Thursday, March 11, 2010

some randomness from the web

There's some pretty crazy stuff out there on the Internet, some useful, some not-so-much, and some just totally NSFW. Out of all of it, I hope these three random websites offer some entertainment, usefulness, or just get the reaction of "huh, that's cool" from you.

First in terms of usefulness with a fun or coolness-factor is Visuwords, described as an "online graphical dictionary." There's a lot going on in terms of visualization of information on the internet, especially in terms of diagramming relationships and being able to navigate among them graphically. Being in an Elvis mood, my first search was for "hound dog" and the visual result was a springy series of word bubbles that started to branch off from the original term, giving relationships to other words and dog breeds. The website works great as a thesaurus and for visual learners.

For all you bikers out there, especially in the greater Boston area, check out the new function on Google Maps, which allows you to map out routes for riding your bike. If you run a business that's green or bike friendly, you might want to use Google's bike directions gadget to embed biking directions in your website.

Last, but certainly not least, all sorts of cool things are being done with Google Maps. Called mashups, these sites take something from the web, like Google Maps, and then add a little twist. This one works off of the question, have you ever wondered where your milk comes from? Well, of course it comes from cows (or, for those of you more adventuresome than I, goats or soybeans) but I mean what farm did your milk come from? There's now a website for that, called Where Is My Milk From? Just plug in the code you find on your milk carton and it'll locate the dairy farm on a map. I was surprised to find my "locally produced" milk was actually produced at a farm over 8 hours away. Looks like I'll have to keep looking for a local dairy farm--maybe I'll look at a few of the farms listed here.


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