UMBC ebiquity
2010 May

Archive for May, 2010

DCWEEK digital festival, June 11-20, Washington DC

May 31st, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in GENERAL, Mobile Computing, Social media, Web

DCWeek2010-500x251Digital Capital Week (DCWEEK) is a 10 day festival running from June 11 to 20 in Washington DC focused on technology, innovation and all things digital — social media, games, policy, multi-media, activism, new media, mobile computing, animation, etc.

DCWEEK is expected to involve more than 4,000 people — artists, technologists, entrepreneurs, communicators, govies, and citizens. They will come together to participate in over 100 distributed events produced and hosted by individuals, organizations and community groups. Most of the events are free or charge a nominal cost, but pre-registration may be required.

At DCWEEK you can:

  • learn from others through sessions, keynotes, workshops and panels
  • meet new friends, clients, partners, investors and collaborators
  • focus on the issues in DC that can be addressed in new ways
  • come together to support innovative businesses, people and ideas
  • work on projects that benefit the city and the world
  • experiment with what’s possible
  • have fun at some great parties

See the DCWEEK site for registration, schedule and details.

CS conference selectivity and impact

May 29th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Conferences, CS

The June 2010 CACM has an interesting article by Jilin Chen and Joseph Konstan of the University of Minnesota on Conference Paper Selectivity and Impact. The abstract gets right to the point:

“Studying the metadata of the ACM Digital Library (, we found that papers in low-acceptance-rate conferences have higher impact than those in high-acceptance-rate conferences within ACM, where impact is measured by the number of citations received. We also found that highly selective conferences — those that accept 30% or less of submissions—are cited at a rate comparable to or greater than ACM Transactions and journals.”

A key paragraph later in the paper has some more detail:

“Addressing the second question— on how much impact conference papers have compared to journal papers — in Figures 3 and 4, we found that overall, journals did not outperform conferences in terms of citation count; they were, in fact, similar to conferences with acceptance rates around 30%, far behind conferences with acceptance rates below 25% (T-test, T[7603] = 24.8, p< .001). Similarly, journals published as many papers receiving no citations in the next two years as conferences accepting 35%–40% of submissions, a much higher low-impact percentage than for highly selective conferences. The same analyses over four- and eight-year periods yielded results consistent with the two-year period; journal papers received significantly fewer citations than conferences where the acceptance rate was below 25%."

Impact of CS conferences vs. journals

Impact of CS conferences vs. journals

We have to assume that this study is only applicable to Computer Science, for which the ACM digital library is a very good sample, and not other disciplines (e.g., EE) or even narrow sub-disciplines within CS. Different disciplines have very different publication patterns. But it does confirm our own anecdotal evidence from tracking citations to papers written in our ebiquity lab over the past ten years — those published din top conferences tend to get more citations than those in journals.

Baltimore + HTC EVO + Android + 4G = 3+ Mbps

May 28th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Gadgets, Mobile Computing, Social media

Baltimoreans are lucky to have access to the new droid-based HTC EVO and Sprint’s 4G service. 3-6 Mbps to your phone! Hiawatha Bray writes avout it in a story in yesterday’s Boston Globe, 4G phone will quickly change things:

“It’s called the EVO 4G, and it’s our first glimpse at the next big thing in smartphones. When cellular carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. begins selling the EVO on June 4, it will be America’s first 4G cellphone, capable of far greater speed than the 3G iPhones and BlackBerries we have come to love.

But why fly 360 miles to check it out? Because Boston doesn’t have a working 4G network yet. Baltimore is one of about two dozen US cities where you can find one. Sprint says it’s building more 4G coverage as fast as it can; Boston is on the list for sometime this year.”

Google list of the 1000 most popular Web sites

May 28th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Google, Semantic Web, Social media

Google publishes a list of the 1000 most popular Web sites based on unique visitors to the top-level domain. The list is compiled by their (DoubleClick) Ad Planner group and shows estimates for the monthly number of unique visitors and pageviews. Not surprisingly, Facebook tops the list with 540M visitors and 570B page views per month.

Each site is categorized (e.g., as social network, web portal, search engine, etc) though some of these are surely wrong — e.g., #985,, is listed as “Myth & Folklore”. They say that the list excludes “adult sites, ad networks, domains that don’t have publicly visible content or don’t load properly, and certain Google sites.”

If you want to play with the data, a Karl Seguin has downloaded the data, added some additional attributes, and made it available in json. That would make it easy to run your own analysis on them — category distribution, country distribution, average load time, etc.

Google Crisis Response and Relief

May 25th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Google, Social media

Google’s Crisis Response team has a landing page for the Gulf oil spill featuring overlays for Google Maps/Earth. This joins their pages for other recent natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China. Some support ‘crowsourcing’ by allowing people to upload information, data and queries.

Google Crisis Response page for the 2010 Gulf oil spill

Google Crisis Response page for the 2010 Gulf oil spill

Here’s how the Google team describes their work and mission:

“Working with the input of subject matter experts and in conjunction with like-minded organizations and the development community at large, Google Crisis Response facilitates the development and refinement of crisis response technology—with the ultimate goal of helping victims help themselves and helping first responders/relief agencies/governments/citizens help victims.

When a major disaster strikes, the Google Crisis Response team collects fresh high-resolution imagery plus other event-specific data, then publishes this information on a dedicated landing page.

Google Crisis Response Mission

To develop, maintain, and optimize a worldwide, rapid-deployment protocol to speed the dissemination of situational information and increase the efficacy of rescue and humanitarian aid activities in response to quick-onset disasters.

Google Crisis Response will:

  • Coordinate with other platforms, organizations and teams
  • Build tools to surface near-real-time data
  • Support response/relief organizations
  • Respond in times of crisis

There doesn’t seem to be a list of these pages online, but here are a few:

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