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January 13 2014

Four short links: 14 January 2014

  1. LayoutIt — drag-and-drop design using Bootstrap components. These tools are proliferating, as the standard design frameworks like Bootstrap make them possible. There’s unsustainable complexity in building web sites today, which means something will give: the web will lose to something, the technology forming the web will iterate, or the tools for the web will improve.
  2. How Silicon Valley Became The Man — I’m fascinated by the sudden spike in anti-corporate tension in SF. This interview gives me some useful vocabulary: New Communalists and the New Left. And two more books to read …
  3. USB Rubber Ducky — USB dongle that pretends to be a keyboard and types out your text REALLY fast. (via Root a Mac in 10s or Less)
  4. Simple Git Workflow is Simple — Atlassian producing videos on how to use git, good starting point for new code drones.

September 24 2013

Four short links: 26 September 2013

  1. Google Has Spent 21 Billion on Data Centers The company invested a record $1.6 billion in its data centers in the second quarter of 2013. Puts my impulse-purchased second external hard-drive into context, doesn’t it honey?
  2. 10x Engineer (Shanley) — in which the idea that it’s scientifically shown that some engineers are innately 10x others is given a rough and vigorous debunking.
  3. How to Hire — great advice, including “Poaching is the titty twister of Silicon Valley relationships”.
  4. Think Like a Git — a guide to git, for the perplexed.

August 30 2013

Guide du datajournalisme

Guide du #datajournalisme
http://www.datajournalismhandbook.org

http://jplusplus.github.io/guide-du-datajournalisme/img/cover_print_border.jpg

Le Guide du datajournalisme est une œuvre inachevée. Si vous relevez quoi que ce soit qui manque ou qui devrait être modifié, veuillez nous le signaler pour la prochaine version. (...)
En adaptant le Datajournalism Handbook en français, nous avons donné la parole à celles et à ceux qui innovent dans le journalisme francophone. Ils apportent des éclairages locaux qui montrent qu’il est possible de faire du journalisme autrement

(version #git : http://jplusplus.github.io/guide-du-datajournalisme)
#visualisation #cartographie #R #excel #google_refine etc

July 25 2013

Four short links: 25 July 2013

  1. More Git and GitHub Secrets (Zach Holman) — wizards tricks. (via Rowan Crawford)
  2. Building a Keyboard from Scratch (Jesse Vincent) — for the connoisseur.
  3. Practicing Deployment (Laura Thomson) — you should build the capability for continuous deployment, even if you never intend to continuously deploy.
  4. 3D Printed Atoms (Thingiverse) — customize and 3d-print a Bohr model of any atom.

July 15 2013

Four short links: 15 July 2013

  1. Product Strategy Means Saying No — a resource for strength in saying ‘no’ to unplanned features and direction changes. My favourite illustration is for “but my cousin’s neighbour said”. Yes, this.
  2. git-imerge — incremental merge for git.
  3. The Paranoid #! Security GuideNetworked-Evil-Maid-Attacks (Attacker steals the actual SED and replaces it with another containing a tojanized OS. On bootup victim enters it’s password which is subsequently send to the attacker via network/local attacker hot-spot. Different method: Replacing a laptop with a similar model [at e.g. airport/hotel etc.] and the attacker’s phone# printed on the bottom of the machine. Victim boots up enters “wrong” password which is send to the attacker via network. Victim discovers that his laptop has been misplaced, calls attacker who now copies the content and gives the “misplaced” laptop back to the owner.)
  4. Why Mobile Web Apps Are Slow — long analysis. Just to be clear: is possible to do real-time collaboration on on a mobile device. It just isn’t possible to do it in JavaScript. The performance gap between native and web apps is comparable to the performance gap between FireFox and IE8, which is too large a gap for serious work. (via Slashdot)

June 14 2013

Four short links: 14 June 2014

  1. How Geeks Opened up the UK Government (Guardian) — excellent video introduction to how the UK is transforming its civil service to digital delivery. Most powerful moment for me was scrolling through various depts’ web sites and seeing consistent visual design.
  2. Tools for Working Remotely — Braid’s set of tools (Trello, Hackpad, Slingshot, etc.) for remote software teams.
  3. Git Push to Deploy on Google App EngineEnabling this feature will create a remote Git repository for your application’s source code. Pushing your application’s source code to this repository will simultaneously archive the latest the version of the code and deploy it to the App Engine platform.
  4. Amazon’s 3D Printer Store — printers and supplies. Deeply underwhelming moment of it arriving on the mainstream.

