Monthly Archives: September 2005

Volunteer to help with the Hurricane Katrina PeopleFinder

If you’re reading this now, you have the skills to help out with the Katrina PeopleFinder Project.

From Rebecca McKinnon’s blog, RConversation:

After Katrina many friends and family members have been separated and left with no clear way to find each other. Hundreds of internet web sites are gathering hundreds, and probably thousands, of entries about missing persons or persons who want to let others know they’re okay.

The problem is: the data on these sites has no particular form or structure. So it’s almost impossible for people to search or match things up. Plus there are dozens of sites – making it hard for a person seeking lost loved ones to search them all.

The Katrina PeopleFinder Project NEEDS YOUR HELP to enter data about missing and found people from various online sources. We’re requesting as little as an hour of your time. All you need to do is help read unstructured posts about missing or found persons, and then add the relevant data to a database through a simple online form.



Thanks to Jon Lebkowsky for letting me know about this effort.

NPR Podcasts (Media RSS)

Still in Beta, NPR is building an index of Podcasts, which you can sort by topic, title or provider.

Of course, regular RSS feeds are available as well. (Please, just put the link for both media player formats on the page for each broadcast, do we really need to go to another page just to select which streaming format? Thanks NPR!)

For the record, I still think “podcast” is a bad name for this media distribution method. Media RSS seems to be more descriptive (because eventually people will also have to say “video podcast” or somesuch and so on…).

Call for Papers: WWW2006 Conference

New notice for participation at the 15th Annual World Wide Web conference in Edinburgh, Scotland (one of my favorite cities).

I will be a reviewer again this year in the Browsers and User Interface track, where there are usually a number of amazing systems and interfaces. Here’s some text describing the track:

The Browsers and User Interfaces track at WWW’2006 focuses on promoting novel research directions and providing a forum where researchers, theoreticians, and practitioners can introduce new approaches, paradigms, applications, share their knowledge and opinions about problems and solutions related to accessing and interacting with data , services, and other humans over the Web. We invite original papers describing both theoretical and experimental research including (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Browsers and user experience on mobile devices
  • Browser interoperability
  • Novel client-side applications
  • Multimodal interfaces, including speech interaction
  • Information visualization on the Web
  • Multilingual Web content design
  • Novel browsing and navigation paradigms
  • Web interaction with the real world, including robotics and sensor networks
  • Adaptive Web displays and Web personalization
  • Ubiquitous web access, shared displays, and wearable computing
  • Web usability and user experience
  • Web accessibility
  • Web-based collaboration and collaborative Web use
  • Web-logs and online journalism

Hope to see you there.

Study of Yahoo and Google Indices

A fresh approach at some analysis of which search engine has a more comprehensize index: A Comparison of the Size of the Yahoo and Google Indices. It would be interesting to see this study at another order of magnitude, perhaps with MSN included. What I like best is that the study authors released the code for the tests. I seem to be finding that more academics are providing code to let others attempt to verify their study firsthand, build on the study to make relatable comparisons, and most importantly to prodive the opportunity for peer review of the code logic of what the study claims.

See you in Seattle in September (10-15)

I will be in Seattle soon for some work and fun, approximately September 10th through the 15th. I’ll be visiting with some of the smart people at MSN Search on Monday the 12th, so if you’re at Microsoft and have some loose time that matches up with mine, let’s chat!

Tuesday and Wednesday I will be participating in the Seattle Innovation Symposium, a wonky kind of academic thinkfest tasked with building an agenda for innovation in information technology research.

I have purposefully built some free time into this trip, so if you’re in the Seattle area and we know each other or you just think it might be interesting to get together and talk, I will try and coordinate a group meetup on demand. Just send me an email or post a comment right here.

(Forgive the aliteration in my post title, but at least I’m not an anxious anchor in a powerful post.) And of course, my trip will be guilt-free since I will have just verified my backups.

Mining and automating adding buddies in Google Talk

Did you know that anyone with a gmail address by default has a Google Talk ID? Just for fun, I did a grep though all my email files for addresses that match the pattern “” and did a quick regex insert for some of them to the blist.xml file that GAIM and Adium use to keep your buddy lists. This was an easy way (well for me at least) to add a group of people to my buddy list. Next time one of your new invites logs on, they get an invitation from you to be added to their Google Talk buddy list.

So if you get an invite from me, now you know why… Well maybe not actually why, but at least you know how.

If I didn’t send you an invite, try me. I’ll give you just one guess at my Google Talk ID.