The future of the web, isn't the web

by @edent | # # # # | 9 comments | Read ~4,947 times.
A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

My friends, and former employers, at the Government Digital Service have written a spectacularly good blog post "Making GOV.UK more than a website". In it, they describe how adding Schema.org markup to their website has allowed search engines to extract semantic content and display it to a user. For example, the "Learn to drive" page…

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Can you trust CloudFlare with your personal data?

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~152 times.
Email with CloudFlare's new privacy policy.

I'm increasingly concerned with the power that CDNs wield - and CloudFlare in particular. So I decided to delete my CloudFlare account. While they claim to have removed my account, they still seem to count me as an active customer. I wonder how many people bought shares in their IPO based on inaccurate customer numbers?…

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The Great(er) Bear - using Wikidata to generate better artwork

by @edent | # # # # # # | 12 comments | Read ~6,528 times.
A close up of the map.

One of my favourite works of art is The Great Bear by Simon Patterson. At first glance, it appears to be a normal London Tube map. But look closer... Cool! But there is something about it which has always bothered me. Each Tube line represents a theme - therefore, a station at the intersection of…

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Two years of home heating data

by @edent | # # # # | Read ~271 times.
A complicated graph.

I have a Tado smart thermostat - part of my smarthome project. As well as letting me set the temperature from my phone, it records environmental data, and provides a handy API for me to retrieve it. This blog post will show you why I've gathered the data, let you download the full dataset, and…

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Personalisation is Asymmetric Psychological Warfare

by @edent | # # # | 6 comments | Read ~10,682 times.

Another privacy nightmare. An airline wants its cabin crew to know your birthday and favourite drinks order, to better personalise its service to you. My first instinct is to recoil in horror. It sounds like every dystopian sci-fi epic. But why do I feel this way? Partly it is the lack of genuine personality behind…

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KYLI - because it is superior to JSON

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~1,108 times.

This is a (silly) attempt to fix some of the shortcomings of JSON. Hence it is named after the goddess of music. It uses C0 Control Characters Here is an example: ␜ ␁ This is a KYLI document ␂ ␝ GroupName ␞ data ␟ value ␛ Comments are supported too! They can be multilined easily.…

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Which Twitter User Receives The Most Citations on Wikipedia?

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~286 times.

I few days ago, I was somewhat surprised to find that one of my Tweets had been used as a citation in Wikipedia! I began to wonder - how often are Tweets used in citations? It's possible to search for your own Tweets using this (somewhat obscure) link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALinkSearch&target=twitter.com%2Fedent Just edit the end of it…

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A Complete List of Every UK Government Domain Name

by @edent | # # # | 5 comments | Read ~804 times.

Would you like to know every domain name the UK Government had registered? Of course you would! There could be all sorts of interesting tit-bits hidden in there (ProtectAndSurvive.gov.uk? EbolaOutbreak2017.nhs.uk? MinistryOfTruth.police.uk?) Rather than relying on Freedom of Information requests, or Open Data, we can go straight to the source of domain names - the DNS!…

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Big Data As A Lethal Weapon

by @edent | # # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~234 times.

Yesterday I attended an OII talk on the Ethical Treatment of Data in New Digital Landscapes. Amy O'Donnell from Oxfam lead a discussion about how the charity is seeking to improve the way that Aid Agencies deal with the data they collect. Oxfam collects data for many different reasons - sometimes it is incidental (for…

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Shakespeare's Honor

by @edent | # # # | Read ~110 times.

As part of the Shakespeare Hackday I attended a few weeks ago, we discussed some interesting analysis which can be done on the text. Certain forms of analysis are hampered due to the archaic and inconsistent spelling. I wondered if that could be mined for anything interesting. For example, in modern UK English we use…

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