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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: 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, …

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 ( — how the UK govt signs off on Agile projects, which normally governments have no clue over how to handle properly. Hyper Growth Done …

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 …

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: 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 …

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 …

Four short links: 4 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 4, 2014

C# Compiler Open Sourced — bit by the bit, the ship of Microsoft turns. The Web’s Declarative Composable Future — this. For the first time since 1993, I feel like the web platform is taking a step towards being a …

Four short links: 2 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 2, 2014

Resilient Distributed Datasets: A Fault-Tolerant Abstraction for In-Memory Cluster Computing (PDF) — Berkeley research paper behind Apache Spark. (via Nelson Minar) Angular Tour — trivially add tour tips (“This is the widget basket, drag and drop for widget goodness!” type …

Four short links: 27 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 25, 2014

2D Image Post-Processing Techniques and Algorithms (DIY Drones) — understanding how automated image matching and processing tools work means you can also get a better understanding how to shoot your images and what to prevent to get good matches. Scientists …

Pursuing adoption of free and open source software in governments

By Andy Oram
March 25, 2014

Free and open source software creates a natural — and even necessary — fit with government. I joined a panel this past weekend at the Free Software Foundation conference LibrePlanet on this topic and have covered it previously in a …

Four short links: 26 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 25, 2014

brick — uncompressed versions of popular web fonts. The difference between compressed and uncompressed is noticeable. Speaking Javascript — free online version of the new O’Reilly book by Axel Rauschmayer. micio.js — clever hack to communicate between Arduino and mobile …

Four short links: 25 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 25, 2014

Meet the Super-Taskers (Psychology Today) — As part of the Nissan GT Academy challenge, the top 10 players of the car-racing game Gran Turismo are given the chance to race real automobiles in competition. They’re very good—too good, in fact. …

Four short links: 24 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 24, 2014

The Parable of Google Flu (PDF) — We explore two issues that contributed to [Google Flu Trends]’s mistakes—big data hubris and algorithm dynamics—and offer lessons for moving forward in the big data age. Overtrained and underfed? Duktape — a lightweight …

Four short links: 13 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 13, 2014

Is Parallel Programming Hard? And, If So, What Can You Do About It? — book by Paul E. McKenney, on single-machine multi-CPU parallel programming. Malignant Computation — The bitcoin mining network would work just as well if it had far …

Four short links: 7 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 7, 2014

Coalesce — communication framework for distributed JavaScript. Looking for important unsolved problems in computer science? Reusable tools for distributed anything. Where Do All The Women Go? — Inclusion of at least one woman among the conveners increased the proportion of …

Four short links: 6 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 6, 2014

Repo Surveillance Network — An automated reader attached to the spotter car takes a picture of every ­license plate it passes and sends it to a company in Texas that already has more than 1.8 billion plate scans from vehicles …

Four short links: 3 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 3, 2014

The Programming Error That Cost Mt Gox 2609 Bitcoins — in the unforgiving world of crypto-currency, it’s easy to miscode and vanish your money. Ford Invites Open-Source Community to Tinker Away — One example: Nelson has re-tasked the motor from …

Four short links: 28 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 28, 2014

Programming Minecraft Pi with Python — an early draft, but shows promise for kids. (via Raspberry Pi) Terasaur — BitTorrent for mad-large files, making it easy for datasets to be saved and exchanged. Bucky — Open-source tool to measure the …

CPAN’s social continuity of code

By brian d foy
February 21, 2014

I contribute heavily in the Perl community, and I’m consistently impressed by the pains we take with code and assets that we personally have no interest in. There’s a group of Perl people who shepherd (camelherd?) code and projects that …

CPAN’s social continuity of code

By brian d foy
February 21, 2014

I contribute heavily in the Perl community, and I’m consistently impressed by the pains we take with code and assets that we personally have no interest in. There’s a group of Perl people who shepherd (camelherd?) code and projects that …

Four short links: 19 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 19, 2014

