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July 30, 2010

Anything Fake is golden

Hunch has been around the web for a while now, but there has been a lot of buzz the last several weeks since the Wired article came out about Caterina Fake and her new project.  You may know Caterina as one of the key people behind the photo sharing community Flickr, which I happen to love.  The basis for hunch is that they can take data about preferences, mix with demographic data, then crunch using complex algorithms that allow complex relationships to appear.  Based on what their system knows about your tastes, it can make amazingly profound suggestions. 


I have been playing with their system for a few days now, especially since they have a connection to Facebook and Twitter built in now.  It is playful and amusing, but I'll have to work with it over a longer period of time to see how accurate it is in regards to the suggestions that it provides.  I also wonder if it will naturally correct for changes in my preferences over a long period of time.  Maybe it is the fact that I watched Blade Runner again last night, but the "getting to know me" questions almost felt like a Voight-Kampff test. 



July 20, 2010

Whuffie and the value of your social network

When it comes to the internet, the value of your brand or name depends on who else is interested in what you have to say.  I was recently thinking about this concept and the idea of this social value, coined as a type of currency called a Whuffie by Cory Doctorow in his novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.  Of all the social networks, Twitter seems to fit that model the best, with the ability to RT or Re-Tweet messages, therefore ascribing more social status to the original poster.  Turns out that someone had this idea at least a year ago (they registered their domain in Aug 2009, so I assume it was around then).

I'm sure the exact algorithm to determine the actual whuffie value is as complex, changing and proprietary like that used in a FICO score, but it gives a rough measure of someone's standing in the social media space.

Here is a screen capture of Lance Armstrong's value.


For comparison, here is a capture of Tim Goodman's value, who is an excellent media critic and local celebrity in the SF Bay Area.




July 19, 2010

When GIS info goes stale

In the neighborhood I live in, there is one street that has been blocked off for at least 20 years or so.  Unfortunately my local city hasn't updated the map GIS data properly, so map software like Google maps and most car GPS units try to route you directly through a solid wall. I was logged into Google services at the time and saw that there was an option to submit an error report on routing data.  They actually responded in a timely manner.  Not so bad for a service that does not cost anything for the end user.





While automated mapping technologies are great, it is always good to have some sort of backup whether it be paper or map data from another source.

** UPDATE July 22, 2010 **

Google completed their map update.  Yay!  A company that actually listens to complaints?  That is rare these days.


July 16, 2010

Goodbye Ely

My beloved cat Ely finally lost his battle with Cancer yesterday evening. There isn't much else to say except that I never chose him to be my cat, he chose me to be his human.  I miss him so much, but after 19 years it was his time.


If you want to see some photos of my friend throughout his life feel free to look here: