Interesting discoveries #05

It’s been a while since I did this. Been busy needless to say. Here’s a list of random discoveries that didn’t make into an individual blog post.

1. The meaning of Empire State of Mind

God I love this song. I sang this song at karaoke in Topone KTV with Terence and totally ruin the rap parts. But what’s the meaning of the song? Rap Genius explains it here. Very useful. Know what you sing.

2. Accessories for Backbone.js framework

It doesn’t just stay there does it? Backbone.js already an established JavaScript MVC framework has accessories and frameworks built atop it. Let’s see. For a short list there still is:

  • Aura.js – A scalable, event-driven JavaScript architecture for developing widget-based applications.
  • Chaplin – Web application framework on top of Backbone.js.
  • Marionette – Backbone.Marionette is a composite application library for Backbone.js that aims to simplify the construction of large scale JavaScript applications.
  • Thorax – Strengthening your Backbone. By Walmart.

I’m currently exploring Marionette and seeing how it can be adopted to an existing Backbone.js application.

3. What’s wrong with airports

BoardingArea has an interesting article written in response to Seth Godin’s writes about 10 things organizations can learn from airports.

Both articles are interesting reads.

4. Tesla’s thorough assessment on The New York Times review

This marks a new kind of fact checking really. The New York Times and Top Gear reviewed the new Tesla Model S negatively and Tesla is able to provide evidence that both papers haven’t done their tests fairly at all. Read more about it here.

Tesla left little out and this time both publications ought to examine their review process. On a separate note, Tesla cars supports REST API used by their Android and iOS applications. The Atlantic Wire gave a review of Tesla’s review of The New York Time’s review. And there’s also a response from The New York Times.

Now that’s the journalism we are proud of. Great work from everyone. People make mistakes but people are also willing to forgive.

5. Opera is moving to WebKit

So Opera announced that they are moving to WebKit. This is a good thing for them. They can concentrate on the user experience of the browser itself. The browser itself has really matured to the stage that progress is just about integrating features with the cloud basically. That’s not unwelcomed though.

I love to see what would be of the Opera that no longer has to care about their rendering engine Presto. Perhaps more interesting bits of technology would emerge to improve on the browser and services that they support.

Interesting discoveries #03

So! A fortnight has passed quickly due to the holidays in between. I wanted to make this post a weekly affair but I have my laziness to blame.

One interesting side effect to writing what I encounter is that it kinda slows me down reading which is welcomed. So these are the key things I discovered and/or rediscovered:

1. Backbone.js

I never had to touch this for a while. Backbone.js makes large JavaScript applications manageable again with MVC methodologies. I implore every JavaScript developer or enthusiast to at least make a todo list with this. More on the website.

2. Lo-Dash

One of the dependencies of Backbone.js is Lo-Dash (or Underscore.js) which promise some improvements. You can more about Lo-dash here. Lo-dash is designed as a drop in replacement for Underscore.js that provides better consistency among browsers. Take a look at this video:

3. Paid subscribers model a success online

Paid subscription model is actually working out for The New York Times. Not that it is expected not to work but that it is working better than expected. Digital subscriptions will generate $91 million this year, according to Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners. The paywall, by his estimate, will account for 12 percent of total subscription sales, which will top $768.3 million this year. That’s $52.8 million more than advertising. Those figures are for the Times newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, largely considered the European edition of the Times. Bloomberg has more.

4. Exporting old people

The question on ethics is called when Germans start to export their elderly to other countries with more affordable healthcare. This move is determined as an “inhumane deportation.” Guardian has more. According to Germany’s federal bureau of statistics, more than 400,000 senior citizens are currently unable to afford a German retirement home, a figure that is growing by around 5% a year.

Artur Frank, the owner of Senior Palace, which finds care homes for Germans in Slovakia, said that was why it was wrong to suggest senior citizens were being “deported” abroad, as the VdK described it.

“They are not being deported or expelled,” he said. “Many are here of their own free will, and these are the results of sensible decisions by their families who know they will be better off.”

5. Humans triumph over turtles

Clemson University student Nathan Weaver set out to determine how to help turtles cross the road. He ended up getting a glimpse into the dark souls of some humans.

Weaver put a realistic rubber turtle in the middle of a lane on a busy road near campus. Then he got out of the way and watched over the next hour as seven drivers swerved and deliberately ran over the animal. AP has more.

Really disturbing case this one is.

6. Superfreakonomics

I finished this book and find it okay. I haven’t read the first book so I can’t compare. It’s interesting to read things from a point of view of an economist. The way the book is written makes it hard to read though — there are just too many thoughts going on. The way one idea leads to another conflicting idea and then the economists brought about their own debates and deductions is somewhat distracting. However it might just be the way the mind works, there’s just too many things to digest. The book is engaging nevertheless. I heard the first book is better though. You can order it from Amazon.