Weekly Web Harvest for 2020-02-23

  • Wildcard: Spreadsheet-Driven Customization of Web Applications
    In this paper, we present spreadsheet-driven customization, a technique that enables end users to customize software without doing any traditional programming. The idea is to augment an application’s UI with a spreadsheet that is synchronized with the application’s data. When the user manipulates the spreadsheet, the underlying data is modified and the changes are propagated to the UI, and vice versa.
  • Concordia University’s online vision hid grim reality – oregonlive.com
    In a draft version of Ries’ speech to trustees, he spelled out the “pronounced challenges” of Concordia’s 20-year deal with HotChalk, a California firm the school had paid hundreds of millions of dollars to jumpstart its online programs. The financial success of the deal depended on “overly aggressive enrollment targets,” Ries planned to say. Declining enrollment devastated the university’s finances.
  • Home of “Louie” & “Gyp” (LOC) | Bain News Service,, publishe… | Flickr
    thanks to @cogdog I got another beautiful flickr comments example
  • How a Web Design Company Crowdfunded Millions and Completely Disappeared – VICE
    “The problem space we tackled, we had the kind of hopeful naivety that would actually give us the balls to do it, but it’s much more difficult than any of us realized,” Toucchi told Motherboard. “I can imagine there’s a few people who are pissed off.”

    Toucchi went on to portray those his company has “pissed off” as being a vocal minority, and disputed that it has run off with everyone’s cash for the very simple reason that his company is bad at making money and good at spending it. It is not clear how much money The Grid raised in total; news articles suggest it raised at least $7 million from VC funders and another $5.2 million from users via crowdfunding and the sale of memberships.

    “It’s funny ’cause there’s this narrative from a small group of angry people on Twitter about ‘oh millions of dollars, blah blah blah,’” said Toucchi. “We made less than $6 million on a crowdfunding campaign and a lot of that was ad-driven. We had to spend to get there, we made a 20 percent profit on that, so it’s not like we’re awash in cash and pulling a Fyre Festival and partying like crazy.”

    It’s worth noting, though, that The Grid’s own marketing material hyped it, and also suggested that, during its early phases, the entire team took a trip to Hawaii to work on the product there.

  • Musicians Algorithmically Generate Every Possible Melody, Release Them to Public Domain – VICE
    Two programmer-musicians wrote every possible MIDI melody in existence to a hard drive, copyrighted the whole thing, and then released it all to the public in an attempt to stop musicians from getting sued.

    Programmer, musician, and copyright attorney Damien Riehl, along with fellow musician/programmer Noah Rubin, sought to stop copyright lawsuits that they believe stifle the creative freedom of artists.

  • Yes, You Can Pronounce GIF With A Soft-G Or Hard-G
    — Exactly. No need to die on random hills, relax and realize nothing makes sense and less stuff really matters.


    That’s right, let’s talk about another graphical file format. The JPEG, like the GIF, is a pretty popular file format in the graphic/photographic space. And I’m gonna go ahead and make a brave, bold guess that you pronounce it JAY-PEG, right? And here you, imagined verbal sparring partner, will snarkily note that the G in JAY-PEG is that hard, turgid, erect ‘g’ because the G in JPEG stands for Group.

    But what about the other letters?

    JPEG = Joint Photographic Experts Group.

    So, the P in JPEG is a soft Ph-sound, meaning, an F-sound.

  • Smithsonian Open Access | Smithsonian Institution
    download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images
  • Petrichor Geoviz Studio – a geo-dataviz collaboration
  • Depression researchers rethink popular mouse swim tests
    It is not clear whether mice stop swimming because they are despondent or because they have learnt that a lab technician will scoop them out of the tank when they stop moving. Factors such as water temperature also seem to affect the results.
  • Crossbow killer exposed by car telematics / Boing Boing
    so much data

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