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February 17 2014

January 02 2014

Four short links: 3 January 2014

  1. Commotion — open source mesh networks.
  2. WriteLaTeX — online collaborative LaTeX editor. No, really. This exists. In 2014.
  3. Distributed Systems — free book for download, goal is to bring together the ideas behind many of the more recent distributed systems – systems such as Amazon’s Dynamo, Google’s BigTable and MapReduce, Apache’s Hadoop etc.
  4. How Netflix Reverse-Engineered Hollywood (The Atlantic) — Using large teams of people specially trained to watch movies, Netflix deconstructed Hollywood. They paid people to watch films and tag them with all kinds of metadata. This process is so sophisticated and precise that taggers receive a 36-page training document that teaches them how to rate movies on their sexually suggestive content, goriness, romance levels, and even narrative elements like plot conclusiveness.

December 31 2013

Four short links: 31 December 2013

  1. Toyota Manufacturing Principles (Joseph Cohen) — Jidoka: Automation with a Human Touch. The idea of jidoka is that humans should work with machines to produce the best possible outcome, leveraging the execution ability of a machine and the judgement of a human. We at O’R Radar have been saying for years that there’s gold in the collaboration between people and machines, about augmenting people and not simply replacing them.
  2. Twisterthe fully decentralized P2P microblogging platform leveraging from the free software implementations of Bitcoin and BitTorrent protocols. Interesting to see BT and BC reused as platforms for app development, though if eventual consistency and threading Heisenbugs gave you headaches then just wait for the world of Bitcoin-meets-BitTorrent….
  3. Free Uncopyrighted NDA and Employment Contracts — CC0′d legalware.
  4. Transcript of Glenn Greenwald’s Speech to CCC — the relationship of privacy to security, and the transparency of governmental positions on that relationship, remain unaddressed. NSA’s actions are being used to establish local governmental control of the Internet, which will destroy the multistakeholder model that has kept net architecture and policy largely separate from the whims of elected officials. The fallout of Snowden’s revelations will shape 2014. Happy New Year.

November 29 2013

Four short links: 29 November 2013

  1. Huaqiang Bei Map for Makers — excellent resource for visitors to an iconic huge electronics market in Shenzhen. (via Bunnie Huang)
  2. A 16th Century Dutchman Can Tell us Everything We Need to Know about GMO PatentsThere’s nothing wrong with this division of labor, except that it means that fewer people are tinkering. We’ve centralized the responsibility for agricultural innovation among a few engineers, even fewer investors, and just a handful of corporations. (and check out the historical story—it’s GREAT)
  3. Polymath Projects — massively multiplayer mathematical proving ground. Let the “how many mathematicians does it take” jokes commence. (via Slashdot)
  4. Stats on Dying TV — like a Mary Meeker preso, accumulation of evidence that TV screens and cable subscriptions are dying and mobile-consumed media are taking its place.

November 21 2013

September 23 2013

Four short links: 23 September 2013

  1. Together.js — Mozilla-produced library for in-page collaboration.
  2. This Complex and Tragic Event Supports My Own View (Vaughan Bell) — pretty much every tactic he describes, you will see deployed daily.
  3. Natalie Silvanovich — a security engineer who has extracted and decompiled the code (running on a 6502!) in the heart of a Tamagotchi, and documenting it. Formidable!
  4. Science Fiction to Science Fabrication — MIT course: This class ties science fiction with speculative/critical design as a means to encourage the ethical and thoughtful design of new technologies. (via Beta Knowledge)

August 10 2013

Four short links: 12 August 2013

  1. List of Malware pcaps and SamplesCurrently, most of the samples described have the corresponding samples and pcaps available for download.
  2. InterTwinkles — open source platform built from the ground up to help small democratic groups to do process online. It provides structure to improve the efficiency of specific communication tasks like brainstorming and proposals. (via Willow Bl00)
  3. Lavabit, Privacy, Seppuku, and Game Theory (Vikram Kumar) — Mega’s CEO’s private blog, musing about rational responses to malstates.
  4. Telepath Keylogger (Github) — A happy Mac keylogger for Quantified Self purposes. (via Nick Winter)

