LinkLog: The Architecture of Serendipity

One of the best chapters I have read in Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson,  is  “Serendipity”. Here are a few snippets:

The English language is blessed with a wonderful word that captures the power of accidental connection: “serendipity”

Serendipitous discoveries often involve exchanges across traditional disciplines.

The history of innovation is replete with stories of good ideas that occurred to people while they were out for a stroll.

The shower or stroll removes you from the task-based focus of modern life – paying bills, answering email, helping kids with homework – and deposits you in a more associative state. Given enough time, your mind will often stumble across some old connection that it had long overlooked, and you experience that delightful feeling of private serendipity: Why didn’t I think of that before?

While the creative walk can produce new serendipitous combinations of existing ideas in our heads, we can cultivate serendipity in they way that we absorb new ideas from the outside world. Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives.

The problem with assimilating new ideas at the fringes of your daily routine is that the potential combinations are limited by the reach of your memory.

He talks about the web

No medium in history has ever offered such unlikely trails of connections and chance in such an intuitive and accessible form.

If the architecture of serendipity lies in stumbling across surprising connections while scanning the front page (of a news paper), then the web is more than 10 times as serendipitous as the classing print newspaper.

There can be little doubt that the web is an unrivaled medium for serendipity if you are actively seeking it out.

I do not want to clutter these gems with my thoughts. But after finishing this chapter, I went on a random walk into Wikipedia with some surprising discoveries.

This book is worth buying and reading just for this chapter alone. It is not only thought provoking but extremely inspiring as well.

Information and Ideas

Is this really true?

In the past, we collected information not simply to know things. That was only the beginning. We also collected information to convert it into something larger than facts and ultimately more useful — into ideas that made sense of the information. We sought not just to apprehend the world but to truly comprehend it, which is the primary function of ideas. Great ideas explain the world and one another to us.

If it is, is it because:

  1. We have too much of information?
  2. It is easy to get to information without discovering it and thinking about it?
  3. The path to information forced us to think and made us discover other things ( the story of Chemistry for example)
  4. We are struggling to cope with all kinds of information and don’t really have time to think?
  5. Our thinking is influenced so much by information that our ideas though extremely useful, are incremental ?

No matter what the reason is, I think this observation is very true:

In effect, we are living in a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value …

A note of warning, though. There are quite a few antiquated ideas in this article and I don’t think I agree with everything in it.

