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Myles Tanzer

Wiki World

Wikipedia’s Big Data Can Be Used to Predict Summer Box-Office Hits

Robert Downey Jr. (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

If you turned to Wikipedia for a pre-Avengers deep dive into the Marvel canon or refresher on Harry Potter’s defenses against the dark arts, you are apparently not alone. What’s more, your digital breadcrumbs might be a preview of coming box-office receipts. A team of researchers has shown that Wikipedia data can predict how popular a film will be.

A team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics looked at 312 movies that came out in 2010 (think Inception, Toy Story 3 and Twilight: Eclipse) and built a mathematical model that measured the number of readers and editors for the movie’s Wiki page. The model’s data was juxtaposed with box office earnings and showed almost a 77 percent correlation between popularity on Wikipedia and big opening weekends. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Foursquare Plans Yelp’s Obsolescence and Brooklyn Tech Triangle Meets Its Maker

A pretty Mujjo case (Photo: Mujjo.com)

Checking In to the New Yelp Foursquare already set its sights on overtaking Yelp with the launch of its super useful local search engine. But its newest iOS update really goes for the jugular: Foursquare now gives locations a 1-10 rating to show you how much people actually like it, instead of the app’s old star rating system. Per the Foursquare blog, the rating is calculated by an amalgamation of “tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide.” Yelp is going to have to do better than Ernest Hemingway to keep up.

Do-Gooders Keep On Doing Good The New York tech community has banded together over the last week to help victims of Sandy. And now Rain NYC and TelAPI are co-sponsoring a hackathon in conjunction with the Node.js Knockout to build applications that will help future disaster relief efforts. It’s a 12 hour competition and teams will be responsible for building telephony applications that hopefully will improve communication or information dissemination when there’s limited electricity and power. Read More

Apple in Your Eye

Jealous Apple Might Not Approve a Google Maps App for iOS 6

Ex-Apple VP Scott Forstall (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

All teenagers know that the best way to dethrone the popular kid is to not invite him/her to your party. Anyone needing proof of this needs only to look at the climax of Mean Girls, when Cady Haron doesn’t invite Regina George to her house party. Following that principle, it comes as no surprise that Apple, the akward new kid, might not give app store approvalto a new Google Maps app that works with iOS 6. Apple Maps is the newer and less popular kid at school and it wouldn’t want the homecoming king to come back anytime soon.

iPhone users can still bookmark the Safari page for Google Maps, but a standalone app would be better than any mobile web version, and definitely better than Apple’s flawed offering.

Keeping Google out might be good for Apple’s popularity, but is its inferiority complex hurting users? Read More

After the Storm

Time Warner Cable Sends 10 Mobile Charging Trucks with Free Wifi to Downtown Manhattan

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Time Warner Cable is sending 10 mobile charging stations equipped with WiFi into areas of New York that still don’t have power. The local Time Warner Twitter account, @TWCABLE_NYC, will update users with the truck’s location. Today they plan to hit residential areas of Chinatown, the Flatiron district and the West Village. And tomorrow the crew will announce additional areas. Time Warner stores in Staten Island and at the Queens Center Mall are fortunately also opening their doors to let people charge up. That should quiet the TWC haters in New York City–at least for a couple weeks.

The photo on the left was taken this afternoon in Chinatown and you can see how many people really need a charge from the trucks by the mess of wires around the outlets. Read More

Apple in Your Eye

Fortune Deletes Racist Portion of Its iPad Mini Live Blog: ‘Some Readers Complained About Ethnic Profiling’

Mr. Elmer-DeWitt (Photo: Twitter.com)

This morning’s release of the iPad Mini saw crowds completely forgetting about the hurricane and lining up to score themselves a miniaturized version of their favorite fancy tablet. Apple beat reporter  was covering the release for Fortune/CNN Money. His online bio says that he’s been covering Apple for the last 30 years. He described the scene as such:

“Judging from the ethnic makeup of the queue in front of the big glass cube of Apple’s (AAPL) Fifth Avenue store, however, most of the customers who made the pilgrimage were coming from the environs of Chinatown.

Apple hasn’t yet said when the iPad mini will be available in mainland China, so there’s likely to be a market there for units shipped from the U.S.”

Since Mr. DeWitt didn’t cite a source supporting his Chinatown claim, it seemed like an . . . odd assumption. Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: NASA Images of Sandy Sold for Charity and Boxee Comes to a Walmart Near You

(Photo: wikipedia.org)

Ceci N’est Pas Une Sandy The affordable-art-dealing website 20 x 200 is now selling a print of a NASA satellite image of Hurricane Sandy. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Red Cross to help relief efforts. The striking image was taken at 9:02 a.m on Sunday, approximately 10 hours before NYC’s MTA shut transport service down throughout the tristate area. Hang it above your couch of a constant reminder of the grander universe and just how much you appreciate your wifi.

More Money, More Fancy Fancy, Pinterest’s cooler older brother, has raised just over $26 million in additional funding. New investors include Celtics owner Jim Pallotta, Twitter and Square cofounder Jack Dorsey and Edward Gilligan, the vice chairman of American Express. This also ruins rumors that Apple was planning to acquire the company. No word yet on what their favorite user, Kanye West, thinks of the new influx of cash. Read More

Pirate's Life

Wife of Creative Commons Founder Seeking Donations for Aaron Swartz’s Legal Defense

Troll Face IRL (Photo: Creative Commons)

Yesterday, we told you about the new charges being brought against early Reddit employee and activist coder Aaron Swartz. He’s now facing 13 federal counts after allegedly downloading large portions of JSTOR, an academic database filled with articles and data, in order to release it to the public for free use.

Today it seems that Mr. Swartz has a potentially influential ally in his corner–Bettina Neuefeind, wife of Creative Commons founder Larry Lessig. Read More