Monthly Archives July 2011

A Beer App for OSCON Data 2011

oscon A Beer App for OSCON Data 2011After two days in Portland, enjoying the cool crisp summer and the fine selection of microbrews, Dhruv and I decided to quit our jobs at Infochimps and become online beer retailers.  Dhruv has assumed the title of CTO (Chief Tasting Officer) and I’ve declared myself the CDO (Chief Deliciousness Officer).

Just kidding.  At least about the quitting our jobs part.  I’m going to keep my CDO title.

For our OSCON Data 2011 workshop, we built a mock e-commerce site, focused on selling craft beers from around the US.  This beer app showcases the ease of using our data APIs to add new functionality to a simple site.  We encourage you to play around with Lancelot Link’s Beer Emporium; it’s built using Ruby on Rails application and you can find the complete source code on GitHub.

barackobama A Beer App for OSCON Data 2011

You can find a list of all five of the APIs used in this application at Infochimps.  If you don’t already have your own Infochimps API key you can sign up for an account and get one.

You can simulate a visit from a particular IP address by passing the ip parameter in the URL. You can simulate a visit from a particular Twitter user by passing the twitter parameter in the URL.

http://oscon2011beerapp.heroku.com/homepage/v3?ip=92.131.1.255&twitter=barackobama

Play around with this app for yourself and see how powerfully simple using our APIs can be!

We’re Going to OSCON 2011!

27d97 oscon2011 speaking 150x150 Were Going to OSCON 2011!In just a few short hours, I’ll be heading to OSCON with our Chief Data Scientist, Dhruv Bansal.  OSCON Data is a new conference co-located with OSCON this year, focusing on a key areas where open source is driving innovation: Data.  It’s the first conference of its kind: bringing together open source culture and data hackers to cover data management infrastructure at an intensely practical level.

We’ll will be presenting on Wednesday, July 27 at 4:10pm in Oregon Ballroom 204.  In our hour and a half workshop, we’ll cover how to easy and downright fun, it can be to cook up a data mashup on the fly with our APIs.  We’ll show how data pulled from multiple sources into the Infochimps API makes it very easy to mash up data the same way developers hack together code. Bring your computer with your terminal ready and learn how Infochimps can help you focus more on bringing value into data by taking the chimp work out of using it.

If you’re attending OSCON Data, we’d love to meet you, so feel free to get in touch with either of us via Twitter!

Winnie: @misswinnie
Dhruv: @dhruvbansal

The Howler Project: Get Loud!

howler monkey 2 300x225 The Howler Project: Get Loud!For howler monkeys, as their name suggests, loud vocal communication is an integral part of their social behavior. Howler monkeys are widely considered to be the loudest land animal and according to Guinness Book of World Records, their vocalizations can be heard clearly for 3 miles (4.8 km). Curious what they sound like? You can hear a clip of the howler monkey’s signature low growl here.

Wanna get loud?

We’re launching a beta testing program to pull in feedback from our most vocal fellow primates on our newest APIs.  We’re calling it the Howler Project and you can apply to become one of our first Howlers by clicking here.  We’ll email you periodically to let you know when we’re releasing new APIs and how to access them before we announce them to the general public.  Each API will have a short series of tests/questions we’d like you to answer, though you’re welcome to try to break it in any way you’d like.  The more feedback we get from you, the better we can make our products.  And the better our APIs, the easiest and faster it can be to start building amazing things on top of our data.  Everyone wins and you can help us get there!

So what’s in it for you, our furry friends?

Well, in true chimp spirit, if you pick bugs off our backs, you get to enjoy tasty grubs.  Help us test just one API and we’ll send you some fun chimpy swag.  Become a regular tester and the incentives grow to include free account upgrades on infochimps.com, sweet toys from ThinkGeek, custom Startup: The Hackering cards with your info and more.

Apply today and get loud!

Chimps in Chicago Recap

monkey holding baseball bat 150x150 Chimps in Chicago RecapHappy Friday, everyone! Turns out that while Chimps in Chicago developer contest did garner some interesting entries, none of our entrants were from Chicago.  And in an unfortunate coincidence, our CEO, Nick Ducoff who was going to treat the winner to the Cubs vs. Astros game and all the beer and peanuts they could handle, had his flight get cancelled last minute this morning.

Since Nick won’t be able to make the game, we’re posting a real live link to the actual tickets here.  If you’re in Chicago and reading this message and want to go to the game, print these babies out and be the first at the ballpark today! :)

Everyone who entered will still be receiving a care package of chimpy swag to enjoy wherever they may be geographically.  We have plans abrewin’ for a hackday here in Austin in early September tied to ATX Startup Week, so stay tuned about that.

