Unstable references, bad
|—||NYT headline. Try to visualize.|
One person per taxi might offer some nice privacy but it’s ridiculously inefficient. This startup wants to change that—and get you cheaper cabs.
Tell your friends.
In these maps of global social network use, you can see Facebook taking over the world. Here’s 2013’s map.
These geographic divisions and areas of contestation look familiar.
Or language, I guess it could be language.
Beautiful art by Samuel J Bland, digital collages composed from google image searches. Lacking intuition, the algorithm finds surreal patterns in mundane images. Mechanism in the articulation of a stuffed woodcock, the echo of a tiger from a fuzzy orange object in a plastic bag, these images percolate up through the digital froth of images and haunt these other, everyday objects, visual ghosts.
As I wrote before, when we imagine alternative/artificial intelligences, we tend to fixate on symbolic consciousness (i.e., the Turing Test) at the expense of what Lacan calls the imaginary, that layer of consciousness closer to animal ethology and the machinic. Consciousness emerges not just out of language, but out of a constant processing of images and environmental stimuli. Give the AI sense, then engage in a constant and distributed a Turin reality-testing (Turin avec Freud), and see what emerges.
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—An Amazon vendor
When we were younger we lived in constant fear of one day having to grow up and get “real jobs” but it turns out that is a lie! If you want to make sad comics about feelings for other people and put them on the internet as your career, then follow that stupid dream!
Making happy comics though, that probably wouldn’t work out.
Unfortunately not what it sounds like.
I don’t understand. It’s exactly what it sounds like.
urbanination: The Bay Area-like number of tech companies in New York City.
“Although Bush set up the legal argument for autopen bill signing, he never used the device to enact legislation. Obama was the first to do so, signing an extension of the PATRIOT Act via autopen while in Europe. (Kind of fitting that a robot re-signed into law an act that represents the tenuous nature of technology, privacy, and the role of government.) Some lawmakers objected to the move, but no serious legal challenge to auto-signing bills has ever surfaced.”
A lot of people have heard about ‘The Semantic Web’, but very few of us have genuinely benefitted from such a thing. The basic idea is to write the html pages that make up the Web in a way that can be understood by machines. […]
What we need is some of that machine-readable magic. We need our computer to know what an ‘order’ will look like before we request it. […]
This is important because it’s what makes our API go beyond ‘machine-readable’ into being ‘machine-comprehensible’. Once your client actually understands the content it is receiving, amazing things become possible. […]
Anyone want to help?
I would like to help. Also, my name is Daniel as well!
I’ve felt similar excitement about these ideas and possibilities. Here are a couple of things that have tempered it though:
- Nobody Understands REST or HTTP, Some People Understand REST and HTTP. Some great posts from Steve Klabnik about all this. Notice the thorough discussion of things like custom MIME types and header-based metadata.
- A review of design decisions for foursquare’s v2 API from their engineering blog. The criteria applied to evaluate each aspect of the API is how it was received by developers. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, that is the community foursquare is providing this tool for. Towards the bottom you’ll see a description of an envelope convention for wrapping each response and including metadata in a
metaelement of the root object. Most methods for authenticated requests return three elements:
metaelement (as the post explains) is to make it easier for developers to handle errors. The
notificationselement makes it easy for apps to keep track of that information without polling for it separately. The resource representation is in the
- It doesn’t seem like this API would do too well on Klabnik’s REST/HTTP scorecard. I do not think this fact would bother the people who designed it. The API was designed with the goal of encouraging developers to build apps. That doesn’t (currently) align with the post-REST/hypermedia principles you’re excited about.
- There are lots of reasons for this. Here’s one I think is interesting: A lot of HTTP client libraries treat header information as sort of an afterthought. The response body is ofter what gets returned or focused on. More information requires digging. foursquare’s API Explorer, for example, displays the JSON returned for a request but not the headers. Why would they if they believe that the developers they are targeting are using tools that make leveraging data in the headers even just marginally more difficult than just looking at the response body?
- Now, for the purposes of a universal client we might say “okay, we can create some sort of standard for data that providers can point to that tells clients where the actual resource representation is, as well as any bits of metadata they’ve included”. This starts to sound a lot like SOAP/WSDL, which is what a lot of REST advocates were pushing back against as overly complex. I think dedicated HTTP adherents would insist that we already have a really good system for organizing this information that’s build into the infrastructure of the web, so building another layer on top of it is silly.
- And so, the short version: Incentives and (relatedly) existing structural-ish factors don’t align with the vision you’re describing, or at least don’t do so consistently enough.
So, I think one question is: How can hypermedia conventions be made more accessible and efficient such that API providers adopt them? (Accessible and efficient might not be the right terms. What I really mean is “more likely to result in sweet apps”.)