Five short links

Picture by Jeff Trexler

Brenda Zulu discusses the state of the Zambian blogosphere – A reminder of the basic challenges facing technology in the developing world, with critical bloggers being chased out of the country. It's promising to hear how popular Twitter and Facebook are for microblogging though.

Rickshaw – A D3-based Javascript framework for drawing sophisticated interactive time-series graphs.

All interesting problems are scalability problems – I don't agree with the headline, but there's some spot-on observations in this post. Almost all the costs of successful software are in maintenance, but there's a heavy survivor's bias in those figures, since many codebases never even get used. There are a lot of parallels (if you'll excuse the pun) between the constraints of tiny embedded systems, and those of massively distributed software. That's what I love about engineering, the border between what's needed and what's possible is a rich fractal, with enough repeating patterns to re-apply lessons you've learned, but with plenty of variety so you've no excuse to be bored.

ArcSpread for analyzing web archives – Stanford runs a fantastic project for capturing important web pages as they change over time, and then presenting the results in a form that future historians will be able to use. This paper talks about some of the techniques they use for removing boilerplate navigation and ad content, so that researchers can work with the meat of the page.

MemoirTree – A simple but effective application for capturing oral history from the people around you. One of the joys I discovered during my forays into journalism was how everybody has an interesting story to tell you if you just sit down and ask them about their life, so I'm hoping this catches on.

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