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June 01 2012

Four short links: 1 June 2012

  1. BeWell App (Google Play) -- continuously tracks user behaviors along three key health dimensions without requiring any user input — the user simply downloads the app and uses the phone as usual. Finally, someone tracking my behaviour for my own good.
  2. Met 3D -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts its first 3d printing and scanning hackathon. [O]n June 1 and 2, approximately twenty-five digital artists and programmers will gather at the Met to experiment with the latest 3-D scanning and replicating technologies. Their aim will be to use the Museum's vast encyclopedic collections as a departure point for the creation of new work. THIS. IS. AWESOME. (via Alison Marigold)
  3. The Perfected Self (The Atlantic) -- everything you knew about B. F. Skinner was wrong, and you should know about him because you're using his techniques to lose weight, stop smoking, and do your homework. (via Erica Lloyd)
  4. Google Blockly -- (Google Code) A web-based, graphical programming language. Users can drag blocks together to build an application. No typing required. Open sourced.

April 24 2012

Four short links: 24 April 2012

  1. 3D-Printing Pharmaceuticals (BoingBoing) -- Prof Cronin added: "3D printers are becoming increasingly common and affordable. It's entirely possible that, in the future, we could see chemical engineering technology which is prohibitively expensive today filter down to laboratories and small commercial enterprises. "Even more importantly, we could use 3D printers to revolutionise access to health care in the developing world, allowing diagnosis and treatment to happen in a much more efficient and economical way than is possible now.
  2. Bolt Action Tactical Pen (Uncrate) -- silliness.
  3. Ken Robinson's Sunday Sermon (Vimeo) -- In our culture, not to know is to be at fault socially… People pretend to know lots of things they don’t know. Because the worst thing to do is appear to be uninformed about something, to not have an opinion… We should know the limits of our knowledge and understand what we don’t know, and be willing to explore things we don’t know without feeling embarrassed of not knowing about them. If you work with someone who hides ignorance or failure, you're working with a timebomb and one of your highest priorities should be to change that mindset or replace the person. (via Maria Popova)
  4. Using Android Camera in HTML Apps (David Calhoun) -- From your browser you can now upload pictures and videos from the camera as well as sounds from the microphone. The returned data should be available to manipulate via the File API (via Josh Clark)

April 05 2012

Editorial Radar with Mike Loukides & Mike Hendrickson

Mike Loukides and Mike Hendrickson, two of O'Reilly Media's editors, sat down recently to talk about what's on their editorial radars. Mike and Mike have almost 50 years of combined technical book publishing experience and I always enjoy listening to their insight.

In this session, they discuss what they see in the tech space including:

  • How 3D Printing and personal manufacturing will revolutionize the way business is conducted in the U.S. [Discussed at the 00:43 mark ]
  • The rise of mobile and device sensors and how intelligence will be added to all sorts of devices. [Discussed at the 02:15 mark ]
  • Clear winners in today's code space: JavaScript. With Node.js, D3, HTML5, JavaScript is stepping up the plate. [Discussed at the 04:12 mark ]
  • A discussion on the best first language to teach programming and how we need to provide learners with instruction for the things they want to do. [Discussed at the 06:03 mark ]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

Next month, Mike and Mike will be talking about functional languages.

Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond — Explore the changing worlds of JavaScript & HTML5 at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference (May 29 - 31 in San Francisco, Calif.).

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20

March 28 2012

Four short links: 28 March 2012

  1. MS Office Exploit In The Wild, Targeting Mac OS X -- This is one of the few times that we have seen a malicious Office file used to deliver Malware on Mac OS X. (via Hacker News)
  2. Please Do Not Take Down The Sality BotNet -- best responsible disclosure ever.
  3. 3Difficult -- I’m an industrial designer at heart, and I’m saddened by what’s happened to my craft. We were once the kings of things, but for a variety of reasons I think we’re in danger of being left behind. [...] Making became the talk of the town, and to some extent it still is. We’re in the first stumbling days of the Internet of Things, and are increasingly seeing the paper thin definition between digital and tangible falling away.
  4. Air Quotes Product (Matt Webb) -- Recently I noted down some places in which traditional products have changed and he goes on to list some critical ways in which networked objects challenge our thinking. I love the little brain/big brain distinction--great to have words for these things at last!

March 13 2012

Four short links: 13 March 2012

  1. Microsoft Universal Voice Translator -- the promise is that it converts your voice into another language, but the effect is more that it converts your voice into that of Darth You in another language. Still, that's like complaining that the first Wright Brothers flight didn't serve peanuts. (via Hacker News)
  2. Geography of the Basketball Court -- fascinating analytics of where NBA shooters make their shots from. Pretty pictures and sweet summaries even if you don't follow basketball. (via Flowing Data)
  3. Spark Research -- a programming model ("resilient distributed datasets") for applications that reuse an intermediate result in multiple parallel operations. (via Ben Lorica)
  4. Opening Up -- earlier I covered the problems that University of Washington's 3D printing lab had with the university's new IP policy, which prevented them from being as open as they had been. They've been granted the ability to distribute their work under Creative Commons license and are taking their place again as a hub of the emerging 3D printing world. (via BoingBoing)

February 29 2012

Four short links: 29 February 2012

  1. StuxNet Deep Dive -- extremely technical talk, but this page has a redux. The presenter's thesis, well-argued, is that StuxNet was absolutely aimed specifically at the Natanz facility. (via Chris Douglas)
  2. Smithsonian Digitizing Items (CNet) -- two-person project, only able to do a few items a year, but still an excellent advance. See also Bronwyn Holloway-Smith's art project around artifact replicas.
  3. Collusion (Mozilla) -- have your browser tell you the third parties tracking your web browsing. (via Hacker News)
  4. Survivor (Github) -- HTML5 implementation of an Atari/C64 game. If you wanted to learn how to write HTML5 arcade games, you could do worse than study this project. (via Andy Baio)

