Reviews and Links for April 2012

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

APIs: A Strategy Guide by Dan Woods

3/5

Works as a good checklist of the various business, legal, technical, marketing and strategic considerations you should think of when launching an API. Not a huge amount of depth in any one area though.

 

Pharmacology by Christopher Herz

4/5

A tale of legal and illegal drugs in San Francisco from the perspective of Sarah, a transplant from the mid-west in town to make money to send back to her sick father and expose the evils of the pharmaceutical industry. Reads like Sarah sat down next to you in a cafe and poured out her entire life story before you even knew what hit you.

 

Links

Interesting, but the first book I tried was wrong: http://t.co/gUPyhpjM (The Interpreter in Look to Windward)

ITHCWY: Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service: LEGO: I wrote in January about LEGO's[1] misogynistic latest LEGO… http://t.co/s2PlMzGn

ITHCWY: Kindle: Figure out sorting!: I love my Kindle. Loved it since seeing the screen for the first time after… http://t.co/zimbDLpz

ITHCWY: Catfood: Cleat 1.10: I've just released an updated version of Cleat that supports geolocation and… http://t.co/SESV9VH7

4 of 5 stars to Pharmacology by Christopher Herz http://t.co/SgGZR4Lz

I still don't like the Oxford Comma, but... http://t.co/oJB50wGw

ITHCWY: Prophylactic: Absolutely no chance of scurvy tonight. http://t.co/RpX1z78M

Artist Captures Dog vs. Gopher Confrontation on Bernal Hill http://t.co/OlUgGHOG - It could be Rudy...

Graffiti - Public - Other_enter_additional_details_below/101 Elsie St San Francisco, CA 94110, USA http://t.co/c9P7xkjx #bernal-heights!

Lego tries to get less sexist http://t.co/WD9lmRuK - and previously: http://t.co/Psc5ZNua

"It’s the product development version of the Hunger Games" - http://t.co/wNA0DHWy via @uservoice

SciFi in HiFi! - Sean Young's video of the making of Dune - Boing Boing http://t.co/BXTACFpj via @BoingBoing

Shocking, but need to distinguish between standardized tests and shit standardized tests: Florida standardized... http://t.co/c8488XDw

+1: Introducing the Innovator's Patent Agreement http://t.co/naK9hYxw via @twitter

Extraordinary: The real criminals in the Tarek Mehanna case http://t.co/GOqxgIJ2

They are deadly serious about not taking photos at @#spamalotsf http://t.co/5di7viuy

JSON Formatter & Validator: http://t.co/L220TCHf

ITHCWY: California Slender Salamander http://t.co/EvNlFOnS

Patent Law 101: What’s Wrong And Ways To Make It Right http://t.co/6QnLLHL7 via @techcrunch

ITHCWY: Even Shitier - Citibank Remortgage Scam: Citibank contacted us in December offering to remortgage our house… http://t.co/mxGi3j6K

ITHCWY: Baby Yellow Spiders: A chair in our garden has produced a bumper crop of baby Cross Orbweaver spiders. Very… http://t.co/0VBjSvPq

Wow: http://t.co/N4tbm77Y Rear Window loop via @jwz

Final Plan for Bernal Hill Trail Restoration Unveiled: http://t.co/bp3uFOZu - from @bernalwood

RT @Pearldotcom: Our new site is coming soon! Get on the list to be notified about launch details: http://t.co/75ddUi63

ITHCWY: Sod Searle And Sod His Sodding Room: Marcus du Sautoy, writing on BBC News, brings up Searle's Chinese Room… http://t.co/FmcVPbzC

ITHCWY: California, I can save you billions with a small and reasonably priced computer program...: California just… http://t.co/Ro96lk3J

California, I can save you billions with a small and reasonably priced computer program... http://t.co/iDZEbAQ9 -> @JerryBrownGov

(All Politics Posts)

Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service

LEGO: I wrote in January about LEGO's[1] misogynistic latest LEGO for Girls campaign. Earlier this month I was excited to read Mary Elizabeth Williams reporting that 'Lego tires to get less sexist' on Salon but it turned out that rather than reversing course LEGO had just agreed to meet with SPARK. SPARK reports back on the meeting today with the news that LEGO has been conducting 'an internal audit of their minifigure count' and will generally be looking at their gender based marketing. Looking forward to seeing some actual results.

Legislative Service: I've been bothering people at parties about legislative service for around 20 years. Most people nod politely and back away. So I was pretty excited to read 'Fewer Voters, Better Elections' by Joshua Davis in the May 2012 issue of Wired. The thrust of the article is very similar to legislative service and highlight research from James Fishkin at Stanford (Deliberative Democracy, it looks like he's been bothering people at cocktail parties for longer than me) and David Chaum (Random-Sample Elections). Something like this has to be the solution to getting past the two-body problem of our current democracy.

