- Juju — Canonical’s cloud orchestration software, intended to be a peer of chef and puppet. (via svrn)
- Cultural Heritage Symbols — workshopped icons to indicate interactives, big data, makerspaces, etc. (via Courtney Johnston)
- Quinn Norton: Students as Hackers (EdTalks) — if you really want to understand the future, don’t look at how people are looking at technology, look at how they are misusing technology.
Blowing open the doors to low-power, on-demand supercomputing
Packing impressive supercomputing power inside a small credit card-sized board running Ubuntu, Adapteva‘s $99 ARM-based Parallella system includes the unique Ephiphany numerical accelerator that promises to unleash industrial strength parallel processing on the desktop at a rock-bottom price. The Massachusetts-based startup recently ran a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign and gained widespread attention only to run into a few roadblocks along the way. Now, with their setbacks behind them, Adapteva is slated to deliver its first units mid-December 2013, with volume shipping in the following months.
What makes the Parallella board so exciting is that it breaks new ground: imagine an Open Source Hardware board, powered by just a few Watts of juice, delivering 90 GFLOPS of number crunching. Combine this with the possibility of clustering multiple boards, and suddenly the picture of an exceedingly affordable desktop supercomputer emerges.
This review looks in-depth at a pre-release prototype board (so-called Generation Zero, a development run of 50 units), giving you a pretty complete overview of what the finished board will look like.
The past, present, and future of Dell's project
Barton George (@barton808) is the Director of Development Programs at Dell, and the lead on Project Sputnik—Dell’s Ubuntu-based developer laptop (and its accompanying software). He sat down with me at OSCON to talk about what’s happened in the past year since OSCON 2012, and why he thinks Sputnik has a real chance at attracting developers.
Key highlights include:
- The developers that make up Sputnik’s ideal audience [Discussed at 1:00]
- The top three reasons you should try Sputnik [Discussed at 2:46]
- What Barton hopes to be talking about in 2014 [Discussed at 4:36]
- The key to building a community is documentation [Discussed at 5:20]
You can view the full interview here:
Hashbangs URLs Must Go, Cheap DNA Sequencing, Content Detection Fail, and Ubuntu on Android
- Hashbangs (Dan Webb) — why those terrible #! URLs are a bad idea. Looks like they’re going away with pushState coming to browsers. As Dan says, “URLs are forever”. Let’s get them right. I’m fascinated by how URLs are changing meaning and use over time.
- DNA Sequencing on a USB Stick — this has been going the rounds, but I think there’s a time coming when scientific data generation can be crowdsourced. I care about a particular type of fish, but it hasn’t been sequenced. Can I catch one, sequence it, upload the sequence, and get insight into the animal by automated detection of similar genes from other animals? Let those who care do the boring work, let scientists work on the analysis.
- The US Recording Industry is Stealing From Me (Bruce Simpson) — automated content detection at YouTube has created an industry of parasites who claim copyright infringement and then receive royalties from the ads shown on the allegedly infringing videos.
- Ubuntu on Android — carry a desktop in your pocket? Tempting. It’s for manufacturers, not something you install on existing handsets, which I’m sure will create tension with the open source world at Ubuntu’s heart. Then again, creating tension with the open source world at Ubuntu’s heart does seem to be Canonical’s core competency ….
Banshee Bucks, Log Mining, Visualization Secrets, and Repression Tools
- Canonical’s New Plan for Banshee — Canonical prepare the Linux distribution Ubuntu. They will distribute the popular iTunes-alike Banshee, but instead of the standard Amazon store plugin (which generates much $ in affiliate revenue for the GNOME Foundation) they will have Canonical’s own Amazon store plugin and keep 75% of the revenue (25% going to the GNOME Foundation). They’re legally within their rights, and it underscores for me how the goal of providing freedom from control is incompatible with a goal of making money. Free and open source software gives self-destination with software, and that includes the right to replace your money pump with theirs.
- Oluolu — an open source query log mining tool which works on Hadoop. This tool provides resources to add new features to search engines. Concretely Oluolu supports automatic dictionary creation such as spelling correction, context queries or frequent query n-grams from query log data. The dictionaries are applied to search engines to add features such as ‘did you mean’ or ‘related keyword suggestion’ service in search engines. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
- Information is Beautiful Process (David McCandless) — David’s process for creating his beautiful and moving visualizations.
- Facebook for Repressive Regimes — The purpose of this blog post is not to help repressive regimes use Facebook better, but rather to warn activists about the risks they face when using Facebook. (via Justine Sanderson on Delicious)
Complicated iPad synchronization reveals a missed opportunity
The iPad is an amazing piece of hardware, but it’s still a 1.0 device. At the top of the “to be improved list” should be a simple mechanism for synchronization and cloud access. The iPad and the iPhone are perfect smart terminals for cloud computing. At some level Apple knows this, as it was pushing a MobileMe discount with iPads this weekend. But when you get your hands on an iPad, you realize that Apple missed a real opportunity for deep integration with its cloud offerings.
I dove right in to OSCON by attending Jono Bacon's "Building Belonging" community talk. Jono, who is the community manager for Ubuntu, started out his presentation by asking what communities can do to build and improve the sense of belonging that people have in their community. After talking a little about what belonging means, he threw out the first concrete…
Augmented Reality, A/B Psych, Open Source Heartbeat, Launchpad Launches
- ARtisan — AR Flash library, the fastest and easiest way from point A to point B in browser based augmented reality. Love the demos on the home page. (via and bjepson)
- How to Increase Sign-ups By 200% — A/B testing from 37Signals showed that “See Plans and Pricing” got twice the clickthroughs of “Free Trial!” and variations thereon. (via kathysierra on Twitter)
- Open Source Heart Monitor, Possible Blood Sugar Level Detector — another step forward in sensor networks and personal data: I’ve set up a quick prototype of a device that will monitor my heart rate while I sleep. It includes a BUGbase + BUGvonHippel module (from my company Bug Labs). I’m also using a custom module we put together that uses a Polar radio receiver (from Sparkfun) and a Polar strap that I wear around my chest. Lastly, we wrote a simple program that runs on the BUG to log the data. (via chr1a on Twitter)
- Launchpad Opensourced — Canonical’s code hosting and collaboration platform that was heavily lusted after in the open souce world, finally open sourced and in its entirety. GNU Affero license.
Mark Shuttleworth recently announced that the release of Ubuntu 9.10 will be code-named Karmic Koala. Whilst many of the developments around Ubuntu 9.10 are focused on the desktop, a significant effort is being made on the server release to bring Ubuntu into the cloud computing space. The cloud effort begins with 9.04 and the launch of a technology preview of Eucalyptus, an open sourced system for creating Amazon EC2-like clouds, on Ubuntu.
When I left Microsoft I switched to a Macbook Pro and didn't look back. I never thought that I would use a Windows machine regularly again. Then I got an Asus Eee PC 1000h (10.2 in screen, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, upgraded to 2GB RAM; I judge it to be on the larger end of a netbook)….