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Online communities could benefit from the power of offline meetings

By Andy Oram
July 22, 2014

As software vendors, open source projects, and companies in all fields rush to gather communities around themselves, I’m bothered that we haven’t spent much time studying the lessons face-to-face communities have forged over decades of intensive work by a dynamic …

Online communities could benefit from the power of offline meetings

By Andy Oram
July 22, 2014

As software vendors, open source projects, and companies in all fields rush to gather communities around themselves, I’m bothered that we haven’t spent much time studying the lessons face-to-face communities have forged over decades of intensive work by a dynamic …

Online communities could benefit from the power of offline meetings

By Andy Oram
July 22, 2014

As software vendors, open source projects, and companies in all fields rush to gather communities around themselves, I’m bothered that we haven’t spent much time studying the lessons face-to-face communities have forged over decades of intensive work by a dynamic …

Four short links: 22 July 2014

By Nat Torkington
July 22, 2014

write-good — a naive `lint’ for English prose. cockroachdb — a scalable, geo-replicated, transactional datastore from a team that includes the person who built Spanner for Google. Spanner requires atomic clocks, cockroach does not (which has corresponding performance consequences). (via …

Four short links: 22 July 2014

By Nat Torkington
July 22, 2014

write-good — a naive `lint’ for English prose. cockroachdb — a scalable, geo-replicated, transactional datastore from a team that includes the person who built Spanner for Google. Spanner requires atomic clocks, cockroach does not (which has corresponding performance consequences). (via …

Four short links: 22 July 2014

By Nat Torkington
July 22, 2014

write-good — a naive `lint’ for English prose. cockroachdb — a scalable, geo-replicated, transactional datastore from a team that includes the person who built Spanner for Google. Spanner requires atomic clocks, cockroach does not (which has corresponding performance consequences). (via …

Embracing hardware data

By Max Shron
July 11, 2014

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series reflecting on the O’Reilly Solid Conference from the perspective of a data scientist. Normally we wouldn’t publish takeaways from an event held nearly two months ago, but these insights were …

Embracing hardware data

By Max Shron
July 11, 2014

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series reflecting on the O’Reilly Solid Conference from the perspective of a data scientist. Normally we wouldn’t publish takeaways from an event held nearly two months ago, but these insights were …

Embracing hardware data

By Max Shron
July 11, 2014

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series reflecting on the O’Reilly Solid Conference from the perspective of a data scientist. Normally we wouldn’t publish takeaways from an event held nearly two months ago, but these insights were …

Four short links: 23 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 23, 2014

Minimum Viable Block Chain — What follows is an attempt to explain, from the ground up, why the particular pieces (digital signatures, proof-of-work, transaction blocks) are needed, and how they all come together to form the “minimum viable block chain” …

Four short links: 23 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 23, 2014

Minimum Viable Block Chain — What follows is an attempt to explain, from the ground up, why the particular pieces (digital signatures, proof-of-work, transaction blocks) are needed, and how they all come together to form the “minimum viable block chain” …

Four short links: 23 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 23, 2014

Minimum Viable Block Chain — What follows is an attempt to explain, from the ground up, why the particular pieces (digital signatures, proof-of-work, transaction blocks) are needed, and how they all come together to form the “minimum viable block chain” …

Four short links: 17 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 17, 2014

Eris — a platform which allows developers and users to deploy consensus driven applications which rely on decentralized architecture and a consensus driven blockchain database backend. Open source (modified MIT). The Disruption Machine (New Yorker) — long detailed critique of …

Four short links: 17 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 17, 2014

Eris — a platform which allows developers and users to deploy consensus driven applications which rely on decentralized architecture and a consensus driven blockchain database backend. Open source (modified MIT). The Disruption Machine (New Yorker) — long detailed critique of …

Four short links: 17 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 17, 2014

Eris — a platform which allows developers and users to deploy consensus driven applications which rely on decentralized architecture and a consensus driven blockchain database backend. Open source (modified MIT). The Disruption Machine (New Yorker) — long detailed critique of …

Four short links: 4 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 4, 2014

Swift on GitHub — watch a thousand projects launch. HTTP API Design Guide — extracted from work on the Heroku Platform API. End-to-End PGP in Gmail — Google releases an open source Chrome extension to enable end-to-end OpenPGP on top …