June 12 2013

Four short links: 12 June 2013

  1. geogit — opengeo project exploring the use of distributed management of spatial data. [...] adapts [git's] core concepts to handle versioning of geospatial data. Shapefiles, PostGIS or SpatiaLite data stored in a change-tracking repository, with all the fun gut features for branching history, merging, remote/local repos, etc. BSD-licensed. First sound attempt at open source data management.
  2. Introducing Loupe — Etsy’s monitoring stack. It consists of two parts: Skyline and Oculus. We first use Skyline to detect anomalous metrics. Then, we search for that metric in Oculus, to see if any other metrics look similar. At that point, we can make an informed diagnosis and hopefully fix the problem.
  3. Bluetooth-Controlled Robotic Cockroach (Kickstarter) — ’nuff said. (via BoingBoing)
  4. Nature Sounds of New Zealand — if all the surveillance roboroach anomaly detection drone printing stories get to you, put this on headphones and recharge. (caution: contains nature)

January 16 2013

Four short links: 16 January 2013

  1. Things Users Don’t Care About (Pete Warden) — every day we relearn these lessons. How great it will be once all their friends are on it.
  2. Tracer FIRE 5 — online workshop and game that teaches network security. [A] week-long hands-on computer security workshop for cyber defenders in DOE, other government agencies, critical infrastructure, and college students. The exercise consists of 2 days of intensive training on a single subject, followed by a 2½-day game in which contestants are placed on a team and must use their new and existing skills to compete with other teams for points across multiple categories. (via Reddit /r/netsec)
  3. Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Amazon) — Gabriella Coleman’s new book, which explains us. Exploring the rise and political significance of the free and open source software (F/OSS) movement in the United States and Europe, Coding Freedom details the ethics behind hackers’ devotion to F/OSS, the social codes that guide its production, and the political struggles through which hackers question the scope and direction of copyright and patent law. In telling the story of the F/OSS movement, the book unfolds a broader narrative involving computing, the politics of access, and intellectual property. (Also available as CC-Licensed PDF)
  4. Pro Git (Scott Chacon) — CC-NC-SA licensed book on mad git skills.

December 21 2012

New school C

Choosing a programming language for that project you’re working on is a fairly straightforward decision: it needs to be fast, easy to use, and it must come with enough bells and whistles to keep you from re-inventing the wheel every time you want to do something.

Looking at this criteria, aside from the fast bit, the C language may not be the first one that pops into your head. After sitting down with Ben Klemens, the author of 21st Century C, I am now looking at C as a more practical and enticing alternative than I would have thought possible.

21st Century C sets a precedent in presenting C as a language that is a lot easier to use, and has more library support than many people think. If you are not up to date on the latest that C has to offer you may not be aware of the simplicity and elegance of the language. These strengths are backed by the C99 and C11 standards, but mainly they are built up on the development of libraries and modern tools for building and multi-threading in C.

In my interview with Ben he talks about the inclusion of libraries and what that means to modern C programming at the 9:53 mark. There is quite simply a vast array of libraries out there that every developer has access to. As Ben points out at the 10:50 mark, looking at GitHub we can find something on the order of 150,000 C projects. It is important to note that packing up many of these projects as libraries can involve a bit more work than just building the project, but just having all those projects as resources can save a lot of time and minimize redundant efforts.

Of course what is new in modern C programming is only half the picture. The other half involves all the parts of C programming that can be largely ignored or at least downplayed. As Ben points out at the 8:03 mark in our discussion, today’s programmer can even go so far as to question the usage of malloc and other time tested memory management techniques.

The full interview with Ben is available in the following video.

Related:

November 19 2012

July 25 2012

Inside GitHub’s role in community-building and other open source advances

In this video interview, Matthew McCullough of GitHub discusses what they’ve learned over time as they grow and watch projects develop there. Highlights from the full video interview include:

  • How GitHub builds on Git’s strengths to allow more people to collaborate on a project [Discussed at the 00:30 mark]
  • The value of stability and simple URLs [Discussed at the 02:05 mark]
  • Forking as the next level of democracy for software [Discussed at the 04:02 mark]
  • The ability to build a community around a GitHub repo [Discussed at the 05:05 mark]
  • GitHub for education, and the use of open source projects for university work [Discussed at the 06:26 mark]
  • The value of line-level comments in source code [Discussed at the 09:36 mark]
  • How to be a productive contributor [Discussed at the 10:53 mark]
  • Tools for Windows users [Discussed at the 11:56 mark]

You can view the entire conversation in the following video:

Related:

May 24 2012

Jon Loeliger offers some practices to use with Git

After finishing the second edition of "Version Control with Git," author Jon Loeliger talked to me about some of the advice he offers and how to use Git effectively as changes to code pile up.

