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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: 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: 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: 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: 31 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 31, 2013

Toyota Manufacturing Principles (Joseph Cohen) — Jidoka: Automation with a Human Touch. The idea of jidoka is that humans should work with machines to produce the best possible outcome, leveraging the execution ability of a machine and the judgement of …

Four short links: 20 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 20, 2013

A History of the Future in 100 Objects — is out! It’s design fiction, describing the future of technology in faux Wired-like product writeups. Amazon already beating the timeline. Projects and Priorities Without Managers (Ryan Carson) — love what he’s …

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. …

Four short links: 20 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 20, 2013

Innovation and the Coming Shape of Social Transformation (Techonomy) — great interview with Tim O’Reilly and Max Levchin. in electronics and in our devices, we’re getting more and more a sense of how to fix things, where they break. And …

Four short links: 18 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 18, 2013

Science Not as Self-Correcting As It Thinks (Economist) — REALLY good discussion of the shortcomings in statistical practice by scientists, peer-review failures, and the complexities of experimental procedure and fuzziness of what reproducibility might actually mean. Reproducibility Initiative Receives Grant …

Four short links: 6 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 5, 2013

In Search of the Optimal Cheeseburger (Hilary Mason) — playing with NYC menu data. There are 5,247 cheeseburgers you can order in Manhattan. Her Ignite talk from Ignite NYC15. James Burke Predicting the Future — spoiler: massive disruption from nano-scale …

Predicting the future: Strata 2014 hot topics

By Alistair Croll
August 7, 2013

Conferences like Strata are planned a year in advance. The logistics and coordination required for an event of this magnitude takes a lot of planning, but it also takes a decent amount of prediction: Strata needs to skate to where …

Four short links: 17 July 2013

By Nat Torkington
July 17, 2013

Hideout — augmented reality books. (via Hacker News) Patterns and Practices for Open Source Software Success (Stephen Walli) — Successful FOSS projects grow their communities outward to drive contribution to the core project. To build that community, a project needs …

Four short links: 28 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 28, 2013

Huxley vs Orwell — buy Amusing Ourselves to Death if this rings true. The future is here, it’s just not evenly surveilled. (via rone) KeyMe — keys in the cloud. (Digital designs as backups for physical objects) Motorola Advanced Technology …

Four short links: 6 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 6, 2013

ShareFest — peer-to-peer file sharing in the browser. Source on GitHub. (via Andy Baio) Media for Thinking the Unthinkable (Bret Victor) — “Right now, today, we can’t see the thing, at all, that’s going to be the most important 100 …

Four short links: 19 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 19, 2013

Bruce Sterling on Disruption — If more computation, and more networking, was going to make the world prosperous, we’d be living in a prosperous world. And we’re not. Obviously we’re living in a Depression. Slow first 25% but then it …

Four short links: 30 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 30, 2013

Chinese Attack UAV (Alibaba) — Small attack UAV is characterized with small size, light weight, convenient carrying, rapid outfield expansion procedure, easy operation and maintenance; the system only needs 2-3 operators to operate, can be carried by surveillance personnel to …

Four short links: 22 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 22, 2013

Design Like Nobody’s Patenting Anything (Wired) — profile of Maker favourites Sparkfun. Instead of relying on patents for protection, the team prefers to outrace other entrants in the field. “The open source model just forces us to innovate,” says Boudreaux. …

Four short links: 4 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 4, 2013

sslh — ssh/ssl multiplexer. Github Says No to Bots (Wired) — what’s interesting is that bots augmenting photos is awesome in Flickr: take a photo of the sky and you’ll find your photo annotated with stars and whatnot. What can …

Four short links: 1 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 1, 2013

Robots Will Take Our Jobs (Wired) — I agree with Kevin Kelly that (in my words) software and hardware are eating wetware, but disagree that This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. …

Four short links: 31 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 31, 2012

Wireless Substitution (BoingBoing, CDC) — very nice graph showing the decline in landlines/growth in wireless. Maker’s Row — Our mission is to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. From large corporations to first time designers, …

Four short links: 25 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 24, 2012

RebelMouse — aggregates FB, Twitter, Instagram, G+ content w/Pinboard-like aesthetics. It’s like aggregators we’ve had since 2004, but in this Brave New World we have to authenticate to a blogging service to get our own public posts out in a …

Four short links: 24 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 24, 2012

Creating The Next Big Thing (Wired) — excellent piece showing Tim’s thinking. Apple. They’re clearly on the wrong path. They file patent suits that claim that nobody else can make a device with multitouch. But they didn’t invent multitouch. They …

