Anyone familiar with the work of Claude Shannon, his contemporaries and successors will have a good sense of the difference between data and information, but in today’s hectic world of real-time system telemetry, Web statistics and service metrics there is a palpable blurring of the two. I marvel at how some people believe that increasing the volume of measurements or the frequency of sampling is going to provide them with the information they crave. In reality, they are getting more and more data, but not a whole lot of information. We say “here are the figures you requested” and they ask “but what do they tell us?” And there is the essence of the problem: we get more data but [click title to read more…]
Google recently released a version of Chrome for the Android 4 OS. While it is always good to see the latest Web technology being extended to the (relatively confined) domain of mobile devices, one of the most welcome features of this latest mobile browser is its comprehensive developer support. With the help of a USB cable and a suitably configured PC, you can now effortlessly develop eye-watering mobile Web experiences. Included are all the usual favourites, such as DOM navigation, real-time DOM editing, real-time CSS editing, CSS enable/disable, call tracing, script debugging and so on.
The new Chrome is still in beta, and only available for the latest incarnation of Android, so the impact will not be felt as widely [click title to read more…]
For no reason whatsoever, I was looking at QR code generation and had delved into some interesting paths, such as a recent contribution to CPAN that generates QR codes in spaces and asterisks. Not much use, perhaps, until you use those characters to feed some graphics processor and then you really can work some magic. The error-correction built into the codes permits quite a lot of intentional errors without destroying data, and one can arrange the intentional errors to form interesting pictures within the codes. ISO 18004 has all the details (if you have the money to buy the spec).
If you are interested in lower level implementation details, check out the libqrencode library (in C). This recently added Micro [click title to read more…]
What did the Web community learn yesterday? Apart from discovering that the Web community has a voice that one cannot easily ignore, there were a few other nuggets in yesterday’s online protest. Some examples:
Wikipedia is not exclusively in English. (Yes, that fact was known already, but not really appreciated.)
Online translation reveals a whole new world worth exploring.
The DNS is too important to be controlled by so few. (Maybe the UN should run it?)
Most people have no idea what the Internet is.
Most people can’t distinguish between the Internet and the Web.
IPR is a mess.
Online data is becoming as important as food, water and oxygen. (OK, [click title to read more…]
Wikipedia has been true to its word and is today (in the English-speaking world) dark, and it’s not alone.
The Wikipedia home page will remain dark for 24 hours in protest against SOPA and PIPA. It would be interesting to see the effect on network communication patterns created by this action, now that one of the most popular sites on the Web is no longer serving data. Meanwhile, Google added a black-out to its logo for US visitors, while WordPress had similar black-outs on its home page. Other popular Web sites are protesting in similar fashion, while the news media have flooded the Internet with SOPA-related commentary.
It’s still early here in Europe. Just wait [click title to read more…]