that’s useful but not intuitive. Awesome.
Four short links: 18 February 2014
Offensive Security, Sage-Quitting, Ethics Risks, and War Stories
- Offensive Computer Security — 2014 class notes, lectures, etc. from FSU. All CC-licensed.
- Twitter I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (Quinn Norton) — The net doesn’t make social problems. It amplifies them until they can’t be ignored. And many other words of wisdom. When you eruditely stop using a service, that’s called sage-quitting.
- Inside Google’s Mysterious Ethics Board (Forbes) — nails the three risk to Google’s AI ethics board: (a) compliance-focus, (b) internally-staffed, and (c) only for show.
- 10 Things We Forgot to Monitor — devops war stories explaining ten things that bitly now monitors.
pushState to the future: progressive enhancement using HTML5 pushState at Twitter
One speaker at Fluent 2013 whose talk was particularly well received was Todd Kloots of Twitter who spoke about HTML5’s pushState API and demonstrated how it was used in Twitter’s Web-based interface.
Some key parts of Todd’s talk include:
- The opportunity Twitter saw in pushState [at 01:45]
- What you had to do with dynamic URLs before pushState [at 02:46]
- A summary of the pushState API [at 06:10]
- Gotchas and browser support [at 07:58]
- How pushState sped up navigation on Twitter.com without re-architecting [at 12:15]
- What Twitter had to do server-side to make progressive enhancement work [at 19:11]
- Final thoughts [at 31:37]
- Q&A [at 32:15]