Briefly Noted for November 10, 2009

Google Programming Language: "Go" — Not sure if this is new or I just missed it somehow, but Google has released an open source systems programming language called “Go.” Noting that languages like Java and C++ are years (decades, even) old, the Go team aims to make the new language friendlier to today’s problems and styles of coding. Hat tip @n8agrin.

Mrs. Washington Meets OmekaCHNM and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens are proud to announce the launch of a new website chronicling the life of Martha Washington. The site includes a rich archive of primary sources, a biographical exhibit, and three teaching modules. In addition to being a tremendous resource in its own right, the site is a powerful example of Omeka’s capabilities.

MediaWiki How To — Lifehacker provides a step-by-step guide to customizing MediaWiki, the open source wiki platform that powers Wikipedia. The guide is written by Lifehacker founder Gina Trapani, who recently used MediaWiki to publish a “book-in-progress,” The Complete Guide to Google Wave. Useful reading for anyone thinking about self-publishing his or her next book online.

The Open Source Professor — Mark Sample has posted slides and audio for his provocative recent talk, “The Open Source Professor.” Sample’s talk is part of MITH’s excellent Digital Dialogues series.

Briefly Noted for November 2, 2009

Amazon Editors’ Picks for 2009 — has released its editors’ picks for the 100 best books of 2009. The “nearly unanimous choice” for the best book of the year is Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann, which I haven’t read yet. But I can vouch for #7, Steig Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire, the sequel to his The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, both of which are excellent. In general, if you haven’t read a Swedish murder mystery before, you don’t know what you’re missing.

E-Books More Popular than Games Among iPhone App Developers — Twenty percent of new applications in Apple’s iTunes App Store are books, according to a survey summarized at ReadWriteWeb. That compares to thirteen percent for games. I guess app developers disagree with Steve Jobs’ 2008 assessment that reading is dead or his more recent contention that the iPod Touch is a gaming platform.

More from ArchivesNext on NARA’s Digitization PartnershipsArchivesNext has some excellent commentary—indeed, original reporting—on the National Archives and Records Administration’s digital partnership agreements, such as the ones it has entered into with Written partially in response to some poorly thought out comments here at Found History, ArchivesNext provides (as usual) a well considered, well balanced discussion of the issues at play.

Top Ten Disruptive Technologies — Although it’s 18 months old, Gartner’s Top Ten Disruptive Technologies for 2008 to 2012 stands another look. Most of the entries are familiar and sound about right, but I’ll have to read up on a few, including “fabric computing” and “contextual computing.”

Net Neutrality: Pro and Con — Two Op-Eds in The Wall Street Journal present two sides in the debate over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) proposed net neutrality guidelines and some very different ideas about the meanings of words like “neutral,” “fair,” and “open.” Supportive of the FCC’s proposals are Mitchell Baker and John Lilly of Mozilla. Opposed are U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Jim Demint (R-South Carolina). Worth reading both sides.

DOD <3 Open Source — The United States Department of Defense has put open source software on an equal footing with proprietary software, reports ReadWriteWeb. That’s a big deal, but DOD isn’t first U.S. government agency to make this move. IMLS and NEH, for example, started favoring open source software in their grant making guidelines a couple years ago, which puts the digital humanities and cultural heritage biz way ahead of the game.

The End of Student .edu Email — Citing a study by Educause, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog reports that as many as 25% of institutions of higher education are considering eliminating support for student email addresses.