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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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

5 Fun Facts about HBase that you didn’t know

By Ben Lorica
April 6, 2014

With HBaseCon right around the corner, I wanted to take stock of one of the more popular1 components in the Hadoop ecosystem. Over the last few years, many more companies have come to rely on HBase to run key products …

Bridging the Divide Between Big Data and (Big) Algorithms

By O'Reilly Strata
April 5, 2014

By Alice Zheng In February, GraphLab took a road trip to Strata, a Big Data conference organized by O’Reilly. It was a gathering of close to 3100 people–engineers, business folks, industry evangelists, and data scientists. We had a lot of …

Podcast: thinking with data

By Jon Bruner
April 5, 2014

Max Shron and Jake Porway spoke with me at Strata a few weeks ago about frameworks for making reasoned arguments with data. Max’s recent O’Reilly book, Thinking with Data, outlines the crucial process of developing good questions and creating a plan to answer them. Jake’s nonprofit, DataKind, connects …

Emotional AI: The Human Side of Machine Learning

By O'Reilly Strata
April 5, 2014

By Kira Radinsky When you think about what goes into winning a Nobel Prize in a field like economics, it’s a lot like machine learning. In order to make a breakthrough, you need to identify an interesting theory for explaining …

Four short links: 3 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 3, 2014

dat — github-like tool for data, still v. early. It’s overdue. (via Nelson Minar) Novena Open Laptop — Bunnie Huang’s laptop goes on sale. Crowd Forecasting (NPR) — How is it possible that a group of average citizens doing Google …

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 …

Visualizing Health IT: A holistic overview

By Andy Oram
April 1, 2014

If visualization is key to comprehending data, the field of health IT calls for better visualization. I am not talking here of pretty charts and animations. I am talking, rather, of a holistic, unified understanding of the bustle taking place …

Wearable intelligence

By Glen Martin
April 1, 2014

The age of ubiquitous computing is accelerating, and it’s creating some interesting social turbulence, particularly where wearable hardware is concerned. Intelligent devices other than phones and screens — smart headsets, glasses, watches, bracelets — are insinuating themselves into our daily …

Four short links: 1 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 1, 2014

Connected for a Purpose (Jim Stogdill) — At a recent conference, an executive at a major auto manufacturer described his company’s efforts to digitize their line-up like this: “We’re basically wrapping a two-ton car around an iPad. Eloquent critique of …

Understanding the Now: The Role of Data in Adaptive Organizations

By O'Reilly Strata
March 31, 2014

By Chris Diehl of The Data Guild Slow and Unaware It was 2005. The war in Iraq was raging. Many of us in the national security R&D community were developing responses to the deadliest threat facing U.S. soldiers: the improvised explosive device (IED). …

Four short links: 31 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 31, 2014

Game Programming Patterns — a book in progress. Search for the Next Platform (Fred Wilson) — Mobile is now the last thing. And all of these big tech companies are looking for the next thing to make sure they don’t …

Four short links: 28 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 28, 2014

WearScript — open source project putting Javascript on Glass. See story on it. (via Slashdot) Mining the World’s Data by Selling Street Lights and Farm Drones (Quartz) — Depending on what kinds of sensors the light’s owners choose to install, …

What BlackBerry is up to these days

By Jon Bruner
March 27, 2014

Here’s a surprise, via Bloomberg: “BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, used to power its BlackBerry 10 phones, has become the technology of choice for mapping, communication and entertainment systems in cars from Ford Motor Co. to luxury German brands Porsche and …

Decide Better

By Alistair Croll
March 26, 2014

When we launched Strata a few years ago, our original focus was on how big data, ubiquitous computing, and new interfaces change the way we live, love, work and play. In fact, here’s a diagram we mocked up back then …

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 …

Upward Mobility: Avoid This Simple App Store Bounce

By James Turner
March 24, 2014

There’s nothing worse than submitting your first app to the iTunes app store, and having it get rejected. Well, OK, there are plenty of things that are worse, but it still isn’t pleasant. Bounces can happen for a variety of …

Open data can drive partnerships with government

By Andy Oram
March 24, 2014

As governments and businesses — and increasingly, all of us who are Internet-connected — release data out in the open, we come closer to resolving the tiresomely famous and perplexing quote from Stewart Brand: “Information wants to be free. Information …

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 …

Can data provide the trust we need in health care?

By Andy Oram
March 20, 2014

One of the problems dragging down the US health care system is that nobody trusts one another. Most of us, as individuals, place faith in our personal health care providers, which may or may not be warranted. But on a …

What’s Up With Big Data Ethics?

