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New Social-Network Mapping Tools Compared

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the useful-in-high-school-sex-ed-class dept.

Software 79

Roland Piquepaille writes "There are many new visualization tools around us which try to map our social networks. In this column, I examined Inflow, a datamining tool digging through your email repository to discover and find trends to know more about your networks. Here is a quote: "Assuming you have a significant amount of e-mail traffic, the software will create a remarkably sophisticated assessment of your various social groups, showing you not only their relative size but also the interactions between different groups." I also peeked at TouchGraph GoogleBrowser, which uses Amazon or Google Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to visually describe how books and Web sites connect with one another. Finally, I took a look at a brand new way of visualizing Google search results, from anacubis. If you know about other similar new tools, please tell me and I'll gather your comments in a future story."

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Interestingly (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521198)

Due to the high number of links to such sites within, Slashdot is incredibly close to sites such as goatse.cx and tubgirl.

Re:Interestingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521874)

i wish i never went and looked at tubgirl. thing is, she was probably fored to do that by some sick MAN who somehow attachs that act to HIS sexuality. So many distrubing people in this world.

Re:Interestingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5522259)

Dude it's a fuckin realdoll.

Re:Interestingly (0)

pepper_pusher (452533) | more than 11 years ago | (#5523143)

no it's not. it's a cult. you wish you didn't c it, but you didn't stop at goatse.cs ;->

fp...? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521201)

fp...?

My social groups... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521217)

... if are discovered reading my emails, surely will be spammers and mailing list administrators.

Spammers? (5, Funny)

eric434 (161022) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521218)

OK, so if I run that on my email inbox, I guess it'll tell me I have some long-running business relationships with penis enlargement companies, herbal viagra distributors, and various shady people in Nigeria...

Possibly (2, Funny)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521263)

...Or InFlow will assume you're a white-collar criminal with a small johnson.

Re:Possibly (1)

pyrote (151588) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521663)

...And small breasts.

But you wouldn't run it on one inbox (4, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521748)

OK, so if I run that on my email inbox, I guess it'll tell me I have some long-running business relationships with penis enlargement companies, herbal viagra distributors, and various shady people in Nigeria...

If a tool like this is intended to be anywhere remotely useful, it would look at incoming and outgoing emails. Two people that have no two-way communication would, I imagine, be rather unconnected.

Finally, running this on the email inbox of a single person would be quite useless. You'd get a hub with spokes coming out. Whee. The real purpose of something like this is when you can run it on a massive collection of everyone's email throughout an organization. At this point, it starts to become a bit of a privacy issue. I mean, people on Slashdot scream horribly when the FBI thinks about doing something like this, but the moment the local network admin (someone who I in general would far *less* rather have digging through my email, and who I personally feel has much less right to do so) starts running social analysis software, it's okay because it's "neat". Sigh.

Re:But you wouldn't run it on one inbox (1)

hughcharlesparker (588636) | more than 11 years ago | (#5527737)

There's an important difference: permission. If the NSA want to map the social networks of e-mail and telephone communications in Britain (as indeed they do [apc.org] ) then I have a problem with that: I don't want anyone collecting or using this information without my permission. If the e-mail gods at the college where I work suggested mapping social networks within the college's e-mail system, and a load of us thought it would be an interesting project, we've all agreed, so it's "neat".

Re:Spammers? (1)

Snover (469130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5525471)

Just hope that this technology doesn't allow the government to access this kind of data or you'll be in lots of trouble with the IRS.

Instant Messenging / Chats (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521219)

I dunno about you; but I'm sure just a quick look at the way I group my instant messenger buddy lists, and which IRC rooms I prefer to chat and hang out in would go a long way to indicate how my social relationships are grouped.

apparently my social network (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521222)

consists of $$exy $luts, people who get rich quick, and guys who have large pumped up organs.

my social group (1)

guacamolefoo (577448) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521229)

Assuming you have a significant amount of e-mail traffic, the software will create a remarkably sophisticated assessment of your various social groups...

