Thought up a foldable power-cord or a new device for straining pasta? Pitch it to “social product-development” Web site Quirky, where crowdsourcing meets professionals.

Now if only Quirky didn’t outsource its manufacturing to China. Maybe someone could launch a site that connects local ideas to local fabricators. (Any of your neighbors have 3D printers…?)

“Quirky was based on my realization of how hard it is to find a manufacturer, get financing (and) know all the disciplines like industrial design, mechanical engineering, prototyping, merchandising, retail logistics,” [Ben] Kaufman, 24, told Wired.com by phone. “All these things need to come together just to push one little product out into the real world. Basically, if you have the right idea, we’ll do all the heavy lifting to make the idea you have in your head see the light of day.”

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/pBPTlR7_CjA/

Digital Humanities LogoTechnology is usually associated with scientists, but now that artsy academics have tasted the power of digital media, the digital humanities are going full tilt. Featuring everything from best-selling Kindle authors to sociologists of Twitter, this week-long on-ramp takes tweed-jacketed academics from 0 to 60 onto the information superhighway.

Continue reading »

Demonstrating the power of many-to-many image- and sound-making, artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborators stitch compelling interfaces from huge data sets. Watch Koblin transform airline flight data into global travel patterns, frame-by-frame drawings into an animated tribute to Johnny Cash, and Google Street View into an Arcade Fire video personalized for each listener.


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The Bieber Shaver is only one of the works by the artist-hackers of F.A.T. Lab, which also include a fake Google Street Views car and the QR Stenciler mentioned previously on NMDnet.

Continue reading »

As new laws force ISPs to become copyright cops, the ramifications of intellectual property in the digital age just get more and more absurd.

Anti-Piracy Lawyers Accuse Blind Man of Downloading Films

“As the mass-lawsuits against BitTorrent users in the United States drag on, detail on the collateral damage this extortion-like scheme is costing becomes clear. It is likely that thousands of people have been wrongfully accused of sharing copyrighted material, yet they see no other option than to pay up. One of the cases that stands out is that of a California man who’s incapable of watching the adult film he is accused of sharing because he is legally blind.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/16/2346248/Anti-Piracy-Lawyers-Accuse-Blind-Man-of-Downloading-Films

Maybe he just liked the music?

Can a Monkey Get a Copyright & Issue a Takedown?

“Last week, the Daily Mail published a story about some monkeys in Indonesia who happened upon a camera and took some photos of themselves. The photos are quite cute. However, Techdirt noticed that the photos had copyright notices on them, and started a discussion over who actually held the copyright in question, noting that, if anyone did, the monkeys had the best claim, and certainly not the photographer. Yet, the news agency who claimed copyright issued a takedown to Techdirt! When presented with the point that it’s unlikely the news agency could hold a legitimate copyright, the agency told Techdirt it didn’t matter. Techdirt claims that using the photos for such a discussion is a clear case of fair use, an argument which has so far been ignored.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/13/0033214/Can-a-Monkey-Get-a-Copyright-amp-Issue-a-Takedown

“Dice Age,” sounds like…?

Dice Age — Indie Gaming Project vs. Hollywood

“Dice Age, a independent game project that raised nearly $35K through Kickstarter, is apparently facing some scrutiny from a certain movie studio that has produced movies with a similar name. From the latest project update: ‘As if the Ice Age was exclusively the name of a movie, or if Dice Age was a movie itself, the 20th century fox has just asked for an extent of time (till 10-26-2011) to oppose to the registering of our beloved Dice Age game name. My point of view, as a scientist, is the Ice age is a geological era before it is a movie.”"

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/07/29/2114234/emDice-Ageem-mdash-Indie-Gaming-Project-vs-Hollywood

Wendy Seltzer is an ace cyberlawyer who’s worked with Still Water to craft more enlightened forms of intellectual property law.