By O'Reilly Strata
March 18, 2014

by Jonathan H. King & Neil M. Richards If you develop software or manage databases, you’re probably at the point now where the phrase “Big Data” makes you roll your eyes. Yes, it’s hyped quite a lot these days. But, …

Podcast: thinking with data

By Jon Bruner
March 18, 2014

Max Shron and Jake Porway spoke with me a few weeks ago about frameworks for making reasoned arguments with data. Max’s recent O’Reilly book, Thinking with Data, outlines the crucial process of developing good questions and creating a plan to answer …

Four short links: 18 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 18, 2014

On Managers (Mike Migurski) — Managers might be difficult, hostile, or useless, but because they are parts of an explicit power structure they can be evaluated explicitly. Big Data: Humans Required (Sherri Hammons) — the heart of the problem with …

The dangers of data-driven list-making

By Alistair Croll
March 17, 2014

Editor’s note: this post originally appeared on Tilt the Windmill; it is republished here with permission. Startupfest’s Pamela Perotti asked for my thoughts on this great Forbes piece by Lightspeed’s Barry Eggers about using big data to build top ten …

Crowdsourcing Feature discovery

By Ben Lorica
March 15, 2014

Data scientists were among the earliest and most enthusiastic users of crowdsourcing services. Lukas Biewald noted in a recent talk that one of the reasons he started CrowdFlower was that as a data scientist he got frustrated with having to …

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: 11 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 11, 2014

In-Game Graph Analysis (The Economist) — one MLB team has bought a Cray Ulrika graph-processing appliance for in-game analysis of data. Please hold, boggling. (via Courtney Nash) Disney Bets $1B on Technology (BusinessWeek) — MyMagic+ promises far more radical change. …

Four short links: 10 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 10, 2014

Wolfram Language — a broad attempt to integrate types, operations, and databases along with deployment, parallelism, and real-time I/O. The demo video is impressive, not just in execution but in ambition. Healthy skepticism still necessary. Maury, Innovation, and Change (Cory …

Instrumenting collaboration tools used in data projects

By Ben Lorica
March 8, 2014

As I noted in a previous post, model building is just one component of the analytic lifecycle. Many analytic projects result in models that get deployed in production environments. Moreover, companies are beginning to treat analytics as mission-critical software and …

Big data and privacy: an uneasy face-off for government to face

By Andy Oram
March 5, 2014

Thrust into controversy by Edward Snowden’s first revelations last year, President Obama belatedly welcomed a “conversation” about privacy. As cynical as you may feel about US spying, that conversation with the federal government has now begun. In particular, the first …

Machine Data at Strata: “BigData++”

By O'Reilly Strata
March 5, 2014

By David Andrzejewski of SumoLogic A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting the machine data track of talks at Strata Santa Clara. Like “big data”, the phrase “machine data” is associated with multiple (sometimes conflicting) definitions, ­two …

Change is hard. Adherence is harder.

By Julie Steele
March 5, 2014

If you’ve ever tried to count calories, go on a diet, start a new exercise program, change your sleep patterns, spend less time sitting, or make any other type of positive health change, then you know how difficult it is …

The technical aspects of privacy

By Andy Oram
March 5, 2014

Thrust into controversy by Edward Snowden’s first revelations last year, President Obama belatedly welcomed a “conversation” about privacy. As cynical as you may feel about US spying, that conversation with the federal government has now begun. In particular, the first …

An Invitation to Practical Machine Learning

By Ellen Friedman
March 3, 2014

Does it make sense for me to have a car? If so, which one is the best choice for my needs: a gasoline, hybrid, or electric?  And should I buy or lease? In order to make an effective decision, I …

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 …

Interface Languages and Feature Discovery

By Ben Lorica
March 2, 2014

Here are a few more observations based on conversations I had during the just concluded Strata Santa Clara conference. Interface languages: Python, R, SQL (and Scala) This is a great time to be a data scientist or data engineer who …

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 …

Healthcare Lessons from the Data Sages at Strata

By Bonnie Feldman
February 27, 2014

This article was written with Ellen M. Martin. Most healthcare clinicians don’t often think about donating or sharing data. Yet, after hearing Stephen Friend of Sage Bionetworks talk about involving citizens and patients in the field of genetic research at …

Internet of Things in celebration and provocation at MIT

By Andy Oram
February 26, 2014

Last Saturday’s IoT Festival at MIT became a meeting ground for people connecting the physical world. Embedded systems developers, security experts, data scientists, and artists all joined in this event. Although it was called a festival, it had a typical …

Four short links: 26 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 26, 2014

Librarybox 2.0 — fork of PirateBox for the TP-Link MR 3020, customized for educational, library, and other needs. Wifi hotspot with free and anonymous file sharing. v2 adds mesh networking and more. (via BoingBoing) Chicago PD’s Using Big Data to …

Extending GraphLab to tables

By Ben Lorica
February 23, 2014

GraphLab’s SFrame, an interesting and somewhat under-the-radar tool was unveiled1 at Strata Santa Clara. It is a disk-based, flat table representation that extends GraphLab to tabular data. With the addition of SFrame, users can leverage GraphLab’s many algorithms on data …

Health hackathon brings to life agile solutions for unmet needs

By Andy Oram
February 20, 2014

I think the main achievement of hackathons can be measured not by what apps are developed–reportedly, few are commercialized and maintained–but by people who find each other. The Blue Button Innovation Challenge brought together a lot of people who had …

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. …


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