Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Speed Geeking!

What's speed geeking?

Twenty eight mashup developers open their laptops in a large conference room. The other 200 people, in groups of four or five, line up behind each one. For five minutes, the geek shows you the application, you ask questions, etc. A siren sounds to tell the people to find another geek to listen to. Like speed dating, but substitute potential sex for potential software.

This being a mashup conference, each geek had a mashup to show. And boy, were some of them excellent. We were each given a wooden nickel to give to our favorite mashup. I'm not going to tell you MY favorite one until I can get my pictures on the web - because you have to see it. Now, I'm an unabashed voice guy, and I was looking for cool voice mashups - but to tell you the truth, my favorite ones didn't use voice at all. Looking for a complete list of the mashups? Look here.

Here's some of my favorites :
  1. I love Amazon Turks. What do you do when you know the melody, or a few words from a song, but don't know the rest? WhatsTheTune( - by JineshVaria 3-way mashup for those who suffer from shower singing syndrome - means those who know the tune but dont know lyrics or song title/artist. This mashup records your tune, stores the wav file on Amazon S3, Creates an HIT on Mechanical Turk, Turkers listen to the clip, answers the HIT (title, song etc), the mashup looks out for the answer, takes the test and looks up Amazon (Via Amazon ECS) and tells you the price of the CD/DVD on Amazon.
  2. Jinesh uses Turks to play Chess. ChessTurk( - If the Nobelman in 1769 play chess with the turk, Why can't we in the 21st century. Mashup of playing a game of chess against the rest of the world where worker gets paid for every single move. ChessTurk is mashup between Amazon S3 and Amazon Mechanical Turk Web Services. The thing I asked was "What's in it for the Turks? They have no emotional involvement in the game." Jinesh said that he wants to extend the game by giving the Turk a small set of moves to choose from (like from a Gary Kasparov library).
  3. I saw this really cool ambient chat mashup. It listens to your AOL IM chat using the AOL Web Services, and searches your conversations for nouns. It takes that noun, searches Flickr for that term, takes a random picture and then makes it your chat background. So, if you are chatting with me one day, and I start typing "Charo" or "Irish redhead" randomly... you know why.
  4. This is a decent one - Gigul8r ( - ChrisRadcliff and NateRitter: Mashup (in PHP/AJAX) of Myspace, Google Maps, and Eventful to help bands promote their gigs online. Prints a poster, directions, maps.
  5. My favorite deep geek mashup: a Boxely mashup displaying a shared light box for pictures. The cool part is (now stay with me - this is important) it uses an IM session to tunnel the commands between the two applications. Not TCP. Not HTTP. IM. A chat message is sent, with some sort of XML formatting, and ripped from the stream before it hits the application. Oh the possibilities.


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