ISPs Will Now Be Copyright Cops

“Wendy Seltzer, Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy, talks about the new plan by ISPs and content providers to ‘crack down on what users can do with their internet connections’ using a 6-step warning system to curb online copyright infringement.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/06/235206/ISPs-Will-Now-Be-Copyright-Cops

Looks like six is the new three:

“American Internet users, get ready for three strikes^W^W ‘six strikes.’ Major US Internet providers — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable — have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won’t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth ‘strike,’ you won’t necessarily be ‘out.’” It’s not suspicious at all that most of the ISPs signing on for this are owned by or own media companies.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/07/1644240/Media-Companies-Create-Copyright-Enforcement-Framework

On the pro-sharing front:

A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven. It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/SDLVTXCwy2k/

A federal judge backed the music storage-locker business model Monday while ruling that companies may develop services that store their customers’ songs in the cloud. The closely watched case brought by EMI against MP3tunes comes as Amazon and Google recently launched similar services without the music labels’ consent. Apple is expected to launch a cloud-storage service… http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/XGIJztQaOPw/

Who knew? Maybe the Pirate Bay should start an ecommerce site called Arrrrmazon.com.

Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers

“The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales. In order to prove this fact a number of studies have been commissioned to help demonstrate the effect a pirate has on sales of entertainment. GfK Group is one of the largest market research companies in the world and is often used by the movie industry to carry out research and studies into piracy. Talking to a source within GfK who wished to remain anonymous, Telepolis found that a recent study looking at pirates and their purchasing activities found them to be almost the complete opposite of the criminal parasites the entertainment industry want them to be. The study states that it is much more typical for a pirate to download an illegal copy of a movie to try it before purchasing. They are also found to purchase more DVDs than the average consumer, and they visit the movie theater more, especially for opening weekend releases which typically cost more to attend.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/20/2119232/Suppressed-Report-Shows-Pirates-Are-Good-Customers

Flickr FTW; Facebook WTF.

The Flickr circles you draw on your map are refreshingly intuitive.

Flickr, the granddaddy of online photo sharing, has introduced some refreshingly simple privacy controls designed to limit who can see where your photos were taken. Facebook, please start your photocopiers.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/KZ2MRAa0E7E/

Sadly, Facebook seems to have botched its approach to privacy yet again.

Blogger Dan Tynan was one of the recipients of the new privacy controls that Facebook promised last week. The bad news: They still don’t work, and may even be worse than before. ‘Using Facebook’s new improved privacy controls, you can tag someone else in photo and then keep them from seeing it,’ says Tynan. ‘It’s pretty simple; just change the sharing option so they don’t see what you posted. So if you want to tag a picture of some jerk with your friend’s name on it and make it Public, everyone on Facebook will be able to see it except one — the person whose name is on it.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/29/1644259/Facebooks-New-Privacy-Controls-Still-Broken

Just because your phone captures video doesn’t make you Steven Spielberg. Wired offers a few pointers on how to shoot videos that don’t suck.

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A bunch of anarchist hackers, the Graffiti Research Lab, and an entrepreneur named Mick Ebeling hack together an eye-tracking device that enables a paralyzed former graffiti artist to draw on the parking lot outside his hospital window.

The nerve disease ALS left graffiti artist TEMPT paralyzed from head to toe, forced to communicate blink by blink. In a remarkable talk at TEDActive, entrepreneur Mick Ebeling shares how he and a team of collaborators built an open-source invention that gave the artist — and gives others in his circumstance — the means to make art again.

:excerptstart Microsoft has unveiled Windows 8, redesigned to function on a variety of mobile and desktop platforms and compete with Android and iOS. There are a couple of things conspicuously absent.

“Earlier this morning, at the Build Windows conference in Anaheim, California, Microsoft made it patently clear that ‘To the cloud!’ is not merely a throwaway phrase: it is the entire future of the company. Every single one of Microsoft’s services, platforms, and form factors will now begin its hasty, leave-no-prisoners-behind transition to the always-on, internet-connected cloud.” netbuzz pointed out that even the famous Blue Screen of Death will get a new look. “Lastly mikejuk writes: While everyone else is looking at the surface detail of Windows 8 there are some deep changes going on. Perhaps the biggest is that Metro now provides an alternative environment that doesn’t use the age old Win32 API. This means no more overlapping windows — yes Metro really does take the windows out of Windows.”