In the meanwhile, if you have ideas for how we can make our next online hackathon even better – we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Testing Benford’s Law

benfordslaw Testing Benfords Law

There is an odd numeric phenomenon in large datasets. If a set of values were truly random, each leading digit (1 thru 9) would appear about 11% of the time, but Benford’s Law predicts a logarithmic distribution.  It doesn’t apply to all large datasets, but it does happen regularly enough that it is even used in detecting possible fraud in accounting, socio-economic data and elections.  In the United States, evidence based on Benford’s law is legally admissible in criminal cases at the federal, state, and local levels.

Testing Benford’s Law is a simple experiment to see how many large, publicly accessible datasets satisfy Benford’s Law.  Site creators, Jason Long and Bryce Thronton have tested a variety of large, publicly available datasets, including our Twitter Census: Twitter User by Friend Count dataset and found some striking results.

benfordslaw twitter1 Testing Benfords Law

New Data: Nerd Out with WoW, M:TG and More

monkey nerd with glasses 300x277 New Data: Nerd Out with WoW, M:TG and MoreLast week, we showcased data sets and APIs that could help you navigate the joys and perils of monkey love.  This week, we’re nerding it up!  From WoW census data to lists of M:TG cards and Legos to tons of baseball stats, we’ve got your nerd-out needs covered.

World of Warcraft Census Data
Which server has the most players?  Which server has the most Level 60 characters?  How many orcs are on Tichondrius?  These and other burning WoW questions can be answered by this running census of the number of characters per server, per level, and per race, playing World of Warcraft.  Census data provided by WarcraftRealms.com.

Magic: The Gathering Card Lists
With over 12,000 unique cards, Magic: The Gathering is an amazing rich, complex game that can be played again and again with renewed excitement.  (Author’s Note: Yes, sometimes I stay up til the wee hours of the morning playing Magic with friends.  Don’t judge.)  Enjoy this nerdy bounty of lists and spoilers of every M:TG card produced from Alpha – 2009.

Master List of Lego Parts
You’ve spend months building your Lego replica of the cast of Harry Potter and are missing that one piece to finish the detailing in Harry’s lighting bolt scar… what to do?  Does that piece even exist?  Check out this list of part numbers and descriptions of Lego parts to help you attain your OCD dreams.

Pennant Baseball History (coming soon)
Batter up! The practice of keeping stats of player achievements was started in the 19th century by Henry Chadwick.  Today, sports fans and data nerds alike clamor to this extraordinarily documented game.  Our Pennant Baseball History API isn’t quite up yet, but when it is, you can enter an MLB team name and in return get its team_id and a list of the years played, between 1960-2010. We’ve got more great baseball APIs coming soon as well that can return team statistics, records, game_ids and full at bat data!

We’ve got over 14,700 more where that came from.  Visit our site today and search for the data you want.  Can’t find what you need? Let us know on UserVoice!

Visual.ly: Infographics for Everyone

visualdotly logo black 01 300x76 Visual.ly: Infographics for EveryoneVisual.ly is a new platform that showcases the diversity and beauty of visualizations, connecting creators with audiences and publishers with content.  Visual.ly was started by the team behind Mint.com‘s popular infographics. The founding team, Stew Langille, Lee Sherman, Tal Siach and Adam Breckler have already created “the largest collection of infographics on the web,” according to Langille.  With over 2000 infographics from the likes of GOOD, National Geographic, and Mashable, the site is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful and useful visualations.

visually 300x267 Visual.ly: Infographics for Everyone

Click to see entire infographic

Sweet infographic of Infochimp’s CTO, Flip Kromer and CSO, Dhruv Bansal, eh?  Just something I whipped up in just a few seconds thanks to Visual.ly.  With the Visual.ly Twitterize Yourself Project, you can gain insight into and compare the behavior of any two users on Twitter.  This project uses three of Infochimps’ Twitter APIs (Wordbag, Influence Metrics and StrongLinks) mashed together with the Twitter API to put out this cleverly cute infographic.

How was the experience of putting together 3 Infochimps APIs with the Twitter API?  Breckler of the founding team said, “We really liked the ease of use as well as the straight forward documentation and sample code”.

Curious to try your first API call with us?  Check out this simple tutorial.  We’ve also got some examples to help you get chimpy with your code rather than having to monkey around with the data.  We can’t wait to feature your sweet projects here!

Chimps in Chicago | Infochimps Developer Contest

funny baseball pictures 124 243x300 Chimps in Chicago | Infochimps Developer ContestWhat are you doing on Friday, July 22nd at 1:20pm CT? You could be knocking back brewskis with our CEO, Nick Ducoff at historic Wrigley Field. He’s got prime tickets to the Cubs vs. Astros game and wants to take one lucky & talented developer out to the ball game. He’ll treat you to all the beer and peanuts you can handle – oh yeah!

All you’ve got to do is hack together an application or data visualization using at least one of our data sets or APIs and submit it to us by Wednesday, July 20th at 5pm CT. We’ll pick our favorite and let you know if you’re our winner by Thursday, July 21st!