Python Infostream Aug 22

  • redmodel 0.3.0 Python Library for Data Models Persisted in Redis
  • ws4py 0.1.1 WebSocket library for Python
  • digraphtools 0.2.0 Some tools for working with digraphs, partial orders and topological sorting with Python
  • reddit 1.0 A Python wrapper for the Reddit API
  • Teach the hashbang header new tricks using a dual mode shell/python script (Python)Teach the hashbang header new tricks using a dual mode shell/python script (Python) Python recipe 577851 by Oren Tirosh (hashbang, interpreter, options, python, sh, shell). This dual-mode script is both a Posix shell script and a python script. The shell part looks like a triple-quoted string to the Python interpreter. …
  • subvertpy 0.8.5 Alternative Python bindings for Subversion
  • pyramid_debugtoolbar 0.6 A package which provides an interactive HTML debugger for Pyramid application development
  • pyramid_exclog 0.3 A package which logs to a Python logger when an exception is raised by a Pyramid application
  • django-socketio 0.1.4 A Django app providing the features required to use websockets with Django via Socket.IO
  • py 1.4.5 library with cross-python path, ini-parsing, io, code, log facilities
  • django-modeler 0.1 Generate django ORM code from object instances (great for testing)
  • django-beefycachecontrol 0.2.1 Beefier Cache-Control HTTP headers created by @never_cache decorator in Django.
  • django-admin-changelist-stats 0.1 Show stats and aggregation summaries in the Django admin changelist page.
  • requests 0.6.1 Python HTTP for Humans.
  • django-massmedia 0.8.5 Allows for site staff can upload and edit the media files through the site, and the filesystem is maintained in the background.
  • django-tables2 0.7.5Table framework for Django
  • Djblets 0.6.10A collection of useful classes and functions for Django
  • distribute 0.6.21Easily download, build, install, upgrade, and uninstall Python packages
  • cmsplugin-flickr 0.1.2.1flickr plugin for django-cms
  • Search sequences for sub-sequence (Python)Search sequences for sub-sequence (Python) Python recipe 577850 by Steven D’Aprano (find, searching, sequence, string, sublist, substring). The list and tuple index() method and in operator test for element containment, unlike similar tests for strings, which checks for sub-strings
  • flufl.enum 3.2A Python enumeration package.
  • dse 3.1.0Simplified “bulk” insert/update/delete for Django.
  • python-picplz 0.2Picplz library for Python
  • MinimalModbus 0.2Simple Modbus RTU implementation for Python
  • django-celery 2.3.2Django Celery Integration.
  • couchable 0.3.0b8Allows arbitrary python objects to be stored in CouchDB, while keeping the resulting CouchDB document as “natural” as possible.
  • django-socketio 0.1.2django-socketio 0.1.2 A Django app providing the features required to use websockets with Django via Socket.IO
  • Book Review: The Python Standard Library By ExampleBook Review: The Python Standard Library By Example thatpythonguy writes “Addison-Wesley publishers has released The Python Standard Library By Example, another Python book that strategically fits in between programming cookbooks and library reference manuals. It brings the Python standard library that much closer to Python programmers and helps make them …
  1. redmodel 0.3.0redmodel 0.3.0 Python Library for Data Models Persisted in Redis
  2. ws4py 0.1.1ws4py 0.1.1 WebSocket library for Python
  3. digraphtools 0.2.0digraphtools 0.2.0 Some tools for working with digraphs, partial orders and topological sorting with Python
  4. reddit 1.0reddit 1.0 A Python wrapper for the Reddit API
  5. Teach the hashbang header new tricks using a dual mode shell/python script (Python)Teach the hashbang header new tricks using a dual mode shell/python script (Python) Python recipe 577851 by Oren Tirosh (hashbang, interpreter, options, python, sh, shell). This dual-mode script is both a Posix shell script and a python script. The shell part looks like a triple-quoted string to the Python interpreter. …
  6. subvertpy 0.8.5subvertpy 0.8.5 Alternative Python bindings for Subversion
  7. pyramid_debugtoolbar 0.6pyramid_debugtoolbar 0.6 A package which provides an interactive HTML debugger for Pyramid application development
  8. pyramid_exclog 0.3pyramid_exclog 0.3 A package which logs to a Python logger when an exception is raised by a Pyramid application
  9. django-socketio 0.1.4django-socketio 0.1.4 A Django app providing the features required to use websockets with Django via Socket.IO
  10. print_strings 1.0.0print_strings 1.0.0 my first python distribution
  11. py 1.4.5py 1.4.5 library with cross-python path, ini-parsing, io, code, log facilities
  12. zope.interface 3.6.7zope.interface 3.6.7 Interfaces for Python
  13. django-modeler 0.1django-modeler 0.1 Generate django ORM code from object instances (great for testing)
  14. django-unfriendly 0.2.1django-unfriendly 0.2.1 The unfriendliest urls in town! Django app that obfuscates urls and allows your application to natively execute the original view.
  15. django-beefycachecontrol 0.2.1django-beefycachecontrol 0.2.1 Beefier Cache-Control HTTP headers created by @never_cache decorator in Django.
  16. django-admin-changelist-stats 0.1django-admin-changelist-stats 0.1 Show stats and aggregation summaries in the Django admin changelist page.
  17. requests 0.6.1requests 0.6.1 Python HTTP for Humans.
  18. django-massmedia 0.8.5django-massmedia 0.8.5 Allows for site staff can upload and edit the media files through the site, and the filesystem is maintained in the background.

