Links September 2012

Scott Adams has an interesting idea for political debates he calls “Fact Bubbler” [1]. It sounds implausible the first time you read it, but then so did Wikipedia.

Arstechnica has an interesting article on software defined radio [2]. This could change many things.

The Nieder Family has another update on the way patents threaten their daughter’s ability to communicate [3]. Also Apple is making things worse by taking pre-emptive strikes against iPhone apps which are involved in legal disputes – never use an iPhone (or other proprietary system) for anything important if you have a choice.

In more positive news crowd-funded gene sequencing has found an explanation for Maya Nieder’s developmental delays [4]. This will revolutionise medicine!

Steven Cherry of IEEE Spectrum has an interesting interview with Peter Cappelli about the difficulties that computer and engineering companies have in hiring talented people [5].

The Guardian has an interesting article about the non-profit investigative reporting organisation ProPublica [6]. See the site for some quality news reports [7].

Michael O.Church wrote an interesting and insightful article about the fate of a “Just a Programmer” in a startup funded by Venture Capitalists [8]. It doesn’t sound good at all.

EyeNetra is developing a smart-phone based system for testing eyes [9]. It’s apparently possible to manufacture glasses for $0.75 so the cost and difficulty of performing eye tests is the main factor that prevents poor people in developing countries from getting glasses. So a cheap portable eye testing system is going to help many people get the glasses they need.

Bryan Gardiner wrote an interesting article for Wired about the “Gorilla” glass that is used in most mobile phones and tablets [10].

Maco wrote an interesting article about crochet and reverse-engineering along with a Python program to print a crochet pattern [11]. I wonder whether anyone has tried to make a crochet robot, something like a 3D printer but which crochet’s things rather than printing them. Holding the wool would be a real challenge, it’s not nearly as easy as printing on something that’s stuck down and incapable of movement.

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3 comments to Links September 2012

  • Mackenzie

    There are crochet machines.

  • etbe

    Thanks for that, “crochet machine” turns up lots of Google hits, particularly on Youtube. Of course the problem is that they seem to all be industrial machines, either very large (and presumably expensive) or specialised (EG for making a particular type of hat).

  • Mackenzie

    Yeah, I was actually really surprised to find out it was possible to do machine crochet. It’s an odd mechanism.

    Knitting looms were invented in the 16th century (though Elizabeth I rejected the patent because it would put too many handknitters out of business–it was granted in France in the 17th century–with the caveat that she would grant one if the inventor came up with one that could do fine-gauge silk hose, since that would only block imports from Spain), and modern ones are programmable.