Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Climbing Mount Hamilton

Today, I went up Mount Hamilton (4300 ft) for Stage 3 of Tour of California. Here are some pictures and videos I took. Here are more pictures taken by others people. It's amazing how fast the riders go. It was very cold on top of the mountain and the descent was freezing. I also have a whole new appreciation for the motorcycle riders who bring the races to TV. They were literally bouncing up and down.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reputation and DUI

Washington state recently passed a bill that requires DUI drivers to have a yellow license plate (news article). It's a bit like the Scarlet Letter. I like to see how effective this becomes. I think the bill has a problem. Some people share cars with other drivers. But DUI is a major problem in the US, and I'm happy to see experimentation by local governments.

I love reputation based systems like eBay and wikipedia. It's a good way to build trust and fight spam. I personally wish there was an easy way for people to have a publicly visible reputation that was influenced by anyone. Imagine a world where people could easily point their cell phone at you and give you a plus or a minus vote. If you let someone merge in, the other driver can give you a small star. If you stop and help someone with a flat tire, you might get lots of stars. If you cut people off or cheat on the carpool lane, you get bad karma. That's similar to PageRank. We all look at reviews for movies, restaurants, books, hotels, etc. And we look at the star rating on youtube, netflix, etc. Why not have it for people? There are now web sites that do this for professors and classes at universities. An open reputation based system is so much more effective than the usual student reviews for university faculty. Now imagine we did that in the office for everyone.

Why not have a rating on this very blog post?