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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 …

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 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 17, 2014

Making Remote Work — The real­ity of a remote work­place is that the con­nec­tions are largely arti­fi­cial con­structs. Peo­ple can be very, very iso­lated. A person’s default behav­ior when they go into a funk is to avoid seek­ing out inter­ac­tions, …

Four short links: 16 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 15, 2014

MapGive — State Dept launches OSM contributing tool “to help humanitarian efforts”. Principles for Making Things for The Web — excellent! Traffic Studies are Simulations (Computerworld) — simulations are an important software genre, oft ignored. (via Slashdot) CodePilot — an …

Four short links: 15 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 15, 2014

Hackers Gain ‘Full Control’ of Critical SCADA Systems (IT News) — The vulnerabilities were discovered by Russian researchers who over the last year probed popular and high-end ICS and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems used to control everything …

Four short links: 24 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 24, 2013

Arduino Robot — for all your hacking needs. LIDAR for Smartphones (DIYdrones) — The device attaches to the back of a smartphone and combines a built-in laser range finder, 3D compass and Bluetooth chip with the phone’s camera and GPS. …

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: 22 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 22, 2013

Sir Trevor — nice rich-text editing. Interesting how Markdown has become the way to store formatted text without storing HTML (and thus exposing the CSRF-inducing HTML-escaping stuckfastrophe). Slate for Excel — visualising spreadsheet structure. I’d be surprised if it took …

Four short links: 24 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 24, 2013

Measuring Heart Rate with a Smartphone Camera — not yet realtime, but promising sensor development. iBeacons — low-power, short-distance location monitoring beacons. Any iOS device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy can become an iBeacon, and can detect other iBeacons when …

Four short links: 19 July 2013

By Nat Torkington
July 19, 2013

Operative Design — A catalogue of spatial verbs. (via Adafruit) Open Source Malaria — open science drug discovery. Surviving Being (Senior) Tech Management (Kellan Elliott-McCrea) — Perspective is the thin line between a challenging but manageable problem, and chittering balled …

Four short links: 25 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 25, 2013

Cliodynamics: History as Science — a systematic application of the scientific method to history: verbal theories should be translated into mathematical models, precise predictions derived, and then rigorously tested on empirical material. In short, history needs to become an analytical, …

Four short links: 24 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 24, 2013

Reading Runes in Animal Movement (YouTube) — accessible TEDxRiverTawe 2013 talk by Professor Rory Wilson, on his work tracking movements of animals in time and space. The value comes from high-resolution time series data: many samples/second, very granular. Best Science …

Four short links: 19 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 17, 2013

Multithreading is Hard — The compiler and the processor both conspire to defeat your threads by moving your code around! Be warned and wary! You will have to do battle with both. Sample code and explanation of WTF the eieio …

Four short links: 10 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 10, 2013

Anatomy of Two Memes — comparing the spread of Gangnam Style to Harlem Shake. Memes are like currencies: you need to balance accessibility (or ‘money supply’) and inflation. Gangnam Style became globally accessible through top-down mainstream sources (High Popularity), but …

Four short links: 27 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 27, 2013

techu Search Server — Techu exposes a RESTful API for realtime indexing and searching with the Sphinx full-text search engine. We leverage Redis, Nginx and the Python Django framework to make searching easy to handle & flexible. In Defence of …

Four short links: 15 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 15, 2013

Know Your HTTP Posters (GitHub) — A0-posters about the HTTP protocol. Crowdserfing — when a large corp uses crowd-sourced volunteering for its own financial gain, without giving back. It offends my sense of reciprocity as well, but nobody is coerced …

Four short links: 8 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 8, 2013

mozpay — a JavaScript API inspired by google.payments.inapp.buy() but modified for things like multiple payment providers and carrier billing. When a web app invokes navigator.mozPay() in Firefox OS, the device shows a secure window with a concise UI. After authenticating, …

Four short links: 23 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 23, 2012

Trap Island — island on most maps doesn’t exist. Why I Work on Non-Partisan Tech (MySociety) — excellent essay. Obama won using big technology, but imagine if that effort, money, and technique were used to make things that were useful …

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: 26 September 2012

By Nat Torkington
September 26, 2012

Wearable LIDAR Sensors for Mapping (BBC) — made at MIT from commodity hardware, The system is still a prototype, but when tested in closed hallways without any Global Positioning System (GPS) signal, it was able to precisely map the environment …

Four short links: 18 September 2012

By Nat Torkington
September 18, 2012

The Rapture of the Nerds (Charlie Stoss, Cory Doctorow) — available for download and purchase under a CC-A-NC-ND license. Amazon Maps API — if there is an API layer of general use to developers, Amazon will build it. They want …

