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Four short links: 22 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 22, 2014

PourOver — NYT open source Javascript for very fast in-browser filtering and sorting of large collections. LibreSSL — OpenBSD take on OpenSSL. Unclear how sustainable this effort is, or how well adopted it will be. Competing with OpenSSL is obviously …

Four short links: 4 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 4, 2014

C# Compiler Open Sourced — bit by the bit, the ship of Microsoft turns. The Web’s Declarative Composable Future — this. For the first time since 1993, I feel like the web platform is taking a step towards being a …

Four short links: 3 April 2014

By Nat Torkington
April 3, 2014

dat — github-like tool for data, still v. early. It’s overdue. (via Nelson Minar) Novena Open Laptop — Bunnie Huang’s laptop goes on sale. Crowd Forecasting (NPR) — How is it possible that a group of average citizens doing Google …

The Web is Eating Software

By Simon St. Laurent
March 19, 2014

A few years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote that “software is eating the world”: Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all …

Four short links: 17 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 17, 2014

De-Design the Web — quiz, can you recognise common websites from just their wireframes? For the non-designer (like myself) it’s a potent reminder of the power of design. Design’s front of mind as we chew on the Internet of Affordances. …

Four short links: 12 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 12, 2014

High Volume Web Sites — Tim Berners-Lee answers my question on provisioning a popular web server in 1993. The info.cern.ch server which has the Subject Catalogue gets probably a relatively high usage, about 10k requests a day, or (thinks…) one …

Four short links: 11 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 11, 2014

In-Game Graph Analysis (The Economist) — one MLB team has bought a Cray Ulrika graph-processing appliance for in-game analysis of data. Please hold, boggling. (via Courtney Nash) Disney Bets $1B on Technology (BusinessWeek) — MyMagic+ promises far more radical change. …

Four short links: 28 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 28, 2014

Programming Minecraft Pi with Python — an early draft, but shows promise for kids. (via Raspberry Pi) Terasaur — BitTorrent for mad-large files, making it easy for datasets to be saved and exchanged. Bucky — Open-source tool to measure the …

Why polyfills matter

By Brandon Satrom
February 26, 2014

From its nascent days, the growth of the web has been marked by the waxing and waning of technologies, frameworks and ideas. Old ideas and technologies expire and fade away, and new ones arise in their place. Much as the …

Why Polyfills Matter

By Brandon Satrom
February 26, 2014

From its nascent days, the growth of the web has been marked by the waxing and waning of technologies, frameworks and ideas. Old ideas and technologies expire and fade away, and new ones arise in their place. Much as the …

Four short links: 21 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 21, 2014

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks (Pew Internet) — Conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation. …

Four short links: 13 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 13, 2014

The Common Crawl WWW Ranking — open data, open methodology, behind an open ranking of the top sites on the web. Preprint paper available. (via Slashdot) Felton’s Sensors (Quartz) — inside the gadgets Nicholas Felton uses to quantify himself. Myo …

Four short links: 22 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 22, 2014

How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to Find True Love (Wired) — if he doesn’t end up working for OK Cupid, productising this as a new service, something is wrong with the world. Humin: The App That Uses Context to …

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 …

Web Performance Is User Experience

By Lara Swanson
January 14, 2014

Think about how you search for things on the web. How quick are you to close a tab and go to the next search engine result if a site takes too long to load? Now consider doing that on your …

Four short links: 14 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 13, 2014

LayoutIt — drag-and-drop design using Bootstrap components. These tools are proliferating, as the standard design frameworks like Bootstrap make them possible. There’s unsustainable complexity in building web sites today, which means something will give: the web will lose to something, …

Four short links: 10 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 10, 2014

Software in 2014 (Tim Bray) — a good state of the world, much of which I agree with. Client-side: Things are bad. You have to build everything three times: Web, iOS, Android. We’re talent-starved, this is egregious waste, and it’s …

Four short links: 6 January 2014

By Nat Torkington
January 6, 2014

4043-byte 8086 Emulator — manages to implement most of the hardware in a 1980’s era IBM-PC using a few hundred fewer bits than the total number of transistors used to implement the original 8086 CPU. Entry in the obfuscated C …

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: 27 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 27, 2013

Intel XDK — If you can write code in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript*, you can use the IntelŪ XDK to build an HTML5 web app or a hybrid app for all of the major app stores. It’s a .exe. What …

Four short links: 25 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 25, 2013

Inside Netflix’s HR (HBR) — Which idea in the culture deck was the hardest sell with employees? “Adequate performance gets a generous severance package.” It’s a pretty blunt statement of our hunger for excellence. They talk about how those conversations …

Four short links: 23 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 23, 2013

DelFly Explorer — 20 grams, 9 minutes of autonomous flight, via barometer and new stereo vision system. (via Wayne Radinsky) Banning Autonomous Killing Machines (Tech Republic) — While no autonomous weapons have been built yet, it’s not a theoretical concern, …

Tweets loud and quiet

By Jon Bruner
December 18, 2013

Writers who cover Twitter find the grandiose irresistible: nearly every article about the service’s IPO this fall mentioned the heroes of the Arab Spring who toppled dictators with 140-character stabs, or the size of Lady Gaga’s readership, which is larger …

Four Short Links: 25 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 25, 2013

Drone Journalism — “The newspaper was for still images,” said Mr. Whyld, who builds his own drones, “but the Internet is for this.” is the money shot from a NY Times piece (not linked to directly, as is paywalled) Best …

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 …

Four short links: 6 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 6, 2013

Apple Transparency Report (PDF) — contains a warrant canary, the statement Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge an order if served on us which will of course …

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 …

What do we get for that DRM?