After analyzing my email, I have determined that my social group is comprised of a large number of penis enlargement professionals.

GF.

POV-Picture style. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521236)

Well this is interesting, but only half the equation. How does one interpret these graphs? Without that these are just pretty pictures.

Dr. Dobbs article about this (5, Informative)

ayf6 (112477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521238)

In a recent (i believe 2 months ago) Dr. Dobbs there was an article about just this type of application. There was an article written by one of the top social enginners of applications like this. He was one of the people responsible for doing the Amazon "like this you'd like that" feature.

Re:Dr. Dobbs article about this (4, Funny)

doormat (63648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521512)

You sure? All I remember from those amazon.com "like this-like that" feature was


People who buy this item also buy...
  • Clean Underwear
  • ...

Really? I buy clean undewear??? And I always thought it was weird until I heard about this [ebay.com] ...

Re:Dr. Dobbs article about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521664)

All that hassle of going to ebay, searching for "used underwear", posting it on slashdot in order to get a +1 funny ? Wanker !

Re:Dr. Dobbs article about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521787)

considering the slashdot crowd, i can see this used boys underwear bid going up to the tens of thousands by tomorrow. someone will be the lucky winner with several pairs of used boys underwear.

Having lots of "visual brain cells" != usefulness (5, Insightful)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521250)

"Considering that more than two thirds of our brain cells are dedicated on vision, these tools make sense."

Erm, no offense, but I don't think A necessarily follows B here. Putting abstract constructs in visual terms doesn't automatically overcome the fact that you're still dealing with abstract constructs.

Re:Having lots of "visual brain cells" != usefulne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521453)

But all thinking is abstract.


Yeah thats really simple even you will get that


Our brains only ever work on the abstract

Saying something (we communicate with) is abstract is like saying all wheels are round

Imagine you was reading this in braile

Re:Having lots of "visual brain cells" != usefulne (3, Interesting)

netdpb (652100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522031)

Where does the author get his stat on proportion of brain cells dedicated to vision?! This is wrong. Visual cortex is in the occipital lobe, and areas V1 - V5 could be said to be "dedicated to vision." Other areas, moving into the parietal and temporal lobes are involved with visual cognition, but much of those, and the frontal lobes, are NOT involved with vision at all. Not to mention all the non-cortical areas of the brain, some of which are used for early visual connection between the retinas and the visual cortex, but most of which are not.

That being said, what he meant is perhaps that people's visual cognitive skills are much more evolved than their capacity for "abstract thinking" and intellectual pursuits.

Except slashdotters, of course.

(Mod me down for offtopic, or up for informative? Pant, pant.)

Network mapping via Google (4, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521253)

I think Kartoo [kartoo.com] also give a graphical view of search results, but I don't know if it do the kind of mapping or relationship that do the TouchGraph GoogleBrowser or anacubis.

Anyway, this seems to be a next step in the evolution of search engines, not giving URLs that matches queries, but relating them, showing the relationship between actual data and ubication in internet.

Re:Network mapping via Google (1)

Valluvan (564515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5564094)

i found the Knowledge Navigator interface in Encyclopedia Brittanica more intuitive and useful than Kartoo... if we can compare the internet to an encyclopedia in some way, then perhaps, Kartoo and TouchGraph have something to learn from the Enc. Brit. UI

download?? (1)

zolon (605240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521257)

Well, thats nice. No download links for InFlow so we can test it ourselves.

The most important questions... (4, Funny)

Whatsthiswhatsthis (466781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521259)

But here are the two most important questions:

1) How will this prevent spam?

and

2) How will it stop terrorism?

As soon as it stops spam and terrorism, I'm ready to invest.

Re:The most important questions... (5, Funny)

Whatsthiswhatsthis (466781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521271)

I rest my case:

"Intelligence analysts once assumed that terrorists organize in isolated cells. But social-network maps revealed that the 9/11 hijackers' cells morphed into a hub-and-spoke pattern with an obvious leader: Mohammed Atta. The active structure resembled that of an IBM project team." from discover.com [discover.com]

This raises a serious question: What is this "IBM" and what kind of "project" are they planning?

