Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Google Goggles

Google has an image search engine where the input itself is an image, not text as has been customary even in Google itself.

The project is called "Goggles." It's intended for use with your mobile phone as you are out and about. If you, for example, see a bottle of wine, book, or work of art that you would like to know more about, snap a picture of it, submit it to Google and view the results. You can also use Goggles to get more information from a business using a business card. Or take a picture of a store on a street to find out what else is in the neighborhood.

You can find more information about Goggles at:

Happy Holidays from Information Science News

A Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a Happy New Year to all! Here's wishing you a productive and rewarding 2010. May you find the things you search for.

I was trying to come up with a clever New Year's wish, and that last sentence was the best I could conjure. Still, it has a nice (George) Lucasian ring to it.

Happy Holidays y'all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fourth Paradigm

There is a new collection of essays from Microsoft Research in honor of Jim Gray, the renowned researcher at Microsoft who was lost at sea in 2007. The collection is titled "The Fourth Paradigm: Data Intensive Scientific Discovery." According to an article by John Markoff of the New York Times, the book's essays are centered around the topic of how to deal with the explosion of data -- particularly scientific data -- in recent years. This particular topic has come up in this blog before -- read about it here.

Some sample essay titles: "Beyond the tsunami: developing the infrastructure
to deal with life sciences data," "Visualization for data-intensive science," and "From web 2.0 to the global database."

Access to this book is free -- it's available at the Microsoft research site at

Monday, December 14, 2009

After reading a mention of the site in a recent NY Times article about how programmers are using government data in new and interesting ways (including an mashup of maps and crime reports that will help a user navigate home from a pub using a path with the fewest reported crimes), I wanted to take a look. is a very well done site. The interface is very nicely designed, and a brief look at the available data makes we want to come up with an app myself. There is a load of raw data on this site -- weekly fatality reports, IRS immigration data, airport status data -- you name it.

Interestingly, two days after the article appeared, there was another article in the NY Times about how the White House is asking all agencies to get their data onto this site...perhaps someone in the White House read the initial article and got fired up with the coolness of the idea of citizens creating value from government data.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great article in the New York Times about the oddities and curiosities that reside in the main branch of the New York Public Library. Some highlights: the cane Virginia Woolf left on the riverbank the day she committed suicide, as well as William Blake's hand-engraved 1793 version of “The Songs of Innocence."

Check it out at