- Predicting Crime Before It Occurs (SFGate) — The new program used by LAPD and police in the Northern California city of Santa Cruz is more timely and precise, proponents said. Built on the same model for predicting aftershocks following an earthquake, the software promises to show officers what might be coming based on simple, constantly calibrated data — location, time and type of crime. The software generates prediction boxes — as small as 500 square feet — on a patrol map. When officers have spare time, they are told to “go in the box.”
- Realising Benefits From Six Public Sector Technology Projects (PDF) — New Zealand report from the Auditor-General. Conclusion specifically calls out agile development, open source, and open data as technology tools that helped deliver success.
- Ringbow (Kickstarter) — a D-pad style joystick controller, built into a ring and designed for use with touchscreen games.
- The Recruiter Honeypot (Elaine Wherry) — Brilliant! Trying to ramp up Meebo’s staff, Elaine created a fake employee profile to see where recruiters hunted and to identify the best. Her lessons are great advice for anyone also trying to hire up fast in the Bay Area. Worth reading if only for the squicky stories of sleazy recruiters.
ENTRIES TAGGED "UI"
Predictive Policing, Public Sector Tech Benefits, Wireless Joystick on a Ring, and Recruiter Honeypot
Turing Talk, Table Editor, Posture Sensor, and Cheating 'Bot
- Turing Centenary Speech (Bruce Sterling) — so many thoughtbombs, this repays rereading. We’re okay with certain people who “think different” to the extent of buying Apple iPads. We’re rather hostile toward people who “think so very differently” that their work will make no sense for thirty years — if ever. We’ll test them, and see if we can find some way to get them to generate wealth for us, but we’re not considerate of them as unusual, troubled entities wandering sideways through a world they never made. … Cognition exists, and computation exists, but they’re not the same phenomenon with two different masks on. … Explain to me, as an engineer, why it’s so important to aspire to build systems with “Artificial Intelligence,” and yet you’d scorn to build “Artificial Femininity.” What is that about? … Every day I face all these unstable heaps of creative machinery. How do we judge art created with, by, and or through these devices? What is our proper role with them? [...] How do we judge what we’re doing? How do we distribute praise and blame, rewards and demerits, how do to guide it, how do we attribute meaning to it? … oh just read the whole damn piece, it’s the best thing you’ll read this month.
- Handsontable — Excel-like grid editing plugin for jQuery (MIT-licensed).
- Lumoback (Kickstarter) — smart posture sensor which provides a gentle vibration when you slouch to remind you to sit or stand straight. It is worn on your lower back and designed to be slim, sleek and so comfortable that you barely feel it when you have it on. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- Robot Hand Beats You At Rock-Paper-Scissors (IEEE) — tl;dr: computer vision and fast robotics means it chooses after you reveal, but it happens so quickly that you don’t realize it’s cheating. (via Hacker News)
One-click Facebook campaigns, PayPal redesigns, and a Best Buy exec identifies in-store mobile issues.
Payvment launches a one-click Facebook ad service, PayPal revamps its website with consumers and mobile in mind, and a Best Buy exec says in-store mobile use has a scale issue. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
Maker Tribe, Concept Mapping, Magic Wand, and Site Performance Matters
- Last Saturday My Son Found His People at the Maker Faire — aww to the power of INFINITY.
- Dictionaries Linking Words to Concepts (Google Research) — Wikipedia entries for concepts, text strings from searches and the oppressed workers down the Text Mines, and a count indicating how often the two were related.
- Magic Wand (Kickstarter) — I don’t want the game, I want a Bluetooth magic wand. I don’t want to click the OK button, I want to wave a wand and make it so! (via Pete Warden)
- E-Commerce Performance (Luke Wroblewski) — If a page load takes more than two seconds, 40% are likely to abandon that site. This is why you should follow Steve Souders like a hawk: if your site is slower than it could be, you’re leaving money on the table.
Version Control for Real Stuff, Educators on Food Stamps, Gestural Exploration, and Book Marketing
- We Need Version Control for Real Stuff (Chris Anderson) — This is pointing us toward the next step, a GitHub for stuff. If open source hardware is going to take off like open source software, we need this. (via Evil Mad Scientist)
- Graduates and Post-Graduates on Food Stamps (Chronicle of Higher Education) — two points for me here: the inherent evil of not paying a living wage; and the pain of market signals that particular occupations and specialisations are not as useful as once they were. I imagine it’s hard to repurpose the specific knowledge in a Masters of Medieval History to some other field, though hopefully the skills of diligent hard work, rapid acquisition of knowledge, and critical thought will apply to new jobs. Expect more of this as we replace human labour with automation. I look forward to the software startup which creates work for people outside the organisation; the ultimate “create more value than you capture”.