Re:The most important questions... (4, Funny)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521731)

Whatsthiswhatsthis writes:
"As soon as it stops spam and terrorism, I'm ready to invest."

I'm not buying it until it supports the Ogg format.

Re:The most important questions... (2, Informative)

TuballoyThunder (534063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522625)

It already is being used. Network analysis (NA) and visualization tools are being used in parts of the government to look at everything from criminal organizations to terrorists. The three biggest hurdles for the government (or for that matter a company that wants to use NA tools for commercial purposes): -- Computing resources and visualization techniques. Only fairly recently has computing power, storage, and graphics capability have gotten to the point where you can deploy these tools in the hands of the analyst. Having the analyst go to a specialized computer terminal/operator is a barrier for its use. The big problem that remains is how to effectively display complex networks. When I looked at moderately complex networks, it quickly became a plate of spaghetti. -- Data sources. Unless you have a common data source, NA tools are exceedingly difficult to implement. You need to capture the entities that are involved, the relationships between, and a indicator of data quality. That data source needs to be integrated with the other tools the analyst uses. For example, if a marketing analyst is reading a survey on who are trendsetters for teen fashions, that analyst needs to be able to seamlessly update a database on who the trendsetters are. That same database needs to feed a NA tool that can be used to determine who the key trendsetters are. -- Analyst rut. Some analysts either have a resistance to adopting new tools or are ignorant of the tools. I think often the problem lies on the tool building side of the house. It is not unusual to see a new application get deployed with little or no input from the users. In one of my jobs, I saw an application get deployed that was completely unusable by over 90% of the users. Apparently the developers were using (new at that time) Pentium-based computers when all the regular users had 486s. The application brought the 486 to its knees. It really is pretty neat when you start with a sparse network with uncertain links and after working it on it for awhile you end up with a solid network, identified new relationships, and discovered new entities.

Social Mapping for Geeks (5, Funny)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521264)

New Social-Network Mapping Tools Compared

Oh, come on. This is Slashdot!

Some great technology and concepts exist within social-network mapping tools, but really it's totally useless to us geeks. Our social maps are built up like this:

Computer <--(attachment)--> Geek

Some of the slightly more warped geeks here have it like this:

Wife <--(guardian/moderator)--> Computer
|
| (controlled via sex)
|
V
Chump (a.k.a. geek)

Re:Social Mapping for Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521407)

Social map for /.ers really:
Fat hideous lizard of a woman whose ego was destroyed enough to be with /.er
|
|
v
Computer
|
|
v
Slashdotter

n degrees of separation (1)

Unominous Coward (651680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521267)

I wonder whether they'll finally be able to disprove the six (or however many) degrees of separation.

Then again, most people will probably have a connection to Nigeria due to the certain organ-lengthening drug that they are so famous for.

Re:n degrees of separation (1)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521496)

I wonder whether they'll finally be able to disprove the six (or however many) degrees of separation.

Hum, the hypothesis that everybody knows everybody else within 6 degrees of separation.

Clearly, this is false because some people know no others.

Tor

Re:n degrees of separation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521737)

Wow, there are people, born of no parents, living in the wilds alone? Cool. Of course, the question then becomes, how do you know about them?

Re:n degrees of separation (1)

Madcapjack (635982) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522932)

Of course EVERYONE doesn't know everybody else within 6 degrees of separation (or even n degrees); but this is a well known fact. saying everyone is just a gross over-simplification of network theory. in any case, there is some reason to believe that the originator (or the one who popularized it) of theory whats'his'name doctored his data. wish i could remember where i read that. sorry.



but in any case, many networks have a high degree of connectivity, and because some individuals know many many people, even individuals who don't know many people may possibly still gain access to the rest of the network fairly quickly. of course completely isolated people don't...but i don't know any that don't even know of others people...i mean, did wolves raise her/him? c'mon.

