May 31, 2005

Google Paying for Open Source Code

Google Code has released info on the “Summer of Code” program where Google will pay $500 and mentoring to launch your application and $4000 as reward once completed.

Participating organizations include:

The Python Software Foundation (ideas)
The Perl Foundation (submission guidelines & ideas)
The Apache Software Foundation
Ubuntu Linux (ideas)
The Mono Project (ideas)
The Gnome Foundation (ideas)
The Wine Project (ideas)
The Subversion Project (ideas)

Great news for the open source community, new developers (this is geared towards students), and google (early pickins’ of quality talent).

More information here.

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Stanford Daily Removes Link Farms

The Stanford Daily was known for all the link farming/spamming it was doing by basically selling links on their site.

Well, they just recently removed those link…shortly before an article (from the computer science department) dated Mar 2, 2005 and was just posted on the stanford site was released entitled Link Spam Alliances….I wonder if there is any correlation. I wonder if these departments and what they publish exist completely within their own silos or if these different departments communicate their intentions of publications that impacts the other.

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Microsoft XP Home being converted to Pro

Silicond.de is reporting that a German computer magazine has published that changing 2 bytes in an installation file in Windows XP Home converts it into Windows XP Pro (with only a few functions missing).

Seems as if, from the quotes wihtin the article, that the main driver is better security in Pro over Home.

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May 28, 2005

List of available Webservices

Hmmmm….time to get coding

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Mindset Search adjusts your search based on your mindset

From the folks at Next Yahoo (a.k.a. Yahoo Labs) comes a new tool called Mindset.

Basically, it adds a slider to your search that has “research” on one end and “shopping” on the other.

I decided to play around with it a bit by using a few queries other search engines have trouble with…but they don’t have trouble with them due to “bad results” per se…but rather that they don’t know what the intent of the user is.

First, I tried “apple.”
Apple can mean either the fruit or the macintosh company.

Mindset’s “middle-of-the-road” results showed the mac company first, followed by the store, quicktime, etc…all focused around the commercial computer company. The “shopping” results showed the apple store first, followed by the amazon ipod page, .mac, and the apple homepage. Finally, “researching” results showed apple fruit results on wikipedia, an apple computer resource group site, a Sir Isaac Newton site, an Apple computer history site, and a mac rumors site.

The next test was for the term “jaguar.” Researching results showed the cat’s page on wikipedia first. The “shopping” results showed Jaguar car parts store. Middle-of-the-road results showed the car manufacturer site first.

In my opinion, based solely on these 2 tests, the results were just as I intended. The results that were intended to be for research were would I have gone had I been researching. Similarly, I would have done the same for the shopping sites. The was 1 result I was unsure of not seeing the car manufacturer as the 1st result for “jaguar” under shopping…but then I thought “if I was in shopping mode, I would want a dealer or parts store and not the manufacturer…If I wanted to research to purchase a car rather than just plain old research (as in the case of the big cat), I would be in the middle of the road.” So, overall, the results actually delivered as promised on these 2 terms. All in all, a pretty good feture that delivered as promised (though a larger set of words would be needed for a better test..especially with multi-word combinations/phrases). This definitely performed a lot better than most “beta” services.

The slider with the changing results is also reminiscent of their smart sort functionality where, within their shopping site, you move sliders based on features you want in a product and the results sort dynamically, providing you with explanations of why it appeared in its slot relative to alternate products within the list.

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May 26, 2005

Build your own Segway

segway replica built with off the shelf parts at half the cost…also check out his single wheel version.
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May 25, 2005

Virtual Keyboard is available

Remeber the virtual keyboard that projected a keyboard onto any surface that you could “type” on?

Well, I was looking around and found it available at a number of locations.

Looks like they have a version available with bluetooth as well! It’s a pretty cool device but still a bit pricey at $200 US approx.

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Fiber 30GB for $50 / month

Wow! I just came across Jeremy’s post that shows verizon is offering fiber at these rates:

Up to 5 Mbps/2 Mbps $39.95
Up to 15 Mbps/2 Mbps - Best Value $49.95
Up to 30 Mbps/5 Mbps $199.95

I checked for availability but it isn’t in my area. Over at verizonfios.com, they list the communities they are avilable in. For California, they state:

FiOS is launching in these communities: Beaumont, Chino, Huntington Beach, Los Serranos, Malibu, Murrieta, Sun City, and Topanga. And we’re expanding the FiOS network everyday.

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Friendster Getting New CEO

hahahahahahahahahahahhahahah ahahahah aha ahahahahahah aha ahahhaha

funny stuff (for those of you who know what I mean) ;-)

Friendster engineers, please do contact Jermey about roles at Yahoo if you don’t want to be there anymore…or contact me for roles within IAC.

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MSN building Google Maps Competitor

Looks like MSN Maps (aka Mappoint) is building a competitor to Google Maps.

Check out the Demo in WMV format. It’s pretty long but shows lots of interesting features.

Some of the features include:

  • Panning and zooming like google’s (but also with additional functionality including the use of the mouse scroll wheeel to zoom, keyboard keys like +/- to zoom and arrow keys to pan, a compass that you click and drag on to pan faster/slower, etc).
  • satellite photography like google’s
  • street names overlay onto the satellite images that are easier to read than the watermarks on google’s
  • local search integration with colored markers so you have the ability to overlay multiple different searches and identify the different locations based on the different colors (i.e. “steak houses” are marked with blue on the map and “starbucks” are marked with rid, etc). Results are updated as you pan on the map.
  • The ability to save locations to a notepad…a novel idea I like. This can be used to plan out your day/trip. You can then take the contents of that scratch pad and email it or insert it into your MSN blog. Links take you back to the map (not the location).
  • 45-degree angle high-resolution pictures so you can actually see the buildings, people walking down the street, cars, etc (there was a discussion about why they chose this resolution instead of going even more high rez). These are the things talked about the most for this product. We’ve been used to seeing top-down views from satellites due to terraserver, mapquest, etc. These pictures, however, were taken by planes flying over the city.

Overall, a very compelling product. We’ll see how well it is done in real-world tests since a demo shows you only what they want to show you :-)

The developers claim they will launch US first then try and go worldwide (so the existing mapping product will run in parallel). They also claimed compatability with both MSIE (no surprises here) and firefox but no other browsers (i.e. safari, etc).

I hope they also build it in a way to provide APIs for those wanting to build MSN Maps hacks. I know their Mappoint product has a SOAP API but it is a commercial (paid for) product so I don’t know if they’ll support these individual hacks like google plans to (not that this will stop anyone :-)

BTW, also in the video is a discussion about moetizing. One possible integration that they’re “thinking about” is whether they will integrate ads on top of the map (Starbucks is an advertiser and all starbucks may show up on the map and is clickable for a related search such as “magazine rack”).

UPDATE: This is quicker to read than sitting through that long video.

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