- Top E-Tailers Profiting From Scams — Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion generated more than $1.4 billion by “misleading” Web shoppers, said members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. […] The government says the investigation shows that [the companies] “trick” consumers into entering their e-mail address just before they complete purchases at sites such as Orbitz, Priceline.com, Buy.com, 1-800 Flowers, Continental Airlines, Fandango, and Classmates.com. A Web ad, which many consumers say appears to be from the retailer, offers them cash back or coupon if they key in their e-mail address.
- Image Swirl (Google Labs) — interesting image search result navigator. It’s fun to play with, trying to figure out why particular sets of images are grouped together.
- Create Crisis (Dan Meyer) — great call to arms for educators. It’s still astonishing to me how few “learning xyz” books follow this advice. Would-be authors, take note! If there were ever an easy way to make your computer book stand out for being better than the rest, this is it!
- Typographic Character Coasters — the single best argument for laser cutters evar. Send the patterns to Ponoko if you don’t have a laser cutter handy.
November 2009 Archives
Scott Beale of Laughing Squid and I are going to be in the Philadelphia area today. We want to meet up with people while in town, so we're having a Drinkup at Triumph Brewing Company in the Old City area of Center City starting at 7PM. Facebook has the details. If you are involved in Ignite Philly, read Radar…
Scams, Swirl, Crisis, and Coasters
I’m on the board of CommonCrawl.Org, a nonprofit corporation that is attempting to provide a web crawl for use by all. An interesting report just got sent to us about the use of robots.txt files within the .Gov Top Level Domain, a standard known as the Robots Exclusion Standard. In examining about 32,000 subdomains in .gov, it turns at least 1,188 of these have a robots.txt file with a “global disallow,” meaning robots are excluded from indexing this content. Even more curious, on 175 of these sites, while there is a global disallow, there is a specific bypass that allows the Googlebot to index the data.
Google Health Beta and Microsoft's My Health Info
Healthcare in the near future will be quite different than it is today. Web enabled technology is already changing the way medicine is practiced. As the digital nation comes of age we will see new opportunities, and new challenges, bringing healthcare in America into the 21st century. Health consumers will come to expect they will have control over their own health data. Having secure, interoperable access to clinical data will allow patients to partner with their care providers in new ways incorporating Web 2.0 principles.
Chumby One, Gorgeous IE Debugger, Freer Than Free, and Phone-a-Friend for Government IT
- Chumby One (Bunnie Huang) — new Chumby product released. In addition to being about half the price of the original chumby, the new device added some features: it has an FM radio, and it has support for a rechargeable lithium ion battery (although it’s not included with the device, you have to buy one and install it yourself). There’s also a knob so you can easily/quickly adjust the volume. But I don’t think those are really the significant new features. What really gets me excited about this one is that it’s much more hackable.
- Deep Tracing of Internet Explorer (John Resig) — very sexy deep inspection of Internet Explorer. Finally, something IE does better than Firefox (other than exploits). dynaTrace Ajax works by sticking low-level instrumentation into Internet Explorer when it launches, capturing any activity that occurs – and I mean virtually any activity that you can imagine. (via Simon Willison)
- Less Than Free — begins by talking about Google giving away turn-by-turn directions on Android, and then analyses Google’s “less than free” business model: Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an “out” if they part ways with Google in the future. I then asked my friend, “so why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version.” Here was the big punch line – because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version! That’s right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the “less than free” business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally “less than free” price point, Symbian or windows mobile would need to subsidize. Double ouch!!
- Expert Labs — a new independent initiative to help policy makers in our government take advantage of the expertise of their fellow citizens. How does it work? Simple: 1. We ask policy makers what questions they need answered to make better decisions. 2. We help the technology community create the tools that will get those answers. 3. We prompt the scientific & research communities to provide the answers that will make our country run better. New non-profit from Anil Dash.
Web Time Travel, UK Map Data Liberation, Streetview Mashups, 3D Retail
- Memento: Time Travel for the Web — clever versioning hack that uses HTTP’s content negotiation to negotiate about the date!
- Ordnance Survey Maps to Go Online — The prime minister said that by April he hoped a consultation would be completed on the free provision of Ordnance Survey maps down to a scale of 1:10,000, (not the scale of a typical Landranger map set at 1:25,000). The online maps would be free to all, including commercial users who, previously, had to acquire expensive and restrictive licences at £5,000 per usage, a fee many entrepreneurs felt was too high. No word yet on license. (more details here)
- Freedom of Creation Shop — online store for 3D-printed objects. (via Makezine).