AssembleMe is an information science blog written by Julius Schorzman that frequently sways off-topic.

Julius is the CEO of the Google Ventures backed company DailyCred. DailyCred makes working with OAuth super duper simple.

To view some of my old projects, visit Shopobot or CodeCodex.

You can follow me on Twitter if you really want to @schorzman.

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    Best to Worst: 6 1&9 7 4 E J&Z L 5 Q 2 3 V F A D R M B W C N

    DATA: Straphangers just released their latest NYC Subway reportcard. I guess I've got a good mix with my commute using the R or the V (two of the shitty lines) and sometimes the N or the W (even worse), however I always transfer to the 6 at 59th Street or 51st Street, which gives me a taste of the good life every morn' on the city's best train.

    Gothamist has a good conspiracy theory:

    N riders aren't surprised their line sucks; Gothamist likes how one person the Post interviewed was "sweating profusely" as he waited for a train, because we've noticed that many N stations (Times Square, Herald Square, Union Square) are like saunas. If Gothamist were a conspiracy buff, we'd say the 6 is the best line because Mayor Bloomberg usually takes it from his townhouse, but we're not anything like that. But perhaps we'll change our nickname for the N from the "Never" to the "Nasty" train.


    Changing Demos: Minority Majorities (Take that, logic!)



    INFO SCIENCE: Check out this cute little page of "live" earth stats. It'd be fun to take the calculations for this site and change the meters so that they look like an odometer (complete with rolling and all).

    • The data is somewhat correct for 2003-2004 years and most of the times for 2005 too.
    • Requires JavaScript
    • Uses your computer's clock, so if you are curious how much we will have HIV-infected in 2050 then just change your system time to 2050. Please note that it will just calculate values based on current statistics.
    • Please note that we're unable to "track" recent events like earthquake or war fatalities, since there are no available to public statistic about such events.

    Be sure to check out a few of the doom statistics, like "topsoil erosion from farmlands (metric tons) this year" and "topsoil erosion from farmlands (metric tons) this year."

    And what's up with "lightning strikes to earth this year" being so high? Can that be correct?


    Julius' Stream of Consciousness

    INFO SCIENCE: The New York Times is running an interesting article about Southwest Airline's Ding, a Windows only notification program that alerts you when Southwest has reduced ticket prices for your local airport. It's an interesting idea, but flawed. Why would I want to use their system, when they could just IM or SMS me instead? To me, this would be greatly preferred. In fact, I would give JetBlue and Southwest my IM information right now for New York / Seattle ticks. Why hasn't anyone done this? It could be applicable to all sorts of areas that bargain hunters (like me) frequent.

    In other news, check out Bush's report card, also in the times. It's full of good info, but suffers from a poor ink to info ratio; what's up with those dots and wavy lines?

    In personal news, I have a strong urge right now to dump IT for a few years. I'm doing DBA stuff, and I'm bored out of my mind. I'm juggling some options, like doing some civil service work while looking into graduate school. But who knows right now, having come to a crossroads in my life and living in an awesome city has really opened up my eyes to some completely different work options. I could use some time away from the whole hypercompetitive, superacronymified IT field. Or maybe I'm just lazy from soaking up too many xrays while out on the road driving across country. :-P



    ASSEMBLEME: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.

    Yikes, it's been a while since I've updated. Things have been pretty hectic since arriving in the city. My first priority was getting some immediate income; so now I'm working as a contract DBA at a finance firm. It's pretty tight! I work with some great people (all non-techy accountants and admins) and they buy us lunch daily. It's not a career-job, it's just a job-job, so to work on a long range goal I'm doing a training course on C# (should be easy since I <3 Java) which will earn me a MCAD and/or MCSD, depending on what courses I take. Why more school when I just graduated? Well, I've noticed out here that .NET is everywhere, especially in big finance firms. And since my goal is to escape IT support and weasle my way in to IT development, I'm working on getting a few more acronyms added to my batbelt.

    My second priority was getting a living situation set up with my boyfriend and my good friend, Sam. Well, it was a hellish experience (wtf is UP with realestate nowadays!?!) and I can't wait for the bubble to burst, but it's done now -- we found a nice place in Astoria -- and I'm not moving for a long time.

