Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why I read Lifehacker

Lifehacker had at least two interesting stories today:
1) One Click DVD Rips
2) The Windows File Shredder

I guess with those tools, someone could copy a bunch of rented movies, then securely delete them when the feds came knocking on their door.

I'm, uh, not advocating that. Lifehacker's just an interesting site.

I've also been reading a lot of Get Rich Slowly these days, mostly out of curiousity, and a little amazement that they've been able to keep a blog about personal finance interesting all this time. The emphasis on Get Rich Slowly seems to be on sorta "hacking" your personal finance, and personal stories of financial success (or failure).

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Ryan tipped me to the Netflix contest: they're offering a million dollars to the team that improves the reliability of their customer recommendations by 10%.

It's apparently a realistic goal, software recommendation programs have been improving dramatically, they're quite good now, and they're getting better all the time.

In less than 5 years (if it hasn't happened already), algorithms will be far more knowledgeable about human tastes than any human critic.

Eventually, the big wave in robot recs will be having AI anticipate life trends, so when the teenager who listens to punk is ready to make the switch to country or jazz in his twenties, the robot will already know ahead of time which crossover artists to use to ease the transition, and will automatically substitute Hank Williams for Henry Rollins. And the AI will be ready again when he switches to easy listening in his forties. The robot might also recommend appropriate changes in dress and select items from the IKEA catalogue to go along with his chosen aesthetic.

Will AI also soon be ready to predict what social policies we're most likely to adopt, or is politics somehow distinguishable from fashion?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We've debated the relative merits of Last.FM and Pandora before, and I was always waiting for some sort of best of both worlds hybrid.

Well, turns out I wasn't the only one.

Pandora.fm is apparently now officially supported by last.fm, so you can scrobble your new tracks from pandora to help build up your last.fm listener profile.


Thursday, October 05, 2006


Now that you've used the last post to make sure you're being paid the right amount, you can use this site to make sure that you aren't paying too much in rent.