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 03 2013

Four short links: 3 June 2013

  1. Practical HTTP Host Header Attacks — lots of cleverness like So, to persuade a cache to serve our poisoned response to someone else we need to create a disconnect between the host header the cache sees, and the host header the application sees. In the case of the popular caching solution Varnish, this can be achieved using duplicate Host headers. Varnish uses the first host header it sees to identify the request, but Apache concatenates all host headers present and Nginx uses the last host header.
  2. Madeye — collaborative code editing inside a Google Hangout. (via Andy Baio)
  3. Too Momentous for the MediumWhatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit – all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them. (Brian Eno’s words)
  4. Where the Happy Talk about Corporate Culture is All Wrong (NY Times) — I think there are two types of happiness in a work culture: Human Resources Happy and High Performance Happy. Fast-growth success has everything to do with the latter and nothing to do with the former. Lazy false opposition, and he describes an asshole-rich workplace that would only please a proctologist. (via Sara Winge)

April 09 2013

Four short links: 9 April 2013

  1. Automated Essay Grading To Come to EdX (NY Times) — shortly after we get software that writes stories for us, we get software to read them for us.
  2. AMD Calls End of Moore’s Law in Ten Years (ComputerWorld) — story based on this video, where Michio Kaku lays out the timeline for Moore’s Law’s wind-down and the spin-up of new technology.
  3. Addressing Human Trafficking Through Technology (danah boyd) — technologists love to make tech and then assert it’ll help people. Danah’s work on teens and now trafficking steers us to do what works, rather than what is showy or easiest.
  4. Product Management (Rowan Simpson) — hand this to anyone who asks what product management actually is. Excellent explanation.

March 21 2013

March 11 2013

Four short links: 11 March 2013

  1. Adventures in the Ransom Trade — between insurance, protection, and ransoms, Sean Gourley describes it as “one of the more interesting grey markets.” (via Sean Gourley)
  2. About High School Computer Science Teachers (Selena Deckelmann) — Selena gets an education in the state of high school computer science education.
  3. Learning From Big Data (Google Research) — the Wikilinks Corpus: 40 million total disambiguated mentions within over 10 million web pages [...] The mentions are found by looking for links to Wikipedia pages where the anchor text of the link closely matches the title of the target Wikipedia page. If we think of each page on Wikipedia as an entity (an idea we’ve discussed before), then the anchor text can be thought of as a mention of the corresponding entity.
  4. Teens Have Always Gone Where Identity Isn’tif you look back at one of the first dominant social platforms, AOL Instant Messenger, it looks a lot like the pseudonymous Tumblr and Snapchat of today in many respects. You used an avatar that was not your face. Your screenname was not indexed and not personally identifiable (mine was Goober1310).

March 07 2013

Four short links: 6 March 2013

  1. High Performance Networking in Google Chrome — far more than you ever wanted to know about how Chrome is so damn fast.
  2. Tactical Chathow the military uses IRC to wage war.
  3. http-console — a REPL loop for HTTP.
  4. Inductive Charger for Magic Mouse — my biggest bugbear with Bluetooth devices is the incessant appetite for batteries. Huzzah!

December 13 2012

Four short links: 13 December 2012

  1. Top 10 Chinese Internet Memes of 2012 — most are political, unlike Overly Attached Girlfriend.
  2. Evaporative Cooling — thoughtful piece about the tendency of event quality to trend down unless checked by invisible walls. (via Hacker News)
  3. What Was It Like to Browse the Web in the 90s? (Quora) — it was awesome, because the alternative was television. Couple of whiny “you won’t believe how hard we had it” posts, from people who obviously believe that everyone in history has been miserable because they don’t have it as good as we do now. And, thus, by extension, we are miserable because we don’t have it as good as future generations of silver-robot-bearing flying-car-driving humans.
  4. Why Are Dead People Liking Stuff on Facebook? (ReadWrite Web) — a good question.

December 04 2012

Four short links: 4 December 2012

  1. James Burke at dConstruct — transcription of his talk. EPIC. I love this man and could listen to him all day long. (via Keith Bolland)
  2. Mechanism Design on Trust Networks (CiteSeerX) — academic paper behind the Ripple Bitcoin-esque open source peer-payment digital currency.
  3. What If Money Was No Object (YouTube) — about finding your way to stuff that matters, and worth it just for the last lines. (via Rowan Simpson)
  4. photobooth-js (GitHub) — BSD-licensed html5 widget that allows users to take their avatar pictures on your site.

