Wordle + HeyChinaski.com

Word cloud for HeyChinaski.com generated by Wordle

Daniel just Pownced a link to Wordle, a very slick application for generating clouds of words from a bunch of text where the most frequent words are displayed the largest.  It has a nice interface for customizing the appearance of the resulting cloud with a good range of fonts and preset color schemes to tweak.  Also it’s a Java Applet which actually features smooth animation and decent graphic design / typography.  Definitely a candidate for the Cool Applets blog.

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Powncified is back

I know, I know! Powncified hasn’t been working for some time now.  In fact it’s been out of action for over two weeks.  My excuse is that with the JavaOne trip and the big push for the upcoming Altio 5.2 release I’ve been too busy to get things sorted.  My excuse for not putting up a post to explain this and acknowledge the issue doesn’t exist.  I don’t have one.  Sorry.

Screenshot of Powncified

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Socialtio – Visually browse your Social Graph

Screenshot of Altio Social Graph demo

As promised here is another Altio demo that Dan and I built for the forthcoming Altio Graph Control. Like our previous Last.fm demo it diagrams users relationships within a social graph but this one uses a much wider dataset, the Google Social Graph. Given a url to a social network profile or a blog site it will attempt to find other profiles or sites on the web that belong to the same person. It will then find all the “friends” of that person according to the profiles it found. The initial user and all their friends will be diagrammed with lines drawn to indicate friendship between then. The graph can then be expanded by loading the friends for any user already on the graph.

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FindMe Firefox extension

FindMe IconWould anyone like to help me beta test Findme, my new Firefox extension? It uses Google’s Social Graph API to find other pages that belong to the same person as the page you’re currently viewing. For example from this blog’s main page it will provide you with a URL to my Pownce profile, my Myspace profile, my Last.fm profile etc. I was thinking of naming the extension “StalkMe” as it is possible to start at one profile on one social network and find most, if not all, of their web presence. StalkMe is a little bit creepy however I’d be willing to hear suggestions.

FindMe Firefox extension screenshot
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Wikipedia, Smale’s paradox and Goetz’s law

A video entitled Outside In from the Geometry Center popped up on Digg today explaining how it is possible to turn a sphere inside out without cutting or creasing it (given that it is infinitely elastic and can intersect itself). Despite the predictable Digg troll “Is there really a point to this?” and “Wait, what?” comments the video caught my interest, mainly because of how gently and clearly it explained a complicated but fascinating mathematical process. Continue reading

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Altio + Last.fm

Altio + Last.fm

Here‘s a little Altio app I built with a couple of guys from work (I work at Altio) that uses the new Graph custom control and the data feeds from the music website Last.fm to map connections between Last.fm users and their friends based on the music they listen to. If you give it your Last.fm username (or try mine if you don’t have one : HeyChinaski) it will load you and all the artists you’ve listened to in the last week in to a diagram. It will then load each of your friends and show which of them has been listening to the same artists this week.

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I’ve known about this for sometime, but Ariel just announced on the Pownce blog that they have chosen the Pownce+SXSW site I announced yesterday as the one they’ll be promoting at SXSW this weekend.

Preview of Pownce + SXSW app

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More Pownce News

A couple of weeks ago Leah and Ariel from Pownce suggested that someone build an app that shows a subset of the Pownce public feed with just the notes that contain the string “sxsw” for the upcoming SXSW Interactive festival. I teamed up with Rémi Toffoli who produced a nice flex app that used the stream that I created with the help of Chris and Dan.

Rémi Toffoli’s Pownce+SXSW app

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Powncified Update

Just a little update about Powncified. It’s been going quite well, not required too much maintenance and received a little attention courtesy of a pownce note from Daniel Burka. Thanks Daniel. It also briefly featured on the video podcast Epic-Fu presented by the lovely Zadi Diaz. You can add Powncified as a friend on Pownce to receive (almost) daily updates of what’s hot on Pownce. They are not as regular as I’d like as sometimes real life gets in the way and until the Pownce API provides a method for posting notes automatically I’ll be doing them by hand.

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Screenshot of Powncified

The post count on this blog has been dwindling somewhat recently. Spare time has been taken up working on a new project, Powncified which has been visible in the the side bar for a while. Powncified is a fan project of Pownce.com that uses the site’s API to find the most popular links posted by Pownce users in the last 24 hours. The top 10 links are displayed in order of the number of notes or “Pownces” that reference them. The total number of recipients, users that received any of the notes, is used as a tiebreaker. The application aims to provide insight into what links people actually value enough to share with their friends rather than just mark their appreciation of on social bookmarking sites. I discovered a similar site, PownceMeme by Bryan Pearson, that seemed to have a similar aim although I’m not sure of the algorithm applied there. It doesn’t seem to be based on any kind of “Pownce count” like Powncified. The other impetus of the project was to satisfy my own curiosity and once I started I had to follow it through.

The recipients tiebreaker is necessary as the numbers on the site aren’t that impressive at the moment. At the time of writing, the top link only had 3 Pownces in common. I’m hoping that, as the Pownce network grows, so will the correlation between the links people are posting. However looking at the last 6 months from Alexa this might not happen. The recent spike was likely caused by the extra publicity generated when the site opened up and left private beta on the 21st. However the traffic is already dropping. In any event the list will still hopefully serve as a resource of interesting links or at least satisfy those Pownce users with similar curiosities to my own.

I do intend to add a few additional features in the future. Certainly the ability to view the notes that refer to each link in another page. Also a similar feature that exists at Pownce and also PownceMeme whereby recognizable media such as YouTube videos and Flickr images are automatically embedded into the page. There are a few issues with the CSS layout I’d like to deal with as well. The page doesn’t resize so well and the background images of each list item would be better implemented with some kind of Sliding Door technique so that they resize to fit their content.

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