Colophon: I pinched the title from the excellent Patrick Smith, although my aviation blogging is limited to bitching about British Airways. The picture comes from the Wikipedia article on go-arounds because it's hilarious in a Douglas Adamsian way - like you just couldn't understand the concept of not landing a plane without the illustration.

[1] Why do Americans go for LEGOS and math while the British use LEGO and maths?

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Goldilocks

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Goldilocks

Israel just banned models with a BMI under 18.5. That's not severely underweight, it's the boundary with normal. Like banning models packing an extra pound (not that the law touches this end of the spectrum). Lawmakers have too much free time on their hands when they pass body crimes (or thought crimes). Outlawing underweight models isn't going to put a dent in eating disorders. Even if it was a reasonable law it's going after a symptom rather than any sort of root cause.

Photo Credit: clapstar cc

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GGNRA Dog Management Plan Update

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

GGNRA Dog Managemnet Plan Update

I love it when making some noise works. The NPS is pushing its dog management plan back a year to incorporate the feedback from the current draft. A couple of encouraging considerations mentioned in the most recent newsletter are:

Evaluating additional access for dog walking, both on leash and under voice control.

Revising the compliance based management strategy by including natural and cultural resource monitoring, removing automatic triggers and restrictions, and incorporating additional education and enforcement.

So at the very least this looks like they’re walking back the “poison pill” provision that would allow the NPS to change the rules without further consultation. Won’t know how good or bad the changes are until the new DEIS is published later this year but at least the NPS is listening.

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Has France Cracked Fixing Education?

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Has France Cracked Fixing Education?

The French are close to making it illegal to deny a second genocide. I was going to write a post despairing at the increasing number of thought crimes in Europe. Bad form, maybe, however does there really need to a law?

But maybe this is part of a far grander plan. It starts with history, then maybe geography (Can't spot Finland? Six months community service!), mathematics (Don't know how to figure out the volume of a cylinder? Two years and a fine!) and science (Can't sketch the Krebs Cycle? Life without the possibility of parole!).

Once every incorrect answer is against the law maybe children will start paying more attention in schools. That must be behind then ban on headscarves as well, it's not xenophobic, just trying to make sure that the view of the blackboard isn't obstructed.

(Photo credit: stttijn)

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Carr is Wrong: Costolo is Wrong: Wikipedia’s SOPA Blackout is a Great Idea

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I was very happy to see TechCrunch 2.0 launch today as Pando.

Much less happy with Paul Carr’s applause of Dick Costolo’s tweet that Wikipedia's support of Internet Blackout Day is “…just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish”.

Possibly a smart position for Twitter. It would be expensive to shut down for a day, and it’s hard to infringe copyright in 140 characters so of the many sites that depend on user generated content Twitter could very well be the least likely to fall foul of SOPA/PIPA.

Carr says:

And, you know what? He’s right. Whatever your stance on SOPA, closing down a global business to protest an American law is foolish.

It happens to be an American law that seeks to unplug foreign sites from the Internet, even if they’re not breaking any local laws. And then:

Arguing that a one-day closure reminds everyone of the importance of net freedom is like burning down one church to underscore the importance of the First Amendment for all of the others.

Really? Nobody is burning down anything. But if there was a potential law that allowed churches to be repossessed, say on the basis of claims of false scripture from other religions, without requiring a trial and say with a specific exemption that no legal challenge could be brought against any repossession made in ‘good faith’ compliance with the law then it might be worth it for a church or two to self-immolate.

And then:

The trouble with taking a political stance on one issue is that your silence on every issue becomes a stance.

There’s a difference between fighting an existential threat and throwing in the towel on neutrality. I’m very glad to see Wikipedia join the blackout.

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Yet more on breaking the Internet

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

January 18th is Internet blackout day to protest against SOPA and PIPA. As I'm writing this post 6,988,056,464 people still don't read ITHCWY, so I'm taking part by blacking out my software site, catfood.net, which gets substantially more traffic.  

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Misplaced Outrage

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Misplaced Outrage

The video of US Marines urinating on corpses is shocking and counterproductive. But it's not the worst thing that happened to the victims that day. More shocking, and more damaging to the US is that at the same time Guantanamo marked its 10 year anniversary. While the Republican Presidential hopefuls fight over who will be the first to invade Iran. But go ahead, spin up the news cycle for the sideshow.

Photo credit: stroud4341

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More on breaking the Internet

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I finally got round to actually reading SOPA and PIPA

I make my living from intellectual property, it's my hobby as well. I also used to work at Macrovision, at the time the leading anti-piracy company for Hollywood, software, music and games. I understand the sentiment behind the legislation and agree that theft of IP causes real harm. I'd love to see the pirate sites vaporized. But not at the expense of undermining the fundamental architecture of the Internet. 

The most controversial penalties are removing sites from search results and DNS combined with a shield from prosecution for sites that comply with requests voluntarily or even preemptively. 

It's an insidious infrastructure tax comparable to requiring the phone company from removing you from their directory and taxi drivers to shrug their shoulders and pretend they don't know where you live. It also inverts the DMCA approach of holding sites harmless provided that they respond to take down notices.

