Open Census Season

 Posted by on March 30, 2011
Mar 302011
 

It’s that time of the decade again.  The census is done and now the data is starting to flow.  It’s free candy for reporters [Detroit -25%] and, since it’s 2011, you are going to see this data like never before. Of course, it takes time to get through it all, but the New York Times is offering some 2005-2009 data while you wait…

(click to launch NYT’s Mapping America: Every City, Every Block)

And in case you’d like to check out some of the data yourself, the U.S. Census Bureau has rolled out FactFinder2:

While definitely easier on the eyes and more technically sophisticated, the sugarcoating is skin deep as FactFinder2 is also sort of confusing, if not discouraging, to use.  ACM recommends a deep breath before going in.

[NYT's Mapping America: Every City, Every Block; FactFinder2; FactFinder1]

For the Easy Win

 Posted by on March 29, 2011
Mar 292011
 

Want to play a game all day long, but don’t have the time?  Well, your problem was solved nine years ago.

Behold, Progress Quest:

ProgressQuest (click to play)

Choose your character name and type and the game literally plays itself.  Progress Quest is a perpetual accomplishment machine.  Let it go in the background and it’s there anytime you need to see something in your life actually making progress.

[Progress Quest]

Mar 292011
 

Did you hear the one about the German politician who sued the phone company to see how much they knew about him?  Turns out his cell phone recorded his location 35,000 times over 6 months.  That’s once every 7.5 minutes.  In response, he released the data, and Zeit Online has mapped it out:

CellPhoneTracking_Zeit(click and then press play to live the life of Malte Spitz)

Technically, this information is part of the service.  Most days you get pissed if your phone doesn’t know where you are.  The funny part is that they aren’t willing to admit they have this level of information and are storing it.  It makes for a pretty sketchy lead-in to considering what else they might be doing with it.

[Zeit Online via Gawker]

Wasted URLs: Color.com

 Posted by on March 28, 2011
Mar 282011
 

That they paid $350,000 for it and took down colour.com while they were at it hints at some real lunacy.
That they got $41M in funding points to a complete breakdown of the system.  And if that isn’t enough waste for you, think of all the people who are going to use it (for a short time).