February 15 2012

Four short links: 15 February 2012

  1. Namebench (Google Code) -- hunts down the fastest DNS servers for your computer to use. (via Nelson Minar)
  2. Primer on Macroeconomics (Jig) -- reading suggestions for introductions to macroeconomics suitable to understand the financial crisis and proposed solutions. (via Tim O'Reilly)
  3. Smarter Cameras Plumb Composition -- A new type of smarter camera can take a picture but also assess the chemical composition of the objects being imaged. This enables automated inspection systems to discern details that would be missed by conventional cameras. Interesting how cameras are getting smarter: Kinect as other significant case in point. (via Slashdot)
  4. Not So Open -- 3D printing lab at the University of Washington had to stop helping outsiders because of a crazy new IP policy from the university administration. These folks were doing amazing work, developing and sharing recipes for new materials to print with (iced tea, rice flour, and more) (via BoingBoing)

January 24 2012

October 26 2011

Four short links: 26 October 2011

  1. CPAN Turns 0x10 -- sixteenth anniversary of the creation of the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. Now holds 480k objects.
  2. Subtext -- social bookreading by adding chat, links, etc. to a book. I haven't tried the implementation yet but I've wanted this for years. (Just haven't wanted to jump into the cesspool of rights negotiations enough to actually build it :-) (via David Eagleman)
  3. Questions to Ask about Election Polls -- information to help you critically consume data analysis. (via Rachel Cunliffe)
  4. Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing (PDF) -- AM is a group of emerging technologies that create objects from the bottom-up by adding material one cross-sectional layer at a time. [...] Ultimately, AM has the potential to be as disruptive as the personal computer and the internet. The digitization of physical artifacts allows for global sharing and distribution of designed solutions. It enables crowd-sourced design (and individual fabrication) of physical hardware. It lowers the barriers to manufacturing, and allows everyone to become an entrepreneur. (via Bruce Sterling)

September 21 2011

July 25 2011

Four short links: 25 July 2011

  1. Anonymity in Bitcoin -- TL;DR: Bitcoin is not inherently anonymous. It may be possible to conduct transactions is such a way so as to obscure your identity, but, in many cases, users and their transactions can be identified. We have performed an analysis of anonymity in the Bitcoin system and published our results in a preprint on arXiv. (via Hacker News)
  2. 3D Printing + Algorithmic Generation -- clever designers use algorithms based on leaf vein generation to create patterns for lamps, which are then 3d-printed. (via Imran Ali)
  3. Manimal: Relational Optimization for Data-Intensive Programs (PDF) -- static code analysis to detect MapReduce program semantics and thereby enable wholly-automatic optimization of MapReduce programs. (via BigData)
  4. Screenfly -- preview your site in different devices' screen sizes and resolutions. (via Smashing Magazine)

July 22 2011

Four short links: 22 July 2011

  1. Competitive Advantage Through Data -- the applications and business models for erecting barriers around proprietary data assets. Sees data businesses in these four categories: contributory data sourcing, offering cleaner data, data generated from service you offer, and viz/ux. The author does not yet appear to be considering when open or communal data is better than proprietary data, and how to make those projects work. (via Michael Driscoll)
  2. Interactive Touch Charts -- GPL v3 (and commercial) licensed Javascript charting library that features interactivity on touch devices: zoom, pan, and click. (via James Pearce)
  3. Solar Cutter, Solar 3D Printer -- prototypes of solar powered maker devices. The cutter is a non-laser cutter that focuses the sun's rays to a super-hot point. The printer makes glass from sand (!!!!). Not only is this cool, but sand is widespread and cheap.
  4. Synthetic Biology Open Language -- a language for the description and the exchange of synthetic biological parts, devices, and systems. Another piece of the synthetic biology puzzle comes together. The parallel development of DIY manufacturing in the worlds of bits and basepairs is mindboggling. We live in exciting times. (via krs)

May 09 2011

Four short links: 9 May 2011

  1. UDID DeAnonymization -- a developer exposed an API that connected UDID to other information such as Facebook ID. The API has been closed, but it remains true that your iPhone has a primary key and darn near every app developer has a database linking your UDID to other details about you. Apple requires this to not be public, but every private database is a bad architecture choice or security slipup away from being a public database.
  2. Be Your Own Souvenir -- Kinect + 3D printer = print a tiny figurine of yourself. Kinect has solved a very real part of the input problem that 3D fabbing had. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Campher -- Perl embedded in Go, by Brad Fitzpatrick.
  4. Slides from JS Conf 2011 -- more than thirty talks, from greats like David Flanagan, Thomas Fuchs, and Tom Hughes-Croucher. (via Isaac Z Schlueter)

June 24 2010

January 21 2010

Four short links: 21 January 2010

  1. DD-WRT -- replacement firmware for cheap wireless router boxes that add new functionality like wireless bridging and quality-of-service controls (so Skype doesn't break up while you're web-browsing). Not a new thing, but worth remembering that it exists.
  2. Brain Dump of Real Time Web and WebSocket -- long primer on the different technology for real-time web apps. Conclusion is that there's no silver bullet yet, so more development work is needed. (via TomC on Delicious)
  3. Data Decs -- 3d-printing Christmas decorations based on social network data. My favourite is the blackletter 404. (via foe on Delicious)
  4. ZSync -- open source syncing application that makes it easy for app writers to connect desktop apps and iPhone apps. (via Dave Wiskus)

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