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: 8 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 7, 2012

Reconstructing Visual Experiences (PDF) — early visual areas represent the information in movies. To demonstrate the power of our approach, we also constructed a Bayesian decoder by combining estimated encoding models with a sampled natural movie prior. The decoder provides …

Four short links: 2 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 2, 2012

Patton Oswalt’s Letters to Both Sides — You guys need to stop thinking like gatekeepers. You need to do it for the sake of your own survival. Because all of us comedians after watching Louis CK revolutionize sitcoms and comedy …

Four short links: 19 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 19, 2012

The Future of a Map is Its Information (The Atlantic) — maps are how we display data when we, the brain, wish to answer a question. Technology is rapidly expanding the questions we don’t need to look at a map …

Four short links: 20 June 2012

By Nat Torkington
June 20, 2012

Researcher Chats To Hacker Who Created The Virus He's Researching -- Chicken: I didn’t know you can see my screen. Hacker: I would like to see your face, but what a pity you don’t have a camera. Economist on QR Codes -- Three-quarters of American online retailers surveyed by Forrester, a research firm, use them. In April nearly 20%...

Four short links: 19 June 2012

By Nat Torkington
June 19, 2012

Mobile Maps (Luke Wroblewski) -- In the US, Google gets about 31 million users a month on its Maps app on iOS. On average those users spend more than 75 minutes apiece in the app each month. The Importance of Public Traffic Data (Anil Dash) -- Bill Gates and Paul Allen's first collaboration was a startup called Traf-O-Data, which...

Four short links: 18 April 2012

By Nat Torkington
April 18, 2012

CartoDB (GitHub) -- open source geospatial database, API, map tiler, and UI. For feature comparison, see Comparing Open Source CartoDB to Fusion Tables (via Nelson Minar). Future Telescope Array Drives Exabyte Processing (Ars Technica) -- Astronomical data is massive, and requires intense computation to analyze. If it works as planned, Square Kilometer Array will produce over one exabyte (260...

Four short links: 17 April 2012

By Nat Torkington
April 17, 2012

Penguins Counted From Space (Reuters) -- I love the unintended flow-on effects of technological progress. Nobody funded satellites because they'd help us get an accurate picture of wildlife in the Antarctic, but yet here we are. The street finds a use ... What Makes a Super-Spreader? -- A super-spreader is a person who transmits an infection to a significantly...

Four short links: 9 March 2012

By Nat Torkington
March 9, 2012

Why The Symphony Needs A Progress Bar (Elaine Wherry) -- an excellent interaction designer tackles the real world. Biologic -- view your social network as though looking at cells through a microscope. Gorgeous and different. The Cost of Cracking -- analysis of used phone listings to see what improves and decreases price yields some really interesting results. Phones described...

Four short links: 5 December 2011

By Nat Torkington
December 5, 2011

VP Trees -- a data structure for fast spatial searching. A form of nearest neighbour, useful for melodies (PDF) and image retrieval (PDF) and poetry. (via Reddit) iYou -- iTunes plugin to show you all the stuff your phone collects about you. Bar Camps in Primary Schools -- NZ teacher deploys bar camps among students. Great things happen. Realtime...

ePayments Week: Financial Times bets on its web app

ePayments Week: Financial Times bets on its web app
By David Sims
September 1, 2011

The Financial Times says subscriber data trumps Apple's reach, Flickr introduces geofencing to keep things private, and the cracks in the daily deal world start to show.

ePayments Week: Financial Times bets on its web app

By David Sims
September 1, 2011

The Financial Times says subscriber data trumps Apple's reach, Flickr introduces geofencing to keep things private, and the cracks in the daily deal world start to show.

Snap to the graph, not the grid

By Tyler Bell
May 3, 2011

Coordinate pairs are regular and orderly, but they are entirely ambiguous when used to represent more conceptual places like states, cities, stores and neighborhoods.

Four short links: 8 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 8, 2011

A Practical Guide to Varnish -- Varnish is the http accelerator used by the discerning devops. Ferrofluid Sculptures (New Scientist) -- hypnotic video of an iron-based fluid that is moulded by magnetic fields, which I include for no good reason than it is pretty pretty science. (via Courtney Johnston) Twisted Highscores List -- clever leaderboard for tickets, reviews, commits,...

Four short links: 5 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 5, 2011

The Big Map Blog -- awesome old maps, for the afficionado. (via Sacha Judd) sshuttle -- poor man's VPN built over ssh. (via Hacker News) Remembering LineDrive -- I, too, am bummed that LineDrive never became standard. And Maneesh, one of its cocreators. Check out his publications list! Websockets Pacman -- multiplayer Pacman, where players take the role of...

