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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: 6 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 5, 2014

What Machines Can’t Do (NY Times) — In the 1950s, the bureaucracy was the computer. People were organized into technocratic systems in order to perform routinized information processing. But now the computer is the computer. The role of the human …

Four short links: 7 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 7, 2013

Learn to Search — cheeky but spot-on help for people running conferences. Offline First — no, the mobile connectivity/bandwidth issue isn’t just going to solve itself on a global level anywhere in the near future. THIS! 10 Things You Should …

Communications Far Beyond the Bounds of ASCII

By Simon St. Laurent
October 4, 2013

When I first started programming, the ASCII set of characters was my playground, and it was hard to imagine how computers would deal with more. Today, in an age where international transactions are ordinary and the World Wide Web lives …

Four short links: 27 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 27, 2013 — IDE “in the cloud”, as “the kids” say. smartHeadlight — headlight that tracks raindrops and doesn’t send out light to reflect off them back into your eyes causing you to clutch your head and veer off the road …

Four short links: 31 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 31, 2013

Courier Prime — tweaked Courier “for screenplays” (!). (via BoingBoing) The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society (PDF) — education is dangerous to female extended family members. As can be seen in Table 1, when no …

Four short links: 27 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 27, 2012

Social Media in China (Fast Company) — fascinating interview with Tricia Wang. We often don’t think we have a lot to learn from tech companies outside of the U.S., but Twitter should look to Weibo for inspiration for what can …

Four short links: 30 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 30, 2012

Improvisation and Forgiveness (JP Rangaswami) -- what makes us human is not repetitive action. Human occupations should require human intellect, and there's no more human activity than making a judgement call when processes have failed a customer. Kinect Tech in Laptop Prototypes -- "waving your hands around at your laptop" will be the new "bellowing into your walkie-talkie phone"....

Four short links: 1 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 1, 2011

Things Turbo Pascal is Smaller Than -- next time you're bragging about your efficient code, spare a thought for the Pascal IDE and compiler that lived in 39,731 bytes. This list of more bloated things is hilarious. The China Startup Report (Slideshare) -- interesting to see the low salary comes with expectation of bonuses but little interest in equity...

Four short links: 3 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 3, 2011

Guangzhou City Map -- Chinese city maps: they use orthographic projection (think SimCity) and not satellite images. A nice compromise for usability, information content, and invisible censorship. (via Hacker News) Broken Windows, Broken Code, Broken Systems -- So, given that most of us live in the real world where some things are just left undone, where do we draw...

Four short links: 17 February 2011

By Nat Torkington
February 17, 2011

The True Cost of Publishing on the Kindle -- an article, apparently by a horrified negotiator with Amazon, revealing that magazine and newspaper publishers pay the WhisperNet delivery costs of their editions. That's not Amazon overhead, it comes out of the publisher's royalty slice. (via Hacker News) Fonts in Use -- examples of sweet typography and the fonts that...

Four short links: 15 December 2010

By Nat Torkington
December 15, 2010

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) Conversational UI: A Short Reading List -- it...

Four short links: 22 June 2010

By Nat Torkington
June 22, 2010

High-Speed Book Scanner -- you flip the pages, and it uses high-speed photography to capture images of each page. "But they're all curved!" Indeed, so they project a grid onto the page so as to be able to correct for the curvature. The creator wanted to scan Manga, but the first publisher he tried turned him down. I've written...

Four short links: 25 February 2010

By Nat Torkington
February 25, 2010

like python -- lets you write Python in Valleygirl, LOLCAT, fratboy, and rap. Still not a handle on writing Perl in Latin. (via Hacker News) Belief In Climate Change Hinges On Worldview (NPR) -- applicable beyond climate change. Whether you get what you want depends on how it's framed and how it's delivered. The paper cited is available for...

Four short links: 4 January 2010

By Nat Torkington
January 4, 2010

Why Git Is So Fast -- interesting mailing list post about the problems that the JGit folks had when they tried to make their Java version of Git go faster. Higher level languages hide enough of the machine that we can't make all of these optimizations. A reminder that you must know and control the systems you're running on...

Four short links: 1 January 2010

By Nat Torkington
January 1, 2010

Measuring Type -- clever way to measure which font uses more ink. Vowpal Wabbit -- fast learning software from Yahoo! Research and Hunch. Code available in git. (via zecharia on Delicious) Literature Review on Indexing Time-Series Data -- a graduate student's research work included this literature review of papers on indexing time-series data. (via jpatanooga on Delicious) igraph --...

Four short links: 23 November 2009

By Nat Torkington
November 23, 2009

Top E-Tailers Profiting From Scams -- Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion generated more than $1.4 billion by "misleading" Web shoppers, said members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. [...] The government says the investigation shows that [the companies] "trick" consumers into entering their e-mail address just before they complete purchases at sites such as Orbitz,,...

SIL's Graphite and Wen Quan Yi

By Rick Jelliffe
October 30, 2008

SIL has just released a fork of Open Office 3.0 with Graphite integrated: Graphite is their leading-edge rendering system for non-Latin complex scripts. And Qianqian Fang's Wen Quan Yi (Spring of Letters) project is making screen fonts for all Han Ideographic characters in Unicode.

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