By Simon St. Laurent
October 10, 2013

I had a hard time finding anything to like in Tim Berners-Lee’s meager excuse for the W3C’s new focus on digital rights management (DRM). However, the piece that keeps me shaking my head and wondering is a question he asks …

Measuring Mobile Performance

By Manish Lachwani
October 9, 2013

Now that more companies have basic mobile strategies in place, they are turning their attention to the issue of performance. Mobile developers are thinking about how fast their apps and mobile webpages load and—more importantly—what they can do to make …

Four short links: 7 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 7, 2013

The Thing System — connects to Things in your home, whether those things are media players such as the Sonos or the Apple TV, your Nest thermostat, your INSTEON home control system, or your Philips Hue lightbulbs — whether your …

Four short links: 2 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 2, 2013

Instant Translator Glasses (ZDNet) — character recognition to do instant translating, and a UI that turns any flat surface into a touch-screen via a finger-ring sensor. draw.io — diagramming … In The Cloud! Airmail — Mac gmail client with offline …

Computing Twitter Influence, Part 1: Arriving at a Base Metric

By Matthew Russell
September 25, 2013

This post introduces a series that explores the problem of approximating a Twitter account’s influence. With the ubiquity of social media and its effects on everything from how we shop to how we vote at the polls, it’s critical that we …

Four short links: 30 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 24, 2013

Steve Yegge on GROK (YouTube) — The Grok Project is an internal Google initiative to simplify the navigation and querying of very large program source repositories. We have designed and implemented a language-neutral, canonical representation for source code and compiler …

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 …

Four short links: 20 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 19, 2013

Researchers Can Slip an Undetectable Trojan into Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs (Ars Technica) — The exploit works by severely reducing the amount of entropy the RNG normally uses, from 128 bits to 32 bits. The hack is similar to stacking …

Four short links: 17 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 17, 2013

Quark — a web browser with a formally-proven kernel. High-Assurance Base64 — formally verified C implementation of Base64. z3 — fast theorem prover from Microsoft Research. libphenom (GitHub) — Facebook’s open sourced eventing framework. (High-scalability, natch)

Mining One Million Tweets About #Syria

By Matthew Russell
September 11, 2013

I’ve been filtering Twitter’s firehose for tweets about “#Syria” for about the past week in order to accumulate a sizable volume of data about an important current event. As of Friday, I noticed that the tally has surpassed one million …

Four short links: 11 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 9, 2013

On the NSA — intelligent unpacking of what the NSA crypto-weakening allegations mean. Overview of the 2013 OWASP Top 10 — rundown of web evil to avoid. (via Ecryption) Easy 6502 — teaches 6502 assembler, with an emulator built into …

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 …

Four short links: 4 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 4, 2013

MegaPWN (GitHub) — Your MEGA master key is supposed to be a secret, but MEGA or anyone else with access to your computer can easily find it without you noticing. Browser crypto is only as secure as the browser and …

Four short links: 3 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 2, 2013

Achieving Rapid Response Times in Large Online Services (PDF) — slides from a talk by Jeff Dean on fanout architectures. (via Alex Dong) JS MESS — porting the stunning MESS ultimate emulator to Javascript. Interesting challenges like Chrome currently has …

Four short links: 2 September 2013

By Nat Torkington
September 2, 2013

sifter.js — library for textually searching arrays and hashes of objects by property (or multiple properties). Designed specifically for autocomplete. (via Javascript Weekly) Tor Users Get Routed (PDF) — research into the security of Tor, with some of its creators …

Four short links: 30 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 29, 2013

intention.js — manipulates the DOM via HTML attributes. The methods for manipulation are placed with the elements themselves, so flexible layouts don’t seem so abstract and messy. Introducing Brick: Minimal-markup Web Components for Faster App Development (Mozilla) — a cross-browser …

Four short links: 27 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 26, 2013

Bomb in the Garden (Matthew Butterick) — design excellence is inhibited by two structural flaws in the web. First flaw: the web is good at making information free, but terrible at making it expensive. So the web has had to …

Four short links: 26 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 26, 2013

Peruvian Archaeologists Use Drones (Guardian) — Small drones have been helping a growing number of researchers produce three-dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the usual flat maps – and in days and weeks instead of months and years. Drone …

Four short links: 6 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 5, 2013

White Hat’s Dilemma (Google Docs) — amazeballs preso with lots of tough ethical questions for people in the computer field. Chinese Hacking Team Caught Taking Over Decoy Water Plant (MIT Tech Review) — Wilhoit went on to show evidence that …

Four short links: 30 July 2013

By Nat Torkington
July 29, 2013

Why YouTube Buffers (ArsTechnica) — When asked if ISPs are degrading Netflix and YouTube traffic to steer users toward their own video services, Crawford told Ars that “the very powerful eyeball networks in the US (and particularly Comcast and Time …

Four short links: 23 July 2013

By Nat Torkington
July 23, 2013

Canary (IndieGogo) — security sensor with video, motion, temperature, microphone, speaker, accelerometer, and smartphone remote control. Page Speed is Only The Beginning — 73% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered Web pages that are too slow. A 1 second …

Securing User Content in the JavaScriptable Web

By Sean McGregor
July 22, 2013

Recent work by a W3 Working Group plans to expose many powerful cryptographic operations for web applications. Although the planned API adds much needed functionality to JavaScript, it doesn’t address the JavaScript runtime’s terrible security properties. For instance, any script …


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