As a geek, Slashdot was always the place to first hear about breaking stories. Today Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda announced that he was leaving the legendary tech news reporting website that he started in 1997. For a lot of us this is bittersweat, as it reminds us that we have been doing this tech thing for a while, making what we do a career and not a hobby.
I remember being introduced to Slashdot around 1998 by other techies and have continued to read the stories posted since then, first by visiting the site religiously throughout the day and now by waiting for the updates in my RSS reader.
Thank you CmdrTaco for the last 14 years and good luck on your new adventures.
Google announced today that a new layer has been added to Google Maps which will allow you to see current weather conditions on the map itself. It will show you an icon marker with the current weather and temperature, which when clicked will give you a simple forecast and current conditions. While it is not going to replace the NOAA Weather information for me now, this is a start and eventually I can see Google adding more features to this like real-time radar information.
Evernote announces today that they have acquired Skitch.
Evernote continues to improve and add functionality to a product I already use on a daily basis. Can not wait to download and install Skitch to complement Evernote.
Google Labs has produced a word frequency viewer of their current library of digitized books ranging from the 1800s to present time. This nifty site allows you to see how frequent a certain word/phrase appears within the books that Google has digitized. Not sure the practicality of this, but it is a pretty cool conversation starter.
For example here is comparison between the words war and peace. As one would expect there are jumps in the frequency of the words during WWI and WWII.
So, head on over and give Ngram Viewer a shot to see how your favorite words/phrases compare.
My parents always travel with their Boston Terrier. One of the problems they run into is finding hotels that are pet friendly. I decided to take a look if someone had addressed this and sure enough, someone did.
The site GoPetFriendly.com does exactly this.
It allows you to search a city/area for hotels or campgrounds that are pet friendly. It shows you the average rate for the location along with allowing you to select which amenities you would like to have at a location.
While my wife and I do not travel with our pet, there are a lot of people like my parents who feel more comfortable taking Fido with them. This site allows them to search from one location for hotels that are pet friendly.
BBS is reporting that the Italian version of Wired magazine has nominated “the Internet” for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. While I agree that the Internet has done a lot for communication among the people of the World, can it really win a prize like this? I mean, who would be awarded the prize? And remember the Internet was originally created as a US defense tool for increasing communication among institutions and military locations working on DARPA research projects.
I guess we will have to see what happens.
Here in the United States it is that time of the year when we fill out our 1040s and either send the IRS a check for what we owe or wait around the mailbox for the refund check.
To help with this preparation, the IRS has a wonderful online site filled with Tax Calculators, forms and other information useful in the preparation of the Income Tax form. So, grab that pencil and calculator and head over to Starbucks for some coffee to get you through the process.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Race is currently taking place in Alaska. This is a 1,150 mile long course through a myriad of different elements, and like every other major sporting event, it has a website complete with current leader boards and live updates.
So head on over to the Iditarod website and root on your favorite dog team. Woof! Woof!
Looks like Yahoo wants to get into the Social Networking business again. Yahoo News posted that Yahoo will be entering into an agreement with Twitter to allow users to link their Yahoo account information with Twitter. While the article was short on specific details about the integration, it seems to me that Yahoo is still playing catch-up to Google and obviously is trying to compete with Google Buzz.
So what do all these announcements really mean?
If you look at the current state of the web and the web of the past, it was a collection of relatively disjointed sites. You may have one site that you use for email, another for tracking notes/tasks/calendar, and possibly a number of sites for tracking your social network and connections to other people on the web. What we are seeing now is that people are starting to have a desire to interface all of these different sites together to leverage the information from one common portal. While the backend may still be multiple sites, there will be one location to go to to see all of your updates and possibly interface lists of disparate contacts together without having to add them to all of your websites.
This is the next wave of the web. I want to see all of my information together. I dislike the fact that I need to look at multiple websites to understand what is going on in my personal social network.
Besides being passionate about technology, I also am a huge sports fan. For the most part this means following the big four sports here in the United States, rooting for my favorite teams. However, every two years, I become an Olympics junkie. I will stay up late to watch events that I have no interest in the rest of the time.
I think sports fascinate because of the abundance of data around the sports. Baseball has RBI and OBP, basketball has shot percentages and football has the famous QB Rating. There is always some stat and some historical reference around that statistic that can be pondered.
Over the last couple of years, I have frequented the site Sports Reference for these historical statistics. Perusing the baseball and football sections to reference current and past players performance and statistics. Well, now I can do that for the Olympics also.
On the Sports Reference blog on Tuesday, they announced the addition of historical Olympic data. Now I can find out that Larisa Latynina of the former Soviet Union is the top Olympic medal winner of all time with 18 medals won in Gymnastics at the Summer Olympics, or that Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway is the top Winter Olympics medal winner of all time with 12 in Cross Country Skiing. All the data is there, going back to the early 1900s through the 2008 Beijing games.
For a stat junkie like myself, this is the best thing that could have come out during the Olympics.