November 07 2012

Four short links: 7 November 2012

  1. A Slower Speed of Light — game where you control the speed of light and discover the wonders of relativity. (via Andy Baio)
  2. Facebook Demetricator — removes all statistics and numbers from Facebook’s chrome (“37 people like this” becomes “people like this”). (via Beta Knowledge)
  3. Rx — Microsoft open sources their library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators.
  4. Typing Karaoke — this is awesome. Practice typing to song lyrics. With 8-bit aesthetic for maximum quirk.

October 15 2012

Four short links: 15 October 2012

  1. Cheap Thermocam — cheap thermal imaging camera, takes about a minute to capture an image. (via IEEE Spectrum)
  2. Observations on What’s Getting Downvoted (Ars Technica) — fascinating piece of social work, showing how the community polices (or reacts to) trolls. (via Hacker News)
  3. Dark Social (The Atlantic) — Just look at that graph. On the one hand, you have all the social networks that you know. They’re about 43.5 percent of our social traffic. On the other, you have this previously unmeasured darknet that’s delivering 56.5 percent of people to individual stories. This is not a niche phenomenon! It’s more than 2.5x Facebook’s impact on the site.
  4. A Tethered WorldAll students, across all 56 represented countries, are doing generally the same few things. Facebook and Twitter, above all else, are the predominant tools for all information use among the participants. The predominance of these few tools are creating a homogenizing influence around the world.

August 30 2012

Four short links: 31 August 2012

  1. typing.io — a typing tutor for code.
  2. Sheep to Warn Shepherds of Wolf Attack by SMSaround 10 sheep were each equipped with a heart monitor before being targeted by a pair of Wolfdogs—both of which were muzzled. (via Beta Knowledge)
  3. New Species Found on Flickr (NPR) — Guek had noticed the insect while hiking the jungles of Malaysia, taken the photos, and then watched it fly away. I just love the idea of entomologists bringing up richly-coloured hi-res shots of insects from Flickr. Can’t figure out whether to parody as porn fetish or as if they were using movie tech (“can we enhance that?”)
  4. Position Correcting Tools for 2D Digital Fabricationin our approach, the user coarsely positions a frame containing the tool in an approximation of the desired path, while the device tracks the frame’s location and adjusts the position of the tool within the frame to correct the user’s positioning error in real time. Because the automatic positioning need only cover the range of the human’s positioning error, this frame can be small and inexpensive, and because the human has unlimited range, such a frame can be used to precisely position tools over an unlimited range.

August 20 2012

Four short links: 20 August 2012

  1. Uncertain Rainbow — Chris McDowall’s artistic Twitter experiment. Just how important are people to your social software? Described in this blog post.
  2. 8 Weeks Until BitCoin Debit/Credit Card — with an option to hold the value in BitCoins until it’s used. (Is this the same as denominated in BitCoins?)
  3. LittleBlackBox (Google Code) — a collection of thousands of private SSL and SSH keys extracted from various embedded devices. These private keys are stored in a database where they are correlated with their public certificates as well as the hardware/firmware that are known to use those private keys. (via Pedram Amini)
  4. Internet Safety Talking Points — pro-Internet, pro-safety, pro-teaching, anti-isolationism. Very nice.

August 15 2012

Four short links: 15 August 2012

  1. Reproducibility Initiative (Science Exchange) — a service offering researchers who will attempt to reproduce your work. Validated studies will receive a Certificate of Reproducibility acknowledging that their results have been independently reproduced as part of the Reproducibility Initiative. Researchers have the opportunity to publish the replicated results as an independent publication in the PLOS Reproducibility Collection, and can share their data via the figshare Reproducibility Collection repository. The original study will also be acknowledged as independently reproduced if published in a supporting journal. See also writeup in Nature.
  2. Designing Open Projects (PDF) — IBM report with very sensible advice on steps to take when creating open projects for engagement and participation. Should be recommended reading for all who hope to get others to help.
  3. Hustleboards — “disposable forums”, easy lightweight web-based chats. Nice and simple UI.
  4. Prosthetic Retina Helps Restore Sight in Mice (Nature) — computer-mediated vision won’t change our world, but it’ll change what we think is in our world.
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