Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

New Pipes release, iPhone support

October 23, 2007

As reported on the Pipes Blog, Jonathan and the Pipes team just pushed a new release with features both useful and cool. I’m especially thrilled about the iPhone support (having just gotten an iTouch, thanks Mr. Hornik!)

In keeping with the endless stream of jokes that name “pipes” inspires, Jonathan created what may turn out to be one of the most important and useful Pipe of all… The Restroom Locator… A tip of the hat to George Costanza, connaisseur of public restrooms… 😉

Brightcove v. Maven

October 15, 2007

The Boston Globe has an interesting article about Brightcove and Maven, or more specifically Jeremy Allaire v. Hilmi Ozguc. I know both of them a little bit, and have been following their respective companies for a while.

Both of them are really Virage 2.0, or at least the part of our business that we used to call VI (Virage Interactive) that Dave Girouard and Joe Hyrkin built in 1999. It’s cool seeing these companies get traction. If they can really get momentum around the video ad network then methinks the journalist underestimates the potential exit magnitude.

BBC Post

June 30, 2007

I must admit I’ve got a bit of “poster’s remorse” regarding the BBC blurb here.

I’ve got some lame excuses about why I didn’t do a better job with this, which I’ll spare you (ok, I can’t resist… Two r/t flights to Europe and back in the course of 9 days was part of the problem.) I tried to be non-partisan, favorably invoking Yahoo competitors like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc. I was told that the audience would be the “non-techy intelligent layperson.” I didn’t mean to come off as if I’d invented ubiquitous computing, didn’t care about privacy, or .

I’ll be more careful next time, and/or correct some of these sins on this blog.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive. Some folks said they liked it. 😉

Why the famous get famouser…

April 15, 2007

Kottke points to a great article by Columbia’s Duncan Watts

The social context of content has everything to do with it’s meaning. It’s one of the reasons that I think that a purely pixel-based algorithmic approach to, say, image recognition is doomed. In optimistic moments, I’ve said that the computer vision community may produce a 98% reliable dog detector… But what we really want is a “funny” detector… or “cool” detector… that’s gonna be a long-time coming… or maybe it’s already here but involves analyzing people’s actions around the pixels v. just the pixels in isolation.


February 7, 2007

Tim said it better than I could ever hope to…

I’m really proud that our team has launched Pipes tonight. It’s still raw with plenty of rough edges… and it’d surprise me if more than a few folks will be able to connect-the-dots and see where this leads (… though Tim’s explaining will surely help!) Still, it was time and the concept is “ready enough” to unleash IMHO.

My parents just arrived in the Bay Area, and so tonight I’ll focus on them. In the upcoming days, I hope I’ll find time to share why I’m so excited about Pipes and proud of the team. In the meantime, go smoke a pipe!

(BTW, I recommend that you check out the “Apartments near Something” pipe for an example of a smokin’ pipe.)

The team themselves are the best resources for more info:
Pasha, who deserves all the credit for both the idea and leading the team,
Edward, whose passion is matched only by his technical skill,
Jonathan, the man behind what may be the slickest AJAX application on the web,
Kevin, who joined recently but completely took the design to a new level in a matter of weeks
– and Daniel, without whom this would be just another great idea that never would have seen the light of day.

And the endeavor was a Caterina Fake production, as all the above are members of her TechDev team.

There were many other supporters and contributors, but I’ll avoid the slippery slope of invoking them because I’m mostly clueless.

Jeremy explains it too….

Yahoo buys Bix

November 17, 2006

I said it all over here.

So one thing to note… It turns out that the voice in my head does sound a lot better than the one that is being recorded. Something must be defective with the microphone, the Bix system, or whatever that keeps knocking it out of tune. Until I debug that system, I won’t be posting any karaoke.

Also – we need to get some cooler songs into the Bix karaoke system.

Cool Flickr Geotagging Examples

September 10, 2006

Stewart recently showed me some very cool (and in some cases surprising) Flickr geotagging examples. Here’s a few I loved.

Where is the neighborhood in Manhattan known as Tribeca?

Get your kicks, on Route 66

Food tour of Asia

What I love about the “tribeca” and “route 66” examples is that they show emergent knowledge in the system. Collectively, the efforts of many photographers map out a geographic element… Neat.

Pitch your company at Web 2.0 Launch Pad

August 22, 2006

Per John’s blog, I’m part of the Advisory Board for the Web 2.0 Launch Pad.

If you think you got the goods, tell us about it!

Interesting(ness) post from O’Reilly

August 15, 2006

Chad told me that Tim O’Reilly posted about interestingness today. I’ve been contemplating another post about interestingness for a while, and I was glad Tim beat me to the punch! Some of this I hope to discuss at the Adaptive Path UX conference Wednesday too.

I’ve been starting out most talks that I’ve given lately by showing two examples of “user-generated content” back-to-back. First I show the numa-numa kid:

Then I say something like, “As amusing as this is… does anyone else find this kinda depressing? If stupid human tricks, pratfalls, fratboy pranks and skateboarding dogs are the future of media… let me off the bus!”

Then I say, “But fear not. This is also ‘user-generated content'”:

Originally uploaded by Sevenof9FL

Originally uploaded by Caleroalvero

Originally uploaded by anetbat

And I fire up a slideshow of the 100 most interesting photos on Flickr. It’s hard to describe the unfailing impact that these photos have… they are alternately moving, funny, disturbing, provocative… I go on, “What’s cool about these is that they are not only user-generated… They are also implicitly ‘user-discovered’… It’s not as if I spent a couple hours finding the ‘good stuff’ myself. The Flickr interestingness metric percolated the ‘cream’ to the top of the pile. By ‘implicitly’ I mean that there’s no explicit ‘rating system’. [I talk more about the value of implicit v. explicit means of deriving value here…] To be clear, Flickr is filled with plenty of junk. In fact, we like it that way. There’s not just a low barrier to entry, there’s virtually no barrier to entry. Got a camera? Bam! You’re a ‘photographer!'”

“So Flickr is a system that accommodates taking a ‘worthless’ picture of a hangnail, or a breathtaking Ansel Adams-like landscape. The cool thing is that while creating a frictionless environment that serves both scenarios, we can also determine which of the two is likely more ‘interesting’ to the community at large.”

The ability to seperate wheat from chaff, or more accurately personally interesting from collectively interesting, is subtle but huge. And it does so without the use of link flux (i.e. PageRank) but rather uses ‘in system’ heuristics.

Usually after invoking the Flickr example, I transition to Y! Answers. If there’s a complaint I hear about Y! Answers is that there’s a lot of noise in the system. Admittedly, “Umm.. my boyfriend caught me sleeping with one of his best friends?”, or “Why is the sky blue?”, or “What’s up?” do not necessarily resonate with the “expand all human knowledge” meme. But what’s cool is that we can create a system that accommodates everything from the ridiculous to the sublime… but knows the difference between the two! (Or perhaps more accurately is taught the difference by millions of users.) This is the power of interestingness!

At this point I usually drop in a dry remark, “At Yahoo we have spent a fair amount of time and energy focusing on systems that are noisy, where anyone can say anything at anytime, etc. One of the most popular datasets and testbeds for these kinds of conditions is popularly known as… [prepare for punchline] the web… and we’ve been working on it for about a decade…” 😉

I’m not sure why this post took on the flavor of a running commentary on my own talk, but that’s how it came out!

I want to also remind folks that my relationship to the products I often invoke in this blog is best characterized as awed bystander. All hail Serguei, Yumio, Stewart, Tomi, etc!