Teaching Examples


What the people like (spin free)
December 3, 2006, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Rex Hammock writes a very eclectic blog that I enjoy peeking in on from time to time. Today I discovered Amazon’s UnSpun, thanks to a post from Rex. Actually, I should say: “Curse you, Rex!” I wasted far too much time there, because it was fascinating and fun.

The idea is part of this whole “wisdom of crowds” thing that most people who use the Web a lot already understand. People make recommendations. Other people agree or disagree by voting on the recommendations. The good rises to the top. The bad sinks to the bottom.

In the case of UnSpun, the recommendations show up as intelligently named lists, such as Top Beers and Best Movies of All Time and Favorite Words.

The whole UnSpun system is tied into Amazon’s crazy but amazing Mechanical Turk, where a while ago I also spent far too much time as I teased out its bizarre and magical uses. The most famous example so far of the use of the Mechanical Turk is the Sheep Market, which is explained well and briefly in a blog post by Brady Forrest (thank you, Joe).

As a consumer, I like this stuff a lot because — like my Netflix, TiVo and Amazon.com book recommendations — it helps me find stuff I like that otherwise I might never find out about.

Sort of like the daily newspaper used to do.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

re: “Curse you, Rex Hammock” — Pointing to time-wasters is my specialty. :- )

Comment by Rex Hammock

I know, that’s why I don’t read your blog every day! I let those posts pile up in Bloglines until I’m good and ready to blow off a whole afternoon.

Comment by Mindy McAdams




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