1746 Slippy Map of London — very nice use of Google Maps to recontextualise historic maps. (via USvTh3m) TPP Comic — the comic explaining TPP that you’ve been waiting for. (via BoingBoing) Synthetic Biology Investor’s Lament — some hypotheses about …

Four short links: 17 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 17, 2014

imsg — use iMessage from the commandline. Facebook Data Science Team Posts About Love — I tell people, “this is what you look like to SkyNet.” A System for Detecting Software Plagiarism — the research behind the undergraduate bete noir. …

Four short links: 10 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 10, 2014

Bruce Sterling at transmediale 2014 (YouTube) — “if it works, it’s already obsolete.” Sterling does a great job of capturing the current time: spies in your Internet, lost trust with the BigCos, the impermanence of status quo, the need to …

Four short links: 7 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 8, 2014

12 Predictions About the Future of Programming (Infoworld) — not a bad set of predictions, except for the inane “squeezing” view of open source. Conceal (Github) — Facebook Android tool for apps to encrypt data and large files stored in …

Four short links: 5 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 5, 2014

sigma.js — Javascript graph-drawing library (node-edge graphs, not charts). DARPA Open Catalog — all the open source published by DARPA. Sweet! Quantified Vehicle Meetup — Boston meetup around intelligent automotive tech including on-board diagnostics, protocols, APIs, analytics, telematics, apps, software …

Four short links: 31 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 31, 2014

Bolts — Facebook’s library of small, low-level utility classes in iOS and Android. Python Idioms (PDF) — useful cheatsheet. Michael Abrash’s Graphics Programming Black Book — Markdown source in github. Notable for elegance and instructive for those learning to optimise. …

Four short links: 28 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 28, 2014

Intel On-Device Voice Recognition (Quartz) — interesting because the tension between client-side and server-side functionality is still alive and well. Features migrate from core to edge and back again as cycles, data, algorithms, and responsiveness expectations change. Meet Microsoft’s Personal …

Four short links: 27 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 27, 2014

Druid — open source clustered data store (not key-value store) for real-time exploratory analytics on large datasets. It’s Time to Engineer Some Filter Failure (Jon Udell) — Our filters have become so successful that we fail to notice: We don’t …

Four short links: 24 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 24, 2014

What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating Point Arithmetic — in short, “it will hurt you.” Ori — a distributed file system built for offline operation and empowers the user with control over synchronization operations and conflict resolution. We …

Four short links: 23 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 23, 2014

Microsoft Research Adopts Open Access Policy for Publications — +1 Light Table is Open Source — this matters because these experiments in semantic interactivity inform technical UIs of the future, and the more ubiquitous this code is then the more …

Four short links: 22 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 22, 2014

How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love (Wired) — if he doesn’t end up working for OK Cupid, productising this as a new service, something is wrong with the world. Humin: The App That Uses Context to …

Four short links: 20 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 20, 2014

idb (Github) — a tool to simplify some common tasks for iOS pentesting and research: screenshots, logs, plists/databases/caches, app binary decryption/download, etc. (via ShmooCon) Twitter Infrastructure — an interview with Raffi Krikorian, VP of Platform Engineering. Details on SOA, deployment …

Four short links: 13 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 13, 2014

s3mper (Github) — Netflix’s library to add consistency checking to S3. (via Netflix tech blog) Powerup Smartphone-Controlled Paper Airplane — boggle. You know the future is here when you realise you’re on the Internet of Trivial Things. clmtrackr (Github) — …

Four short links: 6 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 6, 2014

4043-byte 8086 Emulator — manages to implement most of the hardware in a 1980’s era IBM-PC using a few hundred fewer bits than the total number of transistors used to implement the original 8086 CPU. Entry in the obfuscated C …

Four short links: 2 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 2, 2014

slic3r — converts a digital 3D model into printing instructions for your 3D printer. It cuts the model into horizontal slices (layers), generates toolpaths to fill them and calculates the amount of material to be extruded. gCodeViewer — GCode is …

