Having a result on Spoke when searching for your name is a drag. In addition to their reputation for being spammy and intrusive, the data listed is often inaccurate or out of date. To remove your profile from such public searches, their FAQ provides the clue in the answer for My information in Spoke is wrong. How do I update it?:
… Go to www.spoke.com, search for your name, click your name to access your profile, then click the “This is me” button to update your profile and set privacy preferences. … If you would prefer to permanently suppress your information from Spoke’s directory, access your profile as described above, click the “This is me” button, select the “Learn more” link, then see instructions in the “How do I claim and update my Spoke Profile?” section.
After following these steps, my Spoke.com page still shows up in search results, but presumably that will stop at some point. In any case, anyone clicking on my profile will just see the message “This profile is no longer available”.
I recommend not installing their toolbar or providing any further information on the site. You should be able to give just enough to “claim” your profile, then disable the public view of it.
The Sprint website has been down and unusable for over 4884 hours now as Sprint is launching a new software release. You can follow along with their Twitter account @sprintdotcom, watching as the early enthusiasm evolves into more-infrequent, depressing updates. I realize that having the site down is probably not the end of the world (certainly, keeping the Phone network itself up should be job #1 over there), but this “upgrade” is starting to look like a real snafu.
Normally I don’t visit Sprint.com much, but this weekend I needed to activate a replacement phone and couldn’t get it done online. Visited the local Sprint store today and got it taken care of, but even the Sprint staff was grumbling about their in-store software which was also just updated.
Cute outage message screenshot (click for larger image):
This week I was motivated to play with some of Yahoo’s Geo tools after hearing a talk by Christian Heilmann regarding the same.
One tool in particular is his Geomaker application which “creates microformats and maps from geographical information embedded in texts”. GeoMaker feeds your provided text into Yahoo’s Placemaker service which will identify any geo locations referenced. Geomaker then massages this data into a Yahoo map widget which can be placed on any web page such as a blog entry.
Geomaker accepts either a block of test, a web page, or an RSS feed. The RSS feed option is a great way to quickly visualize to locations being referenced. For example, the following is a map of recent items from the Yahoo! World News RSS feed:
To stress test Placemaker and see how accurate it is, I dropped in the lyrics for Johnny Cash’s rendition of “I’ve Been Everywhere“. Results? It identified 70 place references and missed 22. The detector seems to be less accurate when given place names like this in a list. It does better when places are used in context, like the news articles above.
Here is the resulting map for “I’ve Been Everywhere” (minus the outlying countries Argentina and Costa Rica):