Re:n degrees of separation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5523333)

There's a new book well worth checking out about the "six degree" phenomenon, written by a guy who has been actively investigating it in a number of it's various manifestations for several years. It's "Six Degrees: the science of a connected age" by Duncan J. Watts. Perhaps you may have heard of his ongoing email experiment at Columbia.

There's a lot of stuff in there of considerable interest to /.ers. Even some observations about what's wrong with Microsoft...

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521297)

Do all the warez and porn sites look like a giant slime ball.. them all being intricately interconnected.

Free software equivalent to InFlow? (3, Interesting)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521301)

I was just wondering if anyone's come up with a free/open equivalent of InFlow, which is apparently commercial software (and probably Windows-only)? It'd be interesting to run it on my vast volumes of mail, but I run Linux...

Re:Free software equivalent to InFlow? (4, Informative)

juuri (7678) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521325)

It isn't quite the same but with a little scripting on your end you can make some pretty detailed stats of all your mail using "mls".

Re:Free software equivalent to InFlow? (1)

cachedout (522334) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521365)

Can anybody explain this a little more? I'm not familier with 'mls', and I don't see it anywhere in the Debian archive.

Re:Free software equivalent to InFlow? (4, Informative)

joshua42 (103889) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521384)

I had never heard about that piece of software before either, but it is really not terribly difficult to read up on the subject.

http://marki.host.sk/MLS/

Re:Free software equivalent to InFlow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521717)

http://www.netvis.org/ [netvis.org]

from the website: "The NetVis Module is a free open source web-based tool designed to simulate, analyze, and visualize social networks using data from csv files, online surveys, and geographically dispersed work teams."

Re:Free software equivalent to InFlow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5525020)

What they really need a free software version of is Analyst Notebook. This is what usually gets used by law enforcement to build cases.

This looks great (3, Funny)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521302)

This software looks great, but how do you visualize a beowulf cluster of Linux geeks in Soviet Russia discussing the death of *BSD and proclaiming that all of your OH- ions belong to them?

On second thought, maybe I don't want to visualize that...

Re:This looks great (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521409)

The End of FreeBSD

[ed. note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

FreeBSD is dying

Re:This looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5522320)

The End of FreeBSD

[note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

Do you really need it ? (1)

theefer (467185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521314)

The mere fact of thinking about using such a tool is enough to know you are a geek. Sorry.

Heh! (2, Funny)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521316)

I liked one of the examples [orgnet.com] they give! (Warning: only maths nerds will find this funny.)

Re:Heh!-"Unemployed" singularity. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521336)

That reminds me. What would the graph of all the people out of work look like?

Damn you, Slashdot! (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521324)

...another half an hour spent exploring stuff I knew nothing about.

Interesting stuff, I wonder if there is any benefit in assigning values to (a) the length of replies, and (b) whether communication is one way or two way. The president of my company writes to me (well, and everyone else) once a week, but I don't reply! In a large organisation it would be useful, but not nice, to link email based analysis in with phone calls, meeting attendances, and so on.

Social networks... (2, Interesting)

megazoid81 (573094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521327)

How is the sexual life of geeks, crackerz and other members of the Internet underground documented? Check this [attrition.org] out. A Wired story [wired.com] about this too!

Does this mean, perhaps, that ... (1)

JMZorko (150414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521342)

... these wonderful technologies that we develop (hw / sw / net / etc.) could actually truly _help_ people?

Seriously -- this seems to be the aim of so many developments, to "help make the world a better place via this-and-that," but as an engineer -- and also a human being -- living in these times, it's sometimes hard to really believe that we are improving things on a human level.

So if technology is developed that can actually help people identify with themselves and others, if software can assist in helping people find their place in the human social fabric; wow, color me hopeful!

