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Fun, functional, and teachable?

By Simon St. Laurent
April 24, 2014

I was delighted to talk with Dave Thomas, co-founder of the The Pragmatic Programmers and author of their in-progress Programming Elixir. I’m writing Introducing Elixir for O’Reilly, and we both seem to be enjoying the progress of the language. I …

Four short links: 24 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 24, 2014

Depthy — new Google Camera app lets you capture some depth information, stored in metadata in the image. Nifty effects become possible. Coping with Stress and Burnout: Explanatory Power of Different Coping Strategies (PLoSone)– interesting taxonomy of burnout (overload, lack …

The robotics industry could use an infusion of new DNA

By Roger Chen
April 24, 2014

Editor’s note: this post originally published on Chen’s blog Beyond the Bell Curve; this edited version is republished here with permission. A couple years ago, I dug deep into the robotics space because I thought we were seeing the birth …

Robots in the lab

By Mike Loukides
April 23, 2014

In the new issue of BioCoder, Peter Sand writes about Hacking Lab Equipment. It’s well worth a read: it gives a number of hints about how standard equipment can be modified so that it can be controlled by a program. This …

Make magic with Ruby DSLs

By Aaron Sumner
April 23, 2014

For better or worse, I believe you can develop basic, yet useful, applications in Ruby on Rails with just a minimum amount of Ruby knowledge. Rails tucks away details behind object-to-table mapping, routing, database preparation, and other necessities for web …

Four short links: 23 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 23, 2014

Samsung UX (Scribd) — little shop of self-catalogued UX horrors, courtesy discovery in a lawsuit. Dated (Android G1 as competition) but rewarding to see there are signs of self-awareness in the companies that inflict unusability on the world. Tools for …

iBeacons, privacy, and security

By Matthew Gast
April 22, 2014

iBeacons and various BLE technologies have the potential to shake up many established ways of doing business by streamlining interactions. Although there are potentially many uses for iBeacons, much of the initial discussion has focused on retail. (I’ll follow up with …

The crowdfunding conundrum

By Glen Martin
April 22, 2014

There is widespread consensus that crowdfunding is a boon, an egalitarian means for bringing products and services to market without relying on banks, venture capitalists, or established financial angels. Myriad platforms now allow entrepreneurs and folks with a little (or a …

Four short links: 22 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 22, 2014

PourOver — NYT open source Javascript for very fast in-browser filtering and sorting of large collections. LibreSSL — OpenBSD take on OpenSSL. Unclear how sustainable this effort is, or how well adopted it will be. Competing with OpenSSL is obviously …

Changes in the health care system driven by self-service and DIY health

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn
April 21, 2014

Health care is migrating from the bricks-and-mortar doctor’s office or care clinic to the person him or herself at home and on-the-go–where people live, work, play, and pray. As people take on more do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches to everyday life–investing money …

Ask Tim O’Reilly about the Internet of Things on Reddit

By Jon Bruner
April 21, 2014

Our new Solid conference covers a lot of ground: hardware, design, manufacturing, and, of course, software. At 10 a.m. Pacific Time / 1 p.m. Eastern Time tomorrow (Tuesday, April 22), Tim O’Reilly will take questions on these areas and how he …

Toward an open Internet of Things

By Mike Loukides
April 21, 2014

In a couple of posts and articles, we’ve nibbled around the notion of standards, interoperability, and the Internet of Things (or the Internet of Everything, or the Industrial Internet, or whatever you want to call it). It’s time to say …

5 ways developers win with PaaS

By Katie Miller
April 21, 2014

As a software developer, you are no doubt familiar with the process of abstracting away unnecessary detail in code — imagine if that same principle were applied to application hosting. Say hello to Platform as a Service (PaaS), which enables …

Verticalized Big Data solutions

By Ben Lorica
April 19, 2014

As much as I love talking about general-purpose big data platforms and data science frameworks, I’m the first to admit that many of the interesting startups I talk to are focused on specific verticals. At their core big data applications …

5 ways to improve battery life in your app

By Meghan Blanchette
April 18, 2014

Editor’s Note: Mobile HTML5 is a book by front-end engineer and frequent speaker Estelle Weyl. It is packed with hands-on examples to make you a stronger web developer–including best practices for SVG, Canvas, and CSS3 tailored to fit mobile devices. …

On Software, Satisfaction, and Being CEO

By Amy Jollymore
April 18, 2014

I was honored to be on stage with four notable women in technology, last month at DeveloperWeek. The panel included Jennifer Davis, Anne Ward, Anna Chiara Bellini, and Selby Walker. Each of the panelists responded in earnest to questions that explored …

