Victus Spiritus


Candy to the Imagination, a Day Trip to Manhattan

02 Jan 2010

The Source

Through a series of fortunate events, I found myself deep in the bowels of the Museum of Natural History yesterday. I was accompanied by my lovely and lively fiancé Michelle on this journey. One of the highlights of our trip was experiencing the inside of a massive sphere, namely the Hayden Planeterium. We enjoyed a New Years Day celebration in the esteemed style of uber science geeks, watching a Journey to the Stars. Astonishingly, the show wasn't diminished in any way by Whoopie Goldberg's narration. Our "space journey" included a groovy time travelling element, enjoyable by audiences of all ages.

Being the only open museum of the day, the museum looked like me (a fat guy) in speedos at the beach, too much biomass in too small a space. Another shortcoming was the exotic animals exhibit which charged an extra $20 a head, and required a round trip a few floors down and back up again. Note to whomever was managing the display: to improve sales, sell tickets at the exhibit next time. We skipped it.

The Result

Many hours later between 3-4am after erratic high pitched puppy barking woke me, I envisioned a new user interface for the Intelligent Media Manager site. I have yet to discuss the specifics with Chief Tech and Rails meistro Tyler, but I believe it's all feasible by building on the guts we already have artistically hand crafted (filthily hacked together).

The idea is to present the user with as little distraction as possible while highlighting the product of filtering their media with semantic social search.

After an elegant single click to login, the user experiences a page which only shows their semantically extracted entities. Our service will keep track of external social accounts that the user has previously authenticated.

Ideally the browser frame should vanish into the background, which may or may not be possible (user setting). As a user mouses over an entity (word), a minimal display search window will phase in from the empty background showing matching realtime results to others who have recently discussed this topic, as well as adjacent semantic entities (overlay to the left and right of the word mouse overed).

At this point users can follow a link which by default opens a preview frame much like an RSS reader. The status may be upvoted to show support for a quality post (the status gets a point). This will act as a like function both intenally, and to extenal tools or social networks via an API. The originator of the status recieves an authority point within the broader category of the entity (tech, foodie, startups, marketing, etc) if we identify their user ID in our database. You can imagine the value of this authority in real time search.

In addition the entity can be automatically added to responses and status updates to broadcast targeted information back and allow for conversations to develop by topic. The emergence of topic centric chat rooms will allow for novel social community formation and serendipitous discovery.

Using a combined weight, the status and User ID scores will feed a real time news aggregator. It will display updates by category, allowing users who don't opt in to see what is hot in their interest areas.