Archive for September, 2004

Everything that is offered in My Yahoo should be offered as a Web Service

Everything that is offered in My Yahoo should be offered as a Web Service

Jeremy Zawodny asks what web services users and developers want from Yahoo.

My answer is simple. Everything that is offered in My Yahoo should be offered as a Web Service.

The vision of My Yahoo was a single personalized location for all information flows on the Web. Well it was actually all flows on Yahoo, but in those days Yahoo was aiming to become all the Web.

Today, RSS aggregation is starting to fulfill the vision. Even My Yahoo has embraced this. Yet there exists a deep source of information on My Yahoo for which aggregators have no source — stock quotes, weather, sports, movie listings, tv, ski report, etc etc etc.

My Yahoo has personalized and centralized these flows into a single system. All that’s needed is to present these modules in Web Service views — in SOAP, XMLRPC, RESTful, and RSS. This would be straightforward technically. I’ve already experimented with it via screen scraping in myy2rss (currently “down for repairs”).

The tricky part is .. how do you make a business out of it?

Another thing: The backend to My Yahoo is .. the user database. The Yahoo user database is one of the largest, if not the largest, databases around. Single sign on was a hot topic a couple years ago, and Microsoft scared everyone with their proposal. Yahoo should offer the Yahoo login as a single sign on service. The specs are out there, waiting for an implementation. There’s definitely a business in this; The tricky part here is .. do people trust Yahoo enough with such an essential service.

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Mapping Craigslist

Mapping Craigslist

Doing some cafe hacking. Built this prototype map of craigslist ads. Thanks to jo, for the unintentional reminder.

This is only a prototype, for a single category in a single location. Would be cool to see this for any search within craigslist. Though that’s heavy duty on my end. Wonder what Craig and friends think about this.

The feed is built from the craigslist RSS feed for apartments for rent in San Francisco. Every 4 hours, this feed is requested. The link for each listing is downloaded and parsed for the link to Yahoo Maps (though not every listing has this link to the rental location). That address is then used in an xmlrpc request to geocoder.us, which returns a lat/lon. The is added to the output, and the result is geocoded RSS 2 for use with worldKit.

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From the Ground, mapped

From the Ground, mapped

Confuctus is a man from Nebraska, looking for a change in his life. He started off in June to walk on foot through the MidWest, from Nebraska to the Atlantic Coast. A personal journey and a journey through small town America. He’s blogging all the adventures and challenges.

I took a journey across the midwest, biking with a friend from Chicago to Atlanta, then on to South Carolina. People were incredibly friendly and generous, the oddity of the bikes these days got their curiousity.

His journey is inspiring and prime for mapping. So here it is .. From the Ground, mapped.

It was pointed out that you can’t tell which direction he’s travelling. Good point. Hopefully something will develop to address direction out of this epic geowanking thread.

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they don’t know maps in georgia

they don’t know maps in georgia

it turns my intuition on its head. trying to get somewhere around tbilisi or batumi, ripping out a map and pointing to a location is pretty useless at crossing linguistic barriers. georgians didn’t seem to rely on maps at all, rather they rely on personal experience and communication. the view of the city as an overhead map, is only the most familiar representation where those maps exist and are useful. the georgian representation is situated and embodied in the mental city itself.

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My dissertation is complete! An Ecological Approach to the Evolution of Complexity

My dissertation is complete! An Ecological Approach to the Evolution of Complexity

Two weeks ago I completed an intense summer of work and submitted my dissertation for the MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems. If all goes to plan, and there’s no reason why not, I will have my degree within the next month. The research turned out well, and may lead to some future developments. Here I’m publishing the text (minus the code appendix) and the abstract, for easier reading flavor. Enjoy! (I am for sure).

An Ecological Approach to the Evolution of Complexity

How evolution led to complex life is one of the great questions. This paper describes simulations that investigate the role of ecological interactions in the evolution of complexity. Webworld is a robust model of evolution in food webs. It is extended for variability of organism complexity under evolution. Statistical and network analysis indicates a clear tendency for complexification within the model, led by adaptations that initially disconnect the species from trophic interactions. This suggests a process where short term fitness is increased by less connection to the ecosystem, but long term fitness is insured by incorporation within the ecosystem. Certainly it suggests a greater role for ecosystems in the evolution of complexity.

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