Python Infostream Aug 19, 2011

Python

  1. django-inplaceedit 0.69

    django-inplaceedit 0.69 Django application that allows you to inline edition of some data from the database

  2. django-staticfiles 1.1

    django-staticfiles 1.1 A Django app that provides helpers for serving static files.

  3. django-salmonella 0.4.2

    django-salmonella 0.4.2 raw_id_fields widget replacement that handles display of an object’s string value on change and can be overridden via a template.

  4. netCDF4 0.9.7

    netCDF4 0.9.7 python/numpy interface to netCDF library (versions 3 and 4)

  5. psphere 0.5.0

    psphere 0.5.0 vSphere SDK for Python

  6. django-unfriendly 0.2

    django-unfriendly 0.2 The unfriendliest urls in town! Django app that obfuscates urls and allows your application to natively execute the original view.

  7. django-beefycachecontrol 0.2

    django-beefycachecontrol 0.2 Beefier Cache-Control HTTP headers created by @never_cache decorator in Django.

  8. adrest 0.4.4

    adrest 0.4.4 Adrest – another django REST. Simple application for quick build RESTfull API.

  9. django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.4

    django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.4 Record rule based dynamic manipulations.

  10. django-pyvows 0.1.0

    django-pyvows 0.1.0 django-pyvows are pyvows extensions to django web framework.

  11. BlazeUtils 0.3.5

    BlazeUtils 0.3.5 A collection of python utility functions and classes.

  12. django-dynamic-validation 0.2.2

    django-dynamic-validation 0.2.2 Define user generated validation requirements for django models.

  13. django-simple-sso 0.3.1

    django-simple-sso 0.3.1 Simple SSO for Django

  14. django-processinfo 0.1.0.0818

    django-processinfo 0.1.0.0818 django-processinfo is a Django application to collect information about the running server processes.

  15. pyramid_debugtoolbar 0.5

    pyramid_debugtoolbar 0.5 A package which provides an interactive HTML debugger for Pyramid application development

  16. BIP 0.5.8

    BIP 0.5.8 Bayesian Inference Tools for Python

  17. Linux Systems Administrator – Amazon Cloud/Beanstalk

    Linux Systems Administrator – Amazon Cloud/Beanstalk Linux Systems Administrator – Amazon Cloud/Beanstalk My city based media/publishing client is looking for a Linux Systems Administrator with strong experience with Amazon Cloud/Beanstalk and strong scripting experience with Bash, Shell, Python, Perl. The Linux Engineer must have strong experience with the full LAMP …

  18. obdemo 1.0-beta1

    obdemo 1.0-beta1 Demo website configuration for OpenBlock (hyperlocal news for Django)

  19. ebdata 1.0-beta1

    ebdata 1.0-beta1 Data scraper infrastructure for OpenBlock (hyperlocal news for Django)

  20. obadmin 1.0-beta1

    obadmin 1.0-beta1 Setup and administrative tools for OpenBlock (hyperlocal news for Django)

  21. ebpub 1.0-beta1

    ebpub 1.0-beta1 Core models and views for OpenBlock (hyperlocal news for Django)

  22. pants 0.10.1

    pants 0.10.1 A lightweight framework for writing asynchronous network applications in Python.

  23. mailinglogger 3.4.0

    mailinglogger 3.4.0 Enhanced emailing handlers for the python logging package.

  24. django-qrcode 0.1.0

    Django application that provides simple templatetags to generate QR-codes

  25. ete2a1 ete2a1rev401

    A python Environment for Tree Exploration

  26. Webcast: An Introduction to Erlang (for Python programmers) – Sep 22 2011

    Webcast: An Introduction to Erlang (for Python programmers) – Sep 22 2011 Duration: Approximately 60 minutes. Cost: Free Conventional wisdom states that you should learn a new programming language every year. The big question is – of course – which one? There’s just so many of them, isn’t there? Of …

  27. PyDispatch 1.0.1

    PyDispatch 1.0.1 Simple Python message dispatcher

  28. pyramid_formish 0.1

    pyramid_formish 0.1 Formish bindings and helpers for Pyramid web framework

  29. thrift 0.7.0

    thrift 0.7.0 Python bindings for the Apache Thrift RPC system

  30. pydss 0.1a

    pydss 0.1a Python Distribution System Simuator

  31. django-dynamic-rules 0.2.0

    django-dynamic-rules 0.2.0 Allows you to create dynamic rules related to a particular model

  32. django-dynamic-validation 0.2.1

    django-dynamic-validation 0.2.1 Define user generated validation requirements for django models.

