Sanity writes: LastCalc is a cross between Google Calculator, a spreadsheet, and a powerful functional programming language, all with a robust and flexible heuristic parser. It even let's you write functions that pull in data from elsewhere on the web. It's all wrapped up in a JQuery-based user interface that does as-you-type syntax highlighting.
Today, LastCalc's creator Ian Clarke (Freenet, Revver) has announced that LastCalc will be open sourced under the GNU Affero General Public License "to accelerate development, spread the workload, and hopefully foster a vibrant volunteer community around the project".
Sanity writes: 33Mail is a new free disposable email service. Unlike services like Mailinator, you "own" the email addresses you create with it, and so you can use it to sign up for almost any website. If that website later starts to spam you, you can block that address. Instant Fundas has a nice review of the service.
Sanity writes: "Ian Clarke, creator of Freenet, has proposed a new programming language called Swarm, the purpose of which is to be truly and transparently distributed. The idea is that you write your code as normal, but when it runs it can jump between multiple computers in a cluster — effectively distributing both the data and computation in a scalable manner. The same code can run on a single computer, or run in a distributed way across hundreds of computers in a cluster. The Swarm prototype is open source, and implemented in Scala."
Sanity writes: "After over 3 years of work, the Freenet Project has announced the final release of Freenet 0.7. "Freenet is software designed to allow the free exchange of information over the Internet without fear of censorship, or reprisal. To achieve this Freenet makes it very difficult for adversaries to reveal the identity, either of the person publishing, or downloading content."... "The journey towards Freenet 0.7 began in 2005 with the realization that some of Freenet's most vulnerable users needed to hide the fact that they were using Freenet, not just what they were doing with it. The result of this realization was a ground-up redesign and rewrite of Freenet, adding a "darknet" capability, allowing users to limit who their Freenet software would communicate with to trusted friends.""
Sanity writes: "Google's Open Source team has donated $18,000 to the Freenet Project to fund ongoing development of the Freenet software. Freenet is primarily developed by volunteers, but the project has one paid programmer, Matthew Toseland. Matthew's salary is paid by small donations from individual users, and larger donations like this one. Other large donors to Freenet include John Gilmore and John Pozadzides."
Sanity writes: "According to a recent Thoof blog entry, Mac users are 20% less likely to be interested in religious stories than Windows users, perhaps those blue screens of death have given them a greater sense of their own mortality? On the flip side, Windows users are 6% more likely to be interested in a story about New York, but 6% less interested in intellectual property law. All of this data was collected by a system called Thoof, which identifies patterns in user behavior and uses those patterns to determine what news and information you are most likely to find interesting."
Sanity writes: Scott Miller, Chief Architect of Thoof, gives a detailed breakdown of their choice of web framework, server hardware, and other infrastructure, along with the results of their scalability testing, in a recent series of blog entries. Thoof is built on Apache Wicket, a relatively new Java-based web framework that recently joined the Apache Software Foundation. Thoof is probably one of the highest-traffic Wicket deployments yet, so their experiences should be useful to anyone considering it as a framework.
Sanity writes: "New social news website Thoof is reviewed by Josh Catone of Read/Write Web. "It's a bit like Digg meets Findory with a wiki flavor... Thoof relies on a story personalization algorithm to analyze the links you've clicked and attempts to deliver links based on your interests." In addition to the collaborative filtering aspect, the site is also different in that users can propose changes to stories which other users can vote on before they are applied. This means that rather than just complaining about poorly written story summaries, users can just fix whatever problems they see."
Sanity writes: "A new user-generated news site automatically figures out what your interests are and adapts to them using a Bayesian algorithm that is claimed to be much faster and smarter than a collaborative filter. The more you use the site, the better it gets at finding stuff that will interest you. If you disagree with a story description, you can edit it, and your edit must go through a voting process before it will be applied. The site, called Thoof, was created by Ian Clarke, founder of Freenet and Revver."
Sanity writes: "Thoof, the latest project of Ian Clarke, creator of the Freenet P2P network, came out of private beta today. Thoof is an attempt to address the shortcomings of current user-generated news websites, by allowing users to edit stories (Wikipedia style, but with an additional voting step), and also through a new and novel personalization algorithm that is much faster at learning your preferences than a conventional collaborative filter."
Sanity writes: "Wondering whether that T-shirt you got at DEFCON, and those jeans you have worn since high school are as flattering as they could be? Pocket Fashionista allows you to upload a photo of yourself and get friendly but honest feedback from fashion-minded experts. The site is simple, easy to use, and implemented in Ruby on Rails, so its definitely buzzword-compliant. Could this be the turning point for geek-fashion?"
Sanity writes: John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Cypherpunks mailing list, and Cygnus Solutions, has donated $15,000 to the Freenet Project, to support the ongoing development of the Freenet software. This donation will ensure the continued employment of Freenet's full-time software developer, Matthew Toseland, who has been working for Freenet full-time for the last 4 years, funded entirely by donations to the project. In April 2006 the Freenet Project released the first alpha version of Freenet 0.7, a new approach to anonymous peer-to-peer adopting a "scalable darknet" architecture, designed to offer a new level of privacy and security for those using the software, while addressing a number of other long-standing issues with Freenet. This donation will support the project as it works towards a beta release of Freenet 0.7, improving the ease of use, speed, and security of the software.