Don’t live in Chicago, but still want to play along? We’ll send every person who enters a handful of starter decks of Startup: The Hackering, Infochimps’ infamous SXSW card game and some sweet stickers.

Here’s some of our favorite data sets and APIs we’d recommend starting off with:

For inspiration, check out what others have built using Infochimps data: App Gallery.

Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, July 20th at 5pm CT.  Click here for our entry form.

Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest Winner

Roger Photo 150x150 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerLast week’s developer contest with our friends at Twilio yielded a diverse set of entries ranging from an app that reports your Twitter influence to a tool to help you look up valid words for Scrabble.  With a theme as general as simply “data”, and the goal was to see what interesting applications our developer communities could make using both Twilio’s API and Infochimps data sets and data APIs.  Ultimately, we agreed that Roger Pincombe’s entry, Social Contact, made the best use of all the data available through us.  Roger is a previous Twilio contest winner, so he’s no stranger to building fly apps on the fly.

To use Social Contact, all you have to do is send a person’s Twitter username as a text to (203) 403-NAME (6263). You’ll get back an e-mail containing a vCard with as much information as publicly available, including full name, company and title, email (occasionally), phone number (occasionally), home page url, home location (generally city-level), description, summary, Klout, photo, Facebook profile link, and other social profile pages.

iOS Jeff Lawson Twilio 225x300 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerHere’s what Roger had to say about his app:

“This contest allowed me to solve a problem I’ve been running into a lot recently as a fledgling entrepreneur, remembering all the amazing people I meet on a daily basis. I have a horrible memory, and I’m especially bad with names, so sometimes meeting people again can be kind of awkward. What does he do again? What was her name? With 203-403-NAME, all I have to do is text someone’s twitter username, and I instantly get back a name, photo, job, and sometimes other contact info, ready to be added to my phone’s address book for future reference. Oh, and I have a great domain name, http://contacts.io, that I’ve been wanting to find a use for, so this fits nicely. I’ve got a web interface in the works, which should be ready to go in less than a week.

Social Contest uses the Infochimps Social Identity Mapping API, as well as other sources to boost the robustness of the information returned to the user.  Roger notes that the Google Social Graph API was also extremely useful.  His code is in C#, running on ASP.NET 4.0.

If you’d like to play around with Social Contact, just send a text to (203) 403-6263 with a Twitter username.

Honorable Mention

odom headshot 150x150 Twilio/Infochimps Developer Contest WinnerThere could only be one winner, but we also wanted to recognize Textable, made by Steve Odom (full disclosure: Steve is an Infochimps contractor, but that doesn’t make his app any less awesome and he didn’t get any special help from us!). Using a variety of the Infochimps data sets, Steve created an SMS application that helps people find important nearby locations in unfamiliar cities.

Say you land in Austin and need to find WiFi quickly. Simply text “wifi AUS” to (512) 782-2513 and you’ll get back a list of nearby places that offer wifi. Text “walgreens 78702″ and you’ll get back nearby Walgreens locations. In general you can text wifi, library, walgreens, and help (Steve is working on adding walmart, atm, and UFOs) followed by a zip code or three-letter airport code. Give it a whirl!

Your Turn

Want to get involved?  We’re cooking up ideas for future developer contests.  In the meanwhile, Twilio holds developer contests regularly and you can get all the details here.  You can also build on any of our data sets and APIs anytime anywhere.  Sign up for an API key today.

New Data: Dinner, Drinks & The Breakup

34511 New Data: Dinner, Drinks & The BreakupSo, you think you’ve met the perfect chimp companion?  It takes more than just a shiny coat to attract the ladies and gentleman of your species… you’ve got to know how to cook… make tasty drinks.  But what if all your best laid plans fail? Then you’ve got to end it… but how?  We’ve got all the APIs and datasets to help you navigate the sticky world of monkey love.

Cook the Perfect Dinner
They say the fastest way to one’s heart is through their stomach.  You, my chimpy friend, can take advantage of this old adage with the Punchfork API, which will let you easily integrate recipes into your website or app by providing direct access to recipe data from all sorts of publishers – from bloggers to top recipe sites.  With their API, you can get top rated recipes to help you prepare that perfect simian supper to woo your potential mating partner.

Make Good Mixed Drinks
Have no clue what to do with triple sec, amaretto and bitters?  Some smart chimps scraped the data from a site with over 9000 different popular drink combinations and ran taste trials with their peers to determine which drinks tasted good together, and which ones were not compatible.  Now you can pretend to be Tom Cruise from that scene in Cocktail (trick bartending skills not included).

Relationship Breakup Mechanisms
Has your date turned out to be a dud despite your best efforts?  Well, we’ve got a list of ways break up with your not-so-significant-anymore other that can serve as a great starting point for ending things.

We’ve got over 14,700 more where that came from.  Visit our site today and search for the data you want.  Can’t find what you need? Let us know on UserVoice!