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Google I/O, Big Data Adolescence, Visualization, and the Future of Open Source

By Adam Flaherty
May 17, 2013

Google I/O: O’Reilly Editor Rachel Roumeliotis reports from the conference floor. Big Data, Cool Kids: Fumbling toward the adolescence of big data tools. Code as Art: Interactive Data Visualization for the Web author Scott Murray on becoming a code artist. …

Visualization of the Week: Real-time Wikipedia edits

By Jenn Webb
May 15, 2013

Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi have put together an addictive visualization of real-time edits on Wikipedia, mapped across the world. Every time an edit is made, the user’s location and the entry they edited are listed along with a corresponding …

Four short links: 8 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 8, 2013

How to Build a Working Digital Computer Out of Paperclips (Evil Mad Scientist) — from a 1967 popular science book showing how to build everything from parts that you might find at a hardware store: items like paper clips, little …

Four short links: 11 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 11, 2013

Adventures in the Ransom Trade — between insurance, protection, and ransoms, Sean Gourley describes it as “one of the more interesting grey markets.” (via Sean Gourley) About High School Computer Science Teachers (Selena Deckelmann) — Selena gets an education in …

Wikipedia’s EPUB export feature

By Joe Wikert
November 5, 2012

The “best price” phase of TOC NY 2013 registration is about to end. Don’t wait or you’ll end up paying more than you would today. To save even more on your registration, sign up here and use the discount code …

Strata Week: Add structured data, lose local flavor?

By Audrey Watters
April 12, 2012

A critic says Wikidata could undermine Wikipedia's localized information. Also, Netflix explains why its recommendation engine is much more complicated than most people realize.

Strata Week: Add structured data, lose local flavor?

Strata Week: Add structured data, lose local flavor?
By Audrey Watters
April 12, 2012

A critic says Wikidata could undermine Wikipedia's localized information. Also, Netflix explains why its recommendation engine is much more complicated than most people realize.

Developer Week in Review: When game development met Kickstarter

By James Turner
March 15, 2012

Crowdsourcing is changing how software development gets funded. It's also driving one of the great reference guides of the 20th century out of print.

Developer Week in Review: When game development met Kickstarter

Developer Week in Review: When game development met Kickstarter
By James Turner
March 15, 2012

Crowdsourcing is changing how software development gets funded. It's also driving one of the great reference guides of the 20th century out of print.

Four short links: 16 February 2012

By Nat Torkington
February 16, 2012

The Undue Weight of Truth (Chronicle of Higher Education) -- Wikipedia has become fossilized fiction because the mechanism of self-improvement is broken. Playfic -- Andy Baio's new site that lets you write text adventures in the browser. Great introduction to programming for language-loving kids and adults. Review of Alone Together (Chris McDowall) -- I loved this review, its sentiments,...

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...

Four short links: 14 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 14, 2011

Science Hack Day SF Videos (justin.tv) -- the demos from Science Hack Day SF. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a Hack Day. A Cross-Sectional Study of Canine Tail-Chasing and Human Responses to It, Using a Free Video-Sharing Website (PLoSone) -- Approximately one third of tail-chasing dogs showed clinical signs, including habitual (daily or "all the time")...

Publishing News: Amazon fires up B&N and BAM

By Jenn Webb
October 14, 2011

In this week's publishing news: B&N and BAM pulled DC Comics graphic novels off the shelves in a huff. Also, interesting data points surface at book conferences, and what newspapers can learn from Wikipedia.

Publishing News: Amazon fires up B&N and BAM

Publishing News: Amazon fires up B&N and BAM
By Jenn Webb
October 14, 2011

In this week's publishing news: B&N and BAM pulled DC Comics graphic novels off the shelves in a huff. Also, interesting data points surface at book conferences, and what newspapers can learn from Wikipedia.

Strata Week: Investors circle big data

By Audrey Watters
September 15, 2011

This week's data news includes funding announcements from a number of data startups, a new real-time research tool for Ushahidi and Wikipedia, and calculations about the amount of work time Americans waste on Angry Birds.

Strata Week: Investors circle big data

By Audrey Watters
September 15, 2011

This week's data news includes funding announcements from a number of data startups, a new real-time research tool for Ushahidi and Wikipedia, and calculations about the amount of work time Americans waste on Angry Birds.

