Features that make a distributed Internet based mechanism work – Understanding the success of Stack Overflow

27 October 2012 Categories: Internet tools

The video Founders@Google Presents: The Cultural Anthropology of Stack Exchange discusses design decisions that make 'Stack Overflow' such a successful question and answer system. It is interesting because you can see how the combination of cultural, behavioral, and also technical considerations of the system make it work so well – compared to other systems with similar goals.


Lecture – on the importance of following a principle (with a technical twist)

19 February 2012 Categories: Internet tools

Something about this lecture makes people say 'wow' when they watch it. I think it's a combination of a great technical demonstration and an inspirational, thought provoking lecturer.

Some reactions:

  • "Holy crap, that was a good talk. Thanks a lot."
  • "Brilliant."
  • "Just the best ever. Go go go."

Watch it.

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle from CUSEC on Vimeo.


Use of the Internet in Crisis Situations – Video Lecture, Tools and Resources

01 October 2011 Categories: Internet tools

In this one hour talk, two Google employees tell about Internet tools developed at Google and by other organizations to help manage crisis situations. When earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other disasters occur, tools like People Finder and Ushahidi are deployed. These tools are used for data collection and retrieval about missing persons, visualization of places in which help and rescue is needed, better communication, and and so on.

Other tools and resources for crowdsourcing of emergency and disaster relief:

  • CrisisCommons and CrisisCommons Wiki – "CrisisCommons seeks to advance and support the use of open data and volunteer technology communities to catalyze innovation in crisis management and global development."
  • InSTEDD – "InSTEDD has a unique niche — we design and use open source technology tools to help partners enhance collaboration and improve information flow and knowledge sharing to better deliver critical services to vulnerable populations."
  • Ushahidi – "We built the Ushahidi platform as a tool to easily crowdsource information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web."

Video – Google I/O 2011: Crisis Response 2.0 – Empowering Developers in Times of Crisis


Find Full length Video Lectures on Any topic

01 January 2011 Categories: Internet tools

Recorded lectures are one of the most valuable learning tools available online. The web is full of them – starting from universities that publish full courses (see YouTube – Education – YouTube EDU), through recorded conferences (see for example Semantic Universe on Vimeo), to privately made tutorials. Here is a way to easily find lots of full length videos on any topic that interest you. [Update 1/14/2010] There's a bookmarklet for that.



Don’t Use Images in Gmail’s signature!

09 August 2010 Categories: Internet tools

About a month ago Google add a new feature to Gmail – rich signatures. Among other design capabilities, the new feature lets you add images (or icons) to your signature. Now, there is a really big problem with the way images are added to the signature.

Images might change

Instead of just uploading an image and adding it to the email, when you create your rich signature you are asked to give a link to the image (see screenshot below). The link is of a web address, not a location on your computer. When you send an email, the link is a live link.Gmail's dialog box for adding image to the signature. Only Web address filed is available.

This mean that whenever someone opens an email you sent, the image is retrieved from it's original location on the web. If the image changed in the meantime – your recipient will see the changed image, and if it no longer exists – he will see no image at all.



Some Tips About Web Stuff – June 2010

04 June 2010 Categories: Internet tools

Find where  your friends are with Foursquare without a smartphone

Foursquare logodon’t have a smart phone but you want to know where your friends are? No problem. You can sign in to Foursquare from your desktop computer and find your friends. Then, go to foursquare’s mobile website (still from your desktop computer). There, you’ll see all your friends’ check-ins. That’s it. Quite simple, but it requires  breaking a functional fixation that make you think that you can’t consume location data if you can’t provide location data…