Regards,

John

how... (1)

pummer (637413) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521357)

... is this different from data mining cookies such as doubleclick and the like? Sounds like privacy invasion to me...

Re:how... (2, Insightful)

Squidgee (565373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521400)

It's different because _YOU_ are datamining _YOUR_ own email, not someone else mining your email.

Suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521367)

Those people should map their penises or something.

Lame postings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521379)

I don't know about the software, but this story has brought out the worst batch of lame posts I have ever seen on Slashdot. How do I filter this shit out!

Non Obvious Relational awareness (3, Informative)

ralphus (577885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521417)

Anyone at Blackhat [blackhat.com] last year and happen to see the presentation [blackhat.com] at lunch on Non Obvious Relational Awareness [srdnet.com] ?

This was a truly scary demonstration of this kind of technology being used by private industry, namely casinos, to track relationships between people.

Real stream available at: rtsp://media-1.datamerica.com/blackhat/bh-usa-02/v ideo/BH-USA-02-JEFF-JONAS.rm

Here's a social network for you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5521478)

From No War For Israel [nowarforisrael.com] :

Brigadier General Says Israel is the problem not Iraq

Questions and Answers about Iraq and Israel

by James J. David a retired Brigadier General
Jan 7, 2003

(James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S.Army's Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington, DC. He served as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 and also served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969.)

Question: Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons?
Answer: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections?
Answer: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East seized the sovereign territory of
other nations by military force and continues to occupy it in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?
Answer: Israel.

Q: Which country in the Middle East routinely violates the international borders of another sovereign state with warplanes and artillery and naval gunfire?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What American ally in the Middle East has for years sent assassins into other countries to kill its political enemies (a practice sometimes called exporting terrorism)?
Answer: Israel.

Q: In which country in the Middle East have high-ranking military officers admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East created 762,000 refugees and refuses to allow them to return to their homes, farms and businesses?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East refuses to pay compensation to people whose land, bank accounts and businesses it confiscated?
Answer: Israel.

Q: In what country in the Middle East was a high-ranking United Nations diplomat assassinated?
Answer: Israel.

Q: In what country in the Middle East did the man who ordered the
assassination of a high-ranking U.N. diplomat become prime minister?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a U.S. ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 and wounding 171 American sailors?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country in the Middle East employed a spy, Jonathan Pollard, to steal classified documents and then gave some of them to the Soviet Union?
Answer: Israel.

Q: What country at first denied any official connection to Pollard, then voted to make him a citizen and has continuously demanded that the American president grant Pollard a full pardon?
Answer: Israel.

Q. What Middle East country allows American Jewish murderers to flee to its country to escape punishment in the United States and refuses to extradite them once in their custody?
Answer: Israel

Q. What Middle East country preaches against hate yet builds a shrine and a memorial for a murderer who killed 29 Palestinians while they prayed in their Mosque.
Answer: Israel

Q: What country on Planet Earth has the second most powerful lobby in the United States, according to a recent Fortune magazine survey of Washington insiders?
Answer: Israel.

Q. Which country in the Middle East deliberately targeted a U.N. Refugee Camp in Qana, Lebanon and killed 103 innocent men, women, and especially children?
Answer: Israel

Q: Which country in the Middle East is in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been protected from 29 more by U.S. vetoes?
Answer: Israel.

Q. Which country in the Middle East receives more than one-third of all U.S. aid yet is the 16th richest country in the world?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East receives U.S. weapons for free and then sells the technology to the Republic of China even at the objections of the U.S.?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East routinely insults the American people by having its Prime Minister address the United States Congress and lecturing them like children on why they have no right to reduce foreign aid?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East had its Prime Minister announce to his staff not to worry about what the United States says because "We control America?"
Answer: Israel

