Hot Election Results Here, and Here, and Here

Political junkies are drumming their fingers mid-day this Tuesday.  They’ve likely already voted, but have no access to exit-poll results until early evening.  Mashup maps of results from sites like Twitter, essentially self-selected and self-reported exit polls like this one at SetFive, or this one mapping general Twitter election buzz, are fun but wildly inaccurate as election tracks.

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Wordy, by Wordle

Lazy Saturday, so a quick & easy retrospective post at a glance.  Here’s a “Wordle” look at my blog content going back over the past week. Click to enlarge.

You can use http://wordle.net to create a word-cloud of any content – a website (by URL) or a bucket of words you paste in. I realize word-clouds are nothing new… but I think they’re way underutilized in HCI.  Fun for political speech analysis; I can just imagine a newspaper front page that consisted of nothing but word-clouds from yesterday’s speeches by President Bush, Senators McCain and Obama, Biden or Palin, cabinet members, foreign officials, Osama’s latest video, and losing sports-team coaches.   “What’d they say?” Well, take a look.

Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments

Channel 10 podcast

Channel 10 podcast

I’m a big fan of the cool site Channel 10 and its podcasts and blogs (“a place for enthusiasts with a passion for technology. Through a world-wide network of contributors, Channel 10 covers the latest news in music, mobility, photography, videography, gaming, and new PC hardware and software”).

So I was chuffed when the ubiquitous Jon Udell interviewed me a week ago for Channel 10 (“Lewis Shepherd discusses the Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments“).

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If Google Executives were Presidential Candidates…

Sometimes tech executives skate away with hubris (look up Larry Ellison), but more often they run the risk of their words coming back to haunt them. 

Just a little example this week – what a difference a day makes, from Tuesday to Wednesday. I’m sympathetic to politicians and executives who put their words on the line in public, opening themselves to the hazard of after-the-fact Monday morning quarterbacks.   But this is an interesting case with lessons for cloud computing…

Dateline: Tuesday August 5

Dave Girouard, president of Google’s Enterprise unit, was energetically promoting Google Apps at the Pacific Crest Technology Leadership Forum, quoted by TechCrunch and PC Retail Mag: Continue reading

One of My Dream Web Toys – Now Live

Oh, am I happy.  Here’s where I’ll be, every day, for at least some little period of time: xRank on Politicians.

Every pollster and political consultant will like this – and okay, just plain political junkies anywhere, in this heightened political campaign year.  Politicians themselves will also want to check out their up/down arrow (Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was hot “with a bullet” for a while because of the Obama VP rumors, but he’s falling now; John Edwards love-child stories are hot-hot-hot! right now).  Check it out yourself

xRank has been live for a while with celebrities’ names – but who cared about that?  Politicians – ah, good stuff.  Maybe we’ll give geeks their Andy Warhol moment and add technologists soon :-)

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Invisibility, Mind-Control, Great Coffee, and a New OS

Lots of interest and blogoshere commentary beginning about “The Mojave Experiment.”

The reaction is reminiscent of one of those Obama or McCain provocative ads posted online, generating far more attention and buzz than the attention they get on the natural by being broadcast.

Sure, it’s a sales pitch, and pretty narrowly geeky at that (thanks GoogleFight!).

But at least it’s an innovative one – as the Wall Street Journal puts it today, “Give Microsoft people credit: They did it with humor, and they weren’t afraid to air the negative stuff.”

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Test for Prediction Markets: They Say Obama, but Polls Say It’s Tied

Fact: According to the latest Rasmussen poll released Saturday July 12, and promptly headlined by the Drudge Report, “The race for the White House is tied. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Barack Obama and John McCain each attract 43% of the vote.” Newsweek is reporting a similar result in its own poll, with Obama moving down and McCain up (“Obama, McCain in Statistical Dead Heat“), and other polls increasingly show a similarly close race.

Analysis: I’ve been tracking the growing divide between two quite different methods purporting to offer statistical predictive analysis for the November presidential election. Polls are saying one thing, but Prediction Markets are saying another. 

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Healthcare: It’s the Data, Stupid

Fact: Today’s L.A. Times has a startling report: “A stunning number of people who work in healthcare settings lack paid sick time — as many as 75% of all home health aides, for example… Federal data indicate that as many as 29% of all workers in the ‘healthcare and social assistance’ job sector lack paid sick days. Healthcare employees who work while ill may end up hurting the people they are hired to help….”

Analysis: Mark Twain said the only two sure things in life were death and taxes.  So it’s no surprise that the two presidential campaigns are focusing on healthcare and the economy, since people are universally affected in personal ways.  Forget taxes for today, I’m interested in technology’s role in healthcare, which is growing, and there’s no more potentially game-changing facet of that than the role of data. 

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The Best of America, in Iraq

The fireworks (and sales) of the Fourth are over. Much has been written about this holiday, about which many in America are unnecessarily cynical. Both sides in the presidential campaign made much of patriotism this week. I just wanted to share something that I read in a back-of-the-paper page of the Washington Post today, a little interview which says more about the quiet ideals motivating American foreign policy at its best, and the undaunted courage of those who help to carry it out.

The interview (“The Doctor is In: To Iraq and Back“) is with dentist and retired-two-star general Ronald D. Silverman.  He practices in Alexandria, Virginia, and I may just see if I can get an appointment with him, because I’d like most of all to shake his hand and thank him for what he’s done.

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Finally, a Candidate to Love

Click to watch the latest political phenomenonSaw this twittering by, now going very viral: watch here to see the latest political phenomenon.

Contributions gladly accepted…

(The back-story here is spelled out in a WIRED blog from a couple of weeks ago, which I just got around to reading. It’s an ingenious combination of viral marketing, campaign-news saturation, and the easily manipulable egocentricity of people like me. And you. We put the “you” in “youTube.”)

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