- 2010: The Year of Crowdsourcing Transcription — hasn’t finished yet, as NY Public Library shows. Cultural institutions are huge data sets that need human sensors to process, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in years to come as we light up thousands of years of written culture. (via Liza Daley)
- Programming the Commodore 64 — the loss of the total control that we had over our computers back when they were small enough that everything you needed to know would fit inside your head. It’s left me with a taste for grokking systems deeply and intimately, and that tendency is probably not a good fit for most modern programming, where you really don’t have time to go in an learn, say, Hibernate or Rails in detail: you just have to have the knack of skimming through a tutorial or two and picking up enough to get the current job done, more or less. I don’t mean to denigrate that: it’s an important and valuable skill. But it’s not one that moves my soul as Deep Knowing does. This is the kind of deep knowledge of TCP/IP and OS that devops is all about.
- Kids do Science — scientists lets kids invent an experiment, write it up, and it’s published in Biology Letters. Teaching the method of science, not the facts currently in vogue, will give us a generation capable of making data-based decisions.
PDP-11 Emulated, Crowdsourcing Culture, Deep Knowing, and Scientific Method
A data task illustrates the importance of simple and flexible tools.
While we have an extraordinary wealth of power data tools at our disposal, we'll be the
poorer if we forget the basics. Here's an example of how simple data tools can be put to use.
HTML5 Widgets, RDF and Unix, Movie Piracy, and Online Complaints
- RDF for Intrepid Unix Hackers — an interesting series, showing how to use common Unix tools to manipulate RDF data from the commandline. (via Edd Dumbill)
- How to Thrive Among Pirates (Kevin Kelly) — a look at how indigenous movie-makers make money in countries like China, India, and Nigeria where piracy is rampant. In short, they make cheap movies, sell near the price of inferior-quality knockoffs, and take advantage of unique experiences that movie theaters offer (e.g., air-conditioning).
- On Complaints (PublicStrategist) — a very good analysis of complaints departments and expectations of people who complain. But there is also a vital question of what the organisation thinks the purpose of a complaints process is. If it is a safety valve, a means of finding and correcting the most egregious failures or a means of channelling immediate anger and dissatisfaction into a swamp of unresponsiveness, then it can’t provide any broader value. That’s where the Patient Opinion model starts to look really attractive. It is deliberately and carefully constructed to elicit feedback, not just complaints. More than half the stories it gets told are positive, even some of the most harrowing, and it therefore creates a picture which is as clear about what is valued as it is about what is seen as in need of improvement.
DIY Baby Rocker, Unix Systems Glory, Encrypting Ephemera, and Explaining Creative Joy
- Linux Baby Rocker — inventive use of a CD drive and the eject command … (via Hacker News)
- I Like Unicorn Because It’s Unix — forceful rant about the need to rediscover Unix systems programming. Reminds me of the Varnish notes where the author explains that it works better because it uses the operating system instead of recreating it poorly.
- Encrypting Ephemeral Storage and EBS Volumes on Amazon — step-by-step instructions. (via Matt Biddulph on Delicious)
- You Have No Life — if a video smacks even slightly of concentrated effort or advance planning, someone will inevitably scoff that the subject has a) “too much time on his hands” or b) “no life.” Ten times out of ten. […] After six years I lack a succinct, meaningful response to my students’ defensive, clannish embrace of mediocrity, though I’m grateful for this tweet, which comes pretty close: dwineman: You say “looks like somebody has too much time on their hands” but all I hear is “I’m sad because I don’t know what creativity feels like.”