Welcome back, Weblandians

By Jim Stogdill
June 2, 2014

Note: this post is a slightly hydrated version of my Solid keynote. To get it out in 10 minutes, I had to remove a few ideas and streamline it a bit for oral delivery; this is the full version. In …

Driving demand for full stack developers

By Matt Makai
May 23, 2014

Buzzwords in the software industry arise and then die off with startling frequency. Ambiguous terms such as “growth hacker”, “sales engineer” and “rockstar developer” trip a developer’s spidey sense that the person saying them is just handwaving. However, occasionally a …

Why PayPal jumped the software-hardware gap

By Jon Bruner
May 22, 2014

PayPal is a software company, but when I met with Josh Bleecher Snyder, director of software engineering at PayPal, it was to talk about hardware. He’s leading the development of Beacon, PayPal’s new hands-free payment platform. At its heart is a …

Four short links: 14 May 2014

By Nat Torkington
May 13, 2014

Data Jujitsu — new O’Reilly Radar report by the wonderful DJ Patil about the exploration and problem solving part of data science. Me gusta. Style Finder: Fine-Grained Clothing Style Recognition and Retrieval (PDF) — eBay labs machine learning, featuring the …

Four short links: 2 May 2014

By Nat Torkington
May 2, 2014

NewsPad: Designing for Collaborative Storytelling in Neighborhoods (PDF) — Microsoft Research report about tests of a tool to address needs in community reporting. Burying the URL — makes you suspect that “users interact with the web directly instead of via …

Four short links: 24 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 24, 2014

Depthy — new Google Camera app lets you capture some depth information, stored in metadata in the image. Nifty effects become possible. Coping with Stress and Burnout: Explanatory Power of Different Coping Strategies (PLoSone)– interesting taxonomy of burnout (overload, lack …

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 …

Pursuing adoption of free and open source software in governments

By Andy Oram
March 25, 2014

Free and open source software creates a natural — and even necessary — fit with government. I joined a panel this past weekend at the Free Software Foundation conference LibrePlanet on this topic and have covered it previously in a …

That thing looks like hardware, but it’s software now

By Jim Stogdill
March 25, 2014

I saw this piece in the U.S. Naval Institute News today that notes software delays could translate into less effective Joint Strike Fighters. (It’s based on the GAO’s report that can be found here.) I also read somewhere that the …

Exploring software, hardware, everywhere

By Jim Stogdill
March 17, 2014

Last week, Tim O’Reilly and I sat down in San Francisco and had a conversation about the collision of hardware and software. The fact that digital entrepreneurs see hardware as part of their available palette now is really interesting, as …

Four short links: 14 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 14, 2014

The Facebook experiment has failed. Let’s go back — Facebook gets worse the more you use it. The innovation within Facebook happens within a framework that’s taken as given. This essay questions that frame, well. Meet the People Making New …

Resilience over strength

By Glen Martin
March 10, 2014

As we accelerate toward the great convergence of hardware and software — where almost everything we do may be monitored and transformed into commoditized data points — a 1989 observation from novelist and essayist Cynthia Ozick seems increasingly, and uncomfortably, …

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. …

Why Solid, why now

By Jim Stogdill
February 7, 2014

A few years ago at OSCON, one of the tutorials demonstrated how to click a virtual light switch in Second Life and have a real desk lamp light up in the room. Looking back, it was rather trivial, but it …

Four short links: 3 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 2, 2014

Commotion — open source mesh networks. WriteLaTeX — online collaborative LaTeX editor. No, really. This exists. In 2014. Distributed Systems — free book for download, goal is to bring together the ideas behind many of the more recent distributed systems …

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 …

The public front of the free software campaign: part I

By Ezra Haber Glenn
December 10, 2013

At a recent meeting of the MIT Open Source Planning Tools Group, I had the pleasure of hosting Zak Rogoff — campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation — for an open-ended discussion on the potential for free and open …

Four short links: 29 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 29, 2013

Huaqiang Bei Map for Makers — excellent resource for visitors to an iconic huge electronics market in Shenzhen. (via Bunnie Huang) A 16th Century Dutchman Can Tell us Everything We Need to Know about GMO Patents — There’s nothing wrong …

