Saturday, 27 February 2010

Quick post

Been watching twitter again, really interesting (and somewhat distressing) to watch the information about this earthquake/tsunami event throughout the southern pacific. Twitter continues to be a unique source, or at least aggregation, of information as the day continues.

See here and here for some amazing data/graphs all of the science stations and monitoring equipment have managed to piece together. Here is the original report which hit the net early this morning and soon got around, still being re-tweeted 12 hours later.

Though the source of many losses of life - and I know all our thoughts are with those who now have to take account of losses and begin the next stages of clear up and overcoming the emotional effects of it all - this is an example of technology being a huge help to the world. That data can be collected and dispersed so quickly is amazing, and if the tsunami does turn out to be significant, the warning of over 24 hours in some cases is invaluable.

I continue to be amazed that scientists are keeping careful logs of sea levels and seismic activity in places that are essentially inaccessible. Hundreds or even thousands of miles out to sea are buoys placed to measure this kind of data, and who knows how many man hours are spent collating it all. And at what expense. Whoever's funding this stuff needs to be thanked and have funding thrown at them to make sure it continues. (assuming of course that extra money solves any problem..)

Current tsunami data kept updated here.

Be safe out there.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Twitter Trends

I realise Twitter really isn't new, and I'm pretty late to jump on this bandwagon, but still...

I joined twitter yesterday, and while I have exactly zero followers (minus spammers), I have been keeping track of the trends which ebb and flow throughout the day. It's actually pretty interesting, and once you filter out all the "Buy Viagra pills here #click" and "Thank goodness its Friday" tedium, there's a lot of useful info to be found.

For example, the shear number of people who are constantly checking news sites, and twittering the interesting bits is pretty exciting. It means you can find out things ahead of the news sites themselves, which in this modern world of "I want everything, now" mindsets, means instead of going to look for news, it comes to you.

Well sort of. Very often, and I mean probably 99% of the time, the information you receive over twitter is a two word description, and a link to a news source. So really, the information is already researched, fact checked and uploaded, and all twitter is really doing is letting you know of news which has high interest. Nothing wrong with that, but not especially world changing.

I'm waiting to stumble across something ground-breaking. I was led to believe that twitter is full of people saying the sort of things that the big news corps refuse to talk about, or governments are avoiding attention of. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, and I'll keep looking.

For the moment I guess I'm content to consider the implications that really, given all the myriad of events happening the world over, we'd really prefer to discuss that a road in Derby is going to be named after Lara Croft, or whether various footballers may be dropped or signed to various teams. I did enjoy the speed that a leaking fish-tank became worldwide news though.

As an aside, I've been thinking over the form this blog should take. Am I happy to simply say what's on my mind, or should I be taking a stance on certain opinions and arguing my case? I prefer impartial speculation myself, but perhaps for more interesting reading I should get excited and angry about things...

I'll try and find something to be passionate about for my next post.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Some links + commentary

Always interesting to see new ways of saving the world, and these guys seem to have a business model worked out already. I think its one thing to have a cool eco-idea, and something completely different to have a may to monetise it. Reading through the company website, it seems they already have a few projects on the way, with big businesses seeing this as a way to stamp "Carbon Neutral Company" on their letterheads. So much the better, and it would be pretty cool to see a recycled plastic house. Maybe a time lapse video of one being built would demonstrate the ease of use in difficult locations?

Extra points for the company that gets this stuff working in Lego brick form...

This is brilliant, if a week or so old by now. I suppose google has enough of a sense of humour about it to let it stay up there, we can hope so anyway.

Its interesting just how much information Google has on us nowadays, far more than simple web searching histories of yesteryear. During my mornings RSS feed reading, I decided to join twitter (and blogspot), and began to connect to all the feeds that I normally read through the RSS feeds. TechCrunch offered to let me follow them through Buzz, which is part of GoogleMail, which Blogger allowed me to sign in with in order to set up this blog. So I have a blog, webmail, a social networking site, and rss style aggregation, as well as search histories, all under the watchful eyes of our mighty Google overlords.

Theres probably more I havent considered yet. Now consider you can have google chrome as a viewer to the intertubes, android on your HTC google phone, and the fact that these guys have photos of your house, front door, car *your life*.... we are very lucky they've decided not to be evil. Oh, and chances are this data is stored and cached on a google server somewhere, (or more accurately, hundreds of places) and you're using cables thrown across oceans paid for by them too....

When its listed out like that, I cant really think of anything they don't own!


as I was saying...

Are we sitting comfortably?

Then I'll guess I'll begin.

I've been meaning to start a blog for a very long time, and have recently started caring enough about all the information, factoids, links, pictures and #hashtags that I find throughout the web, that it may turn out to be worthwhile to collect them all in some central location.

We can also expect some random musings on the state of the world, namely upcoming technology, social networking trends, and scientific breakthroughs that I find of interest.

A list of some sites/ feeds I frequent:

Ars Technica
The Register
BBC Click
cnet .... and many numerous others.

Also hundreds of webcomics/videos: Dilbert, Penny Arcade, XKCD, Geek and Poke, Abstruse Goose, Zero Punctuation... and others I'm sure I'll link to.

F1rst P0st

Hello World