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Four short links: 18 August 2014

By Nat Torkington
August 18, 2014

Oolite — open-source clone of Elite, the classic space trading game from the 80s. Who Owns the Robots Rules The World (PDF) — interesting finding: As companies substitute machines and computers for human activity, workers need to own part of …

Four short links: 18 August 2014

By Nat Torkington
August 18, 2014

Oolite — open-source clone of Elite, the classic space trading game from the 80s. Who Owns the Robots Rules The World (PDF) — interesting finding: As companies substitute machines and computers for human activity, workers need to own part of …

Four short links: 18 August 2014

By Nat Torkington
August 18, 2014

Oolite — open-source clone of Elite, the classic space trading game from the 80s. Who Owns the Robots Rules The World (PDF) — interesting finding: As companies substitute machines and computers for human activity, workers need to own part of …

Four short links: 7 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 7, 2014

Pebble Gets App Store (ReadWrite Web) — as both Pebble and MetaWatch go after the high-end watch market. Wearables becoming more than a nerd novelty. Thinking About the Network as Filter (JP Rangaswami) — Constant re-openings of the same debate …

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: 11 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 11, 2013

Meet Jack, or What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data (ACLU) — sham slidedeck which helps laypeople see how our data exhaust can be used against us to keep us safe. PirateBay Moves Domains — different ccTLDs …

Four short links: 29 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 29, 2013

Quick Reads of Notable New Zealanders — notable for two reasons: (a) CC-NC-BY licensed, and (b) gorgeous gorgeous web design. Not what one normally associates with Government web sites! svg.js — Javascript library for making and munging SVG images. (via …

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: 6 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 6, 2013

Nautilus — elegantly-designed science web ‘zine. Includes Artificial Emotions on AI, neuro, and psych efforts to recognise and simulate emotions. A Short Essay on 3D Printing — This hands-off approach to culpability cannot last long. If you design something to …

Strata Week: Court case sheds light on FBI stingray surveillance

By Jenn Webb
April 12, 2013

FBI and IRS push privacy envelope Details about how the FBI uses stingray or IMSI-catcher technology — and how much more intrusive it is than previously known — have come to light in a tax fraud case against accused identity …

Four short links: 28 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 28, 2013

What American Startups Can Learn From the Cutthroat Chinese Software Industry — It follows that the idea of “viral” or “organic” growth doesn’t exist in China. “User acquisition is all about media buys. Platform-to-platform in China is war, and it …

Four short links: 29 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 29, 2013

FISA Amendment Hits Non-Citizens — FISAAA essentially makes it lawful for the US to conduct purely political surveillance on foreigners’ data accessible in US Cloud providers. [...] [A] US judiciary subcommittee on FISAAA in 2008 stated that the Fourth Amendment …

Strata Week: What to do with Obama’s election tech — open source vs mothballs

By Jenn Webb
January 25, 2013

A cloudy future for Obama’s election code A battle is brewing between politicians and the dream team of programmers that helped Obama win the nerdiest election ever. Ben Popper reports at The Verge that the programmers who worked on the …

Four short links: 25 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 25, 2013

How to Write a Good Bio (Scott Berkun) — something we all have to do, and rarely do well the first time. Excellent advice. Scumbag Steve’s Advice for Annoying Facebook Girl — Some people can’t distinguish the internet from real …

Nate Silver confuses cause and effect, ends up defending corruption

By Cathy O'Neil
December 21, 2012

This piece originally appeared on Mathbabe. It’s republished with permission. I just finished reading Nate Silver’s newish book, The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail – but some don’t. The good news First off, let me say this: …

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 …

Strata Week: Big data’s daily influence

By Jenn Webb
November 21, 2012

Here are a few stories from the data space that caught my attention this week. How big data is transforming just about everything Professor John Naughton took a look this week at how big data is transforming various industries that …

Strata Week: Data-driven politics

By Jenn Webb
November 9, 2012

Here are a few stories from the data space that caught my attention this week. Big data, big politics In the aftermath of the US presidential election, much attention has been focused on Nate Silver’s art of predicting the election …

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 …

What I learned about #debates, social media and being a pundit on Al Jazeera English

By Alex Howard
October 22, 2012

Earlier this month, when I was asked by Al Jazeera English if I’d like to be go on live television to analyze the online side of the presidential debates, I didn’t immediately accept. I’d be facing a live international audience …

The missing ingredient from hyperwired debates: the feedback loop

By Alex Howard
October 3, 2012

What a difference a season makes. A few months after widespread online frustration with a tape-delayed Summer Olympics, the 2012 Presidential debates will feature the most online livestreams and wired, up-to-the-second digital coverage in history. Given the pace of technological …

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: 18 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 18, 2012

A Brief History of Money (IEEE) — money is fragmenting, moving from a shared delusion to a just-in-time collusion. Understand its past to understand its future. The Lydian system’s breakthrough was the standardized metal coin. Made of a gold-silver alloy …

Four short links: 11 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 11, 2012

Lamar Smith Trying to Revive SOPA (BoingBoing) -- don't hate Smith, pity him. He's a prostitute, and it shouldn't surprise that when released from prison he immediately returns to the street corner to hawk his pearly again. He's a victim of a political system that requires politicians to sell their integrity to be elected. What Powers Instagram -- I...