Highlights from the full video interview include:

  • What's new in Git since the first edition of the book? [Discussed at the 0:38 mark]
  • Importance of understanding concepts behind Git [Discussed at the 2:40 mark]
  • How to manage complicated branching [Discussed at the 3:33 mark]
  • Aspects of Github beyond storage [Discussed at the 6:22 mark]

You can view the entire conversation in the following video:

OSCON 2012 — Join the world's open source pioneers, builders, and innovators July 16-20 in Portland, Oregon. Learn about open development, challenge your assumptions, and fire up your brain.

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR

Related:

March 29 2012

Developer Week in Review: Google I/O's ticket window open and shuts in record time

This week, I'd like to take a moment to thank the good folks over at Parkland Medical Center, who took pity on the retching, sweat-covered soul who appeared on the doorstep of their emergency room last Friday morning. They swiftly (well, after 15 eternal minutes in the waiting room, which is pretty swift for a walk-in to an ER) got him hooked up to an IV and introduced the two God-given holy fluids of morphine and Dilaudid. On a totally unrelated note, I'd like to proudly announce the birth of a healthy 3mm kidney stone at 5PM last Friday. Donations to its college fund can be made ...

Extending the trend line doesn't look good

Google IOLast year, Google I/O sold out in under an hour. This year, it only took 20 minutes. If we extend the trend-line out a few years, the only people who will be able to get in will be those who have access to micro-second responsive stock market trading programs and hyper-tuned eBay auction sniping software.

At least, however, Google fans have some clue when the registration opens for their conference. Those of us still waiting for Apple's WWDC conference know it will have to open for registration soon, but the exact date and time is a mystery. Thankfully, the multi-thousand dollar registration fee tends to make WWDC a bit slower to fill up, but it will still be a race for those who require authorization from their management to go (some of us get authorization months in advance, specifically for this reason).

If there's a solution to this classic supply versus demand problem, I can't see it. Regional conferences reduce the benefit of getting all the developers together in one place and would have the companies sending their development staff to the four corners of the world. Maybe Apple and Google need to start renting out football stadiums instead of conference facilities.


More pigs spotted airborne

For those who have been taking a skeptical view of Microsoft's avowed embrace of the open source movement, there's more reason to believe it's genuine. This week, Microsoft released a whole crop of its .NET technology to its CodePlex open source repository, and the company did it under the hyper-liberal Apache 2.0 license rather than something proprietary and restrictive. In addition, Microsoft has started using the developer-friendly git source control system — another attempt to make itself more compatible with the open source community as a whole.

Of course, releasing portions of its proprietary environment as open source is still an attempt to get people to use Microsoft's technology as a whole, including Visual Studio, but the more it puts out there under licenses that include patent grants, the more possible it is to incorporate compatibility with Microsoft products in non-Microsoft platforms and products.

Was the cake made out of 0xDEADBEEF?

It's practically unimaginable today, but when the gcc compiler was first released 25 years ago this week, the only way to compile your code was to pay your hardware vendor for a proprietary compiler package, sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars.

In the intervening years, the shining star of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has become the go-to (excuse the expression) compiler for most modern compiled languages, available on and for just about every hardware platform you can think of. It doesn't have the death-grip hold on the industry it once did, with Apple among others moving to LLVM, but it was the first and for a long time the best compiler money couldn't buy. You may argue with the current philosophy of the FSF, but give it due props for opening up the world of programming to the world by making free tools available to anyone who wanted them.

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

Got news?

Please send tips and leads here.

Related:

July 20 2011

Developer Week in Review: Mobile's embedded irony

Happy Lion day! For those of the Mac persuasion, today is a milestone, as Apple wraps the odometer around again, kicking it over to 10.7. Also, our favorite Penguin (and brother in POSIX arms) turns 20, complete with birthday wishes from Redmond. Many happy returns!

Free mobile OS, but with a patent surcharge

Microsoft continues to look for new and innovative (or old and litigious) ways to make money, and one of them is to squeeze Android handset manufacturers for a reported $15/unit in patent fees for every phone sold.