  33. django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.3

    django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.3 Record rule based dynamic manipulations.

  34. PySCeS 0.7.9

    PySCeS 0.7.9 The Python Simulator for Cellular Systems – simulation and analysis tools for modelling biological systems

  35. pyperry 0.1.19

    pyperry 0.1.19 Python library for querying and mapping data through generic interfaces (this is a port of the Ruby “perry” library)

  36. linaro-django-xmlrpc 0.4.2

    linaro-django-xmlrpc 0.4.2 Flexible XML-RPC application for Django

  37. ooredis 1.3

    ooredis 1.3 An redis python lib, see github.com/huangz1990/ooredis for more information.

  38. itty 0.8.0

    itty 0.8.0 The itty-bitty Python web framework.

  39. ConFoo 2012 in Montreal: Python charmers wanted

    ConFoo 2012 in Montreal: Python charmers wanted ConFoo is a conference on several aspects of the Web held from Feb 29th to March 2nd in Montréal, the host city of PyCon 2014-2015.Do you have Python solutions for real world problems? Are you the author of a framework? Do you want …

Cloud Computing Infostream – Aug 19, 2011

Cloud Computing

  1. Virtualizing Tier 1 Applications: A Critical Step on the Journey Toward the Private CloudVirtualizing Tier 1 Applications: A Critical Step on the Journey Toward the Private Cloud This IDC white paper explains how much of the Enterprise IT community is at a crossroads in extending their journey to the private cloud: Companies must virtualize their business critical applications in order to reap the …
  2. Face the facts: Cloud performance isn’t always stableFace the facts: Cloud performance isn’t always stable paging_filterAre cloud services slow? Or fast? Both, it turns out — and that reality could cause unexpected problems if you rely on public clouds for part of your IT services and infrastructure. Clouds are multitenant no matter if they are PaaS, IaaS, …
  3. Today’s Links (8/17/2011)Today’s Links (8/17/2011) Amazon Builds a Wall Around Its Cloud for the U.S. Government | ReadWriteCloud "According to a cloud computing strategy report last February by U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, government information systems today may be using less than 30% of their available server capacity.
  4. Webcast Series – Discover the Cloud Advantage for Database starts August 18, 2011Webcast Series – Discover the Cloud Advantage for Database starts August 18, 2011 Join us as we kick off at six-part webcast series where you can ask questions and get best practices and advice from Oracle experts to achieve the maximum performance and value from your database

Mobile Devices InfoStream

Links from Infostreams Alert for mobile devices

  1. App Inventor Continues Life at MIT
  2. Iconia Tab A100 Review
  3. Analysis of Google’s Motorola Acquisition
  4. Apple planning $1bn Sharp display investment tips analyst
  5. Motorola 19s GSII-rivaling DROID HD leaks
  6. $80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya
  7. Occasional Gamer Dev app stats out two unknown Windows Phone devices
  8. Cregle Penbook tablet hits the FCC
  9. Doctor Who materialises on Android for the first time
  10. Free iPhone apps on offer from Starbucks in the US
  11. Google Catalogs iPad app offers tablet fix for US shopaholics
  12. iOS and Android freemium games revenues dissected (again) by Flurry
  13. News on LG Thrill 4G
  14. FourFourTwo teams with Opta for stat-focused football app
  15. News on iPhone 5
  16. LinkedIn revamps its iPhone and Android apps and launches HTML5 site
  17. News on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  18. Droidcon 2011 Android conference’s latest sponsor is… BlackBerry?
  19. News on HTC Bliss
  20. News on Xiaomi Phone
  21. News on Apple Android Patent War
  22. News on iPhone 5
  23. News on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  24. News on iPhone Privacy Lawsuit
  25. News on Motorola Droid HD
  26. Today in Tech: Is HP’s TouchPad a flop?
  27. Face it, Google. You’re a portal.
  28. News on Android Apps
  29. News on HTC Amaze 4G
  30. German court in part lifts Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction

Python/Django Links from InfoStreams

From Infostreams alerts for  Python

  1. django-facebook 3.0.5

    django-facebook 3.0.5

  2. neo4jrestclient 1.4.4

    neo4jrestclient 1.4.4 Object-oriented Python library to interact with Neo4j standalone REST server

  3. django-urlauth 0.1.8

    django-urlauth 0.1.8 Django application for user authentication with key in hypertext link

  4. django-actualities 0.1.0

    django-actualities 0.1.0 A django blog app

  5. uwsgi-manager 0.1.0

    uwsgi-manager 0.1.0 Python tool for controling the uWSGI instances.

  6. Abjad 2.0

    Abjad 2.0 Abjad is a Python API for Formalized Score Control.

  7. django-preferences 0.0.5

    django-preferences 0.0.5 Django app allowing users to set app specific preferences through the admin interface.

  8. dedun 0.2.3

    dedun 0.2.3 Dedun is a Python client for the RESTful API of API.Leipzig. This API gives access to the public data of the city of Leipzig.

  9. pyramid_zcml 0.4

    pyramid_zcml 0.4 Zope Config Markup Language support for Pyramid

  10. MongoLite 1.0

    MongoLite 1.0 Python MongoDB light toolkit

  11. xattr 0.6.2

    xattr 0.6.2 Python wrapper for extended filesystem attributes

  12. django-mediagenerator 1.10.4

    django-mediagenerator 1.10.4 Asset manager for Django

  13. django-dynamic-rules 0.1.5

    django-dynamic-rules 0.1.5 Allows you to create dynamic rules related to a particular model

  14. django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.1

    django-dynamic-manipulation 0.0.1 Record rule based dynamic manipulations.

  15. pyramid 1.1.2

    pyramid 1.1.2

  16. Sound in the STL (Python)

    Sound in the STL (Python) Python recipe 577843 by Russell Foster (audio, game, sound, stl). I get to use a number of languages and have found Python lacks good sound implementation in it’s STL. Sure you can download a module, but many organisations make it difficult to install add ons, …

  17. Fuzzy Logic Fractal (Python)

    Fuzzy Logic Fractal (Python) Python recipe 577841 by FB36 (chaos, fractal, math, mathematics). This fractal created by converting logic statements into equations using fuzzy logic operators: X: X is as true as Y is true Y: Y is as true as X is false See: Scientific American Magazine, February 1993, …

  18. pygpgme 0.2

    pygpgme 0.2 A Python module for working with OpenPGP messages

  19. django-unfriendly 0.1.2

    django-unfriendly 0.1.2 The unfriendliest urls in town! Django app that obfuscates urls and allows your application to natively execute the original view.

  20. django-sendsms 0.1.1

    django-sendsms 0.1.1 A simple API to send SMS messages.

  21. django-class-based-auth-views 0.1a1

    django-class-based-auth-views 0.1a1 A reimplementation of django.contrib.auth.views as class based views.

  22. django-dynamic-choices 0.1.8

    django-dynamic-choices 0.1.8 Django admin fk and m2m dynamic choices by providing callback support

  23. Pytomo 1.1.1

    Pytomo 1.1.1 Python tomography tool

  24. django-sync-server 0.4.1.0817

    django-sync-server 0.4.1.0817 django-sync-server is a Django reusable application witch implements a Firefox weave server.

  25. requests 0.6.0

    requests 0.6.0 Python HTTP for Humans.