Four short links: 11 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 11, 2012

Lamar Smith Trying to Revive SOPA (BoingBoing) -- don't hate Smith, pity him. He's a prostitute, and it shouldn't surprise that when released from prison he immediately returns to the street corner to hawk his pearly again. He's a victim of a political system that requires politicians to sell their integrity to be elected. What Powers Instagram -- I...

Four short links: 10 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 10, 2012

Learn to Write 6502 Assembly Language -- if retro-gaming is the gateway drug you're using to attract kids to programming, this is the crack you wheel out after three months of getting high. Ok, this metaphor is broken on many levels. (via Hacker News) Small Political Pieces, Loosely Joined -- MySociety: We believe that the wrong answer to this...

Four short links: 22 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 22, 2012

New Zealand Government Budget App -- when the NZ budget is announced, it'll go live on iOS and Android apps. Tablet users get details, mobile users get talking points and speeches. Half-political, but an interesting approach to reaching out to voters with political actions. Health Care Data Dump (Washington Post) -- 5B health insurance claims (attempted anonymized) to be...

Four short links: 17 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 17, 2012

The Mythology of Big Data (PDF) -- slides from a Strata keynote by Mark R. Madsen. A lovely explanation of the social impediments to the rational use of data. (via Hamish MacEwan) Scamworld -- amazing deconstruction of the online "get rich quick" scam business. (via Andy Baio) Ceres: Solving Complex Problems with Computing Muscle -- Johnny Lee Chung explains...

Four short links: 14 February 2012

By Nat Torkington
February 14, 2012

Why I Hate The STOCK Act (Clay Johnson) -- an attempt to reform insider trading within government, but because Congress exempts itself from substantial penalties then it has little effect where it's needed most. We won't see change on the issues that matter to us (copyright, due process for Internet takedowns, privacy, etc.) while the lawmakers are distracted by...

Four short links: 10 February 2012

By Nat Torkington
February 10, 2012

Monki Gras 2012 (Stephen Walli) -- nice roundup of highlights of the Redmonk conference in London. Sample talk: Why Most UX is Shite. Frozen -- flow-based programming, intent is to build the toolbox of small pieces loosely joined by ZeroMQ for big data programming. Arctext.js -- jQuery plugin for curving text on web pages. (via Javascript Weekly) Hi, My...

Visualization of the Week: Politicians' word counts

Visualization of the Week: Politicians' word counts
By Audrey Watters
January 27, 2012

This week's visualization comes from The New York Times and is an example of the increasing usage of visualizations to make political arguments.

Visualization of the Week: Politicians' word counts

By Audrey Watters
January 27, 2012

This week's visualization comes from The New York Times and is an example of the increasing usage of visualizations to make political arguments.

Four short links: 23 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 23, 2012

Adafruit Flora -- wearable electronics and accessories platform. (via Tim O'Reilly) Killed by Code -- paper on software vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Discovered via Karen Sandler's wow-generating keynote at linux.conf.au (covered here). (via Selena Deckelmann) DIY London -- fun little Budget-Hero game to make apparent the trade-offs facing politicians. Kids should play Sim* and Civilization games: you get...

Four short links: 20 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 20, 2012

On the Problem of Money, Politics, and SOPA (John Battelle) -- My first step will be to read this new book from Larry Lessig, an intellectual warrior who many (including myself) lament as bailing on our core issue of IP law to tilt at the supposed windmill of political corruption. But I think, upon deeper reflection, that Larry is...

Four short links: 11 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 11, 2011

Nudge Policies Are Another Name for Coercion (New Scientist) -- This points to the key problem with "nudge" style paternalism: presuming that technocrats understand what ordinary people want better than the people themselves. There is no reason to think technocrats know better, especially since Thaler and Sunstein offer no means for ordinary people to comment on, let alone correct,...

Developer Week in Review: Android proves fruitful for Microsoft

Developer Week in Review: Android proves fruitful for Microsoft
By James Turner
September 29, 2011

Samsung agrees to pay Microsoft royalties for Android use. Elsewhere, Oracle keeps the SPARC line alive, and the hackability of voting machines is exposed.

