What You Missed at Singularity Summit 2011

Exhilarating, frustrating, muddled, tea-party-ish, revealing, revolting, liberal rationalist, and hyper-optimistic are just a few of the pithy comments I tapped into my magical (inside joke) …

Google Transit is Pretty Good.

In 2008, Google Transit pulled up into the New York and New Jersey areas and took in a few passengers.

They launched partnerships with New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the people who run the subways and buses, and New Jersey’s own NJT, which get commuters into Manhattan and around the Garden State.

Over the last few years, my own commuting has been cut back, so I had less need for Transit.

But recently I’ve been making more trips into Manhattan and find myself forever having to download the latest NJT schedules.

I decided to try out Google Transit, letting it plot a plan of attack to get me from my house into New York City using our area’s public transportation system.Continue reading

New Era of Hardware Hacking?

Maybe. MakerBot CEO and co-founder Bre Pettis sees a lot of hardware startup activity in New York City, San Francisco, and Colorado in a recent interview with Chris Dixon.

As you may recall, Makerbot is a a 3D printer based on open-source software.

I finally saw this robotic printer in action at TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 and came away from the booth with a freshly baked plastic snake.Continue reading

A Google Correlate View of July

Google Correlate is yet another R&D project that can be found in Sergey and Larry’s basement— the Google Labs area of the site.

I discovered Correlate in my last Labs visit, and though it has gotten some press, it’s another one of those Googley science projects that deserves more attention.

The proposition is simple: you feed Correlate a time series of your making, and it searches a galactic-size database of keyword search frequencies to find a matching pattern. Or in math speak, a time-based pattern that correlates with a fairly high R2.

For my experiment, I was interested in finding Google searches that remained level during the year but peaked in July.

What keywords would match this seasonal variation? ‘air conditioners’, ‘pool supplies’, ‘vacation rental’?

Nope. The answer is …Continue reading

Cloud Expo: It’s about IT Jobs

I was at Cloud Expo yesterday in New York City.

I heard the keynote address entitled “Parting of the Clouds” from Dell’s Steve Shuckenbrock.

I sat through half of “Patterns of Cloud Computing” delivered by Microsoft’s Bill Zack.

And finally reached saturation 10 minutes into a breakout session led by Mark Wilkinson from HP.

My synapses were put into a deep freeze by the marketing blather (“flexibility”, “continuum”, “engaged in outcomes”, “end-user benefits” ) and mashed up metaphors (“an exclamation point on our journey”).

And the Javits Center’s generous WiFi terms ($4.95 for one hour) only validated my sense that delighting (to use a marketing-ism) attendees was not a concern of the Cloud Expo conference folks.Continue reading