Four short links: 22 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 21, 2013

Google Educator MOOCs — online courses for teachers who use Google in their classrooms. Algorithms and Accountability — Thus, the appearance of an autocompletion suggestion during the search process might make people decide to search for this suggestion although they …

Software, hardware, everywhere

By Jon Bruner
November 6, 2013

Real and virtual are crashing together. On one side is hardware that acts like software: IP-addressable, controllable with JavaScript APIs, able to be stitched into loosely-coupled systems—the mashups of a new era. On the other is software that’s newly capable of …

Software, hardware, everywhere

By Jon Bruner
November 4, 2013

Real and virtual are crashing together. On one side is hardware that acts like software: IP-addressable, controllable with JavaScript APIs, able to be stitched into loosely-coupled systems—the mashups of a new era. On the other is software that’s newly capable …

Four short links: 23 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 23, 2013

Together.js — Mozilla-produced library for in-page collaboration. This Complex and Tragic Event Supports My Own View (Vaughan Bell) — pretty much every tactic he describes, you will see deployed daily. Natalie Silvanovich — a security engineer who has extracted and …

Let Decisions Be Your Guide

By Joy Beatty
September 2, 2013

Most normal people don’t look at data sets just for fun. They study views of the data to make decisions about what to do, be it a decision to take some specific action or a decision to do nothing at …

Four short links: 12 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 10, 2013

List of Malware pcaps and Samples — Currently, most of the samples described have the corresponding samples and pcaps available for download. InterTwinkles — open source platform built from the ground up to help small democratic groups to do process …

Upward Mobility: A Web of Dependencies

By James Turner
July 29, 2013

The recent unavailability of the Apple Developer’s Portal just underscores how increasingly dependent developers have become on third parties during the software lifecycle. For those who are not following the fun and games, the developer.apple.com sites, which include much of …

Open Source convention considers situational awareness in cars, and more

By Andy Oram
July 29, 2013

Every conference draws people in order to make contacts, but the Open Source convention also inspires them with content. I had one friend withdraw from an important business meeting (sending an associate) in order to attend a tutorial. Lots of …

Community Leadership Summit tracks the forces that spread ideas

By Andy Oram
July 22, 2013

American businesses, along with many others around the world, hustle to find enough programmers and computing staff. The gap widens precariously between the number of job openings and the number students graduating with the necessary skills. And yet, at the …

Open source software creeps in to health care through clinical research

By Andy Oram
June 25, 2013

Although open source has not conquered the lucrative market for electronic health records (EHRs) used by hospital systems and increasingly by doctors, it is making strides in many other important areas of health care. One example is clinical research, as …

Four short links: 14 June 2014

By Nat Torkington
June 14, 2013

How Geeks Opened up the UK Government (Guardian) — excellent video introduction to how the UK is transforming its civil service to digital delivery. Most powerful moment for me was scrolling through various depts’ web sites and seeing consistent visual …

Four short links: 3 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 3, 2013

Practical HTTP Host Header Attacks — lots of cleverness like So, to persuade a cache to serve our poisoned response to someone else we need to create a disconnect between the host header the cache sees, and the host header …

A Commencement Speech for Graduating 2013 CS Majors

By James Turner
May 28, 2013

Graduates, parents, guests, members of the faculty of <%= college.collegeName %>. I am honored today to have the opportunity to speak with you, as you move out of the cloistered environment of higher education, and into “the real world.” Except …

Three organizations pressing for change in society’s approach to computing

By Andy Oram
May 16, 2013

Taking advantage of a recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the privilege of visiting three non-profit organizations who are leaders in the application of computers to changing society. First, I attended the annual meeting of the Association for Computing …

Survey on the Future of Open Source, and Lessons from the Past

By Andy Oram
May 15, 2013

I recently talked to two managers of Black Duck, the first company formed to help organizations deal with the licensing issues involved in adopting open source software. With Tim Yeaton, President and CEO, and Peter Vescuso, Executive Vice President of …

Where will software and hardware meet?

By Jon Bruner
May 8, 2013

I’m a sucker for a good plant tour, and I had a really good one last week when Jim Stogdill and I visited K. Venkatesh Prasad at Ford Motor in Dearborn, Mich. I gave a seminar and we talked at …


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