Four short links: 29 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 29, 2011

Laptops and Looms -- very thoughtful and thought-provoking summary of a UK conference on the kinds of Future of Manufacturing tools and businesses that Make and O'Reilly are into. It's easy to romanticise the industry of old but much of it was horrible and remains so in the countries where we now outsource many of our manufacturing needs. If...

The Great Reset: Why tomorrow may not be better than today

The Great Reset: Why tomorrow may not be better than today
By Mark Sigal
July 8, 2011

Mark Sigal says we're entering a period where the promise of a better tomorrow is no longer a generational expectation and our sense of a (mostly) fair and balanced system is being drowned by an elite class.

Four short links: 27 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 27, 2011

Poor Economics -- this is possibly the best thing I will read all year, an insightful (and research-backed) book digging into the economics of poverty. Read the lecture slides online, they'll give you a very clear taste of what the book's about. Love that the website is so very complementary to the book, and 100% aligned with the ambition...

Four short links: 19 May 2011

By Nat Torkington
May 19, 2011

Right to Access the Internet -- a survey of different countries' rights to access to access the Internet. Peace Through Statistics -- three ex-Yugoslavian statisticians nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. In war-torn and impoverished countries, statistics provides a welcome arena in which science runs independent of ethnicity and religion. With so few resources, many countries are graduating few, if...

Four short links: 24 January 2011

By Nat Torkington
January 24, 2011

The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks (The Atlantic) -- After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook's security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country's Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users' login information when they went to sites like Facebook....

Notes from the Politics of Open Source conference

By Andy Oram
May 10, 2010

Sponsored by the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, the conference papers and a live stream are online. This article focuses on the challenges of getting open source into government agencies.

Four short links: 23 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 23, 2010

British Prime Minister's Speech -- a huge amount of the speech is given to digital issues, including the funding and founding of an "Institute for Web Science" headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. (via Rchards on Twitter) Periodic Table of Science Bloggers -- a great way to explore the universe of science blogging. (via sciblogs) For All The Tea in...

Four short links: 20 October 2009

By Nat Torkington
October 20, 2009

Poles, Politeness, and Politics in the Age of Twitter (Stephen Fry) -- begins with a discussion of a UK storm but rapidly turns into a discussion of fame in the age of Twitter, modern political discourse, the "deadwood press", and The Commons in Twitter Assembled. There is an energy abroad in the kingdom, one that yearns for a new...

Four short links: 14 October 2009

By Nat Torkington
October 14, 2009

10Gui Video -- demo of a new take on multitouch, a tablet and new GUI conventions. (via titine on Twitter) Behind the Scenes at WhatDoTheyKnow -- numbers and stories from the MySociety project, which provides a public place for Official Information Act requests and responses. The fact information is subject to copyright and restrictions on re-use does not exempt...

Four short links: 1 October 2009

By Nat Torkington
October 1, 2009

The End of Objectivity, Web2.0 Version -- Our behaviour as journalists is now measurable. And measurability gives the lie to the pretence that journalists behave like scientists, impartially observing the petri dish of society. (via Pia Waugh) Screens in Context -- ideas for the video screens spring up in place of billboards. Whilst the advertising industry has one of...

How Alan Turing Finally Got a Posthumous Apology

By John Graham-Cumming
September 17, 2009

Guest blogger John Graham-Cumming initiated and led the successful petition drive to procure an apology to Alan Turing from the UK government. John is the author of The Geek Atlas, CTO of a stealth-mode start-up, and a longtime programmer who has a doctorate in computer security. If you're in London this Saturday, September 19, come by the launch party for...

Four short links: 16 Apr 2009

By Nat Torkington
April 16, 2009

China, databases, storage, and git: China's Complicated Internet Culture (Ethan Zuckerman) -- summary of Rebecca McKinnon's talk at the Berkman Internet Center. Democracy is complex and hard to transition to, online democracy doubly so. Rebecca questions the widespread but unjustified belief that the Great Firewall of China is all that separates Chinese citizens from the empowered liberty of the West,...

Four short links: 10 Feb 2009

By Nat Torkington
February 9, 2009

Happy Monday! Kid coding and web-powered political transparency form the artisanal wholewheat organic bread slices around a sandwich filling of meaty (or tofuy) web travel APIs and blogly angst: Art and Code -- conference on programming environments for "artists, young people, and the rest of us". Alice! Hackety Hack! Scratch! Processing! And more! March 7-9 at CMU. Want! (I've written...

Four short links: 5 Feb 2009

By Nat Torkington
February 5, 2009

Dearest Reader, for today's compendium of brief pointers to the writings of the world's greatest minds features language not suitable for children. So please stop reading this blog post to your child. Please. Think of the children. Don't Work for Assholes (Derek Powazek) -- sound advice that we all have to learn, then relearn. Broadband Stimulus Package Explained by Yochai...


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