Good Help Is Hard To Find

I meant to write this article last night.  But, when I sat down to find some news to discuss, the first article I came across was a New York Times piece bearing the headline “Wave Glider, a Floating Robot, Seeks to Network the Oceans.”  Naturally I became entirely preoccupied with drawing this picture of what I could only assume “Wave Glider” looks like.  Unfortunately, the real Wave Glider looks more like a boogie board with training wheels and less like Optimus Prime’s extroverted cousin from Maui.  This was such a disappointment that I lost interest in the whole affair.  Overall, this was a good move, though.  Today I found something more interesting to write about, and that’s a Win for both of us.

Initially, I was considering debating Jordan Crook’s semi-disparaging remarks about the shortcomings of Apple’s Siri.  Unfortunately though, since getting the 4s, all I’ve done with Siri is repeatedly ask “What does a weasel look like?” and try to text tweet @Beeribot, “Could you pour me a beer?” (I see they also programmed the robot to pour one out for its dead homies)  Speaking of which, I’ve heard, from a reliable source, that Siri, when asked about where/how to dispose of a body, will return the locations of nearby swamps, landfills, and pig farms.  Apparently the app is down with being accessory to murder, but not with editing calendar events.  It really is hard to find good help these days.

Another thing that’s hard to find is good advice or a reliable review.  Don’t be discouraged by the $160 million of deficit Angie’s list has racked up in the past couple years, user-generated reviews are what’s up, Doc.  Sites like Bing Places and Yelp demonstrate how valuable users find unbiased feedback in a world of increasingly aggressive commercialism.

By far the coolest application of user-generated reviews I’ve seen emerge in a while is VenueRank, a startup to be launched by Venuelabs.  It mines open API information and uses criteria such as Facebook likes and comments, as well as checkins and aggregated reviews from sites along the lines of Yahoo Local.  Applying numerology similar to the kind Klout uses, venues are awarded scores.  This startup idea is really cool because it is social and geo-locational, its meta-crowdsourced reviews are at least as reliable as any of its parts, and it uses a continuous scale that is much more complex and evaluative than a 4 or 5 point “star” system.  Additionally, it seems businesses are included on an opt-in basis only.  This means weaker businesses, better off keeping their reputation under the radar, will not clutter the app with red flags.

 I look forward to seeing how this venture succeeds.  Maybe good help isn’t so hard to find.  I can only hope it will also show me the highest ranked places to dispose of a body.

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