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May 21 2012

Four short links: 21 May 2012

  1. Objectivist C -- very clever. In Objectivist-C, each program is free to acquire as many resources as it can, without interference from the operating system. (via Tim O'Reilly)
  2. Zynga and Facebook Stock Oddities (The Atlantic) -- signs of robotrading, a reminder that we're surrounded by algorithms and only notice them when they go awry.
  3. The Final ROFLcon and Mobile's Impact on Internet Culture (Andy Baio) -- These days, memes spread faster and wider than ever, with social networks acting as the fuel for mass distribution. But it's possible we may see less mutation and remixing in the near future. As Internet usage shifts from desktops and laptops to mobile devices and tablets, the ability to mutate memes in a meaningful way becomes harder.
  4. Oh Mi Bod -- I was impressed to learn that one can buy vibrators that can be controlled from an iPhone. Insert iBone joke here. (via Cary Gibson)

April 13 2011

Four short links: 13 April 2011

  1. Web Ecology Project -- Researching quantized social interaction. Most recent work was a competition to write social bots that would be followed/friended on social networks--essentially scoring 51% on the Turing test. There are privacy implications (often social network buddies see profile information that strangers can't). (via The Atlantic)
  2. We Need to Stop Google's Exploitation of Open Communities (Mikel Maron) -- much as Google's ill-fated Knol smelled like an attempt to sidestep Wikipedia, their MapMaker is directly modelled on OSM [OpenStreetMap], but with a restrictive data license, where you can not use the data as you see fit. Mikel argues passionately and pointedly about this. Also interesting: how quickly OSM's own community is turning against itself on licensing issues. Nothing else divides open communities as much as the license that makes them possible, not even big companies' dickish behaviour.
  3. A Truly Open VistA -- the Veterans Administration attempts to build an open source community (instead of simply releasing the source code). This article by RedHat's Chief Technology Strategist outlines some of challenges they're facing: obscure source and bureaucracy. The obscure source is a significant impediment: it's written in MUMPS which predates C and combines the elegance of roadkill with all the capability for abstract expression of a brick. Existing businesses aren't an impediment, though: Linux has shown that deforking (aka "contributing") makes sound business sense once the momentum of new features builds up in the commons. (via Glyn Moody)
  4. Rare Javascript Operators (Timmy Willison) -- enlightening, but reminds me of the important gulf between "can" and "should": Tilde is useful! We can use for any functions that return -1:
    // We can do
    if ( ~checkFoo ) {

    (via Javascript Weekly)

December 15 2010

Four short links: 15 December 2010

  1. Dremel (PDF) -- paper on the Dremel distributed nested column-store database developed at Google. Interesting beyond the technology is the list of uses, which includes tracking install data for applications on Android Market; crash reporting from Google products; OCR results from Google Books; spam analysis; debugging map tiles. (via Greg Linden)
  2. Conversational UI: A Short Reading List -- it can be difficult to build a text user interface to a bot because there's not a great body of useful literature around textual UIs the way there is around GUIs. This great list of pointers goes a long way to solving that problem.
  3. Sustainable Education (YouTube) -- Watch this clip from the New Zealand Open Source Awards. Mark Osborne, Deputy Principal from Albany Senior High School, talks about the software choices at their school not because it's right for technology but because it's right for the students. Very powerful.
  4. What Font Should I Use? -- design life support for the terminally tasteless like myself. (via Hacker News)

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