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/09/14/2219226/Windows-8-Roundup

Meanwhile, prospects for Flash are looking increasingly less flashy.

“The Microsoft Windows Engineering Team has announced that the Metro interface web browser in Windows 8 will not support plug-ins — Adobe Flash included. Users will still be able to open a traditional browser interface to make use of legacy sites that rely upon plug-ins. This news follows a recent blog post by the Internet Explorer 10 team pushing the use of HTML5 video as a replacement to Flash video. With Google, Apple, Mozilla, Opera and other major players already backing HTML5 — is Adobe Flash finally dead?”

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/09/15/1257249/Windows-8-Wont-Support-Plug-Ins-the-End-of-Flash

On the occasion of his retiring, Apple’s CEO is being hailed as the “recombinant mash-up” innovator par excellence.

The New York Times quotes innovation consultant John Kao as summing up the essence of Steve Jobs’ creative achievements as “recombinant mash-ups”–products like the iPhone that remix elements of existing technologies in new ways.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/technology/steve-jobs-and-the-rewards-of-risk-taking.html

Wired, meanwhile, contrasts Jobs’ artsy inclinations with the engineering bent of his rivals Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

What is the secret to Apple’s success? After introducing the iPad 2 in March, Steve Jobs gave one answer:

“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing — and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices….”

Without Jobs, Apple’s only missing piece is the role he unofficially filled for years: Chief Advocate for Media, Humanities and Liberal Arts. If that sounds trivial, remember this: at several key points in its history, Jobs’ skill in this role saved and transformed the company.

Jobs famously isn’t a trained programmer, engineer or MBA, or even a wünderkind dropout steeped in any of those fields like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. (The New York Times even did a discussion panel earlier this year titled “Career Counselor: Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?” contrasting the two founders’ engineering vs liberal arts approach to education….)

Apple’s unique success with the iTunes store shows that “technology married with the liberal arts” is not just an issue of making devices that look pretty and are easy to use. User-centered design is a huge component of what Apple does and why it and other companies have been successful in the consumer market. But it’s also a question of being able to translate between technology, media and creative industries. This ability is what delivers key partnerships; this ability is what allows technology companies to build platforms.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/7H6z21Q3qwE/

Donkeys, solar power, and trash are the Internet Service Providers for censored Syrians, beleaguered Afghans, and others without government-sponsored Internet.

These DIY ISPs would make great solutions to the privacy concerns about social networks cited in some recent NMDnet posts–and give new meaning to the term “data mules.”

Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov’t Shuts Down Internet

“Rebelling Syrians are using all possible alternate methods to pass information to the world amidst a total blackout on the internet by the Government. Believe it or not, Donkeys are a part of the revolution now. From the article: ‘To get the news out, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It’s a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.’”

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/05/15/1810215/Syrians-Using-Donkeys-Instead-of-DSL-After-Govt-Shuts-Down-Internet

The US military is taking note:

Move Over, Robots: Army Prefers Flesh-and-Blood Mules

The experimental four-legged, pack-hauling robots aren’t gonna be ready for frontline duty any time soon. So the Army is considering a big step backward in frontline logistics: more mules and donkeys, with a revived “Animal Corps” to oversee the four-legged recruits.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/ct7GAqIUi8Y/

The Afghans are at it:

Afghans Build Open Source Internet From Trash

“Residents of Jalalabad have built the FabFi network: an open-source system that uses common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles.”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/11/06/26/0322238/Afghans-Build-Open-Source-Internet-From-Trash

And there’s more:

Look Ma, No Internet! Free Software Gives Text-Messaging New Reach

Frontline SMS, an open source software that turns a laptop into an internet-free communication hub has been used in more than 50 countries by thousands of organizations.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/C4bjgmQ7rT8/

Berkeley’s working on solar-powered cell phone networks.

