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February 19 2014

Four short links: 19 February 2014

  1. 1746 Slippy Map of London — very nice use of Google Maps to recontextualise historic maps. (via USvTh3m)
  2. TPP Comic — the comic explaining TPP that you’ve been waiting for. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Synthetic Biology Investor’s Lament — some hypotheses about why synbio is so slow to fire.
  4. vizcities — open source 3D (OpenGL) city and data visualisation platform, using open data.

January 17 2014

Four short links: 17 January 2014

  1. Making Remote WorkThe real­ity of a remote work­place is that the con­nec­tions are largely arti­fi­cial con­structs. Peo­ple can be very, very iso­lated. A person’s default behav­ior when they go into a funk is to avoid seek­ing out inter­ac­tions, which is effec­tively the same as actively with­draw­ing in a remote work envi­ron­ment. It takes a tremen­dous effort to get on video chats, use our text based com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools, or even call some­one dur­ing a dark time. Very good to see this addressed in a post about remote work.
  2. Google Big Picture Group — public output from the visualization research group at Google.
  3. Using CMOS Sensors in a Cellphone for Gamma Detection and Classification (Arxiv) — another sense in your pocket. The CMOS camera found in many cellphones is sensitive to ionized electrons. Gamma rays penetrate into the phone and produce ionized electrons that are then detected by the camera. Thermal noise and other noise needs to be removed on the phone, which requires an algorithm that has relatively low memory and computational requirements. The continuous high-delta algorithm described fits those requirements. (via Medium)
  4. Affordable Arduino-Compatible Centimeter-Level GPS Accuracy (IndieGogo) — for less than $20. (via DIY Drones)

January 15 2014

Four short links: 16 January 2014

  1. MapGive — State Dept launches OSM contributing tool “to help humanitarian efforts”.
  2. Principles for Making Things for The Web — excellent!
  3. Traffic Studies are Simulations (Computerworld) — simulations are an important software genre, oft ignored. (via Slashdot)
  4. CodePilotan Xcode plugin which lets you woosh through your code and save a lot of your time. See also the main site.

Four short links: 15 January 2014

  1. Hackers Gain ‘Full Control’ of Critical SCADA Systems (IT News) — The vulnerabilities were discovered by Russian researchers who over the last year probed popular and high-end ICS and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems used to control everything from home solar panel installations to critical national infrastructure. More on the Botnet of Things.
  2. mclMarkov Cluster Algorithm, a fast and scalable unsupervised cluster algorithm for graphs (also known as networks) based on simulation of (stochastic) flow in graphs.
  3. Facebook to Launch Flipboard-like Reader (Recode) — what I’d actually like to see is Facebook join the open web by producing and consuming RSS/Atom/anything feeds, but that’s a long shot. I fear it’ll either limit you to whatever circle-jerk-of-prosperity paywall-penetrating content-for-advertising-eyeballs trades the Facebook execs have made, or else it’ll be a leech on the scrotum of the open web by consuming RSS without producing it. I’m all out of respect for empire-builders who think you’re a fool if you value the open web. AOL might have died, but its vision of content kings running the network is alive and well in the hands of Facebook and Google. I’ll gladly post about the actual product launch if it is neither partnership eyeball-abuse nor parasitism.
  4. Map Projections Illustrated with a Face (Flowing Data) — really neat, wish I’d had these when I was getting my head around map projections.

December 24 2013

Four short links: 24 December 2013

  1. Arduino Robot — for all your hacking needs.
  2. LIDAR for Smartphones (DIYdrones) — The device attaches to the back of a smartphone and combines a built-in laser range finder, 3D compass and Bluetooth chip with the phone’s camera and GPS.
  3. Bridge Inspection Robot Equipping Magnets — 7.8 inches/second, magnets, can scuttle up walls and along ceilings.
  4. OpenEmu — nice-looking emulator framework for OS X. Make your Christmas present a trip back in time.

November 20 2013

Four short links: 20 November 2013

  1. Innovation and the Coming Shape of Social Transformation (Techonomy) — great interview with Tim O’Reilly and Max Levchin. in electronics and in our devices, we’re getting more and more a sense of how to fix things, where they break. And yet as a culture, what we have chosen to do is to make those devices more disposable, not last forever. And why do you think it will be different with people? To me one of the real risks is, yes, we get this technology of life extension, and it’s reserved for a very few, very rich people, and everybody else becomes more disposable.
  2. Attending a Conference via a Telepresence Robot (IEEE) — interesting idea, and I look forward to giving it a try. The mark of success for the idea, alas, is two bots facing each other having a conversation.
  3. Drone Imagery for OpenStreetMap — 100 acres of 4cm/pixel imagery, in less than an hour.
  4. LG Smart TV Phones Home with Shows and Played Files — welcome to the Internet of Manufacturer Malware.

