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Four short links: 18 Mar 2009

Open data sites, Kenyan mobile phone startup, open cheminformatics, and Uncle Sam Can’t Surf:

  1. Timetric — time series data, charted. Takes earlier Pro-Am data analysis tools Many Eyes and Swivel a step further with formulaes, moving averages, triggers, and updated data. Oh, and it plays well with others: OpenID, OAuth, OpenSearch, and a useful API. I met one of the founders at Science Foo Camp a year or two ago, where he was introducing computational chemists to the semantic web.
  2. txtEagle — ETech 2009 video, Nathan Eagle on mobile startups in Kenya. The first five minutes alone redlined my awe-ometer: he’s been teaching CS students and then professors, in sub-Saharan Africa, how to develop for mobile phones. Now there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mobile phone developers where before there were few, and plenty of startups. Work on Stuff That Matters.
  3. Open Cheminformatics — in this post about a new open cheminformatics journal, Peter Murray Rust summarizes the current state of cheminformatics It suffers from closed data, closed source and closed standards, and thereby generally poor experimental design, poor metrics and almost always irreproducible results and conclusions which are based on subjective opinions and then goes on to list the rays of hope, the open data, open source, open standards (ODOSOS) projects in cheminformatics.
  4. Government 2.0 Meets Catch-22 (NY Times) — “We have a Facebook page,” said one official of the Department of Homeland Security. “But we don’t allow people to look at Facebook in the office. So we have to go home to use it. I find this bizarre.” This is the perfect antidote to those who would say that the web isn’t the transformative break with the status quo: bureaucrats represent the ultimate in status quo, and if they’re grappling with the web then that means the web is as different as we’ve always said it is.
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  • http://www.chemspider.com/blog ChemSpiderMan

    Relative to 3) – there are repositories for Open Data but scientists generally don’t want to contribute. There are Open Source packages but the commercial packages are far less buggy and allow the delivery of superior solutions much faster…this WILL change and it is coming. There ARE Open Standards in many domains but we’re stuck in a mode of producing something of high quality now, but closed format, rather than lower quality but open format. The Open Standards in many areas are not lossless at the required level – think analytical data. This also, will change