M2M, IoT, and the invisibility of ubiquity

By Jim Stogdill
April 18, 2014

I started writing this post to respond to the question: “What is the difference between machine-to-machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT)?” It turns out, a post answering that question isn’t really necessary. There is already a pretty good …

Four short links: 18 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 18, 2014

16 Interviewing Tips for User Studies — these apply to many situations beyond user interviews, too. The Backlash Against Big Data contd. (Mike Loukides) — Learn to be a data skeptic. That doesn’t mean becoming skeptical about the value of …

Four short links: 17 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 17, 2014

Playbook for Strategic Foresight & Innovation — MANY pages of framework and exercises. Good for what it is, but also as a model for how to disseminate your ideas and frame for the world to consume. Why I’m a Crabby …

Biomimicry in the real world

By Mike Loukides
April 17, 2014

A couple of years ago, I visited the World Science Festival in New York and saw Festo’s robotic bird. It was amazing. I’ve seen things that looked more or less like a bird, and that flew, but clearly weren’t flying like a bird. …

Four short links: 16 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 17, 2014

morris.js — pretty time-series line graphs. Open Source CT Scanner — all the awesome. Alan Kay’s Reading List — in case you’re wondering what to add to the pile beside your bed. (via Alex Dong) Foldscope — origami optical microscope, …

Deliberations on DevOps

By Rajat Bhargava
April 17, 2014

There is a growing movement in the tech world, which over the past couple of years—and even more so in the past few months—has gained significant momentum and is changing the way organizations operate and do business. Much like the …

Solving mysteries using predictive analytics

By Janaya Williams
April 16, 2014

Kira Radinsky started coding at the age of four, when her mother and aunt encouraged her to excel at one of her favorite computer games by writing a few simple lines of code. Since then, she’s been a firecracker in …

Ag+Data

By Paco Nathan
April 16, 2014

Two years ago an informal group met for drinks in downtown Palo Alto: a mix of grad students, investors, and data science experts in Silicon Valley. In the back and forth of our conversation, we took turns describing planned projects. …

Disposable architecture?

By Jenn Webb
April 16, 2014

I’ve noticed a number of faint signals recently pointing to a general shift in the speed of technology and the repercussions it’s having on the products we’re seeing come to market. This recent Tweet from Tom Scott got me really …

DevOps Hiring

By Dave Zwieback
April 16, 2014

Traditional recruiting is broken. The biggest problem is that goals and incentives of candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters are often misaligned. For instance, taken to the extreme, a headhunter’s best candidate is one who survives at a new job just …

#IoTH: The Internet of Things and Humans

By Tim O'Reilly
April 15, 2014

Rod Smith of IBM and I had a call the other day to prepare for our onstage conversation at O’Reilly’s upcoming Solid Conference, and I was surprised to find how much we were in agreement about one idea: so many of the …

Ohai, New Ohai Plugins!

By Jon Cowie
April 15, 2014

When you start to use the Chef configuration management system, you will quickly encounter a tool it ships with called Ohai which collects information about the underlying system to expose to the Chef Client as attributes during its run. These attributes allows you to easily incorporate …

Announcing BioCoder issue 3

By Mike Loukides
April 15, 2014

We’re excited about the third issue of BioCoder, O’Reilly’s newsletter about the revolution in biology and biotechnology. In the first article of our new issue, Ryan Bethencourt asks the question “What does Biotechnology Want?” Playing with Kevin Kelly’s ideas about how technological development drives …

Four short links: 15 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 15, 2014

Funders Punish Open Access Dodgers (Nature) — US’s NIH and UK’s Wellcome Trust are withholding funding from academics who haven’t released their data despite it being a condition of past funding. It’s open access’s grab twist and pull move. Digitize …

What’s New in Java 8: Lambdas

By Madhusudhan Konda
April 14, 2014

Java 8 is here, and, with it, come lambdas. Although long overdue, lambdas are a remarkable new feature that could make us rethink our programming styles and strategies. In particular, they offer exciting new possibilities for functional programming. While lambdas …

Four short links: 14 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 14, 2014

dategrep — print lines matching ranges of dates. Genius! Business Case Guidance in Agile Projects (gov.uk) — how the UK govt signs off on Agile projects, which normally governments have no clue over how to handle properly. Hyper Growth Done …

Simplifying Django

By Meghan Blanchette
April 12, 2014

The following comes to you from Julia Elman and Mark Lavin. Julia is a a hybrid designer/developer who has been working her brand of web skills since 2002; and Mark is the Development Director at Caktus Consulting Group in Carrboro, …

Distributed science

By Mike Loukides
April 11, 2014

In my post on biohacking and bioterrorism, I briefly mentioned the possibility of vaccines and other treatments developed outside of institutional research. That may be far-fetched, and I certainly hope we’re never in a situation where DIY treatments are the only …