Four short links: 16 December 2010

By Nat Torkington
December 16, 2010

On Compressing Social Networks (PDF) -- paper looking at the theory and practice of compressing social network graphs. Our main innovation here is to come up with a quick and useful method for generating an ordering on the social network nodes so that nodes with lots of common neighbors are near each other in the ordering, a property which...

Four short links: 25 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 25, 2010

A Day in the Life of Twitter (Chris McDowall) -- all geo-tagged tweets from 24h of the Twitter firehose, displayed. Interesting things can be seen, such as Jakarta glowing as brightly as San Francisco. (via Chris's sciblogs post) British Library Release 3M Open Bibliographic Records) (OKFN) -- This dataset consists of the entire British National Bibliography, describing new books...

Four short links: 24 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 24, 2010

What Android Is (Tim Bray) -- a good explanation of the different bits and their relationship. Cell Phone Photo Helped in Oil Spill (LA Times) -- a lone scientist working from a cell phone photo who saved the day by convincing the government that a cap it considered removing was actually working as designed. (via BoingBoing) Penki -- iPhone...

Four short links: 23 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 23, 2010

Goodbye App Engine -- clear explanation of the reasons why Google AppEngine isn't the right thing to build your startup on. Don't read the comments unless you want to lose faith in humanity. (via Michael Koziarski on Twitter) Neato Robotics XV-11 Tear-down -- the start of hackable LIDAR, which would enable cheap and easy 3D mapping, via a Roomba-like...

Where the semantic web stumbled, linked data will succeed

Where the semantic web stumbled, linked data will succeed
By Tyler Bell
November 15, 2010

Linked data can be realized without the purity of semantic annotation, but a focus on consumers gives it a better shot at adoption. It begs the question: Why invest in difficult technologies if consumer outcomes can be realized with current tools and knowledge?

Four short links: 28 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 28, 2010

Exploring Computational Thinking (Google) -- educational materials to help teachers get students thinking about recognizing patterns, decomposing problems, and so on. TimeMap -- Javascript library to display time series datasets on a map. Feedly -- RSS feeds + twitter + other sites into a single magazine format. Attention and Information -- what appears to us as “too much information”...

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...

Welcome Laurel Ruma to Where 2.0

Welcome Laurel Ruma to Where 2.0
By Brady Forrest
October 21, 2010

Laurel Ruma and Brady Forest will co-chair Where 2.0 2011, running April 19-21, 2011 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Where 2.0 2011 call for proposals is open

Where 2.0 2011 call for proposals is open
By Brady Forrest
October 14, 2010

Google and other companies are jockeying for position in the location space, which makes the next Where 2.0 particularly intriguing. Here's a look at the planned topics, sessions and workshops -- and a reminder to get your proposals in before the Oct. 25 deadline.

Toward a local syzygy: aligning deals, check-ins and places

Toward a local syzygy: aligning deals, check-ins and places
By Tyler Bell
September 2, 2010

The check-in is hardly the apogee of the local consumer experience. It works, for now, but it won't be the long-term solution for customer/business relationships and physical point of presence. So what will replace it? Here's a look at the local sector's near-term future.

Four short links: 2 Sep 2010

Four short links: 2 Sep 2010
By Nat Torkington
September 2, 2010

Guardian Science Blogs -- the latest in a series of science blog aggregators. Nobody is too sure what benefits a blog umbrella like Discovery or Nature (or the Guardian) offers bloggers. Regardless of this, the content is fantastic. v2ex: A Community Running on AppEngine -- no hosting costs, massive scalability. Raising Money for Vanuatu Arts Center -- a Kickstarter...

Four short links: 1 September 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 1, 2010

R Library for Chernoff Faces -- faces represent the rows of a data matrix by faces. plot.faces plots faces into a scatterplot. Interesting emotional way to visualize data, which was used to good effect (though not with this library) by BERG in Schooloscope. (via the tutorial at Flowing Data) Piwik -- GPLed web analytics package. Pomegranate -- a data...

Four short links: 18 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 18, 2010

BBC Dimensions -- brilliant work, a fun site that lets you overlay familiar plcaes with famous and notable things so you can get a better sense of how large they are. Example: the Colossus of Rhodes straddling O'Reilly HQ, the Library of Alexandria vs the Google campus, and New Orleans Mardi Gras began at the headquarters of Fred Phelps's...

Stepping It Up With Transit Score

By Brady Forrest
August 16, 2010

Where you live has a huge impact on how much you drive. If your neighborhood has easy access to public transportation or there are a lot of amenities nearby then you can walk more and drive less (thus saving money while getting a little exercise). Front Seat's Walk Score has become a well-known metric for determining a place's walkability...


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