- Explore Exoplanets with Gestural Interfaces — uses John Underkoffler’s Oblong gestural interface. Underkoffler came up with the Minority Report interface which has fed the dreams of designers for years.
- Book Marketing Lessons Learned (Sarah Milstein) — I really liked this honest appraisal of how Baratunde Thurston marketed his “How to be Black” book, and am doubly chuffed that it appeared on the O’Reilly Radar blog. I was fascinated by his Street Team, but knew I wanted to bring it to your attention when I read this. Start with your inner circle. I had an epiphany with Gary Vaynerchuk. I asked: “Did I ever ask you to buy my book?” He said, “Yeah, I bought it yesterday.” I talked about his book, but cash on the table — it didn’t happen. He wished he had identified everyone he knows, sending a personal note explaining: “A) buy the book; B) this means a lot to me. You owe me or I will owe you. Here’s some things you can do to help: If you have speaking opportunities, let me know. For instance, I would love to speak at schools.” Make it easy for people who want to help you. Everything else is bonus. If you haven’t already converted the inner circle, you’ve skipped a critical step. “Let the people who already love you show it” is the skill I feel like I’ve spent years working on, and still have years to go.
Self-directed Education, Bunnie Huang, ssh in the Browser, and Screen Size
- Sugata Mitra: Beyond The Hole in the Wall (YouTube) — great talk by the education researcher Sugata Mitra whose big kick is self-directed learning. Great stories about the deployments and effects he’s had with technology and supervision rather than teaching, but the end is a real kicker: the core skills we have are literacy, search, and belief. Of the three, the most problematic is belief: when and how do/should we turn something we’ve read into something ingrained, accepted, and built-upon? (via Tara Taylor-Jorgenson)
- Interview with Bunnie Huang (Makezine) — fascinating interview with the hardware guy behind the Chumby. It’s all gold, from rapid iteration at early stages of hardware through to the need to simplify. I think one of the most gut-wrenching realizations that small companies have to make is that they aren’t Apple. Apple spends over a billion dollars a year on tooling. An injection molding tool may cost around $40k and 2-3 months to make; Apple is known to build five or six simultaneously and then scrap all but one so they can evaluate multiple design approaches. But for them, tossing $200k in tooling to save 2 months time to market is peanuts. But for a startup that raised a million bucks, it’s unthinkable. Apple also has hundreds of staff; a startup has just a few members to do everything. The precision and refinement of Apple’s products come at an enormous cost that is just out of the reach of startups.
- ssh as Chrome Extension — can’t help but feel that building a secure login system on top of web browsers on top of operating systems isn’t going to be more secure than building a secure login system on top of the operating system.
- (Tablet) Size Matters (Luke Wroblewski) — as the screen gets bigger, we use the Web more.
- Tupac Coachella Behind the Technology (CBS) — interesting to me is Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were considering taking Shakur with them on tour. Just as Hobbit, Tintin, etc. are CG-ing characters to look normal, is the future of “live” spectacle to be this kind of CG show? Will new acts be competing against the Rolling Stones forever?
- wkhtmltopdf (Google Code) — Simple shell utility to convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine, and qt. My first piece of “I wrote this, now you can use it too” open source was an HTML to PS converter (this was 1994 or so) via LaTeX. It’s a useful thing, no really.
- Nicira (Wired) — moving network management into software so the network hardware is as dumb as possible. Interesting continuation of the End-to-End principle, whereby smarts live at the edges of the network and the conduits are dumb.
Cartographic Data Tool, Astronomical Volumes of Astronomical Data, Faster Touch, and Why MS Open Source?
- CartoDB (GitHub) — open source geospatial database, API, map tiler, and UI. For feature comparison, see Comparing Open Source CartoDB to Fusion Tables (via Nelson Minar).
- Future Telescope Array Drives Exabyte Processing (Ars Technica) — Astronomical data is massive, and requires intense computation to analyze. If it works as planned, Square Kilometer Array will produce over one exabyte (260 bytes, or approximately 1 billion gigabytes) every day. This is roughly twice the global daily traffic of the entire Internet, and will require storage capacity at least 10 times that needed for the Large Hadron Collider. (via Greg Linden)
- Faster Touch Screens More Usable (Toms Hardware) — check out that video! (via
- Why Microsoft’s New Open Source Division (Simon Phipps) — The new “Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.” provides an ideal firewall to protect Microsoft from the risks it has been alleging exist in open source and open standards. As such, it will make it “easier and faster” for them to respond to the inevitability of open source in their market without constant push-back from cautious and reactionary corporate process.
What to watch for in HTML5, CSS, and the open web.
HTML5 author Christopher Schmitt talks with O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent about why it's a great time to be a web developer.