links for 2009-10-26

  • So I sent all the founders an email asking what surprised them about starting a startup. This amounts to asking what I got wrong, because if I'd explained things well enough, nothing should have surprised them.
  • Matt’s mentioned in the past few summaries of weeks that I’ve been working on ‘material exploration’ for a project called Ashdown. I wanted to expand a little on what material exploration looks like for code and what it feels like to me, because it feels like a strange and foreign territory at times. This is my second material exploration of data for BERG, the first being at the beginning of the Shownar project.
  • If you're wondering how "close" two places are, a geographic map doesn't help much anymore. If the airports are good–or if there's a bullet train nearby–hundreds of miles might as well be down the street. Point being, "distance" is now really a function less of geography, than of the transport networks we've invented.

    Which is why researchers at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, and the World Bank, created this gorgeous map. They first created a model, which calculated how long it would take to travel from a given point, to the nearest city of 50,000 people or more; the model includes rail, road, and river networks.

  • That buzz you've been hearing is the sound of millions of Twitter updates — tweets — careening around cyberspace. Even cooler than the Twitter social-networking service itself is that fact that Twitter data is exposed in an open API that your applications can tap into. With iText creator Bruno Lowagie as your guide, find out how to leverage three open source Java libraries to archive tweets dynamically in a PDF document. You'll write standalone Java code, then integrate it into a servlet so that you can offer the application as a service to other Twitter users.
  • We gaan nog wat champagne kopen bij een kleine wijnboer, maar het probleem is: welke?

    We rijden naar de oostkant van de champagne, voorbij Reims, naar Nogent-l' Abesse. Daar zijn verschillende wijnboeren en we besluiten om zomaar ergens binnen te stappen.

    We worden vriendelijk ontvangen en vragen of het mogelijk is om champagne te kopen. Het is geen probleem om te proeven en als we willen aan te kopen. De wijnboer legt uit dat de meeste van de kleine champagneboeren gewone boerderij met een gedeelte wijnmakerij hebben. De champagne is heerlijk en een goede prijs. We kopen hier enkele flessen en besluiten om later nog wel eens terug te komen. Ik noteer de coordinaten:

    N 49°15'07.8"

    O 04°09'25.9"

    Het is niet verwonderlijk dat de champagne van de kleine boer soms zelfs beter is dan de grote merken, aangezien vb. Mercier meer dan de helft van zijn productie bij de kleinere haalt.

  • "The above graphic shows missions to mars starting in 1950 to present (top to bottom). Paths are colored by country, and as you can see it's been a lot of missions from Europe and the United States lately. Obviously the farthest we've gone is with the rover with more to come."

    Apparently the Soviet Union is part of Europe. Crazy Americans… Oh well.

  • It’s no great mystery that truly great user interfaces are the ones that are engineered to stay out of the way.

    ‘Staying out of the way’ means not distracting your users. Rather, good UIs let your users complete goals. The result? A reduction in training and support costs, and happier, satisfied and highly engaged users.


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