Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

October 05 2011

Four short links: 5 October 2011

  1. Ghostery -- a browser plugin to block trackers, web bugs, dodgy scripts, ads, and anything else you care to remove from your browsing experience. It looks like a very well done adblocker, but it's done (a) closed-source and (b) for-profit. Blocking trackers is something every browser *should* do, but because browser makers make (or hope to make) money from ads, they don't. In theory, Mozilla should do it. Even if they were to take up the mantle, though, they're unlikely to make anything for IE or Chrome. So it's in the hands of companies with inarticulate business models. (via Andy Baio)
  2. Perspectives -- Firefox plugin that lets you know when you've encountered an SSL certificate that's different from the ones that other Perspectives users see (e.g., you're being man-in-the-middled by Iran). (via Francois Maurier)
  3. Always Connected -- "I've got a full day of staring at glowing rectangles ahead of me! Better get started ...". I have made mornings and evenings backlight-free zones in an effort to carve out some of the day free of glowing rectangles. (I do still read myself to sleep on the Kindle, though, but it's not backlit)
  4. Is Teaching MapReduce Healthy for Students? -- Google’s narrow MapReduce API conflates logical semantics (define a function over all items in a collection) with an expensive physical implementation (utilize a parallel barrier). As it happens, many common cluster-wide operations over a collection of items do not require a barrier even though they may require all-to-all communication. But there’s no way to tell the API whether a particular Reduce method has that property, so the runtime always does the most expensive thing imaginable in distributed coordination: global synchronization. Detailed and interesting criticism of whether Hadoop is the BASIC of parallel tools. (via Pete Warden)

October 04 2010

Four short links: 4 October 2010

  1. Two Brothers Await Broad Use of Medical E-Records (New York Times) -- The Doerrs’ software company is only one of many hoping to cash in on the national mandate for digital medical records. The companies range from giants like General Electric to specialists like Athenahealth that cater to small physician practices. They, like the Doerrs, are betting that the law will help create a turning point for the economics of digital health records, opening the door to rapid adoption by doctors and a thriving business at last. NZ-based Orion Health is expanding at a great rate in the US, doing electronic health records. The tide is beginning to turn away from paper, thank goodness. (via DrChrisPaton on Twitter)
  2. On Feminism and Microcontrollers (Benjamin Mako Hill) -- We found evidence to support the suggestion that LilyPad is disproportionally appealing to women, as compared to Arduino (we estimated that about 9% of Arduino purchasers were female while 35% of LilyPad purchasers were). We found evidence that suggests that a very large proportion of people making high-visibility projects using LilyPad are female as compared to Arduino (65% for LilyPad, versus 2% for Arduino).
  3. Pomodoro Technique -- time management system. (via auchmill on Twitter)
  4. Lock-free Data Structure Library in C -- free library offering list, queue, ringbuffer, stack, ....

July 07 2010

Four short links: 7 July 2010

  1. The Way I Work: Justin Kan of JustinTV (Inc Magazine) -- I admit it, I had written Justin off as "that irritating guy who went around with a camera on all the time" but it turns out he's quite thoughtful about what he does. I try to keep the meetings small, especially when we're doing product design. If you have eight people in the design meeting, it doesn't work. Everybody has an opinion. Everyone wants to weigh in on what the font should look like. The end product becomes the average of eight opinions. You don't get excellent work, just average. (via Hacker News)
  2. Rhodes -- open source cross-platform smartphone app development framework, with offline sync and hosted data storage.
  3. How Transparency Fails and Works Too (Clay Johnson) -- another thoughtful piece reflecting the general awakening that "being transparent" is a verb not a noun: you don't "achieve transparency", but rather you have a set of actors, actions, and objects inside and outside government that provide the checks and balances we hope to get from transparency. It's a complex system, requiring way more than just "release the data and they will come". [L]et’s not fool ourselves into thinking though that just because a system has real-time, online disclosure that somehow the system will be cleaned up. It won’t. Data makes watchdogging possible, sure, but more data makes watchdogging harder. Plus, for the transparency solution to work, people have to actually care enough to watchdog. Imagine that your city council, facing terrible obesity rates, decided to enact and enforce a mandatory nudity law to improve its public health. Policy wonks got together and decided that in order to get people to lose weight, they’d outlaw clothing. People went outside naked, and sure, it was a little uncomfortable at first, but basically— the fat people stayed fat, and the thin people stayed thin. The town was more comfortable just averting their collective eyes.
  4. Meta-Optimize -- a StackOverflow-like q&a site for data geeks who groove to topics like "unsupervised methods for word polarity detection". (via Flowing Data)

January 29 2010

Four short links: 29 January 2010

  1. Chat Roulette -- not sure it's new, as I think I recall Eric Ries talking about implementing it in the early days of IMVU, but it's still interesting: chat to a random person who also wants to chat. I wonder whether it's being used for drive-by phone sex, or whether there's a genuine curiosity about other human beings that extends beyond their genitals. (via Roger Dennis)
  2. Only Surviving Photo of Phineas Gage Found on Flickr (NPR) -- are we still surprised at this? It's a little like "last copy of book found in library". Great photo, though. (via wiselark on Twitter)
  3. The 2009 Feltron Report -- life quantified beautifully. (via Flowing Data)
  4. Chart Wars: The Political Power of Visualization (Ignite) -- how to be a smart consumer of datagraphics and visualizations. (via KathySierra on Twitter)

January 08 2010

How has the Internet Changed the Way You Think?