Low-Cost DIY Cell Network Runs On Solar

Shareable writes with word of the intriguing work of a Berkeley professor who has developed a “low-cost, low-power cell base station featuring easy, off-the grid deployment with solar or wind power; local services autonomous from national carriers; and an impressive portfolio of voice & data services (not just GSM). It’s designed to connect rural areas in the developing world, but could have wider application like disaster recovery.”

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/08/28/0048211/Low-Cost-DIY-Cell-Network-Runs-On-Solar.

Limewire’s founder wants to distribute pedals as well as MP3s.

Peer-to-Peer Pioneer Sees New York Bicycles Pier-to-Pier

Mark Gorton founded LimeWire, but his true passion is transit — specifically, bikes — and sharply curtailing the role of cars in our cities. We sit down with him to find out why. http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8SOZGbSiQ84/

Governments and vigilantes are using Facebook and other social media to identify and jail protesters–even if they never left their keyboards.

A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters

“Social media isn’t just great for starting ‘social unrest,’ it’s proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London’s latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans … Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country’s pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe.”

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/0248220/A-Chat-With-Zavilia-a-Tool-For-Identifying-Rioters

In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media

Government officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=bc98f459d24fe76a1cb358676020620b

UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

“In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/18/0224214/UK-Men-Get-4-Years-For-Trying-to-Incite-Riots-Via-Facebook

Slashdot / Soulskill nonprofiteer writes “A bunch of vigilantes are organizing a Google Group dedicated to using recently revealed facial recognition tools to identify looters in the London riots. While Vancouver discussed doing something similar after the Stanley Cup riots, the city never actually moved forward on it. Ring of Steel London, though, is far more likely to incorporate FRT into its investigative work.” A related article points out how development of face-recognition technology has been kept under wraps by some organizations, but we’re getting to the point where it’ll soon be ubiquitous.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/10/062225/The-London-Riots-and-Facial-Recognition-Technology

When police and vigilantes fail, there’s always PayPal.

PayPal Joins London Police Effort

“PayPal has joined a music copyright association and the City of London police department’s bid to financially starve websites deemed ‘illegal.’ When presented with sufficient evidence of unlicensed downloading from a site, the United Kingdom’s PayPal branch ‘will require the retailer to submit proof of licensing for the music offered by the retailer,’ said the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s latest press release.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/2345217/PayPal-Joins-London-Police-Effort

Meanwhile, Egyptian activists are getting in trouble for what they post on Facebook.

Egyptian Charged For Threatening Facebook Post

“The Egyptian Military Prosecution has charged 26-year-old activist and blogger Asmaa Mahfouz for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling generals and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Mahfouz, a prominent activist, was accused of using Facebook to call for the assassinations of Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) members and certain judges.”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/08/15/0156222/Egyptian-Charged-For-Threatening-Facebook-Post

The music industry is infiltrating private weddings to crack down on music piracy, and even artists with gold albums can end up owing their label a half-million bucks. But you don’t need the industry to bust out a fly remix.

Continue reading »

In the first program of its kind, Apple will now recycle your old laptop or desktop PC for free. And you might net a few bucks toward your next device.

Continue reading »

Francis Ford Coppola may be best known for directing blockbusters like The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, but he’s giving over control of his latest flick to a digital DJ.

While Coppola’s remixable film may sound outlandish to some, in new media circles it’s almost old hat. Mike Figgis remixed his 2000 film Timecode–already unusual for its four screens of the same footage shot in one take with no editing–live at the 2006 Zero One festival curated by Steve Dietz. And a self-remixing film has been the subject of a number of U-Me capstones.

