James Mead by James Mead

Week 287 - Interesting links

Google Adds Support for Bitcoin Conversion

You can now search Google for, for example, “1 btc in gbp” and learn that it’s currently worth £359.76. I’m sure I tried this just recently and the functionality wasn’t available, so I was interested to see it announced yesterday. CR

Distance Measurement in the New Google Maps

I’m happy to see the reappearance of this functionality in Google Maps. I used to use it to plan runs/walks and never really settled on a good alternative so it’s great to have it back. CR

Rubyforge closing down

I think it’s a bit sad how this has been handled. Maybe I’ve missed them, but there doesn’t appear to have been a lot of “publicity” that this was going to happen nor anything about why it’s happening.

The shutdown has meant that a bunch of URLs are now broken. It feels as if it wouldn’t have been too hard to setup some generic redirects or at least provide a mechanism to add such redirects. I’m sure the Ruby community would’ve been willing to help - I know we would be happy to help. JM

DWP awards Atos £10 million IT contract for healthcare assessments

The ongoing shambles of IT procurement at DWP doesn’t fill me with confidence that their Credit Union Expansion Project is going to deliver something useful. JM

Retractions are coming thick and fast: it’s time for publishers to act

I thought this was a though-provoking article about the limitations of traditional peer review and how post-publication peer review might be a good way to improve the state of play.

I was particularly interested to read about PubPeer which provides a way to add a public comment to any published paper with a Digital Object Identifier. It’s a shame that established academic journal publishers don’t seem to recognise the value of post-publication peer review. JM

Peer to Peer

Drew Neil of Vimcasts fame has recently launched a series of interviews where you watch “over the shoulder” of experts solving technical problems. The first in the series is Counting Tree Nodes with Tom Stuart which I’m sure is well worth the $25. Tom has also written a follow-up blog post. JM

How to set up a Workers’ Co-op (pdf)

Our recent investigations into how to set up a credit union have got me thinking more about whether it might be good to convert GFR more formally into a co-operative. We looked into this quite a while back, but I think we mainly focussed on whether it was worth becoming an Limited Liability Partnership c.f. John Lewis.

I’m not sure how seriously we considered setting up an Industrial & Provident Society which is the recommended legal structure for a workers’ co-op. In any case, I think this pamphlet by Radical Routes and recommended by Chris Lowis looks very pertinent. JM

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