Four short links: 4 December 2012

By Nat Torkington
December 4, 2012

James Burke at dConstruct — transcription of his talk. EPIC. I love this man and could listen to him all day long. (via Keith Bolland) Mechanism Design on Trust Networks (CiteSeerX) — academic paper behind the Ripple Bitcoin-esque open source …

Four short links: 28 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 28, 2012

Moral Machines — it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your …

Four short links: 8 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 8, 2012

Closely — new startup by Perry Evans (founder of MapQuest), giving businesses a simple app to track competitors’ online deals and social media activity. Seems a genius move to me: so many businesses flounder online, “I don’t know what to …

Four short links: 4 October 2012

By Nat Torkington
October 4, 2012

As We May Think (Vannevar Bush) — incredibly prescient piece he wrote for The Atlantic in 1945. Transparency and Topic Models (YouTube) — a talk from DataGotham 2012, by Hanna Wallach. She uses latent Dirichlet allocation topic models to mine …

Four short links: 25 September 2012

By Nat Torkington
September 24, 2012

Stewart Brand Interview (Wired) — full of interesting tidbits. This line from the interviewer, Kevin Kelly, resonated: One other trajectory I have noticed about the past 20 years: Excitement about the future has waned. The future is deflating. It is …

Four short links: 29 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 28, 2012

NeoVictorian Computing (Mark Bernstein) — read this! I think we all woke up one day to find ourselves living in the software factory. The floor is hard, from time to time it gets very cold at night, and they say …

Four short links: 18 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 18, 2012

Overlapping S-Curves of Various Products (PNG) -- product adoption speed over time. (via Beta Knowledge) High School Makerspaces Q&A with Dale Dougherty (Radioshack) -- Experimentation is one of the things we’re trying to promote. If you do experiments, a number of them fail and you learn from that failure and say, “Gee, I could have done that differently.” It’s...

Four short links: 25 April 2012

By Nat Torkington
April 25, 2012

World History Since 1300 (Coursera) -- Coursera expands offerings to include humanities. This content is in books and already in online lectures in many formats. What do you get from these? Online quizzes and the online forum with similar people considering similar things. So it's a book club for a university course? mod_spdy -- Apache module for the SPDY...

Four short links: 23 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 23, 2011

How Many Really? -- project by BERG and BBC to help make sense of large numbers of people, in the context of your social network. Clever! (via BERG London) Why the Best Days of Open Hardware Are Yet To Come (Bunnie Huang) -- as Moore’s law decelerates, there is a potential for greater standardization of platforms. A provocative picture...

Four short links: 14 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 14, 2011

StackParts -- catalogue of different parts of the open source web stack, from Joshua Schachter. He's looking for helpers. DIY Microsocopes -- Keeling’s lowfi contraption, featured in MAKE magazine and virally spreading across science classrooms the country over, is bringing microscopes not just to eye level, but street level. Blowtorch and pipette glass makes for a Leeuwenhoek microscope. The...

Missing Maps and the Fragility of Digital Information

By Tim O'Reilly
August 1, 2011

A couple of months ago, I had a remarkable demonstration of the fragility of the "always on" connected mindset. I was on my way to the wonderful Hunewill Ranch for Francisco Dao's 50 Kings Cattle Drive (a remarkable event that deserves a post all its own.) Hunewill Ranch is on the far side of the Sierra Nevada, near Mono Lake,...

Four short links: 21 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 21, 2011

Sugar -- a Javascript library that fixes inconsistencies in built-in classes (Strings, Arrays, etc.) and extends them with much-needed time-saving functionality (e.g., automatic iterators over regular expressions; Date creation from strings; binding scopes to functions). Tilt -- clever Firefox plugin that lets you view the DOM on your page in 3D. Excellent for visually understanding the structure and layout...

Four short links: 1 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 1, 2011

Transparency Sites to Close -- the US government's open data efforts will close in a few months as a result of the cuts in funding. Browser Wars, Plural (Alex Russell) -- nice rundown of demos of what modern browsers are capable of. Brief Descriptions of Potential Home Information Services (image) -- lovely 1971 piece of futurology, which you can...

Four short links: 14 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 14, 2011

A History of the Future in 100 Objects (Kickstarter) -- blog+podcast+video+book project, to have future historians tell the story of our century in 100 objects. The BBC show that inspired it was brilliant, and I rather suspect this will be too. It's a clever way to tell a story of the future (his hardest problem will be creating a...

The abandonment of technology

The abandonment of technology
By Alasdair Allan
March 3, 2011

We face a choice between a future of accelerating technological progress and an age of declining possibilities and narrowing horizons. That choice depends on the problems we choose to solve.