October 22 2013

Four short links: 22 October 2013

  1. Sir Trevor — nice rich-text editing. Interesting how Markdown has become the way to store formatted text without storing HTML (and thus exposing the CSRF-inducing HTML-escaping stuckfastrophe).
  2. Slate for Excel — visualising spreadsheet structure. I’d be surprised if it took MSFT or Goog 30 days to acquire them.
  3. Project Shield — Google project to protect against DDoSes.
  4. Digital Attack Map — DDoS attacks going on around the world. (via Jim Stogdill)

September 24 2013

Four short links: 24 September 2013

  1. Measuring Heart Rate with a Smartphone Camera — not yet realtime, but promising sensor development.
  2. iBeaconslow-power, short-distance location monitoring beacons. Any iOS device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy can become an iBeacon, and can detect other iBeacons when they are nearby. Apps can be notified when iBeacons move in and out of range of the device, and can monitor the proximity of iBeacons as their proximity changes over time.
  3. Analysis: The Quantified Self (BBC) — radio show on QS. Good introduction for the novice.
  4. Tinke — heart rate, blood oxygen, respiration rate, and heart rate variability in a single small sensor that plugs into your iOS device.
  5. July 19 2013

    Four short links: 19 July 2013

    1. Operative Design — A catalogue of spatial verbs. (via Adafruit)
    2. Open Source Malaria — open science drug discovery.
    3. Surviving Being (Senior) Tech Management (Kellan Elliott-McCrea) — Perspective is the thin line between a challenging but manageable problem, and chittering balled up in the corner.
    4. Disposable UAVs Inspired by Paper Planes (DIY Drones) — The first design, modeled after a paper plane, is created from a cellulose sheet that has electronic circuits ink-jet printed directly onto its body. Once the circuits have been laid on the plane’s frame, the craft is exposed to a UV curing process, turning the planes body into a flexible circuit board. These circuits are then connected to the planes “avionics system”, two elevons attached to the rear of the craft, which give the UAV the ability to steer itself to its destination.

    June 25 2013

    Four short links: 25 June 2013

    1. Cliodynamics: History as Sciencea systematic application of the scientific method to history: verbal theories should be translated into mathematical models, precise predictions derived, and then rigorously tested on empirical material. In short, history needs to become an analytical, predictive science.
    2. Cricket — indoor location system from MIT. In a nutshell, Cricket uses a combination of RF and ultrasound technologies to provide location information to attached host devices. Wall- and ceiling-mounted beacons placed through a building publish information on an RF channel. [...] The listener runs algorithms that correlate RF and ultrasound samples (the latter are simple pulses with no data encoded on them) and to pick the best correlation. Even in the presence of several competing beacon transmissions, Cricket achieves good precision and accuracy quickly.
    3. The World at Nightan international effort to present stunning nightscape photos and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against celestial attractions.
    4. Paul Steinhardt on Impossible Crystals (YouTube) — quasi-crystals with five-fold symmetry previously believed impossible. And then he found one, and led an expedition in 2011 to Chukotka in Far Eastern Russia to find new information about its origin and search for more samples. As you do when you’re the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton, a job title that comes with no pressure at all to bring home the impossible.

    June 24 2013

    Four short links: 24 June 2013

    1. Reading Runes in Animal Movement (YouTube) — accessible TEDxRiverTawe 2013 talk by Professor Rory Wilson, on his work tracking movements of animals in time and space. The value comes from high-resolution time series data: many samples/second, very granular.
    2. Best Science Writing Online 2012 (Amazon) — edited collection of the best blog posts on science from 2012. Some very good science writing happening online.
    3. Designing Effective Multimedia for Physics Education (PDF) — Derek Muller’s PhD thesis, summarised as “mythbusting beats lectures, hands down”. See also his TED@Sydney talk.
    4. Melomics — royalty-free computer-generated music, all genres, for sale (genius business model). Academic spinoff from Dr. Francisco J. Vico’s work at UMA in Spain.

    June 17 2013

    June 11 2013

    Four short links: 10 June 2013

    1. Anatomy of Two Memes — comparing the spread of Gangnam Style to Harlem Shake. Memes are like currencies: you need to balance accessibility (or ‘money supply’) and inflation. Gangnam Style became globally accessible through top-down mainstream sources (High Popularity), but this gave it high social inflation so it wasn’t valuable to share (Low Shareability). However, scale sustained its long term growth. Harlem Shake was not as easily accessible because it was driven more by small communities (Low Popularity), but for the same reason, being less easily accessible, it remained highly valuable (High Shareability). Lack of scale was what made Harlem Shake growth short-term and eventually killed it prematurely. Caution: contains fauxconomics.
    2. Handedness (Github) — determine left or right handedness from pinch gesture.
    3. Innovation Cartography — video of a talk by Richard Jefferson of Cambia’s lens, on the imperative to innovate held at the Skoll World Forum on Social Enterprise. His story of maritime cartography (starts around 5m50s) is awesome.
    4. Statically Recompiling NES Games into Native Executables with LLVM and Go — or “crack for Nat” as I like to translate that title.

