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September 13 2011

Four short links: 13 September 2011

  1. Dan Saffer: How To Lie with Design Research (Google Video) -- Experience shows that, especially with qualitative research like the type designers often do, two researchers can look at the same set of data and draw dramatically different findings from them. As William Blake said, "Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read white." (via Keith Bolland)
  2. Teaching What You Don't Know (Sci Blogs) -- As that lecturer said, learning new things—while challenging—is also stimulating & fun. If that sense of excitement and enjoyment carries through to your actual classes, then you’ll speak with passion and enthusiasm—how better to in turn enthuse your students? Ties in with the Maori concept of Ako, that teacher and student learn from each other.
  3. Bored of 3D Printers (Tom Armitage) -- made me wonder how long it would be before we drop the "3D" prefix and expect a "printer" to emit objects. That said, I love Tom's neologism artefactory.
  4. Future of Javascript from Google's Internal Summit -- Javascript has fundamental flaws that cannot be fixed merely by evolving the language. Their two-pronged strategy is to work with ECMA (the standards body responsible for the language) and simultaneously develop Yet Another New Language. I still don't know which box to file this in: techowank fantasy ("I will build the ultimate language and all will fall in line before me!" -- btdt, have the broken coffee mug), arrogant corporate forkwits, genuine frustration with the path of progress, evil play for ownership. Read Alex Russell's commentary on this (Alex is the creator of Dojo, now an employee of Google) for some context. I have to say, We Will Build A Better Javascript doesn't fill me with confidence when it comes from folks producing Chrome-specific demos (causing involuntary shudders as we all flash back to "this site best experienced in Microsoft Internet Explorer" days). Trust makes Google possible: Microsoft wanted to roll an identity solution out to the public but was beaten to pieces for it; Google was begged to provide an API for gmail account authentication. The difference was trust: Google had it and Microsoft had lost it. When Google loses our trust, whether by hostile self-interested forking, by promoting antifeature proprietary or effectively-proprietary integrated technologies over the open web, or by traditional trust-losing techniques such as security failures or over-exploitative use of data, they're fucked. I use a lot of Google services and love them to pieces, but they must be ever-vigilant for hubris. Everyone at Google should look humbly at Yahoo!, which once served customers and worked well with others but whose death was ensured around 2000 when they rolled out popups and began eating the sheep instead of shearing them.

May 27 2010

Four short links: 27 May 2010

  1. Socorro: Mozilla's Crash Reporting System (Laura Thomson) -- We receive on our peak day each week 2.5 million crash reports, and process 15% of those, for a total of 50 GB. In total, we receive around 320Gb each day. Moving to a Hadoop-based system in the future, as they're limited by database and filesystem storage.
  2. DIY Atomic Force Microscopy -- use a 3D printer to make the parts so you can build a cheap and simple AFM head suitable for single molecule force spectroscopy. (via Vik Olliver)
  3. Elastic Lists -- open-sourced ActionScript for a clever faceted browsing system. (via Flowing Data)
  4. The Most IMPORTANT Video You'll Ever See (YouTube) -- a math lesson everyone should have. (via Hacker News)

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