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Four short links: 4 Feb 2009

Data, climate change, and location:

  1. Details on Yahoo’s Distributed Database (Greg Linden) — summary of Yahoo!’s PNUTS, “a massively parallel and geographically distributed database system for Yahoo!’s web applications.” Greg keeps up with the papers from the search engine companies, and the insights he offers are great. For example, “Second, as figures 3 and 4 show, the average latency of requests to their database seems quite high, roughly 100 ms. This is high enough that web applications probably would incur too much total latency if they made a few requests serially (e.g. ask for some data, then, depending on what the data looks like, ask for some other data). That seems like a problem.”.
  2. Google Latitude — app and service for mobile phones (G1, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian) and desktops, where your location is tracked and displayed on a map which you can share with your friends. Interesting use of the map to get some Dodgeball-like functionality, but without programmatic access it’s less functional than FireEagle. I’m still not sure I really understand the use cases for this, and assume that over time it will evolve into something more practical.
  3. Without Hot Air — the full text of an excellent book on global warming is available. Well written and well thought. I look forward to the inevitable flood of foot-stamping carbon polluters harrumphing about flawed science and the inevitable final triumph of the flat earth geocentric cosmology.
  4. Is Big Data at a Tipping Point? — Tim pointed me to this a while ago, but I don’t think he’s blogged about it. Thesis is that as more and more open data gets out there, it’ll eventually be cross-related into something big and useful. The author asks how close we are to that. If the premise is true (and I’m not sure I buy the phase change metaphor), I think we’re definitely not going to be saying within 12 months “remember when we didn’t have enough useful plentiful accurate mashable data? thank goodness those days are past!”.
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  • John

    “…Thesis is that as more and more open data gets out there, it’ll eventually be cross-related into something big and useful…”

    You might want to take a look at the W3C’sLinking Open Data project.

  • http://www.dataspora.com Michael E Driscoll

    Nat – Thanks for the shout-out, not sure if I buy the phase change metaphor myself :) but glad to have provoked some discussion!

    Speaking of Big Data, I’m hopeful Tim may yet still write up the post on “Why we need cloud data services, not just cloud database services” that he mentioned back in November. http://radar.oreilly.com/2008/11/my-mind-is-buzzing-right-now.html.