The End of Boorish Intrusion

(This is a copy of my Loose Wire Sevice column, produced for newspapers and other print publications.) By Jeremy Wagstaff One of the ironies about this new era of communications is that we’re a lot less communicative than we used to be. Cellphones, laptops, iPhones, netbooks, smartphones, tablets, all put us in touching distance of …

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Nonsense Linking, Or the Rise of the Cheap Bot

I’m a big fan of The Guardian, but their auto-linking software needs some tweaking. It’s a classic example of trying to provide that extra value to data on the cheap. My argument for a while has been that the only lasting way for traditional media to make itself competitive again is not to create more, …

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Protect Your Privacy With Twiglets

I really hate being asked for lots of private details just to download a product. In short: People shouldn’t have to register to try something out. An email address, yes, if absolutely necessary. But better not: just let the person decide whether they like it. It’s the online equivalent of a salesperson shadowing you around the shop …

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Europe’s Top-heavy Leagues

 Spanish Primera Liga (48%)  German Bundesliga (54%)  English Premier League (47%)  French Ligue 1 (47%)  Greek Ethniki Katigoria (6%)  Dutch Eredivisie (25%)  Italy Serie A (24%)  English Championship (29%)  Scottish Premier League (29% This doesn’t have a lot to do with technology, but it’s an excuse to play around with sparklines, Edward Tufte’s approach to feeding data …

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Sudoku’s Secret: Open Source Collaboration

Great piece in the NYT/IHT on the company behind Sudoku and similar games. Their approach — no trademarking, harnessing users to help develop and perfect games — all sounds very Open Source: clipped from www.iht.com Nikoli’s secret, Kaji said, lay in a kind of democratization of puzzle invention. The company itself does not actually create …

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Mapping Your Tiddly Thoughts

I’m a big fan of TiddlyWiki, the personal wiki that runs in one file in your browser, and I’m very impressed by all the plug-ins and tweaks that the program’s users are introducing. (I wrote about TiddlyWiki last year in a WSJ.com column — subscription only, sorry — but have also included some notes for …

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How to Make More Use of the Vicar

In last week’s WSJ column (subscription only, I’m afraid) I wrote about how Bayesian Filters — derived from the theories of an 18th century vicar called Thomas Bayes and used to filter out spam — could also be used to sift through other kinds of data. Here’s a preliminary list of some of the uses …

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On News Visualization, Part II

This week’s Loose Wire column in WSJ is about visualizing news. Researching the column I had a chance to interview Craig Mod, the guy behind the excellent Buzztracker. Here’s an edited transcript of our chat: Craig Mod: We have over 550,000 articles in the DB now, spanning back to Jan 1st 2004. “Buzztracker” went from …

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How To Hoover Up Addresses

Maybe it’s just the summer heat but I get the feeling that, finally, people are focusing on software tools that really make working on a computer easier. Sure this has been the case for a while, but these companies seem to actually stick around long enough to make some money. So they have to be …

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