Five short links

Fivesign
Photo by Joseph Robertson

OmniMark – Old-school but impressive tool for turning arbitrary semi-structured data into XML. I’ll be trying to learn from this as I look to improve my ETL process – via Kevin Marshall

The rise and fall of Swivel – So many lessons for any data startup in here. Swivel took several million dollars in funding before they had a plan of where they were going, and built a generic platform instead of a focused application targeted at users who would them some benefit. That they had less than ten paying customers, despite tens of thousands of registered users is a good reminder of the work you have to put in to create revenue, you don’t just get a fixed percentage of active users upgrading – via Joe Parry

The Obese Surfer Problem – Russell explores a compelling visualization that serious surfers are willing to pay money for. I like the idea of ‘predictive models’ as a more general category for what I often talk about as recommendations. Showing you what could happen is a lot more valuable than just a rear-view mirror showing the history – via Russell Jurney

HexFiend – “A fast and clever open source hex editor for Mac OS X.” Does exactly what it says on the tin, I’ve been searching for a good hex editor since Codewright died, and so far it’s been great

Benoit Mandelbrot is gone, but he shouldn’t be forgotten – A strong reminded to everyone; don’t assume a Gaussian for your probabilities if your events don’t follow that distribution. We have so much faith in numbers as summaries of reality, but like spherical cows, unrealistic assumptions can lurk behind the most solidly calculated figure – via Behavior Gap

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