24 Jun 2017

Project Ripple

I was approached by a venture capital firm interested in improving their sourcing by using targeting marketing people who were more likely to be interested in their services. Besides the actual companies they are funding, many VCs have a preference in either the demeanor or “soft skills” or even values exhibited by the individual or team. How do you figure this out without meeting them? Is it possible to assess fit (in any circumstance) between two parties in a systematic way without meeting the person?

With the plethora of data out there, this should seem like an easy problem. You can easily look through someone’s LinkedIn to get an idea of their academic and professional accomplishments and skills. But how do you assess someone’s values and what they stand for? Outside of someone starting a non-profit targeted towards whatever social ills they believe in, it may be hard to tell. Facebook? You can do it manually, if you have access to the person’s profile, but how would you automate it? Sentiment analysis and contextual photo analysis might work.. but again there is the privacy issue.

I found that Twitter is the solution, sort of. Twitter is an open network, so you can see any activity a person has (tweets, following/followed by) aside from direct messages. Using this, we can infer on a general basis, a person’s general value leanings. Basically, if you follow enough people within a cluster of known values (e.g., lots of social activists), then you probably care about social activism.

01 Sep 2016

Simple Event Engine between Two Devices for IoT

A little while ago, I was tasked with sending commands from one mobile device to another in order to facilitate command transfer. I came up with a solution involving pairing the two devices to use the second device as a proxy for the first device.

This pairing process was done through an Event Listener, which is a term I just made up, using a back-end system. In my case, Google Firebase just came out and enabled me to quickly develop this system in a couple weeks.

I’m skipping over the setup of Google Firebase as well as the initial references since you can easily read the documentation on the Firebase Database here.

Device A (the proxy) creates an entity on Firebase with a unique ID, and sits waiting for someone to make a request:

// Device A: Android device (Java)

// gets a key to identify me
String key = database.getReference("A").push().getKey();
Map<String, Object> postValues = new HashMap<>();

// save my unique key for later access
savedKey = key;

String name = inputName.getText().toString();

// variables to set up the update
postValues.put("name", name);
Map<String, Object> childUpdates = new HashMap<>();
childUpdates.put("/A/" + key, postValues);

// commit the update to the database
database.getReference().updateChildren(childUpdates);
Read more
30 Jan 2016

Maker Challenge!

This year, in lieu of any new year’s resolutions (which I normally don’t make - because really, you shouldn’t need a new year to make goals), I decided to do the Maker Challenge. This is a list of things I want to make this year - foods, projects, hacks, writings, ideas.

Jeff’s Maker Challenge

The inspiration is from Mega Maker

I made this list and showed it to my wife, and now I finally have finished one of my items - to start this website - I can chronicle the items here. I’ve meant to start this site for a while so I can blog about things I want to make or societal trends, and also give myself some web presence for a portfolio.

But I never started it, even though I planned it out year after year after year.

Why did that happen? I realized I’m great at setting goals, and even at strategizing them out and organizing to-do lists, but I’m terrible at finishing things.

Read more