Q. What country in the Middle East was cited by Amnesty International for demolishing more than 4000 innocent Palestinian homes as a means of ethnic cleansing.
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East has just recently used a weapon of mass destruction, a one-ton smart bomb, dropping it in the center of a highly populated area killing 15 civilians including 9 children?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East routinely kills young Palestinian
children for no reason other than throwing stones at armored
vehicles, bulldozers, or tanks?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East signed the Oslo Accords promising to halt any new Jewish Settlement construction, but instead, has built more than 270 new settlements since the signing?
Answer: Israel

Q. Which country in the Middle East has assassinated more than 100
political officials of its opponent in the last 2 years while killing hundreds of civilians in the process, including dozens of children?
Answer: Israel

Q.. Which country in the Middle East regularly violates the Geneva
Convention by imposing collective punishment on entire towns, villages, and camps, for the acts of a few, and even goes as far as demolishing entire villages while people are still in their homes?
Answer: Israel

Q: What country in the Middle East is the United States threatening to attack because of fear that it may be a threat to us and to our allies?
Answer: Iraq

Wished I had points to mod you up ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5522980)

This is exactly the kind of facts people never hear about, that was the most interesting comment I've seen today on /. Sorry I have no point for you !

A few factual errors in original blog entry (5, Informative)

orgnet (575748) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521506)

Thank you Roland for the write-up on InFlow on your weblog!

Unfortunately there are some errors...
1) I am not a former IBM'er... they were my first major client.
2) It did not take me 15 years to write the software... the first working version [w/o visuals] was written in 2 weekends in 1987... on a 512K Macintosh... using Prolog. Yes, now it is commercial, used mostly by management consultants, on Windows. I also use it with VPC6 on my Powerbook.
3) InFlow can process data from email traffic to find patterns and paths, but the paragraph you quote is about the OTHER product in the article -- MIT Media Lab's "Social Network Fragments" -- a very cool tool.

Looking at just your own email[in/out] will not tell you much [except that it is 40% spam]. You need to look at the email flows between project team members, co-workers, communities of interest, etc. At least 20 participants before interesting patterns emerge...

Most of our data is collected via on-line surveys -- people participate knowingly. Most survey participants are very eager to see the resulting maps -- they want to see where they, and their friends ended up.

Valdis

Re:A few factual errors in original blog entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5522124)

Valdis,

You cannot believe my surprise to be browsing the front page of Slashdot to see you and Inflow mentioned! However, judging from the blurb on the front page and the comments that I've been reading there seems to be some misconceptions as to the flexability of Inflow in analyzing different networks. I think the 'Inflow in used to analyze your email' downplayed what Inflow can really do. However, looking at the orgnet front page there is a list of some good examples of how Inflow has been used in the past for analysis of different types of social networks. At any rate, it's great to see you and Inflow getting such good publicity.

Porter

download? (1)

upt1me (537466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521507)

Where do I download this? I have several abandoned account with 5000+ messages in the inbox to test.

FYI: /. Links provided, last one on terrorist net (2, Informative)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521536)

Antispam applications? (4, Insightful)

descil (119554) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521622)

This kind of a thing could potentially be used as a more sophisticated "exclusive filter" to counter spam propogation - emails that do not appear connected to a social network could simply be blocked entirely. This would require the "social network" to require two-way links - thus sending an email would not create a connection between two people, but sending and receiving an email would.

In any case, it's another way to look at spam protection.

My social network apparently consists of.. (1)

FsG (648587) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521650)

Some scam-happy groups/individuals, individuals who are getting rich quick, people with a better sex life (and penis size!) due to some drug, and those who've lost 20 pounds overnight likewise. Ya think maybe I should run my anti-spam tools *before* the social map analyzer?

Check out this clustering search engine (1)

Doodhwala (13342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521668)


Not sure exactly what they use but it was fun to see how this new engine Vivisimo [vivisimo.com] grouped both very broad topics and specific ones. Put your name in and see what it brings up and how it classifies it. Might be interesting.