Strata Week: Cracking a book's genetic code

By Audrey Watters
August 18, 2011

BookLamp and the Book Genome Project look to book DNA for smarter recommendations, sorting through Wikipedia's vast data dump gets easier thanks to WikiHadoop, and a timeline from WolframAlpha charts major milestones in data knowledge.

Strata Week: Cracking a book's genetic code

By Audrey Watters
August 18, 2011

BookLamp and the Book Genome Project look to book DNA for smarter recommendations, sorting through Wikipedia's vast data dump gets easier thanks to WikiHadoop, and a timeline from WolframAlpha charts major milestones in data knowledge.

Strata Week: Cracking a book's genetic code

Strata Week: Cracking a book's genetic code
By Audrey Watters
August 18, 2011

BookLamp and the Book Genome Project look to book DNA for smarter recommendations, sorting through Wikipedia's vast data dump gets easier thanks to WikiHadoop, and a timeline from WolframAlpha charts major milestones in data knowledge.

Four short links: 8 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 8, 2011

Who Writes Wikipedia -- reported widely as "bots make most of the contributions to Wikipedia", but which really should have been "edits are a lousy measure of contributions". The top bots are doing things like ensuring correctly formatted ISBN references and changing the names of navboxes--things which could be done by humans but which it would be a scandalous...

Strata Week: The mortality rate of URLs

Strata Week: The mortality rate of URLs
By Audrey Watters
May 26, 2011

In the latest Strata Week: How quickly do URLs die? Where in the world are Wikipedia editors? How does the iPhone autocorrect work (or not)?

Four short links: 2 May 2011

By Nat Torkington
May 2, 2011

Chinese Internet Cafes (Bryce Roberts) -- a good quick read. My note: people valued the same things in Internet cafes that they value in public libraries, and the uses are very similar. They pose a similar threat to the already-successful, which is why public libraries are threatened in many Western countries. SIFT -- the Scale Invariant Feature Transform library,...

Four short links: 25 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 25, 2011

Bruce Sterling at SxSW (YouTube) -- call to arms for "passionate virtuosity". (via Mike Brown) Developer Support Handbook -- Pamela Fox's collected wisdom from years of doing devrel at Google. Wikipedia Beautifier -- Chrome plugin that makes Wikipedia easier on the eyes. science.io -- an open science community. Comment on, recommend and submit papers. Get up-to-date on a research...

What to do when you have get a mysterious spotted fever: improve Wikipedia!

By Rick Jelliffe
January 10, 2011

If you get some exotic illness, and you know what it is, make sure the Wikipedia entries have good links to credible sites

Strata Gems: Use Wikipedia as training data

By Edd Dumbill
December 2, 2010

Wikipedia is an essential tool in the data scientist's armory. Today's Strata Gem shows how it can be used to help computers distinguish between different sense of common words.

Four short links: 16 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 16, 2010

A Room to Let in Old Aldgate -- a lovely collection of photographs of lost buildings from The Society for Photographing Relics of Old London. Think of them as the Wayback Machine of their day. (via Fiona Rigby on Twitter) Wikipedia Fundraising A/B Tests -- get a glimpse into the science that resulted in Jimmy Wales's hollow haunted gaze...

Four short links: 15 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 15, 2010

Mechanical Turk Requester Activity: The Insignificance of the Long Tail -- For Wikipedia we have the 1% rule, where 1% of the contributors (this is 0.003% of the users) contribute two thirds of the content. In the Causes application on Facebook, there are 25 million users, but only 1% of them contribute a donation. [...] The lognormal distribution of...

Four short links: 17 September 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 17, 2010

BBC Jobs -- looking for someone to devise advanced machine intelligence techniques to infer high level classification metadata of audio and video content from low-level features extracted from it. (via mattb on Delicious) A History of the Iraq War Through Wikipedia Changelogs -- printed and bound volumes of the Wikipedia changelogs during the Iraq war. This is historiography. This...

Four short links: 28 May 2010

By Nat Torkington
May 28, 2010

The Intuition Behind the Fisher-Yates Shuffle -- this is a simple algorithm to randomize a list of things, but most people are initially puzzled that it is more efficient than a naive shuffling algorithm. This is a nice explanation of the logic behind it. Wikipedia and Inherent Open Source Bias -- a specific case of what I think of...

