Introducing the ‘DwellRank’ search algorithm

Quartz’s Christopher Mims has written a piece about Blippex, a search engine which weights results based on how long people spend on a site and how many times its users have visited (as distinct from Google’s PageRank, which weights more on how many other pages on the web link to it). Blippex’s algorithm, called DwellRank, decides …

Back doors, mobile phones, persuasion: the NSA does it all

The headlines about the NSA just keep on coming… N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption | NY Times The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed …

“If you don’t want your drone to go down, don’t fly it in town”

QOTD comes from Reuters’ US edition: The farming and ranching town of Deer Trail, Colorado, which boasts that it held the world’s first rodeo in 1869, is now considering starting a 21st century tradition – paying bounties to anyone who shoots down an unmanned drone. Next month, trustees of the town … will debate an …

Google launches internet-from-the-sky balloons over NZ

  Nice. Google launched Project Loon in Canterbury, New Zealand.  Loon is “a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people [to the internet] in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.” Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and …

Survival-kit lessons from Christchurch

I spent a bit of time in Christchurch in 2012, and every time I went I asked people what they had in their ‘get through‘ kit now that they’d lived through a series of earthquakes – including that devastating one in February 2011. Here are some of their tips and others I’ve come across. 1. …

‘I hate phone numbers’

This Verge post about the shelf life of phone numbers resonates with me. A recommended read. I hate phone numbers. They’re a relic of an outmoded system that both wireless and wireline carriers use to keep people trapped on their services — a false technological prison built of nothing but laziness and hostility to consumers. In …

A comeback for pneumatic tubes

I kinda love this idea. The Economist reported recently on the concept of using pneumatic pipes to deliver goods. “In the late 19th and early 20th century, underground tubes were used in many cities to speed up the transport of mail between post offices and government buildings. “Letters were put into capsules, the capsules into …