we’re all made of math

January 25th, 2013 § Comments Off on we’re all made of math § permalink

English: Math is prerequisite to Ontology. Mat...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

reading a great summary of 17 equations that changed the world. great stuff, go check it out.

I love how each of these formulas captures en entirety of a part of our world into a simple 2-d graphic ūüôā

however, there is one formula missing here, a rather important one. it’s an equation, that sums it all, well, almost everything. everything that we could have summed up so far in the history of science. the grand, unified theory of everything.

GUT is a theory that connects three of the four forces that shape our world. Only gravity is missing in this connection, before we can claim we really can model the world. and my mind was blown when i first realized that we can write it up into a single page-long formula. here it is, in all it’s glory.

the economy of wordpress plugins

January 23rd, 2013 § Comments Off on the economy of wordpress plugins § permalink

there is a very interesting discussion going on about the emerging business landscape of wordpress plugins, between Evan Solomon and Pippin Williamson, and even Matt chimed in.

English: Matt Mullenweg during the conference ...

English: Matt Mullenweg during the conference WordCamp in San Francisco CA 5 August 2006 Fran√ßais : Matt Mullenweg lors de la conf√©rence WordCamp, √† San Francisco, le 5 ao√Ľt 2006. Deutsch: Matt Mullenweg w√§hrend der Konferenz WordCamp in San Francisco, USA am 5. August 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they observe correctly, that plugins are becoming real businesses, however they feel that it’s not as serious as the themes business, nor that it ever will be.

while this is probably true if you consider only ‘custom plugin development’ and ‘premium plugin’ models, however there is another significant business model that emerged in the last years, that they are ignoring here.

for us at Zemanta, wordpress plugin has always been a core driver of adoption, and we’ve built a real business around it. but our business is actually software-as-a-service offering built on top of the plugin, rather than the plugin itself. the plugin is essentially a delivery mechanism, that is very efficient because most publishers are using a modular CMS, predominantly WordPress.org. but the real business value lies behind the scenes, in the cloud, where we can afford to process large amount of data.

I see business like ours grow tremendously over the past few years, and I see a lot of WordPress.org plugins being leveraged in this way – to deliver real value for the publishers, and enable diverse business models from utility, advertising and agency work, scale.

WordPress.org has built an impressive ecosystem, it’s tight integration of the CMS with the plugins directory enables SAAS models with almost frictionless infrastructure to customers (auto-updates, integrated discovery, security guidelines), but at the same time it’s sometimes limiting. it’d be great if WordPress.org was more aware of the needs of all constituents.



slovenia’s national budget and open data

January 21st, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

first, a disclaimer. in light of recent political events and unrests in slovenia, i’d like to stress that this post is not meant to take any sides. i’ll merely try to point out to a project that might otherwise go unnoticed.

English: Detail from Government. Mural by Elih...

English: Detail from Government. Mural by Elihu Vedder. Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

last year, i’ve spend a couple of days reading our national budget. the purpose of the¬†exercise¬†was to find ways to create something not unlike the famous ‘death and taxes’ infographic. i was¬†pleasantly¬†surprised with the fact, that our budget is actually very well designed, with fascinating inherent structure of programs and spenders, but¬†unpleasantly¬†not-surprised, that it was published as PDF.

to create an infographic with such complex data, that should be rebuilt every year, one needs programmatic ways to process it. so i ended up parsing the pdf, with many silly problems on the way. but it worked, and i’ve published the broken-down version for the years 2010-2012.

that was in spring, and ever since i’ve been waiting for the new government to finally publish the budget that was supposed to govern us this year, so i could compare it with the old ones. i really resent the fact that the budget was kept unpublished all¬†throughout¬†the legislative process. i really feel it’s an insult to the citizens.

but, they finally published it last week, and to my great surprise, they’ve really made an effort – they published detailed explanations of each section, and, ta-da-da-da, we have machine-parsable CSV files as well!

i realize it’s not perfect, but it’s light years ahead of what we used to have to deal with. so, who’s up for some info-charting now? ūüėČ

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