  26. askbot 0.7.19

    askbot 0.7.19 Question and Answer forum, like StackOverflow, written in python and Django

  27. django-debug-toolbar-mongo 0.1

    django-debug-toolbar-mongo 0.1 MongoDB panel for the Django Debug Toolbar

  28. django-fossil 0.8-stable

    django-fossil 0.8-stable Fossil is a library to store fossilized tracks of objects from Django’s ORM

  29. SimpleParse 2.1.1

    SimpleParse 2.1.1 A Parser Generator for Python (w/mxTextTools derivative)

  30. django-bigbrother 0.2.5

    django-bigbrother 0.2.5 Modular Dashboard for Django Projects

  31. django-sentry 1.8.9

    django-sentry 1.8.9 Exception Logging to a Database in Django

  32. django-boundaryservice 0.1.11

    django-boundaryservice 0.1.11 A reusable system for aggregating and providing API access to regional boundary data.

  33. python-googlegeocoder 0.1.1

    python-googlegeocoder 0.1.1 A simple Python wrapper for version three of Google’s geocoder API

  34. Seeking Shape and Cardinality in the 0-Dimensional Web

    Seeking Shape and Cardinality in the 0-Dimensional Web What is the shape of a Website?  How does one determine “shape” from a collection of links and electronic files?  Web designers, search engineers, and marketing consultants use geometric shapes like circles, rectangles, pyramids, and network diagrams to visually depict Website shapes …

  35. pyramid_extdirect 0.3

    pyramid_extdirect 0.3 ExtDirect Implementation for Pyramid

  36. thot 0.9

    thot 0.9 A Python-Powered Static Site Generator

  37. infi.pyutils 0.0.9

    infi.pyutils 0.0.9 Misc. pure-python utilities

  38. django-blog-zinnia 0.8.1

    django-blog-zinnia 0.8.1 A clear and powerfull weblog application powered with Django

  39. django-inplaceedit 0.68

    django-inplaceedit 0.68 Django application that allows you to inline edition of some data from the database

  40. ujson 1.6

    ujson 1.6 Ultra fast JSON encoder and decoder for Python

  41. django-staff 0.5.4

    django-staff 0.5.4 A basic addition to auth.User that manages additional staff info

  42. python-novaclient 2.6.1

    python-novaclient 2.6.1 Client library for OpenStack Nova API

  43. django-dynamic-rules 0.1.3

    django-dynamic-rules 0.1.3 Allows you to create dynamic rules related to a particular model

  44. django-dynamic-validation 0.2.0

    django-dynamic-validation 0.2.0 Define user generated validation requirements for django models.

  45. pcaspy 0.2

    pcaspy 0.2 Portable Channel Access Server in Python

  46. pytassium 0.2.4

    pytassium 0.2.4 A Python library for working with Kasabi.com APIs

  47. django-beefycachecontrol 0.1

    django-beefycachecontrol 0.1 Beefier Cache-Control HTTP headers created by @never_cache decorator in Django.

  48. python-rqueue 0.4.0

    python-rqueue 0.4.0 Python client for using Redis as a queue

  49. django-crypto 0.2.0

    django-crypto 0.2.0 Simple 2-way crypto functions for use with Django.

Don’t Read This Book…

Will this be a trend as books become digital?From a review of a book that got a Jolt Award.

Don’t read this book when you have no Internet connection. This book reads better in electronic form than the printed page, and makes liberal use of hyperlinks to reference information. In the preface, Russell says that he does this in order for the reader to look at reliable, current information rather than out-of-date material. Without the links, material would need to be included directly in the text, making the book larger and less direct.

Interest Stream

One of our conversation topics yesterday at in50 hours was how to extract the useful conversations from Twitter. One way to do that is to find the intersection between tweets from the people you follow and the topics you are interested in. This is easier said than done.

How do you identify tweets with topics of your interests? It is not keywords or hashtag search alone. It is a lot more than that. Certainly an area worth exploring.