Four short links: 30 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 30, 2013

tooldiag — a collection of methods for statistical pattern recognition. Implemented in C. Hacking MicroSD Cards (Bunnie Huang) — In my explorations of the electronics markets in China, I’ve seen shop keepers burning firmware on cards that “expand” the capacity …

Four short links: 27 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 27, 2013

Intel XDK — If you can write code in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript*, you can use the IntelŪ XDK to build an HTML5 web app or a hybrid app for all of the major app stores. It’s a .exe. What …

Four short links: 26 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 26, 2013

Nest Protect Teardown (Sparkfun) — initial teardown of another piece of domestic industrial Internet. Logs — The distributed log can be seen as the data structure which models the problem of consensus. Not kidding when he calls it “real-time data’s …

Four short links: 25 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 25, 2013

Inside Netflix’s HR (HBR) — Which idea in the culture deck was the hardest sell with employees? “Adequate performance gets a generous severance package.” It’s a pretty blunt statement of our hunger for excellence. They talk about how those conversations …

Four short links: 18 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 18, 2013

Cyberpunk 2013 — a roleplaying game shows a Gibsonian view of 2013 from 1988. (via Ben Hammersley) The Future Computer Utility — 1967 prediction of the current state. There are several reasons why some form of regulation may be required. …

Tim O’Reilly Urges Developers and Entrepreneurs to Make Moonshots

By Josh Simmons
December 17, 2013

  At OSCON 2013, Tim (@timoreilly) asked us to aim higher and work on difficult problems while highlighting the most important trends that should be guiding open source developers and entrepreneurs. To illustrate his points, he offered up great examples …

The Future of Monitoring Data is In the Cloud

By Fred van den Bosch
December 16, 2013

As applications move from on­premise to SaaS, the scale of deployments increases by orders of magnitude (to “web­scale”). At the same time, application development and operation become tightly integrated and continuous deployment brings the frequency of updates down from months …

Four short links: 12 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 12, 2013

iBeacons — Bluetooth LE enabling tighter coupling of physical world with digital. I’m enamoured with the interaction possibilities: The latest Apple TV software brought a fantastically clever workaround. You just tap your iPhone to the Apple TV itself, and it …

The public front of the free software campaign: part I

By Ezra Haber Glenn
December 10, 2013

At a recent meeting of the MIT Open Source Planning Tools Group, I had the pleasure of hosting Zak Rogoff — campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation — for an open-ended discussion on the potential for free and open …

Four short links: 10 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 10, 2013

ArangoDB — open-source database with a flexible data model for documents, graphs, and key-values. Build high performance applications using a convenient sql-like query language or JavaScript extensions. Google’s Seven Robotics Companies (IEEE) — The seven companies are capable of creating …

Four short links: 9 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 9, 2013

Reform Government Surveillance — hard not to view this as a demarcation dispute. “Ruthlessly collecting every detail of online behaviour is something we do clandestinely for advertising purposes, it shouldn’t be corrupted because of your obsession over national security!” Brian …

Four short links: 4 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 4, 2013

Skyjack — drone that takes over other drones. Welcome to the Malware of Things. Bootstrap World — a curricular module for students ages 12-16, which teaches algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. (via Esther Wojicki) Harvest — open source …

Four short links: 3 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 3, 2013

SAMOA — Yahoo!’s distributed streaming machine learning (ML) framework that contains a programming abstraction for distributed streaming ML algorithms. (via Introducing SAMOA) madlib — an open-source library for scalable in-database analytics. It provides data-parallel implementations of mathematical, statistical and machine-learning …

Four short links: 28 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 28, 2013

OpenRefine — Google abandoned the excellent Refine tool for working with data sets, now picked up and developed by open source community. Intel’s Arduino-Compatible Board — launched at MakerFaire Rome. (via Wired UK) Game Maven — learn to code by …

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