Archive for the 'cool stuff' Category

Crime solving with crowd sourcing

“Crowd sourcing” is a buzz phrase often employed in conversations about new media. In theory, online media outlets will be able to utilize the wisdom of the crowd (i.e. their readers) to find out first-hand information about certain subjects. One of the most famous examples of this is the blog Talking Points Memo utilizing its readership to uncover the U.S. Attorney firings scandal.

Lately, though, I’ve seen a number of stories highlighting another way of using online crowd wisdom: Crime solving.

The latest example of this appears in a New York Times article. Two thieves pull up to a car dealership and take a relatively rare car on a “test drive.” They never return with the car, and not long afterwards the dealer posts a note on an online forum giving the details of the theft. After multiple sightings of the car, the implementation of both Google Maps and Facebook, and several camera phone pictures of the thief, the guy was nabbed and the dealer got his car back.

The NY Times article has dubbed this tactic “open source crime solving.” Now if only someone could create a website specifically for this specific kind of crowd sourcing.

This is why the internet was invented…

…So you can post youtube videos of a song you created using only sounds that come from Windows XP and 98 computers. You have to watch the Youtube video embedded below to know what I mean:

tiinker: The anti-Digg

So I’ve been tinkering around with a new website called tiinker (pun intended).

Some bloggers have labeled it the “anti-Digg.” I opened an account with it and poked around. It appears that unlike Digg, you can’t actually submit URLs to it — the website finds the URLs on its own. But like Digg, you can vote up or down on which URLs interest you, and then it uses an algorithm (likely similar to the one used for Wikia) to learn your reading habits and recommend more stories that you like.

This has an added benefit over Digg because — at least how I understand it — it’s virtually impossible to spam it by saturating it with your own posts. It’s designed for the individual, while stories that make it to the front page of Digg are geared toward mass audiences, thereby making it vulnerable to people who are trying to game the system. What’s more, tiinker has a “popular” page, so you can still get the mass-appeal stories. But in this instance you know that those stories aren’t being gamed.

Keep in mind I’ve only tried it out for a few minutes. I was a bit frustrated that it only had a handful of stories for me to vote up or down on — I was hoping to spend like a half hour trying to teach it what I like.

I need to remember to come back to this site regularly.

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Related posts:
1. A documentary about obsessive video game players
2. How difficult is it to scoop Boing Boing?

Some Thursday links

Here are some media-related links for your amusement:

1. Clearasil has started to run some clever magazine advertisements where you’re able to remove “pimple stickers” and place them on all the beautiful models in the other ads.

2. Are you a cable news junkie but tired of seeing 24-hour-a-day coverage of OJ Simpson? This restaurant may be for you.

3. Websites that were once cool but now they suck.

4. Google vs. Microsoft: No longer are they content on competing for search engine business, they’re now fighting over who can be the bigger philanthropist. For once, Microsoft is winning at something.

5. As was predicted, the Church of Scientology has issued take down copyright notices to Gawker for posting their promotional video online.

6. In other news, Digg.com has gone from the website that loves Ron Paul to the website that hates Ron Paul.

7. A cool blog post by Nicholas Carr titled “Is encryption a right?“: “As the Washington Post reports today, the encryption conflict is now coming to a head. A guy in Vermont, accused of storing child pornography on his computer, has refused to provide police with the password required to unlock the encrypted files on his hard drive. He claims that disclosing the password would violate his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. A judge backed his claim, and the government is now appealing that ruling in the federal courts.”

8. What’s with all the bizarre stories about Hilary Clinton having awkward encounters with her press bus? (via joel)

9. I might write more about this later, but a writer at the Columbia Journalism Review wonders why bloggers don’t form unions.

The history of Gawker

Ok, I’m headed out for the weekend, but not before I point you to this wonderful feature article about the history of Gawker.

via ed

Are you a lonely freelance journalist?

Were you one of those who dreamed about being able to quit your day job so that you could work for yourself at home, only to become extremely lonely once this dream came true? Well, a group of freelancers has created an organization called Jelly, which is basically a place for freelancers to hang out so that they can receive the social benefits of a work environment.

The “walkability” of your home

This is cool. A site called Walk Score calculates the “walkability” of your home. After you enter your address, it uses Google Maps to measure how far away you are from schools, restaurants and stores. If you’re within walking distance of these things, your “walkability” goes up. My current address has a score of 35 out of 100.

via Cjwn


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