Google+Blogger=Go_Ogle, SocNet Search For Dates (3, Insightful)

fruscica (637745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521700)

Online dating is big business. Consider:
  • 26M Americans visited an online dating site during 12/02

  • "Personals Comprise the Largest Paid Content Category on the Internet: According to a [12/02] study...the Personals category grew 387 percent to become the largest online paid content category among consumers in the third quarter of 2002, surpassing Business Content." (source: comScore Media Metrix)

  • "'I have 43 employees, and we'll bring in $43 million this year. That's $1 million per employee,' [uDate president Martin] Clifford said. 'We have zero cost of sales within our business ...The margins are almost super-margins.'" (source: MSNBC.com)

Google+Blogger is an ideal combination for serving this market.

Here's how I think Go_Ogle will happen:

Soon, Google will improve the searchability of "blogspace" by making it easy for bloggers to annotate their blogs with information about themselves and their blogger friends. This information will be encoded in an RDF dialect called FOAF (Friend of a Friend).

It will then dawn on people that the FOAF file is effectively a static online profile, while the associated blog is akin to a living profile (in the 'living document' sense).

With this, Googling people will come to encompass both researching people you have met -- already a common practice -- and researching people you would like to meet.

The upside potential of this, as introduced above, will prove too substantial for IPO-bound Google to ignore. (In addition, I believe leadership of the market for online matchmaking software is the gateway to early leadership of the market for lifelong learning and career services, which will be worth hundreds of trillions of dollars in the coming decades. Toward understanding the relationship between the two markets, consider: according to a recent American Demographics survey, couples in the U.S. meet primarily at work (36%) or school (27%). More on 'online dating software -> LLCS' here [opportunityservices.com] ).

Google will then acquire the best makers of RDF query tools and launch Go_Ogle, the mother of all online dating sites.

Why not do it in real time? (2, Informative)

SLot (82781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521752)

With an open source tool instead.

Etherape [sourceforge.net]

Can't believe the author left that one out.

Re:Why not do it in real time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5522512)

OMG ! I can't believe it, you understand either absolutely NOTHING to what he's looking for, or nothing to what Etherape is for. All in all, you are really stupid but if you're less than 14 we will forgive you.

Google needs a moderation system. (2, Insightful)

revmoo (652952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521754)

One thing I really wish google would implement is some sort of result-moderation system. People could sign up, and would be able to moderate search results, so that when other people searched for the same thing, higher rated results would appear towards the top. I think it would cut down on a lot of porn spamming and such that is extremely common on google. Some things, you just *can't* search for, because the results are so badly spammed by porn sites.

Re:Google needs a moderation system. (1)

jason_hutchens (239116) | more than 11 years ago | (#5525982)

The Google toolbar allows you to vote for the page you're currently viewing.

- jas.

Pajek (2, Insightful)

Medieval_Thinker (592748) | more than 11 years ago | (#5521826)

The only thing I have played with to map social networks is Pajek.

I was inspired to mess with this a little at school after being inspired by the book _Linked_. It worked OK, and there was some literature about it on the web.

Finally, Finally, Finally (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522044)

Once I get my map together, I can track down those people I associate with who know other people I associate with without my permission. I mean damn people, who the hell said you could know each other without me, "THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!" introducing you!!!!!!

Texas with a budget crisis? (1)

mlylecarlin (552855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522423)

Texas has a budget crisis? Suuuure... I'm getting 18 thousand dollars a year and a tuition waver to attend math grad school at UT next year. I don't even have to teach.

And, frell, I walk into the marble corridors of the business building and feel poor no matter what.

mlylecarlin

Cool way to visualize a thesaurus... (1)

xynopsis (224788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5522589)

Try visualthesaurus: visualthesaurus.com, a web-based visualization tool for exploring how words are related to each other in extra dimensions. Looks very cool!

applying this tool to my inbox revealed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5523182)

...that I have ties with every major spammer on the planet.

Do you? (1)

Loosewire (628916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5523679)

Do you have everyones email you know? - some dont even have email adresses - for me this is useless

Strange... (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5523932)

...it says my best friend is a widow from Nigeria...
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