Four short links: 21 September 2009

  1. Dan Brown's 20 Worst Sentences -- awful awful writing, and glorious glorious mockery of it.

    Deception Point, chapter 8: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.

    It’s not clear what Brown thinks ‘precarious’ means here.

  2. From Australia to the World: The Story of Google Maps and Google Wave (PDF, HTML Cached here) -- history of Google Maps and Wave, from the creator. This particularly struck me: I know few matters more frustrating than finding funding for a start-up. Immigration tops the list.
  3. Rethinking The Long Tail: How to Define 'Hits' and 'Niches' -- the argument comes down to absolute vs relative measurements of popularity. Anderson says that relative hides too much, because percentages are meaningless in a world of infinite inventory. Researchers respond that hits and niches are defined in absolute numbers (top 10, bottom 100). The real takeaway is that infinite inventory requires excellent discovery tools drawing upon collective intelligence systems (hence the Netflix recommendation contest). (via timoreilly on Twitter)
  4. The Mckoi Database -- MckoiDDB is a database system used by software developers to create applications that store data over a cluster of machines in a network. It is designed to be used in online environments where there are very large sets of both small and big data items that need to be stored, accessed and indexed efficiently in a network cluster. The focus of the MckoiDDB architecture is to support low latency query performance, provide strong data consistency through snapshot transaction isolation, and provide tools to manage logical data models that may change dramatically in physical network environments that may experience similar dramatic change. (via joshua on delicious)

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