user-generated accuracy

Now that GoYellow Maps has been live for a couple days, i find it interesting that the most common reaction is to note that the map data is out of date in some places, by between 1 and 4 years. we are not alone with this: pretty much saw the same phenomenon, and google maps encounters it too.

i am wondering if this is a trick that perception plays on us: if we see an image of sufficiently high quality, our disbelief is suspended, and we assume immediacy. case in point, when my dad first saw the nice bird’s eye pictures from MSN local, he immediately asked why the cars in the picture are not moving. while we wait for the advent of real time satellite data, the lesson seems to be that the additional precision and detail of hybrid maps make any problems with accuracy more obvious. overall, i think it is a fair trade-off given that these hybrid maps fascinate people enough to seek out these inaccuracies. i mean, when is the last time you heard someone get excited about inaccuracies in a telephone book?

it might be possible, given easy to use tools, to harness this deep local knowledge people have about their immediate surroundings. at which point you’d have yet another industry hopping onto the user-generated content bandwagon.

second life is an euphemism for a busy retirement

The New Milenium Research Council released a study today:

Though it is widely understood that broadband technologies that allow rapid and ‘always on’ connections to the Internet will provide significant benefits to the U.S. economy, this report is the first to estimate the economic benefits to the nation due to cost savings and output expansion resulting from the use of broadband technologies for an important specific sub-group of the U.S. population: the roughly 70 million Americans who are over 65 or under that age but have disabilities. Three types of benefits from broadband deployment and use are addressed: lower medical costs; lower costs of institutionalized living; and additional output generated by more seniors and individuals with disabilities in the labor force. Considered together, these three benefits are estimated to accumulate to at least $927 billion in cost savings and output gains in 2005 dollars (with future benefits discounted for the ‘time value of money’) over the 25 year period, 2005 to 2030. This amount is equivalent to half of what the United States currently spends annually for medical care for all its citizens ($1.8 trillion). As large as these benefits may appear, they are line with previous estimates for the benefits of broadband for the population as a whole. Policies designed to accelerate the use of broadband for these populations, however, could significantly add to the benefits, by cumulative amounts ranging from $532 billion to $847 billion (depending on the wages earned by the additional working seniors). The policy benefits are as substantial as what the federal government is likely to spend on homeland security over the next 25 years. Total cumulative benefits, under the right set of policies, could exceed what the United States currently spends annually for health care for all its citizens. Clearly, with so much at stake, policymakers have strong reasons to consider measures to accelerate the deployment and use of broadband technologies for America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.

when you retire, your second life will be online. i had heard many a commenter mention their time constraints when faced with World of Warcraft or second life. is it unreasonable to expect a bimodal distribution on these platforms in the future? the young and the old certainly have the time. if these systems are able to attract older segments of the population, things will get interesting. actually, they already do.

if we leverage these enormous resources, ideally by making things like the mechanical turk or wikpedia fun for a large part of them, we’ll easily be able handle pensions and health care for a rapidly aging population, and still have funds left over for many more charity and nonprofit projects than today.

i always believed that a major reason for the bursting of the first bubble was that the internet experience of the average person is riddled with viruses, spyware and spam. it’s hard to overestimate how much this destroyed the trust and interest in all things internet. so maybe part of the appeal of these online worlds is there relative lack of annoyances (surely not for long..). what is needed, therefore, is a massive, probably grassroots, effort, to clean up the world’s computers and re-establish a safe browsing experience, and get these people back online. the rest will follow.

recommendations done right

i have recently started to use more frequently, again. i have had an account there since 2003, but had forgotten about it. in the meantime, they have built out an awesome service that works really well. it was a nice surprise to see that they upgraded early adopters to their version of a pro user, for free. this allows me to have my own radio station without lifting a finger, and other nice benefits.

coupled with their sane data policy, this is a clear winner. really useful and relevant unlike the overhyped silliness that is “podcasting”.

intelligent design

If you’re worried sick about all the outsourcing to China, losing sleep over the wholesale shift of manufacturing jobs to the Asia-Pacific region, and constantly banging your head on the wailing wall of “free” trade please have a look at the future –

Their machines do Injection Molding, Milling, Turning, Laser Cutting, Waterjet Cutting, Wire EDM, Tapping, Bending, Blanking, Punching, Plastic Extrusion, Thermoforming, Casting with Aluminum, Steel, Stainless, Copper, Sheet metal, Brass, Bronze, Wood, Nylon, Acetal, Polycarbonate, Polystyrene, Acrylic, Plastic, Fiber Glass and many others.


ADeux Black Bondage5
Fire2 Fondu Fondu3

released under the free art license
With this Free Art License, you are authorized to copy, distribute and freely transform the work of art while respecting the rights of the originator.
Far from ignoring the author’s rights, this license recognizes them and protects them. It reformulates their principle while making it possible for the public to make creative use of the works of art. Whereas current literary and artistic property rights result in restriction of the public’s access to works of art, the goal of the Free Art License is to encourage such access.
The intention is to make work accessible and to authorize the use of its resources by the greatest number of people: to use it in order to increase its use, to create new conditions for creation in order to multiply the possibilities of creation, while respecting the originators in according them recognition and defending their moral rights.
In fact, with the arrival of the digital age, the invention of the Internet and free software, a new approach to creation and production has made its appearance. It also encourages a continuation of the process of experimentation undertaken by many contemporary artists.
Knowledge and creativity are resources which, to be true to themselves, must remain free, i.e. remain a fundamental search which is not directly related to a concrete application. Creating means discovering the unknown, means inventing a reality without any heed to realism. Thus, the object(ive) of art is not equivalent to the finished and defined art object. This is the basic aim of this Free Art License: to promote and protect artistic practice freed from the rules of the market economy.

via george