Category Archives: work

On this page:
  • Web2.0 goodness
  • Back in the groove
  • Tagging people
  • Backlog: IBM
  • Happy girl
  • Connector, Maven, Salesman

Web2.0 goodness

I had a wonderful chat with Luis Buenaventura of http://oks.ph and a
gazillion other sites. =) Amazing, amazing. He’s a Fine Arts guy who
taught himself how to code in PHP, and he’s not only doing the usual
web design stuff but also thinking of how to build new businesses. We
chatted about Javascript versus Flash for the Adphoto portfolio
viewer, stock photography, and web hosting. For my part, I gave him an
idea for a new game-oriented website. Now all he needs is a name…

He’s a heck of a hacker. I need to introduce him to Paolo Venegas.
They’d get along. =)

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Back in the groove

I had a totally awesome day at IBM today, crunching some data and
doing some nifty photocloud visualizations of all the people who had
blogged about a certain topic. I sorted it by domain in order to
collocate people from the same lab, and resized the photos according
to the number of posts they had made, linking each picture to the
respective blogs. I then ran the same analysis on their bookmarks.
Next week, I’m going to do a 2D plot… =)

It was _tons_ of fun hacking together a little Java program to do the
analysis. I had to look up a lot of things in order to do the first
program. It took me a while to dump SAX in favor of DOM, but once I’d
gotten the XML parsing code out of the way, I wrote the data analysis
quickly. My code wouldn’t win points for elegance or efficiency, but
it works. I wish I had either Ruby or Python on that system – heck, I
could do this stuff in Emacs Lisp. I think I’ll go install the Windows
versions of my favorite programming languages as soon as possible,
although I might have to clear it with IBM first.

Today put me firmly back in the programming/hacking camp. I couldn’t
pry my fingers off the keyboard. =) Mark had to call me to make sure I
didn’t miss the 3:55 bus. I just had so much fun writing glue code and
crunching all the data. In terms of geek stuff, this is where I
belong…

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Random Japanese sentence: ペルシャ猫に関連した古いお話しがあります。
There is a classic story related about a Persian cat. Perusha-neko ni
kanren shita furui o-hanashi ga arimasu.

Tagging people

Boundary studies are nice for figuring out where something doesn’t
work and why it doesn’t work. I’ve been thinking about where tagging
and folksonomies break down for my FIS paper. Some of the cases I’ve
been looking at involve web services where you tag people.

Tagalag is a no-frills system for tagging
people. It doesn’t really offer anything in the way of immediate
personal incentive. In fact, the only thing you can do with it aside
from tagging people (e-mail address required) is put your XML feeds
together in an OPML list for easy aggregation. Very bare, and very few
users.

43people allows users to track whom
they’ve met and whom they want to meet. Popular tags include
occupation, gender, nationality, and location. Tags are also used to
describe characteristics such as “funny”, “glasses”, and “brilliant”.
This shows tagging as a clear faceted classification. “Find people
also tagged with…” makes it easier for people to search for
interesting combinations, and you can narrow the search to the current
city. Usual problems with keywords: “smart” vs “intelligent”, etc.
Particular problem: funny vs hilarious, relativity.

Consumating is the weirdest. It’s a
dating site with a much broader audience than the other two sites, and
you can tell that from the tags. The most popular tags follow the tag
profile of 43people, but the recent tags look like one-off tags used
for communication. That said, Consumating makes good use of tags in
conjunction with polls, prompting people to keep refining their
profile every week.

So: tagging other people is still a bit weird, but shows a bit of the
folksonomic piles-of-leaves flattened faceted classification. Tagging
one’s self, on the other hand, is more of self-expression, ad guiding
it with questions is pretty effective.

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Random Japanese sentence: すると、少し先に、またもう一匹、ふわふわした灰色のねこがめにつきました。そしてこれも前の二匹と全く同じくらいかわいいのです。 But then he saw a fuzzy gray cat over here which was every bit as pretty as the others, so he took it too.

Backlog: IBM

I skipped the HFIG panel (bad Sacha! ;) ) to go to IBM. I had so much
fun coding a simple data processor, though, that I didn’t feel guilty
at all. Another blogger had posted this _totally_ awesome
visualization of bloggers and their locations, and the blog entry
helped me learn how to determine a person’s work location given the
e-mail address. Neato. Also, I did some more evangelism work. Whee! =)

I had so much fun hacking that I nearly forgot about the 5:35 bus.
Good thing Stephen IMed me. =) I ran to the bus stop and caught it,
but that was still pretty scary!

I ended up chatting with Quinn on the way home. I should invite her to
a dinner party sometime…

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Random Japanese sentence: 「にゃお、にゃお、今度はおなかが減った!」と、百匹のねこ千匹のねこ、百万匹一億匹のねこがいいました。 “Mew, mew! Now we are hungry!” cried the Hundreds of cats, Thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats.

Happy girl

Did lots of fun things at IBM. Being there more than once a week
definitely changes the dynamic. Blogging becomes more of a
conversation. Things stay fresh. And I don’t fall off the front page
that quickly… =)

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Random Japanese sentence: 虎を大きな猫というなら、同じように猫を小さな虎といってもよい。 You may as well call a cat a small tiger as call a tiger a big cat.

Connector, Maven, Salesman

The Tipping Point – excellent book! – describes three kinds of people who are critical parts of massive change: the maven, the connector, and the salesman. Connectors are “people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”(p.43) Mavens are information specialists.(p.59) Salesmen have “the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing.”

I’m _supposed_ to be a Maven. That’s what computer geeks do – they geek. They grok. They learn something inside out. Strangely, though, I have the feeling that this isn’t quite my thing, that this isn’t quite what I’m meant to do. I guess it relates to my teaching philosophy. I’m not the expert! <laugh> I don’t know everything, and I’m
much happier helping people learn than trying to teach them everything they need to know. Besides, hanging out with people far more brilliant than I am makes me feel decidedly un-Maven-ish. =)

You know what I have _tons_ of fun doing? Connecting people with other people. I really, really want to help people make things happen, and if I can connect them with other people with similar or complementary passions, that would be totally awesome! I also _really_ have a lot of fun listening to people. I sell, sell, sell – not stuff, but ideas,
passion, confidence… I sell people themselves. I sell dreams of what they can do. I _love_ doing that! (And to think I used to be an INTJ…)

So I need your help figuring out what I’m going to do with my life. =) Software developer? I can do that, but there’s just so much else I _also_ want to do. I’d love it if you could help me imagine what my future can be so that I can prepare for it better. =D It’s not exactly the kind of thing you’d find in, say, What Color is Your Parachute…

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