    Oh yeah, in my .NET certification course, one of my classmates' name is Osama. Ha! Not a popular name in New York. My instructor just got it out in the open and asked him right away if he gets much gruff over his name. "NO! Well, yes! But I've always been Osama. I love my name," was his response -- he seems like a great guy.


    Deutsche lieben das Firefox!

    INFO VISUALIZATION: Well, my move date looks to be June 18th-ish. I've been busy with school and family and moving and work, but that'll all come to an end soon, w00t.

    Anyway, here is an interesting visualization of firefox penetration in Europe (in French). Go das deutschland, ja!

    I'd love to see one of these by US state...


    Moving & Job Hunting

    ASSEMBLEME: Posting will be very infrequent over the course of the next month or two. My plate is completely full right now with moving to New York and finding a job.

    If you live in the Seattle area, you can come by and visit me and my fellow former iSchoolers at our Capstone Presentation event. A lot of interesting projects were developed earlier this year and it'll be interesting to see them all one last time.

    May 17
    Informatics Capstone Presentation
    6:30-7:15 -- Kane Hall, room 210
    7:15-8:30 -- Kane Hall, Walker Ames Room


    Demand, Prices Up

    DATA: The Big Picture, one of my new favorite blogs, has an interesting post showing the price of Oil and Copper in relation to increased Chinese demand. (I read this as a causation relationship, but it may just be correlation.)

    In any case, the era of cheap energy spurting from the ground will be drawing to a close very soon. I hope we're prepared.


    Paper Haters

    DATA: An interesting article by the C. S. Monitor suggests that young people wouldn't subscribe to a newspaper even if it was free. Ouch.

    According to the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly, a recent internal Washington Post study found that many young people would refuse free subscriptions because they don't want bulky newspapers cluttering up their homes.

    Younger people are used to news content on the Internet, which allows them to pick from lists of headlines instead of flipping through pages to find stories that interest them, says Adam Penenberg, assistant professor in the business and economic reporting program at New York University. "They customize their news-gathering experience in a way a single paper publication could never do," Mr. Penenberg wrote in a Wired News column last year. "And their hands never get dirty from newsprint."


    Environmental Heresies

    DATA: Be sure to check out Tech Review's Environmental Heresies
    By Stewart Brand
    . It's a great article about how environmentalism is changing and must continue to change. The article says that environmentalists must embrace technology (like GM foods and Nuclear power) that they have so far opposed -- which to me makes perfect sense. I've always considered myself an environmentalist, and have always supported advancing these technologies. To me, anything that is a step away from oil is a step in the right direction.

    That’s great news for environmentalists (or it will be when finally noticed), but they need to recognize what caused the turnaround. The world population growth rate actually peaked at 2 percent way back in 1968, the very year my old teacher Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The world’s women didn’t suddenly have fewer kids because of his book, though. They had fewer kids because they moved to town.

    Cities are population sinks-always have been. Although more children are an asset in the countryside, they’re a liability in the city. A global tipping point in urbanization is what stopped the population explosion. As of this year, 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, with 61 percent expected by 2030. In 1800 it was 3 percent; in 1900 it was 14 percent.

    The environmentalist aesthetic is to love villages and despise cities. My mind got changed on the subject a few years ago by an Indian acquaintance who told me that in Indian villages the women obeyed their husbands and family elders, pounded grain, and sang. But, the acquaintance explained, when Indian women immigrated to cities, they got jobs, started businesses, and demanded their children be educated. They became more independent, as they became less fundamentalist in their religious beliefs. Urbanization is the most massive and sudden shift of humanity in its history. Environmentalists will be rewarded if they welcome it and get out in front of it. In every single region in the world, including the U.S., small towns and rural areas are emptying out. The trees and wildlife are returning. Now is the time to put in place permanent protection for those rural environments. Meanwhile, the global population of illegal urban squatters—which Robert Neuwirth’s book Shadow Cities already estimates at a billion—is growing fast. Environmentalists could help ensure that the new dominant human habitat is humane and has a reduced footprint of overall environmental impact.

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