Saturday, November 05, 2005

Read/Write Web: Top Ten Web 2.0 Problems Amazon Mechanical Turk Can Solve For Me

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Ideas for Amazon Mechanical Turk

This is IMHO, a groundbreaking capability that I ranted and raved about in the Web 1.0 days, noting that (1) it is a pretty big project to do, but (2) it basically is second to government in being able to tax elements of work at each step in the ‘value creation chain’. In Amazon’s case, they get 10% of any work effort. In any case, if this is done right and they don’t blow it, it’s part of the “bigger picture” and a fundamental change. Anyway, here are some ideas for the operations/”chunks” of work (feel free to add to):

  • Book Chapter Audio Transcription: Read out loud and record this chapter.

  • Blog transcription. Text to Podcast

  • Does this image contain x? imageContains(“vehicle”, imageUri)

  • Convert this outline/xml/yaml/json to a textual description

  • paraphraseThis(text)Code Formatting/IV&V/Review:

  • Does this code follow these rules. Here, the checks are broken into chunks and distributed, as is the set of code. It is broken up like a text message over UDP, distributed to lots of people (who get it into their queue and check it in one-five minutes for a few cents. It’s then returned, possibly packaged up as another workitem and returned.

  • If language people are signed up, we could easily ask “what’s wrong with this bit of code” and get the hint that get us past it. (This one could also work more informally, with a ‘tip jar’ concept.

  • Blog comment verification!

For a general description:
Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Beyond Java

There is a new O'Reilly book out called "Beyond Java" that questions if Java is about it be replaced by a newer generation of languages with Ruby being the current likely replacement:

I browsed it a few days ago, but Sam Ruby has more to say.

I'll just second his conclusion regarding metaprogramming and add that Ruby makes metaprogramming natural enough that it's easier to actually *do* metaprogramming than to sit and ponder it. Personally I'd like us to replace the word with something that doesn't sound quite so academic, though I've not thought of any good candidates yet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

evan_tech -- ruby on rails

Evan has a very informative and straightforward description of what Ruby is, what Ruby on Rails is and how the two differ. If you're just coming into the Rails and Ruby world, or if you're just wondering what all the fuss is, then this is worth five minutes of your life.

I especially like Evan's description of the Ruby language:

I play with and write about a lot a lot of different programming languages here, and I'm happy to say that even this many years later I still regularly return to Ruby. It's not without its flaws, but for whatever reason* Matz managed to just nail a certain design space and aesthetic and make the language really work, really flow. The people who write about the language talk about how it's optimized for fun, and that really rings true for me.

evan_tech -- ruby on rails

I saw Ruby about five years back and I really liked what I saw at the time. Earlier this year though, I finally broke my personal stalemate over Python vs Ruby and really jumped into Ruby. It turns out that my initial 'pleasant' impression was only a taste of what to come. Ruby very much has gestalt going for it. While this is simplistic, I have frequently had the thought that Ruby is to Java what Java is to C++.

A VC: The Looming Attention Crisis

A few months back I questioned what resources are truly limited. On a personal basis at least, my answer was 'attention'. We can spend unlimited amounts of money (a theory that I've yet to test), but we can only 'pay attention' and focus on a finite number of people or topics or fields. It's interesting to hear of Herb Simon discuss this way back in 1971.

A VC: The Looming Attention Crisis

RadRails - A Ruby on Rails IDE

I've installed the of 0.4 version of RadRails. It seems to be a simplified version of the Eclipse IDE but customized toward Ruby & Rails development work. If you're a Java person and used to using Eclipse, this seems like a no-brainer to get up and running with Rails. My only caveat is that it may not be a good long term IDE for learning ruby and rails. This is not so much because of the IDE itself, as there hasn't been a Ruby IDE that competes. Rather it's that you may not break out of some Javathink as soon. But that's pure speculation on my part.

Regarding upcoming IDE news for Ruby, ActiveState is doing quite a bit of work to support Ruby in their Komodo IDE. I'm looking forward to it.

I've gotten fairly used to TextMate and VIM on my Powerbook, but it would be wonderful to have some intelligence helping me out with dynamic languages.