Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-11-24

Google map of London with Flickr shape data overlaid by Matt Biddulph. Used under license.
Google map of London with Flickr shape data overlaid by Matt Biddulph. Used under license.

The Shape of Alpha – using mass data to reveal the perceived shape of geography [Code: Flickr Developer Blog]
“Plotted all the geotagged photos associated with a particular ‘Where On Earth ID’ (a database of places and bounding boxes, which describes the spatial hierarchy between places) to generate a mostly accurate contour of that place. Not a perfect representation, perhaps, but something more fine-grained than a bounding box.” How cool is that!?

Neighbourhood Boundaries [tomtaylor.co.uk]
Using the Flickr shapefiles to show you where the world thinks its neighbours are. Tom has written a bit about it here: “Of course, it’s not always right, so Flickr give you the option to override the place they guessed, with a more accurate name, as you perceive. For example, a photo taken near South Bank might better be described as Waterloo, or Embankment. Over time, this database leads to a more accurate representation of the shape and boundaries of the places in question, comprised of thousands of people photographs. Flickr are good enough to release this data in the form of shapefiles.”

The First 100 Days – what past US Presidents did in their first 100 days [goodmagazine.com]
Interesting to see how the first 100 days appear to be a good indicator for the tone and direction of the rest of the presidency. I now know what all Presidents and PMs should be made to answer “what will you do in your first 100 days”.

The BBC have hired a full time MusicBrainz server developer! [MusicBrainz Blog]
Just the sort of thing we should be doing. Helps the Web, helps the MuiscBrainz community and helps the BBC.

How to Price Your iPhone App out of Existence [Safe from the Losing Fight]
There will be an iPhone app bust. The current prices simply aren’t sustainable. Either developers will crash out of the market when they discover they can’t make a living off their current prices, or the gold rush developers will lose interest and leave when they realize they can’t make a quick buck off the store. The developers left standing will be the ones who set reasonable prices for their applications.

Users, Twits and Cameramen Under Fire [Nick Reynolds At Work]
Wise words from Nick – who continues the good fight in the war to kill of the UGC term. It is such a rude and self limiting term.

Life in the Linked Data Cloud – Calais Release 4 Coming Jan 09 [OpenCalais]
OpenCalais is to release its data as RDF and join it to the LOD cloud.

Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-09-29

Yay! It's official we're 'doing the web right' BBC programmes and playcount data joins the Linked Open Data cloud.
Yay! It's official we're 'doing the web right' BBC programmes and playcount data joins the Linked Open Data cloud.

Interesting new approaches to search coming out of Yahoo!

Yahoo! Glue – a new web search interface
When you perform a search on Yahoo! Glue you get a sort of Topic Page – automatically transcluding relevant info onto a single page with a clean URL. For instance, a search for ‘yahoo’ would be at: http://in.glue.yahoo.com/page/yahoo. Curiously these pages are being indexed by Google. There are currently 159,000 ‘glues’ in the Google index – that’s more than knol.

BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) Yahoo!’s open search web services platform [yahoo! developer network]
Use Yahoo’s search API to build your own search UI. Useful and it might be a smart move in the fight with Google, but more likely it won’t be causing Google to loose much sleep.

Whether or not Captcha is broken, it is a human problem

Captcha is broken – now what? [The Guardian]
“Ultimately Captchas are useless for spam because they’re designed to tell you if someone is ‘human’ or not, but not whether something is spam or not. Just because something came from a real human being doesn’t mean it isn’t spam, which is why content-based solutions like Akismet are the only long-term solution to the spam problem.”

The new guardian.co.uk infrastructure is letting them do some interesting stuff, the right way

guardian.co.uk are doing a really good job rebuilding the site – the new user pages are now at lovely semantic URLs
The main page of a user’s contributions (at http://www.guardian.co.uk/users/username) now contains a list of the most recent comments and clippings they’ve made, while the sub-pages /clippings and /comments contain exactly what their names might hint at.

Just down right scary…

Web of Debt – It’s the derivatives, Stupid! Why Fannie, Freddie and AIG all had to be bailed out
The dominos go down in a cascade of cross-defaults that infects the whole banking industry and jeopardizes the global pyramid scheme. The potential for this sort of nuclear reaction was what prompted billionaire investor Warren Buffett to call derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction.” It is also why the banking system cannot let a major derivatives player go down, and it is the banking system that calls the shots. The Federal Reserve is literally owned by a conglomerate of banks; and Hank Paulson, who heads the U.S. Treasury, entered that position through the revolving door of investment bank Goldman Sachs, where he was formerly CEO.

Don’t know what’s going on here – but these two are bonkers [news.bbc]
And how they didn’t die is a mystery.

links for 2008-04-03