Four short links: 12 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 12, 2010

Flickr Flow -- a "season wheel", showing the relative popularity of colours in Flickr photos at different times of the year. Beautiful. (via gurneyjourney) Light Peak -- optical peripheral cabling and motherboard connections. (via timoreilly on twitter) British Museum Pilots "Wikipedian in Residence" -- Liam's underlying task will be to be to build a relationship between the Museum and...

Four short links: 11 August 2009

By Nat Torkington
August 10, 2009

The Slowing Growth of Wikipedia and More Details of Changing Editor Resistance -- researchers at PARC analysed Wikipedia and found the number of new articles and number of new editors have flattened off, and more edits from first-time contributors are being reverted. This is a writeup in their blog, with the numbers and charts. It's interesting that coverage in...

Freedom is for losers

By Rick Jelliffe
August 9, 2009

We have to make sure that our links to Wikipedia are not building in assertions or implications that the texts of Wikipedia, as distinct from the topics, are objectively correct or complete.

Wikipeadia Papers - How to improve Wikipedia and University Studies Quality

By Mark Finnern
July 15, 2009

How to bring Wikipedia up to the scientific standard that many in the Universities are claiming it is missing: The Wikipedia Paper. Every student that takes a class, no matter what topic, has to create or improve a Wikipedia page of the Topic of the class.

Patrick Collison Puts the Squeeze on Wikipedia

Patrick Collison Puts the Squeeze on Wikipedia
By James Turner
July 2, 2009

Think about Wikipedia, what some consider the most complete general survey of human knowledge we have at the moment. Now imagine squeezing it down to fit comfortably on an 8GB iPhone. Sound daunting? Well, that's just what Patrick Collison's iPhone application does. App Store purchasers of Collison's open source application can browser and search the full text of Wikipedia when stuck in a plane, or trapped in the middle of nowhere (or as defined by AT&T coverage...) Collison will be presenting a talk on how he did it at OSCON, O'Reilly's Open Source conference at the end of July, and he spent some time talking to me about it recently.

Twitter is Not a Conversational Platform

By Mark Drapeau
June 9, 2009

Perhaps the most common reason given for joining the microsharing site Twitter is "participating in the conversation" or some version of that. I myself am guilty of using this explanation. But is Twitter truly a conversational platform? Here I argue that the underlying mechanics of Twitter more closely resemble the knowledge co-creation seen in wikis than the dynamics seen with...

Using hit rates from one database to audit the completeness of another

By Rick Jelliffe
May 26, 2009

The possibility of having objective measures to test the completeness of a topical database is intriguing,

Wikirank: A Zeitgeist for Wikipedia

By Brady Forrest
March 19, 2009

Wikipedia is one of the most significant sites on the web. It produces vast quantities of data and the Wikimedia foundation tries to make all of it available to the public. Wikipedia's traffic data can be an insight into what's interesting on the web. Wikirank, currently in closed beta, shares that information very cleanly. On its homepage Wikirank shows...

Wikipedia and Nature

By Nat Torkington
December 21, 2008

I love the RNA Biology journal's new guidelines for submissions, which state that you must submit a Wikipedia article on your research on RNA families before the journal will publish your scholarly article on it: This track will primarily publish articles describing either: (1) substantial updates and reviews of existing RNA families or (2) novel RNA families based on computational...

Network Effects in Data

By Tim O'Reilly
October 27, 2008

Nick Carr's difficulty in understanding my argument that cloud computing is likely to end up a low-margin business unless companies find some way to harness the network effects that are the heart of Web 2.0 made me realize that I use the term "network effects" somewhat differently, and not in the simplistic way many people understand it. Here's Nick: Let's...

Yochai Benkler, others at Harvard map current and future Internet

By Andy Oram
May 16, 2008

Harvard's world-renowned Berkman Center for Internet & Society is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a conference called Berkman@10. The center is a conglomeration of many people, both lawyers and non-lawyers, who study the Internet and add their efforts to empower its users. In my opinion, the most salient contribution of the Berkman Center is its devotion to new research instead of pure theory. I'll report here on today's sessions, which were organized as a fairly conventional symposium (although as loosely as one could run it with 450 attendees).


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