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October 07 2013

Four short links: 8 October 2013

  1. Lightworks — open source non-linear video editing software, with quite a history.
  2. Puzzlescript — open source puzzle game engine for HTML5.
  3. pudb — full-screen (text-mode) Python debugger.
  4. Freelanfree, open-source, multi-platform, highly-configurable and peer-to-peer VPN software.

April 01 2013

Four short links: 1 April 2013

  1. MLDemosan open-source visualization tool for machine learning algorithms created to help studying and understanding how several algorithms function and how their parameters affect and modify the results in problems of classification, regression, clustering, dimensionality reduction, dynamical systems and reward maximization. (via Mark Alen)
  2. kiln (GitHub) — open source extensible on-device debugging framework for iOS apps.
  3. Industrial Internet — the O’Reilly report on the industrial Internet of things is out. Prasad suggests an illustration: for every car with a rain sensor today, there are more than 10 that don’t have one. Instead of an optical sensor that turns on windshield wipers when it sees water, imagine the human in the car as a sensor — probably somewhat more discerning than the optical sensor in knowing what wiper setting is appropriate. A car could broadcast its wiper setting, along with its location, to the cloud. “Now you’ve got what you might call a rain API — two machines talking, mediated by a human being,” says Prasad. It could alert other cars to the presence of rain, perhaps switching on headlights automatically or changing the assumptions that nearby cars make about road traction.
  4. Unique in the Crowd: The Privacy Bounds of Human Mobility (PDF, Nature) — We study fifteen months of human mobility data for one and a half million individuals and find that human mobility traces are highly unique. In fact, in a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier’s antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals. We coarsen the data spatially and temporally to find a formula for the uniqueness of human mobility traces given their resolution and the available outside information. This formula shows that the uniqueness of mobility traces decays approximately as the 1/10 power of their resolution. Hence, even coarse datasets provide little anonymity. These findings represent fundamental constraints to an individual’s privacy and have important implications for the design of frameworks and institutions dedicated to protect the privacy of individuals. As Edd observed, “You are a unique snowflake, after all.” (via Alasdair Allan)

June 15 2012

Four short links: 15 June 2012

  1. In Flawed, Epic Anonymous Book, the Abyss Gazes Back (Wired) -- Quinn Norton's review of a book about Anonymous is an excellent introduction to Anonymous. Anonymous made us, its mediafags, masters of hedging language. The bombastic claims and hyperbolic declarations must be reported from their mouths, not from our publications. And yet still we make mistakes and publish lies and assumptions that slip through. There is some of this in all of journalism, but in a world where nothing is true and everything is permitted, it’s a constant existential slog. It’s why there’s not many of us on this beat.
  2. Titan (GitHub) -- Apache2-licensed distributed graph database optimized for storing and processing large-scale graphs within a multi-machine cluster. Cassandra and HBase backends, implements the Blueprints graph API. (via Hacker News)
  3. Extra Second This June -- we're getting a leap second this year: there'll be 2012 June 30, 23h 59m 60s. Calendars are fun.
  4. On Creativity (Beta Knowledge) -- I wanted to create a game where even the developers couldn’t see what was coming. Of course I wasn’t thinking about debugging at this point. The people who did the debugging asked me what was a bug. I could not answer that. — Keita Takahashi, game designer (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy). Awesome quote.

February 18 2010

Four short links: 18 February 2010

  1. David Cameron, The Next Age of Government (TED Talk) -- Cameron's argument is that with open data and behavioural economics, we can offer policy preferences but let people make informed choices. Interesting that transparency and open data can be a bipartisan issue.
  2. Finding Ada -- pledge to blog about an inspirational woman in technology or science on March 24. I like it because it turns up personal stories and interesting people that I'd otherwise never have heard of.
  3. On MicroSD Problems (Bunnie Huang) -- fascinating detective story as he tries to figure out how he got some dud Kingston SD cards. SPOILER ALERT: fault-tolerant hardware gets sold in tranches (great, ok, bad) and the bad tranche sold off-label.
  4. A new global visual language for the BBC's digital services -- an amazingly detailed guide to the rationale and structure of the BBC web redesign. It's not often that you get this much detail into someone else's design, which is a shame because it's very instructive to read.

January 20 2010

November 17 2009

Four short links: 17 November 2009

  1. Digital Natives (Ze Frank) -- digital natives have grown up in a landscape where access to information and influence has been flattened. they have watched media distribution bottlenecks in the form of networks and studios lose influence to youtube and independent production houses. They have watched companies bow down to viral video critiques, and watched political systems get hacked by social networks. this is a generation that doesn't understand restrictions on access to media if those restrictions are inefficient or obviously detrimental to the system as a whole. this is a generation that has been at war with DRM and copyright right from the start. it is a generation awash with free tutorials and download-able source code. When is a conversation with a precocious 17 year old a glimpse into an inter-generational gulf with implications for the role and status of formal education, and when is it just an encounter with a brat? Ze's piece is worth reading, whichever way it comes out.
  2. ICU64 -- an open source Commodore 64 emulator (Frodo) hacked to visually and textually display memory. Watch the video embedded below, it's hypnotic and seductive. It immediately made me want one for my programs (without having to port my code back to 6502 assembler). (via waxy whose return from pneumonia is greatly welcomed)
  3. Me and Belle du Jour -- interesting story from a UK blog master who guessed her identity but kept it secret, creating a googlewhacked page as a tripwire to let him know when someone else guessed. He tipped her off that her cover was blown. (via waxy again)
  4. The Hail Mary Cloud -- the world's slowest yet effective brute force attack. If you publish your user name and password, somebody who is not you will use it, sooner or later. A botnet is brute-force trying every known username and password combination against every known ssh server. Each attempt in theory has monumental odds against succeeding, but occasionally the guess will be right and they have scored a login. As far as we know, this is at least the third round of password guessing from the Hail Mary Cloud (see the archives for earlier postings about slow bruteforcers), but there could have been earlier rounds that escaped our attention.

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