    May 27 2013

    April 15 2013

    Four short links: 15 April 2013

    1. Know Your HTTP Posters (GitHub) — A0-posters about the HTTP protocol.
    2. Crowdserfingwhen a large corp uses crowd-sourced volunteering for its own financial gain, without giving back. It offends my sense of reciprocity as well, but nobody is coerced into using Google Maps or contributing data to it. How do we decide what is “right”?
    3. Exposed Webcam Viewer — hotels in Russia, lobbies in California, and blinking lights in the darkness from all around the world. (via Hacker News)
    4. Beauty and Joy of Computingan introductory computer science curriculum developed at the University of California, Berkeley, intended for non-CS majors at the high school junior through undergraduate freshman level. Uses Snap, a web-based implementation of Scratch.

    April 08 2013

    Four short links: 8 April 2013

    1. mozpaya JavaScript API inspired by google.payments.inapp.buy() but modified for things like multiple payment providers and carrier billing. When a web app invokes navigator.mozPay() in Firefox OS, the device shows a secure window with a concise UI. After authenticating, the user can easily charge the payment to her mobile carrier bill or credit card. When completed, the app delivers the product. Repeat purchases are quick and easy.
    2. Firefox Looks Like it Will Reject Third-Party Cookies (ComputerWorld) — kudos Mozilla! Now we’ll see whether such a cookie policy does deliver a better user experience. Can privacy coexist with a good user experience? Answers on a tweet, please, to @radar.
    3. How We Lost the Web (Anil Dash) — excellent talk about the decreasing openness and vanishing shared culture of the web. See also David Weinberger’s transcription.
    4. 3D From Space Shuttle Footage? — neat idea! Filming in 3D generally requires two cameras that are separated laterally, to create the parallax effected needed for stereoscopic vision. Fortunately, videos shot from Earth orbit can be converted to 3D without a second camera, because the camera is constantly in motion.

    November 23 2012

    Four short links: 23 November 2012

    1. Trap Island — island on most maps doesn’t exist.
    2. Why I Work on Non-Partisan Tech (MySociety) — excellent essay. Obama won using big technology, but imagine if that effort, money, and technique were used to make things that were useful to the country. Political technology is not gov2.0.
    3. 3D Printing Patent Suits (MSNBC) — notable not just for incumbents keeping out low-cost competitors with patents, but also (as BoingBoing observed) Many of the key patents in 3D printing start expiring in 2013, and will continue to lapse through ’14 and ’15. Expect a big bang of 3D printer innovation, and massive price-drops, in the years to come. (via BoingBoing)
    4. GraphChican run very large graph computations on just a single machine, by using a novel algorithm for processing the graph from disk (SSD or hard drive). Programs for GraphChi are written in the vertex-centric model, proposed by GraphLab and Google’s Pregel. GraphChi runs vertex-centric programs asynchronously (i.e changes written to edges are immediately visible to subsequent computation), and in parallel. GraphChi also supports streaming graph updates and removal of edges from the graph.

    October 04 2012

    Four short links: 4 October 2012

    1. As We May Think (Vannevar Bush) — incredibly prescient piece he wrote for The Atlantic in 1945.
    2. Transparency and Topic Models (YouTube) — a talk from DataGotham 2012, by Hanna Wallach. She uses latent Dirichlet allocation topic models to mine text data in declassified documents where the metadata are useless. She’s working on predicting classification durations (AWESOME!). (via Matt Biddulph)
    3. Slippy Map of the Ancient World — this. is. so. cool!
    4. Technology in the NFLX2IMPACT’s Concussion Management System (CMS) is a great example of this trend. CMS, when combined with a digital mouth guard, also made by X2, enables coaches to see head impact data in real-time and asses concussions through monitoring the accelerometers in a players mouth guard. That data helps teams to decide whether to keep a player on the field or take them off for their own safety. Insert referee joke here.

    September 26 2012

    Four short links: 26 September 2012

    1. Wearable LIDAR Sensors for Mapping (BBC) — made at MIT from commodity hardware, The system is still a prototype, but when tested in closed hallways without any Global Positioning System (GPS) signal, it was able to precisely map the environment as the user was moving through it. (via Andrew Turner)
    2. Coverflow (Github) — an iPhone project implementing Coverflow using iOS 6 UICollectionViews and a custom UICollectionViewLayout [...] I think the interpolation technique I use is rather neat and allows you to easily adjust the layout and behavior of the layout. (via Jonathan Wight)
    3. BEEF ProjectThe Browser Exploitation Framework. It is a penetration testing tool that focuses on the web browser.
    4. Dagger (Github) — A fast dependency injector for Android and Java. (via Chris Aniszczyk)

    September 18 2012

    Four short links: 18 September 2012

    1. The Rapture of the Nerds (Charlie Stoss, Cory Doctorow) — available for download and purchase under a CC-A-NC-ND license.
    2. Amazon Maps API — if there is an API layer of general use to developers, Amazon will build it. They want to be the infrastructure for the web. Tim identified “the Internet Operating System”, and Amazon figured out how to put a pricetag on every syscall.
    3. Hoektronics — open source 3d printer queue management. (via Daniel Suarez)
    4. The Machine Gaze (Will Wiles) — Converging, leapfrogging technologies evoke new emotional responses within us, responses that do not yet have names. (via James Bridle)
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