Every year, John Brockman, a New York based author, editor, publisher, and book agent, reaches out to a community of thought leaders and scientists and asks a question for his World Question Center.

Brockman's 2010 question, How has the internet changed the way you think? evoked thoughtful answers from a range of people, including Brian Eno, Rudy Rucker, Clay Shirky, Martin Rees and many others. The full collection of posts can be found here.

I took the opportunity to explore the tension between my physical and virtual lives. A topic Jim Stogdill wrote about a few days ago.

NAVIGATING PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL LIVES

Before the Internet, I made more trips to the library and more phone calls. I read more books and my point of view was narrower and less informed. I walked more, biked more, hiked more, and played more. I made love more often.

The seductive online sages, scholars, and muses that joyfully take my curious mind where ever it needs to go, where ever it can imagine going, whenever it wants, are beguiling. All my beloved screens offer infinite, charming, playful, powerful, informative, social windows into global human experience.

The Internet, the online virtual universe, is my jungle gym and I swing from bar to bar: learning about: how writing can be either isolating or social; DIY Drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) at a Maker Faire; where to find a quantified self meetup; or how to make Sach moan sngo num pachok. I can use image search to look up hope or success or play. I can find a video on virtually anything; I learned how to safely open a young Thai coconut from this Internet of wonder.

As I stare out my window, at the unusually beautiful Seattle weather, I realize, I haven't been out to walk yet today — sweet Internet juices still dripping down my chin. I'll mind the clock now, so I can emerge back into the physical world.

The physical world is where I not only see, I also feel — a friend's loving gaze in conversation; the movement of my arms and legs and the breeze on my face as I walk outside; and the company of friends for a game night and potluck dinner. The Internet supports my thinking and the physical world supports that, as well as, rich sensing and feeling experiences.

It's no accident we're a culture increasingly obsessed with the Food Network and Farmer's Markets — they engage our senses and bring us together with others.

How has the Internet changed my thinking? The more I've loved and known it, the clearer the contrast, the more intense the tension between a physical life and a virtual life. The Internet stole my body, now a lifeless form hunched in front of a glowing screen. My senses dulled as my greedy mind became one with the global brain we call the Internet.

I am confident that I can find out about nearly anything online and also confident that in my time offline, I can be more fully alive. The only tool I've found for this balancing act is intention.

The sense of contrast between my online and offline lives has turned me back toward prizing the pleasures of the physical world. I now move with more resolve between each of these worlds, choosing one, then the other — surrendering neither.

How has the internet changed the way you think?

December 30 2009

Four short links: 30 December 2009

  1. How to Run a Meeting Like Google (BusinessWeek) -- the temptation is to mock things like "even five minute meetings must have an agenda", but my sympathy with Marissa Mayer is high. The more I try to cram into a work day, the more I have to be able to justify every part of it. If you can't tell me why you want to see me for five minutes, then I probably have better things to be doing. There may be false culls (missing something important because the "process' is too high) but I bet these are far outweighed by the missed opportunities if time isn't so structured.
  2. Computer Science Education Week -- December 5-11, 2010, recognizes that computing: Touches everyone's daily lives and plays a critical role in society; Drives innovation and economic growth; Provides rewarding job opportunities; Prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need for the 21st century." Worthy, but there's no mention of the fact that it's FUN. The brilliant people in this field love what they do. They're not brilliant 9-5, then heading home to scan the Jobs Wanted to see whether they could earn more as dumptruck drivers in Uranium mines in Australia. CS isn't for everyone, but it won't be for anyone unless we help them find the bits they find fun.
  3. Installing EtherPad -- step-by-step instructions for installing EtherPad, the open-source real-time text editor recently acquired by Google.
  4. Victorian Infographics -- animals, time, and space from the Victorians. It's beautiful, it's meaningful, it must be infoengravings.

December 09 2009

Four short links: 9 December 2009

  1. The Mythology of Bioinformatics -- worth reading this (reprinted from 2002!) separate of hype from history.
  2. Policy and Internet -- new journal, with articles such as The Case Against Mass E-mails: Perverse Incentives and Low Quality Public Participation in U.S. Federal Rulemaking: This paper situates a close examination of the 1000 longest modified MoveOn.org-generated e-mails sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about its 2004 mercury rulemaking, in the broader context of online grassroots lobbying. The findings indicate that only a tiny portion of these public comments constitute potentially relevant new information for the EPA to consider. The vast majority of MoveOn comments are either exact duplicates of a two-sentence form letter, or they are variants of a small number of broad claims about the inadequacy of the proposed rule. This paper argues that norms, rules, and tools will emerge to deal with the burden imposed by these communications. More broadly, it raises doubts about the notion that online public participation is a harbinger of a more deliberative and democratic era. (via Jordan at InternetNZ)
  3. Xena -- GPL-licensed Java software from National Archives of Australia, to detect the file formats of "digital objects" and then converting them into open formats for preservation.
  4. Nebul.us -- startup that aggregates and visualises your online activity. In private beta, but there's a screenshot and brief discussion on Flowing Data.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl