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June 21 2011

Four short links: 21 June 2011

  1. tmux -- GNU Screen-alike, with vertical splits and other goodies. (via Hacker News)
  2. Gamifying Education (Escapist) -- a more thoughtful and reasoned approach than crude badgification, but I'd still feel happier meddling with kids' minds if there was research to show efficacy and distribution of results. (via Ed Yong)
  3. Rule of 72 (Terry Jones) -- common piece of financial mental math, but useful outside finance when you're calculating any kind of exponential growth (e.g., bad algorithms). (via Tim O'Reilly)
  4. Spam Hits the Kindle Bookstore (Reuters) -- create a system of incentives and it will be gamed, whether it's tax law, search engines, or ebook stores. Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word. (via Clive Thompson)

May 24 2011

Four short links: 24 May 2011

  1. Delivereads -- genius idea, a mailing list for Kindles. Yes, if you can send email then you can be a Kindle publisher. (via Sacha Judd)
  2. Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives -- We measure abnormal returns for more than 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House delegates from 1985 to 2001. Consistent with the study of Senatorial trading activity, we find stocks purchased by Representatives also earn significant positive abnormal returns (albeit considerably smaller returns). A portfolio that mimics the purchases of House Members beats the market by 55 basis points per month (approximately 6% annually). (via Ellen Miller)
  3. Google News Archive Ends -- hypothesizes that old material was "too hard" to make sense of, but that seems unlikely to me. More likely is that it wasn't useful enough to their machine learning efforts. Newspapers can have their scanned/OCRed content for free now the program is being closed.
  4. Week Report 310 -- BERG's first (that I've seen) video report of the week, and it's a cracker. No newsreel, just some really clever evocation of the mood of the place and the nature of the projects. I continue to be impressed by the BERG crew's conscious creation of culture.

February 17 2011

Four short links: 17 February 2011

  1. The True Cost of Publishing on the Kindle -- an article, apparently by a horrified negotiator with Amazon, revealing that magazine and newspaper publishers pay the WhisperNet delivery costs of their editions. That's not Amazon overhead, it comes out of the publisher's royalty slice. (via Hacker News)
  2. Fonts in Use -- examples of sweet typography and the fonts that were used.
  3. Ffffound -- social network for graphic designers (invite only) with a "people who liked also liked" type of recommendation system. Very clever. So as you research "I want to build a cheesy 70s logo", you thumbs up the images you like and soon the system is suggesting designs with elements of cheesy 70s logos to you. I love that it is invitation-only: you're trusting the judgement of the other people, so you had better only let in people whose judgement you trust.
  4. China's Second Wives and Gift Culture -- second wives, status, and brand. But any city that has a middle class is going to have Second Wives. [...] Even Jiang Zemin, the former President, had a very high profile mistress - a singer called Song Zuying who appears on the Chinese New Year programme every year. And it's not a scandal. A reminder that if you think you can export your crappy business built on American status symbols, you're leaping into the Sea of Fail. (via Sciblogs)

October 13 2010

Four short links: 13 October 2010

  1. 'Scrapers' Dig Deep for Data on Web (WSJ) -- our users' data comprise a valuable resource to mine and sell, but so do their kidneys. The data world faces serious issues with informed consent, control, and exploitation--it's not just a shiny new business model, it can also leave people feeling very violated. Again, if you're not paying for it then you're the product and not the customer. The majority of humanity is not conscious of the difference between "user" and "customer". (via Mike Brown on Twitter)
  2. Journalism in the Age of Data (Video) -- Stanford video, with annotations and links, on the challenge of using dataviz as a storytelling medium. (via Ben Goldacre on Twitter)
  3. webshell (Github) -- open source (Apache-licensed) console utility, requiring node.js, for debugging and understanding HTTP connections. (via Chris Shiflett on Twitter, who prefers it to yesterday's htty)
  4. Amazon to Launch Kindle Singles (press release) -- shorter-form works (think: novellas) as a format to expand publishing market rather than shrink it. Damn near every business book ever written should have been this size instead of 300 pages of tedium.

May 05 2010

Four short links: 5 May 2010

  1. Sketch for Processing -- an IDE for Processing based on Mozilla's Bespin.
  2. British Election Results to be Broadcast on Big Ben -- the monument is the message. Lovely integration of real-time data and architecture, an early step for urban infrastructure as display.
  3. Face.com API -- an alpha API for face recognition.
  4. Average Number of Books/Kindle -- short spreadsheet figuring out, from cited numbers. (Spoiler: the answer is 27)

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