Archived entries for Social Web

Hookytime: Yahoo! Developer Day / Hack Day on Sept. 29th and 30th

picture of the event's tshirt logo

I know, I know, you LOVE to go to work/school on a Friday. It’s your favorite day of the week and there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in your office/cube/classroom. That’s cool — I don’t judge — but, but, but next Friday (Sept 29th) you realllly should play hooky and sneak down to Yahoo for our first every public Hack Day and Developer Day. It’s gonna be quite the event, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it. Really, you should come.

Sold? Cool: learn more and request an invitation.

Developer Day, Friday from 9-5, is packed with 20 sessions across four tracks. They are not to be missed: Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP will be giving a talk. So is Iain Lamb, (an Ajax/DHTML pioneer who co-founded Oddpost which evolved into the new Yahoo! Mail product). JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford will be dropping knowledge, as will many others. Web-celeb and Flickr’s chief software architect Cal Henderson will be speaking. The plenary is by none other than Yahoo!’s VP of Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz, (a very rare opportunity to hear him speak [for free]). Most of the authors of the open-source YUI Library will be guilding hands-on sessions dedicated to many YUI components (I’ll be teaching a hands-on session about YUI’s three CSS components.

But that’s not even the cool stuff!

We’ve got top-tier entertainment lined up for Friday night, and while they won’t tell me who it is, Michale Arrington (who’s in the know, and MCing this event) writes:

The entertainment lined up for Friday night is going to be incredible, although a non disclosure agreement prohibits us from saying who it is. I can say with confidence, though, that everyone attending the event will be very, very happy they were there for Friday night’s party.

Then the REAL fun starts: 24 hour hackathon.

Be there! (Tons of press will be, so if you miss it you can read or hear about it the next day.) We’ve got people coming in from Australia and everywhere between here and there, so beg borrow and steal and get yourself here too (You MUST register in advance – security will be tight… for real.)

Drop me a line if you want more info or whatever. Tons of people have blogged about this, so instead of linking to ‘em all I’ll just point you to Technorati: http://technorati.com/search/hackday.org?sort=authority

Curious about Creative Commons?

Are you curious about Creative Commons? Why their licenses are? How they work? Why you should care?

If so, I recommend you head to the Yahoo! Publisher Network blog to read their new post that’s guest-written by Creative Common’s Creative Director Eric Steuer. He answers those questions and points to some resources in a clear and concise article well worth your time.

Announcing: Nate’s Job List

It’s because I’m busy and lazy that I’m announcing this new “one-to-many” channel. Though I truly want to help all my friends, colleagues, and contacts hook up [employment], I unfortunately don’t have time for personalized matchmaking.

My new list, perfect if you’re looking for employees or employers, is a newsletter not a message board. This means you can all subscribe but I’ll be the only one posting. I’ll post to it every time I get questions like these, which lately has been frequently:

  • Can you introduce me to good web developers looking for work?
  • Know a good visual designer?
  • Know anybody that matches this job description?
  • I’m looking to switch employers, who’s hiring?
  • I’m looking for freelance work, know any cool projects?

So, if you’re looking for work or workers, sign up for the list either online or by sending an email to nates-job-list-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Unless explicitly instructed otherwise, I’ll strip contact info from offers before posting them to the list. This will protect the innocent and allow for quality control while cutting down spam.

If you are interested in a job or person that I’ve posted to the list, send me an email (at my-firstname at my-lastname dot com) and I’ll put you in contact with the potential employee or employer. Please take a moment to ensure you’re sending me something useful and user-friendly (remember: I’m lazy!). Best case scenario: I can just forward your email without modification. Therefore, include a cover letter, url to your resume or job listing, any tracking info (such as the unique identifier for the job), etc.

I hope this is a good system, and better than spamming my blog with all the postings. Feedback very welcome.

Thanks,
Nate

Protect Free Speech at 7pm Tonight in San Francisco

How often do you get a real and important opportunity to stand up for what you believe in? If your answer is “not often enough”, then join me at the “Free Josh Wolf” party tonight at House of Shields in downtown San Francisco. (Event and location details on upcoming.org)

Jackson West summarizes it well:

Josh Wolf is a Bay Area journalist who was imprisoned for refusing to cooperate with the federal grand jury and turn over video footage that wouldn’t have even necessarily been relevant to their case.

Why does this matter to you? Because it means even journalist and citizen could potentially be legally compelled to aid in surveillance of political activity. Because journalists, artists and bloggers have the right to take private notes and recordings in order to cover events and craft stories. And because an attack on Josh is an attack on freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

Josh needs help with his legal bills and rent. Booze and music will be on hand, you just need to show up and support Josh. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

And eddie has the whole back story.

Here are links (from eddie’s coverage) that you might visit:

See you tonight!

NYTimes: “Google in China: The Big Disconnect”

Quick pointer: Great, long, interesting article on the the state of the internet in China. Censorship, culture, business, morals.

Discusses the experiences of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!; Cisco on the hardware/router side; local players like Baidu, Sina and Sohu; several journalists and bloggers active within China; and what it all might mean.

There are multiple eye-opening descriptions of cultural forces at play in China, and how those influence Internet usage in general.

All and all, a helpful and enjoyable primer.

Most Underrated API? The Yahoo! Term Extractor

There’s a million APIs out there, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s easy now to translate street addresses to lat/long coordinates. It’s easy to grab local results, and overlay them on a map. It’s easy to use Yahoo or Google to get all types of search results (local, images, etc), and sites like Amazon to get prices and products.

But I think one of the coolest and most underrated APIs is the Term Extractor API from Yahoo!:

In other words, you point it at a piece of content — a news article, blog post, movie review or whatever — and it returns a list of terms, or keywords (or “tags” for those of you keeping score at home).

What do you do next with a list of keywords from a piece of content? Well, lots of things. Jeremy Keith wrote yesterday about a few ideas (that seem up for grabs, if you’re in a hacking mood!).

What if you treated each returned term as a tag? You could then pass those tags to any number of tag-based services, like Flickr, Del.icio.us, or Technorati.

So, instead of the simple “here’s my Technorati profile” or “here are my Flickr pics” on a blog, you could have links that were specific to each individual blog post. If I sent the text of this post to the term extractor, it would return a list of terms like “api”, “yahoo”, etc. By passing those terms as tags to a service like Technorati or Del.icio.us, readers could be pointed to other blog posts and articles that are (probably) related.

Like he suggests, it gets interesting when you let the output from this web service be the input for another service. I was lucky enough a few months ago to lend a small bit of help to the team that brought you the Yahoo! Events Browser mashup. One challenge of that product was to get images associated with each event. If you’ve ever worked with unstructured data — event listings are super unstructured — then you know that they don’t provide many high-quality hooks for understanding their content. The team tried doing image searches on venue or artist name, but the results weren’t very relevant or interesting, even when the parsed venue or artist was accurate. So, being the put-lots-of-pieces-together types there are, they decided to use the Term Extractor to discover more accurate, meaningful, and specific query terms to then find images for. Here’s how they summed it up:

To display appropriate images for events, local event output was sent into the Term Extraction API, then the term vector was given to the Image Search API. The results are often incredibly accurate.

I’ve only seen a handful of implementations of the Term Extractor API so far. If you’ve got a cool one to point me to, or a cool idea for a future implementation, please leave ‘em in the comments below.



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