Friday, 29 June 2012

Wikipedia 3.0

A map of geo-tagged data in Chicago shows a heavy concentration of tweets, Flickr, and Wikipedia.  There are also a a large number of Foursquares.  

Tokyo Japan.  Not surprising that the people of Japan have a lot of Flickr posts, they are famous for their love of photography.

But the service that provides the richest web data is Wikipedia which provides rich geo-tagged data for amost all the major features of human civilization.

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Get the Internet out of the browser and in to the world!

Mashup Map of London, showing location of Yelp, Wikipedia, Tweets, Flickr images and Foursquare
The Web 3.0 Lab is producing a social map.  Our project aims to extend the web from a list or browser in to what it really is: the real world.  Our work is to place the Internet where it belongs, in the real world, among real people in real time.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Open Data, a good list for Quora

Here are many of the links mentioned so far:


Friday, 22 June 2012

The failure of the wisdom of crowds

A review of GetGlue ranking of books is dominated by cartoons. So where is the wisdom of crowds?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tablet OS Review: Windows 8, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and iPad

Two years ago you had three tablet options.  Windows XP which required a stylus, Android for the phone or iPad.  It was kind of a no brainer to go with the iPad.  Since then a number of promised tablet OS systems have failed to make any impression including HP WebOS, RIMs tablet and MeeGo.  

Not surprising at all the three giants that dominate our age have produced three tablet OS, but how do they compare.  Microsoft, Apple and Google's Android are in a struggle over this key space in the computer industry. Today we just look at the high level style and feel.

Windows 8

Okay after ranting against this for a while we have to say that the new Start page rocks.  It is easy to handle, had a clear easy to see color layout, and nice big buttons.  Not sure how it will scale up when it has to handle hundreds of apps but it certainly looks good with the dozen of so apps we had, and easy to find apps and launch them with a finger.  I found that the Windows 8 start screen is better for finding a large number of apps than the Android layout. 

Odd as it is to say this: Windows 8 has pretty.  Since you are probably going to be carrying a tablet around with you all the time, and maybe even falling asleep with one, you certainly want a home screen that looks nice. And you get that with Windows 8.  It looks a lot better than my Android tablets.
Not surprisingly Windows 8 is pushing you to use your MSN/Hotmail license.  It would have been nice to have Microsoft actually build good Cloud services before pushing then on us, but Microsoft's Cloud will also be a long term advantage to Windows 8.

Microsoft has embraced the App Store model.  Now for the ecosystem to build stuff.  This is probably the do or die feature but no doubt Redwood will be able to get plenty of people to build apps.

Windows 8 Best feature is it is Windows!  That is to say you can use it in the same way you can use a PC, which Android and Apple iOS remain mostly large phones.  So you can launch your Office applications and work on it just like a PC, something you really can't fully do with an iPad or Androids.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Like all the OS for tablet the makers are locking you in to their Cloud, in Google's case there is the Cloud there to make it really worth your while.  I have been using Google Cloud for some time and it makes Android a logical chose for me, as it has my mail, pictures, blogs, and documents in one place.  If you are not so linked in to Google Cloud Android is easily the worst of the three tablet OS.  I hate to have to write this but it is my opinion.
Android does boot up much faster than Windows 8, so you will get more function out of your hardware.  But it still is essentially a big phone.  Not really a work device yet. 


Essentially Ice Cream Sandwich is a way to navigate a tree of apps.  The graphic quality of this experience will vary with hardware producer, but generally it is inferior to Apple. The interface of app icons leaves something to be desired.  This interface is substandard to the new Start screen developed for Windows 8.

Apple iPad iOS

What can be said about this device of devices?  Hard to think of anything that can be said that has not been said already.  For what it is it is perfect.  Easy and fun to use, amazing graphic quality, intuitive UI design iPad sets the standards for all other tablets.

Apple is the standard everyone else aims to.

The largest collections of app in the Universe provide a rich set of useful tools.

A media system that set the worlds standard.  The best mobile surface for video, movies and music very created.

