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Broadly defined "technology" e.g. software, water pumps

Outfoxed is now Lijit - Yet Another Drupal Site

For a while now there has been the GetOutfoxed community focused around the Outfoxed browser extension.

The company and the extension

A few months ago the project started to get "real" with investors, and office space, and desks, and chairs. They've now relaunched under the name "Lijit" as in "legit" as in "legitimate" as in "what you would say about a page that you think is good". This is an interesting project to me because it uses some of my favorite technology, it's a company in Colorado.

The extension is basically a way to say that something is "good, bad, or dangerous" and you can apply that rating to web pages or domains. Then other people (your friends, family, coworkers) create a trust network listening to your advice and giving you advice (the network connections can be one way if someone trusts you but you don't trust them). It's pretty clear to see that this could be extended from just web pages and applied to other things in life (email senders, operating system processes, etc.) and all of a sudden it's great. It takes a lot of cool products that have been going around takes them one step further. Really brilliant stuff.

Drupal Site - Pretty Theme

Additionally, they've got a really pretty page layout - pretty standard stuff in a lot of ways: The section across the bottom with categories and links within those categories. Right hand navigation. Fixed width site. Fancy 3-d Logo (though it could use a dropshadow). I'm not a super huge fan of the colors, but what I am a fan of is that when you look at the site it's clearly got a designer's hand in the look and feel. Many people complain that it's hard to theme Drupal - and yet there are so many examples to the contrary, this being one.

That's about it - help spread the love, won't you? And Digg the new Lijit site.

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What is google doing with their new features?

People often say "what is google thinking with {insert name of their new serivce}?"

Google and Open Source Project Hosting

At the OSCON this summer they announced Google Code Project Hosting a Sourceforge like open source project hosting environment. It's inline with some of their other projects like Summer of Code, a project where Google pays university students to spend their summers working on open source projects. A system where Drupal got 14 projects (a value of over US$70,000 - listen to a summary of the progress in Lullabot Podcast #23).

Now, when they announced the whole Project Hosting thing it seemed like a nice thing for them to do for up and coming projects - but it also seemed more than a little redundant. If you're a small or medium project then Sourceforge will work great. If you're a larger project then maybe you need to use the OSUOSL (consider donating to them). Either way, it seemed more than redundant for Google to offer this hosting.

Mozilla Talkback

Mozilla has long used a system called Talkback and it uses a closed source, proprietary system that requires a license and is owned by a company called SupportSoft. People complain about this system all the time in forums saying "mozilla should build their own talkback system" to which the response is "why don't you build it as your own open source project and let us use it" to which the repsonse is usually something like "oh, I don't code, you should write it for me on your own time". You can guess how I feel about this exchanges...

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FON Social Router: Density by Country

More on FON Routers By Country

So, following on my last post about Fonero growth by country and after reading about required density for "wifi roaming coverage" I started thinking about density of routers in my data.

Getting the Country Area Density

I picked up the population and land area by country from "GeoHive". It's really an awesome set of basic data for anyone who likes this kind of thing. So, using that and a little bit of Spread Sheet magic I came up with the following table that shows countries ordered from most dense to least dense FON coverage.

CountryPoints 8/21Area (KM2)KM^2/PointRouters Needed
The Netherlands2,09141,52619.9397,389
South Korea3,56698,48027.6943,812
United Kingdom2,975244,82082.32,352,193
Puerto Rico219,104433.587,559
El Salvador1321,0401618.5202,392
Dominican Republic2748,7301804.8468,756
Costa Rica2551,1002044.0491,557
New Zealand65268,6804133.52,584,637
China Mainland1979,596,96048715.592,322,558

Notes about the Data

The data is from August 21 and the last column in the data shows "Routers Needed" meaning the number of routers needed to achieve the "full density" of 25 routers/square mile (roughly 9.6/square Kilometer).


I'm not sure that there really are many conclusions you can draw from this. Singapore, the Netherlands, Andorra, and South Korea all have fairly high numbers and if you look at metro areas in those countries you can see that indeed walking down a street you'd have pretty good luck finding a FON hotspot. It's not particularly useful to know that the USA needs 92 million more routers to have nationwide coverage - as every cell phone provider will tell you there is lots of land in the US that you just don't need to bother covering! It would certainly be more interesting to know the density of certain metropolitan areas - I assume that some similar internal analysis went into the decision to target 25,000 free routers at Manhattan.

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Digg Widget for your own site

So, I read this post in the digg blog with much fascination.

it shows this:

digg_url = \'URLOFSTORY\';
<script src=\"\"></script>

Which is pretty cool because then it makes it easier for users to digg a story on your site even if they found the story through some other means. But there's a pretty huge problem with the widget...

The workflow for this is something like:

  1. write story
  2. wait for someone to digg story
  3. find URL of the digg story
  4. add widget to my site
  5. rejoice

It would be really nice if I could just automatically add that little snippet of javascript to everyone one of my posts and rather than saying "URLOFSTORY" it would be "URLOFORIGINATINGSITE" and then on the Digg end you figure out the most likely story that it should relate to. I know this is tough because of the whole duplicates thing, but that's why you make the big bucks.

Because then the workflow would be something like
1. write story
2. rejoice

And that's clearly a better workflow.

If the answer is "we just can't do that" then I've got a surprise someone else will do a better job and you'll be forgotten.

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Search as economic predictor

What do you do before taking an important action?

You research. Since this is the internet age, how do you search? Google. Yahoo. MSN, AOL, At least that's how the majority of internet users research. Maybe you use Wikipedia. If someone were sitting on your shoulder and watching all of your search terms they would know the future of your actions.

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