Timecode (2000) Four cameras. One take. No edits. Real time. http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0220100

Compare Twixt:

Coppola turned members of the Hall H crowd into test subjects for his wild idea to turn movies into live entertainment. Accompanied onstage by musician Dan Deacon and actor Val Kilmer, Coppola used a touchpad to select scenes from Twixt on the fly as Deacon tweaked the soundtrack.

Coppola said Twixt was conceived as a way to inject a live feel into cinema.

“What I’d love to do is go on tour,” he said, “like a month before the film opened, and go to all the cities myself, with my collaborators, with live music and actually perform the film for each audience uniquely for them — a different version for each audience. That’s what opera was like.”

Twixt centers on a horror writer who stumbles onto strange goings-on, and maybe vampires, in a small town. During one segment screened Saturday, the writer, played by Val Kilmer, brainstorms alone in his hotel room. Coppola and his tech crew spliced together different mixes of the montage, during which Kilmer assumed various personas.

“Theoretically, I could push the Shuffle button,” Coppola said.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/uSwOEiYQREI/

John Bell and I have pointed out that version control — systems widely used in software development for logging the incremental versions of an application as its being developed — would have benefits for all creative production if adopted by other disciplines:

Part archive, part message board, and part management tool, sites like SourceForge.net meld project development with open access and documentation. Version control software like git and subversion facilitates asynchronous collaborations between contributors by standardizing how their work integrates. If the creative community documents their work in as structured a manner as coders have, and with the same eye toward future integration with the work of others, it will be a boon to those trying to preserve and build upon the cultural artifacts created today.

But as this article by The Daily WTF founder Alex Papadimoulis points out, the are many types of version control systems representing different philosophies. For there to be a boon, picking the right one for each discipline (or knowing which one not to use) is critical.  For example, systems specific to code creation might not be the best for storing essays.

But source code – though just a bunch of text files – is a special kind of data: it represents a codebase, or the living blueprint for an application that’s maintained by a team of developers. It’s this key distinction that makes source control a special case of revision control, and why we need an additional dimension for managing changes in source code.

At the same time, Alex’s article does a great job of explaining the technical aspects of version control system. For anyone interest in GitHub, but having trouble understanding its Forks and Repos, this is a great primer.

A fork copies a three-dimensional repository, creating two equal but distinct repositories. A commit performed against one repository has no impact on the other, which means the codebases contained within will become more and more different, and eventually evolve into different applications altogether.

Full text at http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Source-Control-Done-Right.aspx

Cheap “fabbers” and easy-to-use photo-conversion software make 3d art, medical models of organs, even a working plane. Is 3d fabrication finally taking off?

Since Photofly, a service that turns uploaded photos into three-dimensional models, was introduced in May, it has received an average of 80 uploads an hour, for a total of 70,000 images, according to Autodesk, the service’s creator….

Among the dozens of videos of 3-D models on the site are representations of stuffed animals (like Eeyore), battleships, Lego men, kitchen tables, fruit dishes, remote controls, vacation souvenirs, crab arms, Nerf guns, sneakers and remote controls. If anything, it’s notable how mundane the objects are, an indication of how easy this modeling process — once mainly the purview of laser scanners — has become.

Like Microsoft’s Photosynth service, Photofly stitches together images using stereo photogrammetry, using visual cues to reverse-engineer the geometric properties of objects. But Photofly also creates 3-D object files in various formats that can be imported into computer-aided design programs. Thus the images can be printed, reproduced, manipulated and mixed with other 3-D models. In other words, the scene from Mission Impossible 3 where surreptitiously snapped photos of a villain are transformed into a mask of his face seems less remote….

Photofly’s 3-D models can be made with as few as five photos, though the service recommends that users take at least one photo for every 10 degrees of perspective they want to cover….

Originally, the Photofly researchers thought professionals would be the main users, said Brian Mathews, a vice president at Autodesk who oversees Photofly, as there are already 150 or so industries that Autodesk works with. They saw it being used for things like architecture and the preservation of aging artifacts.

