Sunday, November 27, 2005

Are there good reasons to fall in love with ...

...digg? The main reason, for me, is the pointers to resources on history of technology. Let me give you some examples:

  • This postis about the origins of the graphical user interface and the mighty little mouse. The source is 1989 piece originally published in IEEE spectrum.
  • This post points to some early Google stuff: a talk given by none other than Larry Page; it includes the basis of the PageRank algorithm.
  • Did you know why eBay is called, well, eBay? What was its original name? Find out here.
  • It's not all modern technology. Here is an interesting post that links to a site that explains the ancient (er, 18th century) Mokume Gane technique of metalworking, that produces intricate -- and absolutely beautiful -- patterns using billets of copper, silver and gold. This link has some history, a brief description of the technique, a series of pictures that explain how this stuff is made, capped with a wonderful gallery of products made with it.

There are also other interesting stuff -- and, sometimes w-e-i-r-d stuff -- that show up at digg. Such as nine disturbing facts about Google, how a retired Canadian man brought an uppity bank to its knees (because he was outraged that the bank that outsourced(!) its credit-card processing to the US -- to the US! ) by making hundreds of micropayments, and why an author is suing for not removing some of the bad -- and tasteless -- reviews of his book.

Then there is science; in fact, very interesting, eye grabbing -- and sometimes beautiful -- science. Here are two examples:

  • The number spiral (digg) that shows interesting properties, as explained in this original page.
  • This post is an alert about a bunch of educational applets that help you visualize things in physics (acoustics, waves, signal processing, electricity and magnetism, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics ...), mathematics (linear algebra, ...), and others.

Check out digg; some 50 appear there everyday, each with the briefest possible introduction to the topic of discussion. The topic is usually an online resource. Not all of it is wonderful; but there is enough of it to make you fall in love with it.