You scale content businesses by increasing the number of people who create the content … or so conventional wisdom says. Learn how a former author is using software to simulate and expand human-quality writing.
Curveship — a new interactive fiction system that can tell the same story in many different ways. Check out the examples on the home page. Important because interactive fiction and the command-lines of our lives are inextricably intertwined.
Egypt’s Revolution: Coming to an Economy Near You (Umair Haque) — more dystopic prediction, but this phrase rings true: The lesson: You can’t steal the future forever — and, in a hyperconnected world, you probably can’t steal as much of it for as long.
Why Startups Fail — failure is a more instructive teacher than success, so simply studying successful startups isn’t enough. (via Hacker News)
Computer Science and Philosophy — Oxford is offering a program studying CS and Philosophy together. the two disciplines share a broad focus on the representation of information and rational inference, embracing common interests in algorithms, cognition, intelligence, language, models, proof, and verification. Computer Scientists need to be able to reflect critically and philosophically about these, as they push forward into novel domains. Philosophers need to understand them within a world increasingly shaped by computer technology, in which a whole new range of enquiry has opened up, from the philosophy of AI, artificial life and computation, to the ethics of privacy and intellectual property, to the epistemology of computer models (e.g. of global warming). I wish every CS student had taken a course in ethics.
CloudUSB — a USB key containing your operating environment and your data + a protected folder so nobody can access you data, even if you lost the key + a backup program which keeps a copy of your data on an online disk, with double password protection. (via ferrouswheel on Twitter)
Programming Things I Wish I Knew Earlier (Ted Dziuba) — opinionated piece, but boils down to “keep it simple until you can’t”, and “the more you know about the actual hardware, the better you can code”. With EC2, when Amazon says “I/O performance: High”, what does that even mean? Is that suitable for a heavy random read scenario? (via Hacker News)
Sax: Symbolic Aggregate approXimation — SAX is the first symbolic representation for time series that allows for dimensionality reduction and indexing with a lower-bounding distance measure. In classic data mining tasks such as clustering, classification, index, etc., SAX is as good as well-known representations such as Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) and Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT), while requiring less storage space. In addition, the representation allows researchers to avail of the wealth of data structures and algorithms in bioinformatics or text mining, and also provides solutions to many challenges associated with current data mining tasks. One example is motif discovery, a problem which we recently defined for time series data. There is great potential for extending and applying the discrete representation on a wide class of data mining tasks. Source code has “non-commercial” license. (via rdamodharan on Delicious)
Open Source OSCON (RedMonk) — The business of selling open source software, remember, is dwarfed by the business of using open source software to produce and sell other services. And yet historically, most of the focus on open source software has accrued to those who sold it. Today, attention and traction is shifting to those who are not in the business of selling software, but rather share their assets via a variety of open source mechanisms. (via Simon Phipps)
The Diary of Samuel Pepys — a remarkable mashup of historical information and literature in modern technology to make the Pepys diaries an experience rather than an object. It includes historical weather, glosses, maps, even an encyclopedia. (prompted by Jon Udell)
The Tonido Plug Server — one of many such wall-wart sized appliances. This caught my eye: CodeLathe, the folks behind Tonido, have developed a web interface and suite of applications. The larger goal is to get developers to build other applications for inclusion in Tonido’s own app store.
Wikileaks Fails “Due Diligence” Review — interesting criticism of Wikileaks from Federation of American Scientists. “Soon enough,” observed Raffi Khatchadourian in a long profile of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New Yorker (June 7), “Assange must confront the paradox of his creation: the thing that he seems to detest most-power without accountability-is encoded in the site’s DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution.” (via Hacker News)
Yahoo Style Guide — a paper book, but also a web site with lots of advice for those writing online.
Buckets and Vessels (Aaron Straup Cope) — amazing collection of projects and the cultural shifts they illustrate. Michal Migurski’s Walking Papers, software designed to round-trip paper and digital edits to Open Street Map, has recently been used by professors at the University of California’s Berkeley’s School of Information to enable “a sort of psychogeographical dispute resolution between high school students in the town of Richmond marking up maps of their school and neighbourhood with tags like “stoners”, “asian gangsters” or “make-out spot” (http://groups.ischool.berkeley.edu/papermaps/kennedy.html). By allowing participants to manipulate the perception of their environment they are given a sort of bias knob to adjust the psychics and gravity of one space over another and to create a truly personal map of the world. (via auchmill on Twitter)
Jonathan Ive on Industrial Design — fascinating to hear him talk about how he approaches his products; the interplay between materials, manufacturing methods, and function.
Hacking Toy EEGs (MindHacks) — who doesn’t want to do this, just based on the title alone?
Mamet’s Memo to the Writers — forceful, clear, and commanding. A tremendous insight, in a short period of time, into what good writing is. No idea why it’s in all caps. SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS YOUR JOB. (via Dan Meyer)
Pew Research, which seems to be interested in just about everything, conducts a "future of the Internet" survey every few years in which they throw outrageously open-ended and provocative questions at a chosen collection of observers in the areas of technology and society. I took the exercise as a chance to hammer home my own choices of issues, like: Will Google make us stupid? and Will we live in the cloud or the desktop?
One of my favorite keynotes from TOC 2009 was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) founder Chris Baty. It's November, which means the annual event is now underway. Check out the website for ways to support and participate….
Digging Around Amazon's Topaz File Format Late Night Code is popping the hood on Topaz, that mysterious "other" file format used on the Kindle: Mobipocket files purchased from Amazon have an AZW extension (which presumably stands for Amazon Whispernet – the name of the Kindle wireless download service). Mobipocket files from other sources will have a MOBI or PRC…