SPUG: WolframAlpha - a great GUI and API for computing everyday knowledge
cxreg at pobox.com
Thu Mar 4 18:05:21 PST 2010
(reposting from the email that might actually be subscribed to the list)
I saw this article last year which puts to words nicely the issues you
and I seem to have with it:
"The apps are useful and fine and good. The natural-language UI is a
monstrous encumbrance, which needs to be taken out back and shot. It
On Thu, 4 Mar 2010, Kevin Fink wrote:
> I have a hard time with the UI. They never seem to be able to parse any
> useful query I come up with. For example, I would love to see a graph of the
> number of large earthquakes per year over the past 100 years or so. I tried
> "number of earthquakes > 6.0 per year", "number of earthquakes per year >
> 6.0", and various other permutations, but couldn't get it to tell me
> anything useful at all.
> On Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM, Michael R. Wolf <MichaelRWolf at att.net>wrote:
>> Stephen Wolfram (of Mathematica fame) has created www.WolframAlpha.com, an
>> effort to create a GUI and API "to make all systematic knowledge immediately
>> computable by everyone".
>> - Of course, simple stuff is simple: 2 * 3 ^ 4:
>> - Medium stuff is beautiful: plot sin x cos y:
>> It gets almost ridiculously fun, helpful, and useful...
>> - Generate a CAPTCHA:
>> - Compare screen resolutions:
>> - Compare GDP of 3 countries: gdp france, england, australia:
>> - Pick an afternoon snack:
>> There are *loads* of information sources stashed in there in realms that
>> folks like you would be interested in: linguistics, material science, units
>> & measures, computer systems, materials, chemistry, life science.
>> - http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/
>> It's rich. Very rich, in deed....
>> In fact, digging around in the siesmology data, I accidently found out
>> about the Chile earthquake (while looking for Haiti) before it hit print,
>> and when there was only 1 article in the Google cache.
>> - earthquakes 2010 with magnitude > 6.0:
>> Have fun. Report back with your favorite find.
>> P.S. I haven't even looked at the API, but imagine how cool that could be
>> mashed up....
>> P.P.S. There's also an iPhone app. Great for resolving "bar bets" of the
>> quantatative kind, like why is Tungsten (think W - Wolfram) is a better
>> incandescent filament than copper or iron
>> - http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=tungston%2C+copper%2C+iron
>> Michael R. Wolf
>> All mammals learn by playing!
>> MichaelRWolf at att.net
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