I like to bunch up all of my stressful events into short periods of time. In the past few weeks I have moved to a new apartment in Hayes Valley, rented my old place to a subletter, walked into the cloistered halls of academia and am currently sitting in my friend Jussi’s apartment in Berlin:

Chez Jussi

I will be traveling down to Dresden on Sunday to attend the International Communication Association (ICA) conference where I’ll be presenting some of the findings from my thesis. The paper is finished, but I’ll post the slides and the paper when I’m trapped in my hotel room in Dresden.

If you’re in Germany or heading to ICA, please look me up, or SMS me at my temporary number, +49 176 6539 8184.

Yahoo! Korea: Webzari

Yahoo! Korea presented to Yahoo! Research Berkeley yesterday and showed us some of their work. I was completely blown away, and the meeting left a strange taste in my mouth, something akin to “I wish I lived in Korea.”

Yahoo! provides a service called Site Explorer that allows webmasters to do research on how their site is being linked from the rest of the web. As Jeongeun Lee of Y! Korea put it, “we wanted to make this experience more fun.” They took the metaphor of exploration quite literally, imagining the web to be a universe, putting the user on an interstellar expedition. The result is a service called Webzari, essentially a different interface on the same data. It looks something like this:


Essentially, it goes something like this: web sites are planets whose size is determined by the number of links they have. Planets are attracted to each other based on the links between them, and you are a little space ship that flies around the universe. Check out Webzari in action:

Webzari for

Webzari for

Webzari for Yahoo! Korea

Yellow planets denote websites in Korean while purple ones are “foreign” (and you’ll notice that the flag next to your spaceship changes depending on the planet you’re next to). If you click on a planet you’ll get details about the local flora and fauna and the ability to navigate to this part of the solar system. It may not be as useful for research as Site Explorer, but I have to hand it to them, it is definitely more fun.

By the end of next year I expect that they’ll probably have replicated the entire Spore game system, wherein when you start a blog your posts are little organisms fighting for control of the site. After for a while your links start to appear and suddenly you zoom out to this interface. Eventually your blog will take over the universe and Yahoo! Search will become artificially intelligent, omnipresent, and omnipotent.