Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Information Visualization

I went to a cool talk (video should eventually be available) at UW by Jeffery Heer, developer of the prefuse visualization toolkit, at Berkeley's Visualization Lab.

His Flare toolkit, a flash-based follow-on to prefuse, also seems to validate my desire to ditch Java for this sort of thing and move to Adobe's platform (flash/flex/AIR).

Mentioned during the talk were: GapMinder, ManyEyes

A related class at Berkeley on infoviz. I suppose, if I get interested in this stuff, I ought to read those Tufte books.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What Google should do

Since nobody asked me, let me tell you. Google needs another revenue stream. Advertising is a cyclical business, headed straight down just at the moment. And commoditized online advertising probably isn't a big enough business to sustain an operation the size of Google in the manner to which they've become accustomed. 
But when you're as big as Google, what businesses are worth getting into?
How much does VISA take in per year? I dunno, but I'm pretty sure if you want a money fountain to finance an altruistic geek nirvana, that's the kind of revenue stream you want.
Where support by advertising is a poor fit you need a way to keep the lights on. Charity and community spirit work for some efforts, but some things require the luster of cold hard (micro) cash. For the information economy to become a reality, this is a requirement. Many others have tried and failed, but if anyone can make micropayments work, it would be Google.
Medical records
There's a mint to be made data mining the nation's (or world's) medical records. Just collect the data and lease it back to the pharmas, biotechs, and academic researchers. The big roadblocks, which Google might have enough good will to overcome, are (justifiable) privacy concerns and the pathological motives of vested interests in the field.
Ok, I guess the GOOG is way ahead of me on both of these...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lecture videos online

You can become a scholar these days just by sitting in front of your computer watching video lectures.

A blog called FreeScienceOnline has a better course catalog than most universities.


A couple discussions about computer science lecture videos on stack exchange.

More Updates

Life-hacker has a post on how to Get a free college education online.