Four short links: 23 February 2011

By Nat Torkington
February 23, 2011

Programmable Bluetooth Watch -- OLED display, bluetooth, vibration, button, timers, and two-way Bluetooth. I'm enchanted by the possibilities of our environment talking to us through such a device. (via Tom Coates on Twitter) Flying Cars (XKCD) -- a reminder to appreciate the future we live in, and not grizzle too hard that the ones we dreamt of in the...

Four short links: 3 February 2011

By Nat Torkington
February 3, 2011

Curveship -- a new interactive fiction system that can tell the same story in many different ways. Check out the examples on the home page. Important because interactive fiction and the command-lines of our lives are inextricably intertwined. Egypt's Revolution: Coming to an Economy Near You (Umair Haque) -- more dystopic prediction, but this phrase rings true: The lesson:...

Four short links: 11 January 2011

By Nat Torkington
January 11, 2011

Dive Into 2010 (Mark Pilgrim) -- Mark wrote a hugely popular guide to HTML5 which was available online and published by O'Reilly. 6% of visitors used some version of Internet Explorer. That is not a typo. The site works fine in Internet Explorer — the site practices what it preaches, and the live examples use a variety of fallbacks...

Four short links: 7 December 2010

By Nat Torkington
December 7, 2010

Synopsis Data Structures for Massive Data Sets (PDF) -- survey of data structures that reduce the problem space when dealing with large data sets. (via Pete Warden) Optimism -- you build what you're thinking of. Time to figure out the optimistic future and build that. "Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.” --attributed...

Four short links: 26 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 26, 2010

12 Months with MongoDB (Worknik) -- every type of retrieval got faster than their old MySQL store, and there are some other benefits too. They note that the admin tools aren't really there for MongoDB, so "there is a blurry hand-off between IT Ops and Engineering." (via Hacker News) Dawn of a New Day -- Ray Ozzie's farewell note...

Four short links: 25 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 25, 2010

Pirate Verbatim -- artists, in their own words, talking about piracy. The mix of opinions, attitudes, and nuance shows that there's far from any single consistent view out there. (via Graham Linehan) What Rapleaf Knows About You -- aggregating information from various sites, and your ad clickthroughs, to build a dossier about you that relates your email address to...

Four short links: 22 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 22, 2010

Historical Images Remapped -- Sydney's Powerhouse Museum released historical images from their collections, and a historical photo site Sepiatown geolocated and oriented them so they can be viewed side-by-side with current Google Street View images of the same place. And then contributed the refined metadata back to the museum. A great example of your users helping to improve your...

Four short links: 1 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 1, 2010

Interview with Martin Wichary (Ajaxian) -- interview with the creator of Google's Pacman logo, the original HTML5 slide deck. One of the first popular home video game consoles was 1977's Atari VCS 2600. It was an incredibly simple piece of hardware. It didn't even have video memory - you literally had to construct pixels just moments before they were...

Four short links: 20 July 2010

By Nat Torkington
July 20, 2010

Dangerous Prototypes -- "a new open source hardware project every month". Sample project: Flash Destroyer, which writes and verifies EEPROM chips until they blow out. Wabit -- GPLv3 reporting tool. Because No Respectable MBA Programme Would Admit Me (Mike Shaver) -- excellent book recommendations. The Most Prescient Footnote Ever (David Pennock) -- In footnote 14 of Chapter 5 (p....

Four short links: 14 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 14, 2009

Videos from the vault of the National Archives -- the public domain US government videos that have been scanning. Check out China's Great Leap Forward (the Beijing landscape has changed!), John James Audubon's Birds of America, and Nature's Half-Acre. Browser Market Share -- fantastic circular visualisation of browser share over time. (via Mike Loukides) NYT Year in Ideas...

Star Date 2387: Is This Thing On?

Star Date 2387: Is This Thing On?
By David Battino
July 1, 2009

In an amusing press release, Blue Microphones reports that the new Star Trek movie is crawling with its Mouse microphones. Here's a photo of one apparently recording the young Captain Kirk. Somehow I imagined it would look different.

Four short links: 21 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 21, 2009

Us Now -- UK documentary, available streaming or on DVD, about how open government and digital democracy makes sense. It's good to watch if you've not thought about how government could be positively changed by technology, but I don't think it's radical enough in the future it describes. It's Gonna Be The Future Soon -- great video for the...

Four short links: 20 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 20, 2009

Distributed Proofreaders Celebrates 15000th Title Posted To Project Gutenberg -- a great use of our collective intelligence and cognitive surplus. If I say one more Clay Shirkyism, someone's gonna call BINGO. (via timoreilly on Twitter) Datacenter is the New Mainframe (Greg Linden) -- wrapup of a Google paper that looks at datacenters in the terms of mainframes: time-sharing, scheduling,...

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