Monday, September 28, 2009

The Three Amigos

I think the killer app is out there waiting. Something like an expert system that doesn't rely on complexity but undiscovered gesture of simplicity.
I liked the idea of Digg, but there are key flaws with its practice. Instead of it being crowd sourced, it's a bunch of pages loved by friends of Kevin Rose. It not so much the wisdom of the crowds: it's a bunch of demented shut-ins. I know a woman who put in a link and got back, "shut the fuck up, you ugly bitch." and similar.
Facebook doesn't have the same potential for enmity because it's a social network: your friends join you; almost everyone reveals their contact information; and you are with birds of a feather-- if you're friends with jerks, they'll be familiar jerks. You can shut them out with simple unfriending.
Twitter. I resisted joining Twitter until recently. I thought that the moniker of "twits" was apt. Apt! Sure Brevity=Wit, but 140 characters seemed to reward people with ADD. Contrast it with Digg: lots of threads, a clique of people who get to the front page, lots of shut-ins who vent at anyone. With Twitter, you have your own posts. People can follow you. You can follow them. You can block people. You can keep your posts locked off from the public at large. If someone wants to spout bile at you, they need to do it on their own dime-- their own twitter feed. Try to find points of contact into the big web ventures: Google, Facebook, eBay and Paypal. That lack of functionality seems to be a boon for them. The lack of complexity in Twitter is part of its strength.
I dabbled with Robinhood Fund. I like their weighting system. People opinions are amplified by the qualty of their participation. People who are jerks get their voiced tuned down. People who are iffusive also get toned down-- you can't like everything. It means the "good" players get the loudest voices. Also, just as data rots, their participation has to be fresh or it rots-- diminishes.
What's so good about Twitter may be coming to an end. Mark Trammell from Digg is moving over to Twitter. If the same opportunities for sniping and toxic anonymity come into play, Twitter will be worse than a billion dollar business with no revenue: it'll be Digg.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Movie Mash-up

A few years ago, I worked for a movie review website. It was doing bang-up stuff, but it's data was incomplete. I had this nifty idea: get a few form boxes: fill in the names of movie stars (actors, directors) and hit 'go'-- then get a list of movies that two to four movie stars have appeared in together. I am often haunted by these movies-- I know who stars in it, but I can't figure out what the movie was named.
Fast forward to last week: I saw that I could drill Yahoo for API information from their movie section. Voila! Data! Glorious data!
First up: I did a Facebook App, Movie Tonight. There, you can enter your postal code and get the listings for movies in the area. Then, you can click on a show time and make an FB event so that others can join you at the theater.
Second: I did a standalone app-- using JQuery to spiff it up, drill into the info from two or actors and produce the intersection of movies. It was painfully easy and satisfying to do.
Did I ever mention that I love APIs?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Choose a Domain. Any Domain

Available domains are starting to get sparse. Have you been stumped for a decent available name? I can help!
Go to http://mike.dewolfe.bc.ca/domainchooser type in the words that may describe your website idea. Get a list of words that may be handy. Try combos to come up with something you can use that is available.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A simple way to find IP Addresses

Here's an easy way to find IP addresses : http://mike.dewolfe.bc.ca/findip. There are dozens of these tools out there, but whenever I find them, I find they're overtaxed or otherwise borked. Since I'm good at hiding in plain sight, I figured I'd put out a tool that I can use and then allowed everyone else (both of them) use the same tool when they want.

Friday, September 04, 2009

What Have I Been Up To?

Here's a rundown of my recent technical tinkerings. The "on the job" tinkerings will come when I have them released. At the moment, they are "precarious" and I need to put them through some ruggedization-- when they're ready for the light of day, expect a mash-up that includes Flickr, Youtube, Daylife and a people-finder for Drupal.

A Victoria News aggregator: http://mike.dewolfe.bc.ca/victorianews/
A Victoria For Sale aggregator: http://mike.dewolfe.bc.ca/victoria4sale/
A Clip-art site: http://www.prefabsite.net/clipart/
NYT Bestsellers / Amazon Mash-up: http://www.thosedewolfes.com/bestsellers/
A company website for a storage company: www.westcancases.com
A dead-end Phonegap project for iPhone (now, restarted with classic XCode development tools): http://www.thosedewolfes.com/marcopolo/index.html (however, I do love HTML5 and Canvas).
An e-book on the Science of Getting Rich: http://www.prefabsite.net/gettingrich/