Google Map Api revisited

Today after much thoughts, I finally revisited the Google map api. I must admit previous attempts to understand the API has been cryptic.

How come it was such that I could easily pickup PHP, javascript, JSP, ASP or HTML while not the Google API? I reflected long and hard on my experiences dealing with the Google Map API and these other languages.

Aha!! Eureka! I finally arrived at the conclusion. I have been using the wrong approach along while working with the Google Map API.

While dealing with prior languages I always have a strong objective in mind; aka specific functions and features I want to implement in certain ways and methods.

With the Google Map API though I had no idea in mind what I wanted to do with nor what I wanted to achieve working.

Analogically speaking , with prior languages I was basically finding the vocabulary I needed from a dictionary to help make a sentence when I have to, while with my prior attempt at the Google Map I was attempting to memorize the whole dictionary without understanding a single thing about.

Buzzer!

Wrong move. The brain does work like a super storage system that is compartmentalized from A to Z, it is more like a whole network of nodes with multiple links between. Our brain works best when we can work information into logically coherent structures. Something which the mind map does.

How did I bring myself to commit such a stupid mistake when in the first place I knew about this problem. Then when thrown into a new and alien environment it is natural that we attempt at establishing some point of reference to help us get our bearings right, so what better way then is there than to flip randomly through the dictionary and get something random as a base to start from. The real mistake was attempting to memorize the stuff. Our brains can on the average only handle up to 7 variables simultaneously, so leave the variable tracking to the computers!!!

Why not use our brains for something more value adding such as things in the realms of erudition or creativity?

Network effects on the internet.

I bought myself the book the long tail by Chris Anderson the other day and started experimenting with the web all over again this time using the paradigm he presented in his book.

I was amazed suddenly how powerful the web could be again. These past few days I am slowly beginning to realize the power of blogs, something which I relegate to the realms of pointless online diaries and gossips.

Big news agencies broadcast news that is important to a broad base of people in various categories. Due to the economic restrictions of traditional news agency structure, what they can provide is but information that is broad and lack depth to the general audience. This is because as they drill down into more detailed levels, it gradually becomes less profitable for them to provide these information, due to the decreasing level of viewership. Information that warrants more detailed and indepth report are normally Black Swan events (unforeseeable but high impact occurances, eg. Obama becomes president, H1N1 flu comes into existence).

So in summary what we get on the news is meant for the general public but does not always serve specific needs. This is the economics of the top down approach.

We next look at blogs. Blogging is fast becoming a prevalent phenomena. The network effect of blogs (aka linking between blogs via rss) means that one can easily navigate from one blog of one topic to similiar blog of the same topic. This is similiar to what one does when watching one video on youttube and navigating to the next video that is closely related to the current one.

While Google search engine is good in the fact that it allows the retrieval of information that is highly relevant to certain keywords, the limitation of Google mainly resides with the users. Some topics are just too hard to define in words. It is hard to summarize some topics into specific keywords. This thus has to do with the problem of filters.

The problem with Google search is semi alleviated by the network elements found on social networks where likes tend to link together and are found in closer proximity than unlikes. (Traditionally known as birds of the same feather flock together.)

Of course we should not forget to take into consideration the piles of crap and garbage found on some blogs. But wait, what some perceives as garbage are usually perceive as treasure by others.

So in short do not dismiss the relevance of blogs on the internet.

Here is the relationship that I have thought about:

YouTube is to video, as is
Facebook is to Friends, as is
Blog is to information

The future it seems is fast becoming dominanted by network effects. Like it or not it is here to stay.

Google wave, the stanford model works, Serendipity

Seems like Google is coming up with a new web 2.0 platform again, this time specifically targeted at communications online.

It works pretty much like the winword document in the gmail except that this time you could also rewind time and see what was actually being written or edited at specific time intervals.

A video goes on to show that this algorithm has been originally been an area of academic research for the past 10 years before finally being commercialized in the form of Google Wave recently.

Seems like the Stanford model is working very nicely over in the States. What started as research in academies upon maturity gets rolled out commercially as spin offs.