Health IT is a growth area for programmers

By Andy Oram
April 11, 2014

O’Reilly recently released a report I wrote called The Information Technology Fix for Health: Barriers and Pathways to the Use of Information Technology for Better Health Care. Along with our book Hacking Healthcare, I hope this report helps programmers who …

Security and the Internet of stuff in your life

By Jim Stogdill
April 10, 2014

Your computer is important. It has access to your Amazon account, probably your bank, your tax returns, and maybe even your medical records. It’s scary when it gets pwnd, and it gets pwned regularly because it’s essentially impossible to fully …

Leading by example: two stories

By Tim O'Reilly
April 10, 2014

I was struck recently by two stories in the New York Times. The first, “Bishops Follow Pope’s Example: Opulence Is Out,” tells how bishop after bishop, either inspired by the Pope’s example or afraid of being shamed for not doing …

Can We Extend the Web Cleanly?

By Simon St. Laurent
April 10, 2014

“Design by Committee” is rarely a compliment. Can the Web shift away from that model, retaining some order without falling into troublesome chaos? The Manifesto Part of the excitement around the Extensible Web Manifesto was that it wanted to move …

The evolving purpose of design

By Glen Martin
April 10, 2014

For more than a century, design has been determined by its applications to the physical world. As architect Louis Sullivan expressed in an 1896 essay, “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered“: “It is the pervading law of all things organic …

Full-stack developers

By Mike Loukides
April 10, 2014

Since Facebook’s Carlos Bueno wrote the canonical article about the full stack, there has been no shortage of posts trying to define it. For a time, Facebook allegedly only hired “full-stack developers.” That probably wasn’t quite true, even if they thought …

Four short links: 10 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 10, 2014

Rise of the Patent Troll: Everything is a Remix (YouTube) — primer on patent trolls, in language anyone can follow. Part of the fixpatents.org campaign. (via BoingBoing) Petabytes of Field Data (GigaOm) — Farm Intelligence using sensors and computer vision …

The backlash against big data, continued

By Mike Loukides
April 9, 2014

Yawn. Yet another article trashing “big data,” this time an op-ed in the Times. This one is better than most, and ends with the truism that data isn’t a silver bullet. It certainly isn’t. I’ll spare you all the links (most of …

Ruby: The Unit Test-Friendly Language

By Jay McGavren
April 9, 2014

Let’s say you have a Ruby class that retrieves the contents of web pages, and you need to write a unit test for it… [crayon-534543185a863979836296/] You’ve tested the get_response method, and now you need to test get_body. You’re using MiniTest, …

Four short links: 9 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 9, 2014

Jasper Project — an open source platform for developing always-on, voice-controlled applications. Shouting is the new swiping—I eagerly await Gartner touting the Internet-of-things-that-misunderstand-you. DeepBeliefSDK — deep neural network library for iOS. (via Pete Warden) Microsoft Spectrum Observatory — crowdsourcing spectrum …

Venal Sins: Cash, Sex, and IT Infrastructure

By Mike Barlow
April 8, 2014

Yet again, I reveal the base instincts driving my interest in big data. It’s not the science – it’s the cash. And yes, on some level, I find the idea of all that cash sexy. Yes, I know it’s a …

Biohacking and the problem of bioterrorism

By Mike Loukides
April 8, 2014

You don’t get very far discussing synthetic biology and biohacking before someone asks about bioterrorism. So, let’s meet the monster head-on. I won’t downplay the possibility of a bioterror attack. It’s already happened. The Anthrax-contaminated letters that were sent to political figures …

Business models that make the Internet of Things feasible

By Andy Oram
April 8, 2014

For some people, it’s too early to plan mass consumerization of the Internet of Things. Developers are contentedly tinkering with Arduinos and clip cables, demonstrating cool one-off applications. We know that home automation can save energy, keep the elderly and …

Building an Activity Feed System with Storm

By Meghan Blanchette
April 8, 2014

Editor’s Note: The Clojure Cookbook is a recently published book by experienced Clojurists Luke VanderHart and Ryan Neufeld. It seeks to be a practical collection of tasks for intermediate Clojure programmers. In addition to providing their own recipes, Ryan and …

The backlash against big data, continued

By Mike Loukides
April 8, 2014

Yawn. Yet another article trashing “big data,” this time an op-ed in the Times. This one is better than most, and ends with the truism that data isn’t a silver bullet. It certainly isn’t. I’ll spare you all the links (most of …

Four short links: 8 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 8, 2014

Next Five Years for Robots — plausible summary of the near future progression, taken from Helen Greiner’s DEMOlabs talk. Raspberry Pi Compute Module — a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit on a SODIMM with onboard memory, whose connectors you …


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