But users have come up with an ever-expanding set of applications. One forensic investigator is testing to see if the technology can be used for crime-scene investigations (here is a model of a footprint in the snow). Another designer imported computer models he had created and combined them with ones scanned by Photofly to create a hybrid reality scene.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/photofly-brings-3-d-models-to-the-masses/

Now made easier thanks to cheaper printers:

3-D Plastic Art for the Masses: Ready to Print

A Brooklyn company sells consumer-grade 3-D printers and preaches an open-source mantra, empowering artists and creative aspirants.

A new economy?

Already, 3D printing has been used to make tools and artworks, custom-fitted prosthetics for amputees, components for aviation and medical instruments, solid medical models of bones and organs based on MRI scans, paper-based photovoltaic cells, and the body panels for a lightweight hybrid automobile.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/08/01/1723212/3D-Printing-and-the-Replicator-Economy

oh, and a plane:

“It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer. No fasteners were used and all equipment was attached using ‘snap fit’ techniques so that the entire aircraft can be put together without tools in minutes. The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-meter wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/07/30/1832201/Aircraft-Made-From-3D-Printing

Librarians loaning out people and companies replacing bots with humans is both sensible and creepy. Is this newest form of human capital just an innocent way to reverse unemployment through automation, or a prelude to The Matrix?

If I’m gonna be a battery, I hope I get to be rechargeable.

Canadian Library to Loan Out People

Wouldn’t it be easier to learn Chinese from a native speaker than from a book, or explore a religion from an actual practitioner rather than words on a page? A library in Surrey, B.C. thinks so and has introduced a “human library” program. Visitors will be able to “check-out” real people to learn about their experiences and specific knowledge. From the article: “…The goal is to break down stereotypes and start discussions, said deputy chief librarian Melanie Houlden. ‘What we’re aiming to do is bring the library to life for people. There are huge repositories of experience and knowledge in their own brains,’ she said.” As long as you stay out of the horror section, this sounds like a great idea.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/08/19/1437249/Canadian-Library-to-Loan-Out-People

Crowdsourcing Makes an API For Human Intelligence “A startup called MobileWorks claims to offer human-level intelligence to any piece of software, with APIs for image, text or speech processing that crowdsource tasks to workers in India. Unlike Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, jobs can be sent in by software without human help and can also be completed in “real time” with a turnaround of a few seconds. The company claims that for problems like OCR and image recognition it makes more sense to find ways to use human intelligence than developing complex custom algorithms.” Not a bad plan — sounds like they’ve lifting a page from the business model of captcha-cracking spammers.

http://developers.slashdot.org/story/11/08/29/2231258/Crowdsourcing-Makes-an-API-For-Human-Intelligence

Some Web hosting services discourage or prohibit the practice known as “scraping,” whereby a custom-built bot crawls the Web looking for particular content to repurpose. While scraping can be used for questionable purposes like generating spam text or manipulating search engines, in this case a student is looking for a host for a legitimate project based on tracking political candidates for the 2012 election.

Continue reading »

Why lose $20 reselling that engineering book or Shakespeare reader, when you can pay Amazon $5 and keep your notes in the cloud when you’re done?

Amazon Lets Students Rent Digital Textbooks http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/07/18/1654246/Amazon-Lets-Students-Rent-Digital-Textbooks

“Amazon has unveiled a new digital textbook rental service, allowing students to choose how long they’d like access to an eBook-version of a textbook via their Kindle or app — with the retailer claiming savings as high as 80%. Kindle Textbook Rental will let students use a text for between 30 and 360 days, adding extra days as they need to. Any notes or highlighted text will be saved via the Amazon Cloud for students to reference after the book is ‘returned.’ Amazon said tens of thousands of books would be available to rent for the next school year.”

While iPads have been getting the headlines, there are plenty more e-readers to choose from.

Study This: E-Textbook Readers Compared

The iPad was supposed to wipe out standalone e-readers, but they’re still here, and they’re a big deal on campus.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/koZon8SFfJA/

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