If I could find one thing to fault the iPad with is that it is not much of a work tool.  The productivity tools all end up being little more than note taking tools or document reading tools.  Windows 8 ability to run Office will be a real defining feature that will likely cost iOS in the future, unless they counter it quickly.

Okay its still really just a big phone, but oh what a big phone it is.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Maps: To Google or not to Google?

Map of 8 hours of tweets over London using Google Maps
BBC has reported that Google is launching a major upgrade of its mapping technology (bolds inserted by Web 3.0 Lab and not the BBC):

Google has demonstrated new mapping technologies in an effort to reassert its position as a market leader. While it boasts one billion users, Google Maps has recently seen defections by some key developers and partners. Reports suggest Apple may abandon Google Maps next week at its annual developer conference. They suggest Apple may announce its own mapping application to replace Google Maps on its smartphones and tablets. 
To counteract any negative publicity, Google executives held a media event on Wednesday in San Francisco to preview new mapping features and trumpet a decade of achievements in digital mapping, including its use of satellite, aerial and street-level views. Among the stand-out features were 3D enhancements to Google Earth, a portable device for taking "street view" panoramic photos and offline access to Google Maps on Android phones. 
Laura Locke at BBC 

For a long time the choice you had in mapping was Bing or Google.  Frankly that was something of a 'no brainer'.  Google satellite images alone were often clearly and generally taken at better times of the day. Just writing this post I looked the same location in both Bing and Google and it is hard to escape that the quality of Google is higher.  Bing seemed to not care what time of day their image was taken.

Bing map shows a late afternoon shot with much of the detail cast in shadow

Google map of the same site taken in bright light showing more details.
But we no longer live in a climate dominated by the two big Cloud players.  And two factors have changed everything: the emergence of Apple and the rise of Open Source.  Our resent testing with Open Maps have shown that an open sourced mapping technology has a lot of promises. Not only does it offer a mapping technology free of charge, and free for all times in the future, but the work of many hands gives very detailed maps that include local data about places you can't get with Google maps.  For example the Open Map for the area I live knows all kinds of things about what businesses are around, what certain areas are called by the locals, about foot paths and garden structures.

Here is an example, the Olympic Park in London.  The Google map shows almost no detail on what is there.  Now look at the Open Map, which is full of extensive detail.  Which of these two maps would you rather use?

Google Map lacks any real detail of the Park or public spaces around it.
Open map gives a very rich detailed picture of what is in the park, easy to read and understand it is simply a better map.
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Monday, 4 June 2012

Patterns of Social Media usage at the Jubilee

The first day of the Jubilee twitter and foursquare were concentrated on the Thames where a flotilla passed in review.

Night two concentrated near the Palace where a massive concert was given.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

We Embrace Open Maps

Sign of the Times: in the age of Open Standards even Microsoft is getting in on the act, above we run tests on Open Maps UI running on Windows 8.
In keeping with our policy of Open Source the Web 3.0 Labs has taken the leap to Open Maps this week.  Though we still support Google Maps on our all app development we are following Foursquare in exploring extending the Open Cloud to include maps. We are now developing entirely on the Linux/MySQL/jQuery/PHP stack of Open Source technologies.  In a unrelated development we are also testing Windows 8, which works really well with Open Maps.  
New York remains the land of Foursquare
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Mobile social media at the Diamond Jubilee

Map of current tweets and Foursquare trending sites at Thames flotilla as today's Diamond Jubilee celebrations for the Queen.  You can see a clear concentration of foursquare activity on the river.

We are tracking volumes of social media from mobile devices at or near the Queen's Jubilee flotilla.  Levels are high, but terrible weather is probably reducing the amount of tweeting and checkins we are seeing.  Though a clear pattern of Foursquare checkins on the flotilla route has emerged.

Tweeting levels are on the river high for a rainy cold day in London.
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If you want to know how much this event means to many ordinary people in the UK, just misspell 'Jubilee' in to twitter or instagram, it gives you a very moving set of tributes to a loved Monarch free of news, advertising or other PR talk.