The advantage that Google has is that fact that the whole company started out via this model as well. They are experienced in this.

In Singapore we do have something like this, but it seems owing to the general risk aversive culture of the place, this model is not taking off as well. Hey look, even my dad and mom has been nagging at me to get a stable job instead of constantly going through this process of trail and error that is inherent in technological ventures.

But hey no way am I going to call it quits that easily. I am still surviving so far am I not?

The other thing also is the lack of funding for start ups. Ironically, while lots of funds have been put in place to support start ups, fund managers are not really willing to seed start ups unless they are really confidant that their business model will be commercially viable.

Who’s to be sure anyway? Half of the really cool technologies around that were thought to have the potential to make a big bang when they hit the market never really did when they finally did arrive. Others that were thought to be flops magically succeeded at becoming dominant features on the internet without much explanation.

It is like choosing to play safe in an arena where the way to success contradicts the idea of playing safe. Hence most of these public funds get squandered off by companies who are good with paperwork to do stuff that is not aligned with the main objectives for the existence of these funds. The model is just not working.

Face it, success usually requires a certain amount of serendipity and the thing is such a thing is usually hard to predict. Mostly we are in the hands of God. It is like a leap of faith.

Kudos to that.

Every one has something to say – use a blog!

Recently I met a religio while on the bus on my way home. She took my contact number and started sending me lots of religious messages. Being a free thinker, most of these messages just came into my phone and went into the trash folder. It was just too long to read over an SMS. and I hate longs SMS s over the phone.

Then it occurred to me, I thought hey all these efforts by her should not be going to waste. so what happens immediately after that was that I set up a blog for her at adonis.name1price.com for her to send her message out to the world.

Now, my phone avoids getting overloaded with mesages not related to my essential day to day operations and at the same time she gains access to the whole world’s audience. And the whole world’s audiences may finally get themselves some salvation if indeed they are looking for some.

Who knows she with her vigor might just turn out to be the next Anthony Robbins or Robert Kiyosaki!

Owned by the Web

Seems like second joint on the fourth finger on my right hand is starting to ache lately. Perhaps i have been spending too long a time with my fingers on the keyboard of late.

Funny seems like I have been using more keyboard than the pen recently, considering the fact that majority of my time is spent on the web and in front of the computer more than anything else.

Ten years ago when the internet first came into Singapore. Life was so different. And then all of a sudden before you know it. Boom! We have all been taken over by the web. The internet and computer is like a black swan. Who would have known we would be living our lives the way we are living today back ten years ago.

One can never really predict the future accurately that is a fact.

Jump!

Seriously I am feeling so stuck recently. I am neither advance nor retreat. Advancing in the path ahead means betraying my own beliefs about the way, retreating backwards means betraying my own integrity.

I am stuck so badly stuck. If there were an enemy without I would have been able to easily solve this problem by conquering him. However the enemy seems to be no where and everywhere at the sametime. How does one attempt at fighting such an enemy like this?

I need to find him. That is what I will need to do. There is nothing like being stuck helplessly unable to identify the enemy while taing continous onslaughts from god knows where.

I finally arrive along East Coast Beach. I dumped my bag and jumped right into the sea. I couldn’t take it anymore.

There I stayed alone, floating in the sea, bobbing along with the tide, staring out at the vast open waters. Evening was coming. The sun was setting. There were no other sounds except the occasional crashing of waves on the white sandy beach. I felt so free all of a sudden. Life is supposed to be like this. Then I suddenly recalled!

My greatest love mother nature, I have neglected you for so long being distracted with all these meaningless urban life. Please forgive me.

Slowly I crawled back to shore, all wet. Now I have to think of a way to dry myself with neither towel nor a change of clothes.

Success needs no explanation and Failures have no excuses

I was going through the blog by Chris Anderson the author of the long tail in that blog he was commenting on the recent crash of one of the new comer Newspaper companies Nyhedsavisen to the iceland market owned by Skype Investor Morten Lund.