Worse still, the legislation would make it illegal to provide a product or service that circumvents these penalties. Because the proposed remedy to piracy is censoring the Internet this equates to making anti-censorship software illegal. 

It's not even like mucking with DNS will be effective. People who want to steal movies will still be able to find them. These are bad laws. Sign a petition and contact your congresspeople to help put the brakes on.

This brings me to a piece on KQED where Rick Cotton from NBC says:

But these new forms of distribution that all of the content providers are embracing cannot compete against stolen, cannot compete against free.

Which sounds like bad news for a company in the business of competing with free. Luckily this isn't true. People happily pay for speed, quality, convenience, features, support, kudos, reputation, collection. Yes, some people will never pay. It's not worth the decreasing returns to go after them both to your company and as with SOPA/PIPA to society as a whole. 

Instead of having Congress censor search results for you grow a pair and use some SEO. Fill the search engines with legitimate ways to access your content. Invent new windows. Treat piracy as market research for unmet needs. 

How about a streaming service for parents who can't get to the cinema that often? I'd happily pay a premium - two tickets, parking, popcorn equivalent - and it's money you're not getting now while I have to wait for a film to eventually show up on Netflix. 

Release raw footage for an episode every season and have a competition for who can cut together the best episode. Embrace the Internet rather than fighting it. 

Don't spend your time and energy and money on SOPA/PIPA and other attempts to fight a battle that can't be won. 

(All Politics Posts)

Reviews and Links for December 2011

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse

2/5

Two huge problems with this book. It's short and very repetitive so the information content is about a couple of blog posts. The 'rules' are highly subjective, and much of the book is pushing the author's WRML 'standard' which I've never seen in the wild. The only real positive is that it's a comprehensive survey of the issues you need to think about when designing a REST API: just don't take the rules as gospel and research best practice from major APIs so you understand the context.

 

Links

What are the 1865 stickers on Bernal Hill about? http://t.co/0CGOmRYe

ITHCWY: Congress: instead of breaking the Internet how about fixing child identity theft?: According the the… http://t.co/4eBrdCPI

Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election - Boing Boing http://t.co/oA8XEYzP via @BoingBoing

Shouldn't hackers be _taking over_ a network of satellites? http://t.co/QmOcn8oy

ITHCWY: Shiti: Citigroup sent me a nice notice saying they are going to share my information in about four thousand… http://t.co/DQLR5DlV

The coming war on general computation http://t.co/yl9vNJHc (Cory Doctorow)

Zeno's Advent Calendar: http://t.co/EyGf4vBY #fb

“we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging ... hidden people.” - http://t.co/K7aSceFm

Check this video out -- IDEX: Connecting You to Grassroots Solutions to Poverty http://t.co/kiq32ThR via @IDEX

Catfood Software Blog | Winter Solstice 2011 in Catfood Earth http://t.co/O0x5TngH via @CatfoodSoftware

For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It's Legal to Kill You: http://t.co/rrMIrELV

Arch druid ... said it was a "good omen for the year ahead" that the sun had come up after the ceremony. http://t.co/UxK0BQlf

Looking forward to: Build better web applications with "Get Some REST" http://t.co/DGxCp9uN via @getsomerestbook

Why is @VisualStudio so busy? http://t.co/y9TLULLk

Sphero http://t.co/VCM5rvhK #todo @myEN

HTTP status cats by GirlieMac: classic server error codes, now with cats: http://t.co/1bJc3tgt

Land of the free taken nearly taken care of: http://t.co/uNlYAzoJ just need to do something about home of the brave. #fb

Trillion-frame-per-second video: http://t.co/JLsK5GDm

ITHCWY: Reviews and Links for November 2011: Reamde by Neal Stephenson 5/5 Intelligent and humorous if highly… http://t.co/ysKotKbY

Yet more on http://t.co/Dk1bJ0Ve: http://t.co/OTViMYQW (BoingBoing)

Check this video out -- Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel - Steven Sharp Nelson http://t.co/8xzzZh6E via @youtube

Stop marketers from being able to call your cellphone! http://t.co/wJd12VzP @CREDOMobile #p2

More on http://t.co/p0AhRSIl hijacking shareware to install crap: http://t.co/lDsXNB2g #fail

RT @justanswer: Want to know how old Santa is or what he gets Mrs. Claus for Xmas? Ask Santa your questions for free! http://t.co/i9WIce ...

You're doing it wrong: on toast, with butter: http://t.co/sTHvdHY6 (Sandwich Monday: The Marmite Sandwich)

Too hot? Switch Google off: http://t.co/ZRLIpH12

2 of 5 stars to REST API Design Rulebook by Mark Masse http://t.co/U6A4yQNk

Aliens on Ice: http://t.co/FmLdlfZ3

There, we fixed it: http://t.co/gEhPi3Z8 (The woman... must marry her rapist as a condition of the release.)

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