The irony stings sharp here. Android may be an open source operating system, but in order to actually buy an Android phone, you need to pony up patent money to the king of the closed source OS, Microsoft. And since (except for legal fees) Microsoft has no costs associated with the production of the unit, it's 100% pure profit for Microsoft.

If you want to buy an HTC Droid phone, the story is getting even worse, because the ITC decided that HTC violated several Apple patents. That's likely to lead to a similar arrangement with Apple.

Meanwhile, Blackberry (you remember them) is quickly becoming the also-ran of the mobile market, with a new survey showing a dismal 4% of potential buyers are now considering a Blackberry. This, combined with unconfirmed reports that the Blackberry PlayBook is in trouble, seem to point toward Android and iOS being the safest developer platforms for the near future.

On the other hand, Apple is now so successful that not only are the Chinese cloning the products, they're cloning the stores!

Like fine wines...

As my eligibility for AARP looms, it's good to know that my value as a developer is continuing to climb, at least on average. That's the conclusion of a recent study, which found that older developers tended to have higher reputation values on StackOverflow.

This confirms a suspicion that I've fostered for a while, which is that for those developers who bother to keep up with the new stuff (the study showed that the population of developers decreases rapidly as they age), having a wide range of knowledge and broad experience does in fact have value.

Of course, part of the problem is that older developers tend to get sucked into management or transformed into architects, and some just don't have the passion to keep up with the latest hot technologies. But if you can stick with it, and if companies are willing to recognize that more mature developers have value, the stigma of the older developer being put out on the ice to die may become a myth. Meanwhile, keep the heck off my lawn, you young punks!

Android Open, being held October 9-11 in San Francisco, is a big-tent meeting ground for app and game developers, carriers, chip manufacturers, content creators, OEMs, researchers, entrepreneurs, VCs, and business leaders.

Save 20% on registration with the code AN11RAD


git thee to a nunnery!

The git lovefest continues to swell this week, with Google Code adding git to their list of supported SCMs. With the move, Google achieves parity with well-known sites such as github and SourceForge, and gives developers looking for a place to call their project home yet another option.

Meanwhile, on the theory that you can never have enough standards, a new distributed source control system called Veracity is sticking its head out of the nest. I hate to squash innovation, but with git, Subversion, Mercurial and even cvs all fighting to be the One True source control system, isn't adding another one just playing into the tyranny of choice paradox?

Got news?

Please send tips and leads here.



Related:


July 04 2011

Four short links: 4 July 2011

  1. Let There Be Smite (Pippin Barr) -- simple diversion for the 4th of July. It won't be easy for God to save America. (via Pippin's blog)
  2. Basel Wear -- to answer the question I know was burning on your lips: "what *did* the Swiss wear in 1634?" Impressively detailed pictures from a 1634 book that is now online. One of the reasons I'm in favour of digitizing cultural collections is that we're more likely to encounter them on the net and so ask questions like "how did people dress in 1634?", "why did everyone carry keys?", and "what is a Sexton?"
  3. databranches: Using git as a Database -- it's important to approach your design for using git as a database from the perspective of automated merging. Get the merging right and the rest will follow. I've chosen to use the simplest possible merge, the union merge: When merging parent trees A and B, the result will have all files that are in either A or B, and files present in both will have their lines merged (and possibly reordered or uniqed).
  4. Joshfire -- open source (dual-licensed GPLv2 and commercial) multiplatform development framework built on HTML5.

April 21 2011

Four short links: 21 April 2011

  1. Rubular -- a way to write and test regular expressions interactively. Very cool. (via Adam Fields)
  2. gitx -- OSX ui for git. (via Marc Hedlund)
  3. Open Source Critical to Competition (Simon Phipps) -- DOJ and German Federal Cartel Office see danger for open source in Novell's patents being acquired by a consortium of Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, and EMC (fancy!) and are taking steps to ensure open source is protected.
  4. My Talk about Samuel Pepys's Diary as an Online Story (Phil Gyford) -- I love the ways Phil has stretched and repurposed the web's affects for storytelling. Listen to this talk. (via BoingBoing)

February 23 2011

Developer Week in Review

Live, via satellite from around the world, it's Developer Week in Review, with your correspondent, Buff Overflow.