What previously was a perfectly planned attempt at out competiting all other newspaper companies in Iceland through an extreme price war strategy exploded in the face. A black swan (unknown unknown) was not accounted for. Morten Lund was blinded sided. Who would have known that the economic recession would hit the world end of 2008, thus affecting advertising revenue of all newspaper companies and causing the Nyhedsavisen to scrap bottom in terms of its cash flow.

What followed thereafter was a whole series of attempts by Morten Lund to dissolve the company in exchange for enough funds to pay off his debtors and employees. He will be down for a while I think before he comes back up into the radar again.

This scenario does sound familiar. After having read the book that cousin Johson recommended me, I seem to see Black Swans everywhere and also the Grey Swans. More than that I have experienced first hand how a business model when not structured properly to mitigate the risk of potential negative black swans could blow up in your face in a very terrible way.

Lesson learned: Always be extremely pessimistic when trashing out a business model. Always think of the worst case scenario that could happen. Once done, with your very best effort mitigate your risk and expose yourself to as much positive Black Swans as possible. Thereafter go with faith and have God for guidance.

Cold reading

Recently having gotten interested with astrology services on the internet, I decided to put my particulars into one particular site. The message I received was so convincing that I wandered the truth behind it.

Then again I recalled the fact that given a statement without anything to disprove it, the brain will automatically search for evidences to villify the truth of this statement.

Deciding to see how the actual system works on the internet I proceeded to the site of the fortune teller and started messing around with the site.

Pretty smart actually, the message, the only thing though is that it is a standard message for all to read except you are the one reading it and being convinced by it.

Click the refresh button or change the query string alittle and you will have either a different message from the whole collection of them or the same message again but with no name. Try it out yourself.

https://secure-astro.com/cgi-bin/request.cgi?p=request.cgi&r=2b&c=uht0s&f=tnel

In Transit

Depiction of Lady Fortuna
Depiction of Lady Fortuna

Lady Fortuna

It would have been really easy had all three elements, the mind, the heart and the soul been after the same thing. Apparently it seems not the case, these past few weeks. It was a time of trial indeed.

The mind says for money and security, the heart says to go for love, while the soul says all the prior are not important, the quest for the truth ever beckons.

Here I stand stuck at the fork of the road in my journey. While most parts of the journey prior to this were clear and simple as the path in which the soul demanded, the heart and mind both concurred; this once was different. They each beckoned their own way.

I stand here at this junction examining all three paths, they all looked equally promising while at the same time seemingly disastrous. No amount of foresight I have seem to allow me the ability of sight to penetrate this fog of destiny.

Perhaps none of all three paths is the one, the true path lies hidden still. I could only wait and be patient meanwhile, before Fortuna deals me another card from her Deck of Fates which brings me to the true path.

Wait I shall then.

Massive Community sustains Technology

Yes Php as a programming language is really cool.

While it may not be as powerful as its substitues like JSP and ASP.net, there is actually a very large community of developers working on the PHP language. Lots of free open source applications have been developed for industrial use that a person with some background in programming could easily configure to his own needs.

A great example is WordPress a blogging software. I have been using it for quite a few years on friendster for personal blogging. Recently I setup my own new blogging site at a new location blog.name1price.com but still using the same open source software WordPress. Now with FTP access to my wordpress script, I could easily extend my WordPress blog to include more impressive features.

If you are a technie, without hosting space or domain name but would really like a playground to test out these open source system., I could easily provide you with one free of charge.

Another cool system which I have been using for quite a while is Joomla. It has already reached version 1.5. I consider it to be quite a mature content management technology by now. You could also have it downloaded free off the net. All you need is just a hosting space to test it out. Samething if you need a play ground to test out this site tell me about it.

Recently I was out with my friend who is a trader. Apparently he was having problems keep tracking of his stocks. So I thought I should help him out by creating a online inventory system. However rather than creating one from scratch I just searched on google and found once again a free fully running inventory management system that is written in PHP.

That is the cool thing about PHP there is such a large community working on it that you can easily find an already written software system in that language to fit your needs with just slight modifications.