Monday, October 15, 2007

New Project:

It's been quite a while since my creative juices have flowed and led to some new ideas for projects. My summer consisted of lots of relaxing time off work, training for triathlons and half marathons and a change in jobs. Now that I've settled down and settled into my new job I've found my entrepreneurial drive again.

I'm currently reading (listening to the audio book on my iPod Touch at the gym) The Search by John Battelle. The book describes in detail how past and present search engines rank websites. Google's PageRank receives a great deal of focus for its renowned system of ranking a site based on its inbound links and the rankings of these links. It seems like a good system to measure link popularity. It also seems like the barrier to getting a good ranking must be pretty high. How can a new online news site ever catch up with or How can a new online news site even catch up with local news sites that have been online for a few years? These sites have a huge head start in generating inbound links. What I would like to do is measure how viral new websites and trends are by looking at the growth of inbound links (not counting links generated through search index spamming techniques.)

I bought the domain today for the project. My idea is to create a site where users can turn on "inbound link tracking" or "viral tracking" for a specific website. I'll use a tool to be determined (most likely the Yahoo Site Explorer API) to count the growth of inbound links. I'm not sure exactly what this little experiment will prove but who knows....maybe this will be a good indicator of new online trends. Maybe it will show excitement for new products or deals or rumors of deals by long-existing companies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Vacation...

I've been busy preparing for my summer of fun so pardon my lack of innovation!

Next week I'm heading on a 400 mile week long bike trip through Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and New York with a few friends. Check out the blog for our trip.

I'm also busy training for the New York Triathlon on July 22nd in New York City. The bike trip is sort of a last push to get into shape before the race.

Monday, June 04, 2007

RF ID Experimentation Kit Update: false advertising/my own ignorance

As stated in my previous post about my idea for RF ID Sports Analytics I was very excited to get my hands dirty with the RF ID Experimentation Kit I ordered from One small thing the product description fails to mention is that the kit DOES NOT include all of the necessary hardware to set up an RF ID solution! ARGGG!!! The kit doesn't come with an RF ID reader but the RF ID how-to guide suggests purchasing one for ~$500. I'm too angry and frustrated to read through the fine print on to check if there is a disclaimer mentioning that the experimentation kit isn't comprehensive in and of itself to set up an RF ID solution.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Invention Idea: RFID Sports Analytics

Earlier this week I was eating lunch outside of my office in New York City and had an amazing stream of consciousness that led to my next brilliant idea. My thoughts went something like this "Man its nice out....wouldn't it be so much more fun to be a teacher and get to go outside and coach baseball on a nice day like baseball practice was practice was a lot more physically demanding but also fun...ha ha remember when Coach Morano and Depalma used to always make us shoot 20 free throws and the guy who got the most in didn't have to run the next set of sprints and Sharples somehow always made 18 or 19 but they used to catch him cheating...wouldn't it be cool if there were some way to track the whole team's foul shot % with RF ID chips so coaches don't have to do random checks to see if one of their players is cheating....

The idea is using RF ID to track sports analytics; makes and misses in basketball which can be applied to a wide array of things like high school team foul shooting practice to NBA arena halftime contests. In baseball the RF ID chips can measure the speed of pitches more accurately than Juggs guns by using the R*T=D formula. Football contests like the punt pass and kick contests could be measured easily and more accurately than just measuring based on sight.

I ordered a RF ID Experimentation Kit from this week to set up my prototype. It comes with a bunch of software development libraries to integrate with the RF ID reader so I'm pretty pumped about that. The plan for the prototype is to embed a small chip in a mini basketball and clip a few RF ID readers to a mini hoop. I'll whip up some code to interact with a simple application (either web application or MS Access form) and then I'll be ready to show off my invention.

Monday, May 07, 2007 Update

Following Team Fair Lawn's Kaplogna BBQ & Beer Pong Fest dramatic bracket championship victory I updated the functionality of The bracket web pages now query a MySQL database table to display the winners of each match that already took place. In addition there are hyperlinks for each match which display a pop-up window with a game summary and pictures. I'm playing around with several Ajax frameworks like Real Simple History, to try and fix the well documented Ajax history/back button pain point for the Kaplogna web application.

I posted the Kaplgona April 21st bracket photos on Picasa. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 1st Annual Kaplogna Family BBQ and Beer Pong Fest

My friends Brett and Anna are having a summer long Beer Pong tournament in the backyard of their apartment in New York City. They asked for my help making a website for the tournament. I figured this would be a great way to get more experience developing with AJAX so I've been busy plugging away at in my spare time. I set up a MySQL database to store all of the tournament data. I'm using PHP to query the database and return XML data to the sites' pages. Currently you can view all of the brackets using the drop down box on the home page. In the next few days I'd like to allow teams to enter the tournament by typing their names into a desired bracket slot. I'm not sure exactly how this will work but I'm hoping to use the onChange javascript event handler to trigger an AJAX function which will update the database table which maintains the bracket match ups. AJAX rules!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yahoo Pipe: Search Engine News Aggregator

My second experiment with Yahoo Pipes is a Search Engine News Aggregator. I frequently visit news sites to read the latest articles and blogs about Google, Yahoo etc...A lot of times this will lead me on a hyperlink journey where I read about rumors of upcoming applications and such. This pipe should make it a little easier to go to one centralized place for all of the articles I'd like to read in a given day. I'm going to expand the Search Engine News Aggregator soon to include more Search companies in addition like Quigo or LookSmart besides and search more news sites once Yahoo Pipes isn't so horribly slow!