Apple policies rile developers (again)

Developers certainly seem to be getting fed up with Apple's dictatorial control of the App Store, and the new subscription and in-app purchase restrictions may push them over the edge. If Apple wants to avoid appearing to play favorites, they will need to apply the policy uniformly, which could put some very popular iPhone apps in jeopardy. For example, you can purchase and download audio books with Audible's app, and I can't see them agreeing to give up 30% of their gross income to Apple for the privilege. With companies big and small screaming for blood, and the FTC threatening to take a closer look, this may be one App Store policy that needs to be put back on the shelf.

Meanwhile, Google is rolling out their own subscription model, but it's unclear who the intended audience would be. Android apps?

Oh yah, and there's evidently an announcement about something called an iPad 2 happening next week ...

Ubuntu: Distribution on the edge?

All eyes (well, some eyes ... ok, my eyes) were turned this week toward Canonical, as some reports indicate that the formerly peace-loving Linux distro may be on a path toward more business-minded actions.

Agree or disagree with the premise of the article, but it's a good jumping off point for a conversation about just where the future of Linux distributions lie. With Ubuntu and Red Hat the two most public symbols of Linux, has the "pure" roots of Linux (such as Debian) been lost? Is Linux just another commercial operating system now, with an open source development model?

Is obscenity ruining our developers?

Your twenty-something PHP developer sits alone at a terminal, reviewing git commits. Seems innocent enough, but do you really know what your programmer is looking at? The answers may shock and disturb you.

Here's an interesting analysis of git commit messages (not comments in code, as Slashdot erroneously reported), looking at swear frequency by programming language.

C++, Ruby and JavaScript all had about the same amount, roughly twice that of C and three times that of C# and Java. PHP and Python programmers evidently don't swear much at all. The results were normalized, so the popularity of the languages didn't influence the weightings. Mind you, the total percentage of commit messages with any kind of swear at all was a tiny 0.022% (210 total swears), so it's not like it was a bar full of sailors.

That was the developer week that was. Please send tips or leads here.

February 07 2011

Four short links: 7 February 2011

  1. UK Internet Entrepreneurs (Guardian) -- two things stood out for me. (1) A startup focused on 3d printing better dolls for boys and girls. (2) it seems easier to the government to start something new and impose its own vision than it is to understand and integrate with what already exists.
  2. TreeSaver.js -- MIT/GPLv2-licensed JavaScript framework for creating magazine-style layouts using standards-compliant HTML and CSS.
  3. Using git to Manage a Web Site -- This page describes how I set things up so that I can make changes live by running just "git push web".
  4. Strata Data Conference Recap -- Clean data > More Data > Fancy Math — this is the order which makes data easier and better to work with. Clean data will be easier to work with and provide best results. If your data isn't clean, it is better to have more data than having to resort to fancy math. Using higher order statistical processing, while workable as a last resort, will require longer to develop, difficult algorithms and harder to maintain. So best place to focus is to start with clean data.

February 02 2011

Four Short Links: 2 February 2011

  1. Seven Foundational Visualization Papers -- seven classics in the field that are cited and useful again and again.
  2. Git Immersion -- a "walking tour" of Git inspired by the premise that to know a thing is to do it. Cf Learn Python the Hard Way or even NASA's Planet Makeover. We'll see more and more tutorials that require participation because you don't get muscle memory by reading. (NASA link via BoingBoing
  3. Readability -- strips out ads and sends money to the publishers you like. I'd never thought of a business model as something that's imposed from the outside quite like this, but there you go.
  4. Quora's Technology Examined (Phil Whelan) -- In this blog post I will delve into the snippets of information available on Quora and look at Quora from a technical perspective. What technical decisions have they made? What does their architecture look like? What languages and frameworks do they use? How do they make that search bar respond so quickly? Lots of Python. (via Joshua Schachter on Delicious)

November 30 2010

Four short links: 30 November 2010

  1. libgit2 -- a linkable git library. Ruby and Python bindings.
  2. Open Data: How Not to Cock It Up -- Tom Steinberg lays it out.
  3. Algorithm and Crowd are Not Enough -- My point isn’t that Google, Netflix, Amazon, Yelp or any of the others are doomed. But I do think there’s an opportunity brewing for entrepreneurs, websites and companies to add editorial components to the algo-crowd paradigm. O'Reilly's business is built on editorial value, whether in book selection or conference creation. We obviously see a continued role for editorial presence. (via John Battelle on Twitter)
  4. Level 3 vs Comcast (Denver Post) -- first shakedown from the carriers. Without mandated neutral carriers, the Internet will dissolve into a fiefdom of consolidated big players willing to pay the shakedowns of the telco goons.

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