My daily readings 06/04/2011

    • Opinionaided’s free iOS app allows users to get advice and opinions on the fly. Within the app, users can input a question, determine a category (i.e. relationships, politics) and submit it for other Opinionaided users to answer. You can also publish your questions to Facebook and Twitter. After a question is posted, fellow Opinionaided users can comment on the question and the app will calculate the percentage of users that responded positively or negatively. From there, consumers can reply back to the comments or create a new question for peers to vote on.
    • So what’s driving this much growth in users and engagement? Opinionaided founder Dan Kurani says that the ability to get real-time feedback at the point of decision-making is helping drive usage growth. On average it takes less than 2 minutes to get your first 10 responses to any question, says the company. And the simplicity of the app makes it appealing as well.
    • Interestingly, the average age of the Opinionaded user is 24, so perhaps usage also skews to a younger audience that is more engaged on devices like the iPhone. And while Opinionaided offers a web platform, Kurani says the company is seeing 90 percent of engagement on mobile.
  • tags: Learning programming

    • while i like project euler, i find rosettacode to be more down-to-earth. in everyday life you’re much more likely to have to solve rosettacode’s tasks (eg download a page from the web, parse something, generate a bitmap, send a mail) than project euler’s math-based tasks.
  • tags: Learning

    • Now you have two rectangles, each cut diagonally in half by a leg of  the triangle. So there is exactly as much space inside the triangle as  outside, which means the triangle must take up exactly half the box!

        

      This is what a piece of mathematics looks and feels like.  That little narrative is an example of the mathematician’s art: asking  simple and elegant questions about our imaginary creations, and crafting  satisfying and beautiful explanations. There is really nothing else  quite like this realm of pure idea; it’s fascinating, it’s fun, and it’s  free!

    • This is why it is so heartbreaking to see what is being  done to mathematics in school. This rich and fascinating adventure of  the imagination has been reduced to a sterile set of “facts” to be  memorized and procedures to be followed. In place of a simple and  natural question about shapes, and a creative and rewarding process of  invention and discovery, students are treated to this:

        

      triangle area formula picture.png

        

      “The area of a triangle is equal to one-half its base times its  height.” Students are asked to memorize this formula and then “apply” it  over and over in the “exercises.” Gone is the thrill, the joy, even the  pain and frustration of the creative act. There is not even a problem  anymore. The question has been asked and answered at the same time —  there is nothing left for the student to do.

    • The problem itself is a lot like Lockhart’s triangle question —  simple enough to entice the freshest beginner, sufficiently complicated  to require some thought.
    • All it takes is a little hunger. You just  have to want the answer.
    • That’s the pedagological ballgame: get your student to want to find  something out. All that’s left after that is to make yourself available  for hints and questions. “That student is taught the best who is told  the least.”
    • Project Euler, named for the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, is  popular (more than 150,000 users have submitted 2,630,835 solutions)  precisely because Colin Hughes — and later, a team of eight or nine  hand-picked helpers — crafted problems that lots of people get the itch  to solve. And it’s an effective teacher because those problems are  arranged like the programs in the ORIC-1’s manual, in what Hughes calls  an “inductive chain”:
    • This is an idea that’s long been familiar to video game designers,  who know that players have the most fun when they’re pushed always to  the edge of their ability. The trick is to craft a ladder of  increasingly difficult levels, each one building on the last. New skills  are introduced with an easier version of a challenge — a quick  demonstration that’s hard to screw up — and certified with a harder  version, the idea being to only let players move on when they’ve shown  that they’re ready. The result is a gradual ratcheting up the learning  curve.
    • On top of this there is one brilliant feature: once you get the right  answer you’re given access to a forum where successful solvers share  their approaches. It’s the ideal time to pick up new ideas — after  you’ve wrapped your head around a problem enough to solve it.
    • This is also why a lot of experienced programmers use Project Euler  to learn a new language. Each problem’s forum is a kind of Rosetta  stone. For a single simple problem you might find annotated solutions in  Python, C, Assembler, BASIC, Ruby, Java, J and FORTRAN.
    • The first is that it’s naturally addictive. Computers are really  fast; even in the ’80s they were really fast. What that means is there is  almost no time between changing your program and seeing the results.  That short feedback loop is mentally very powerful. Every few minutes  you get a little payoff — perhaps a small hit of dopamine — as you  hack and tweak, hack and tweak, and see that your program is a little  bit better, a little bit closer to what you had in mind.
    • The second feature, by contrast, is something that at first glance  looks totally immaterial. It’s the simple fact that code is text.
  • tags: Life Lesson

  • tags: Life Lesson

  • tags: iOS display recorder

    •   国内知名互联网专家吕本富亦表示,在任何电子商务交易过程中,支付经验、运营经验以及制定交易规则都需要长时间的积累,腾讯的优势在于沟通和游戏,想无缝嫁接到电子商务上面还是很困难的。
    •   随着腾讯平台的逐步开放,其独特的电子商务战略开始浮出水面,而其中,被腾讯高层重点描绘的是一个正在积极酝酿中的B2B2C的巨型平台。

        

        一位知情人士称,腾讯希望能够将当下众多的B2C平台集中到腾讯的大平台下,腾讯将在每个垂直领域选择一个投资对象,如鞋类B2C为好乐买,3C产品则已经有易讯等,这些子平台集合成为一个庞大的B2B2C平台,腾讯将对它们给予全力的帮助和资源支持,腾讯未来还有可能建立统一的呼叫体系、支付体系、物流体系。但和完全开放并不一样,这将是一个封闭开放的平台,仅是对其所投资的平台开放,而被投资的B2C也无需担心腾讯的强力控制,能够继续拓展其自有的其他销售平台。

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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