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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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August 29, 2007 8:41 AM

Interfacing the Future

While tracking the coolest new applications is always fun, sometimes what garners my interest even more is the introduction of new ways to look at old things. In particular I find the limitless mutability of online interfaces to be a fertile area to consider.

Take, for example, this "game" I came across yesterday called Human Brain Cloud.

Human Brain Cloud is described loosely as a massively multiplayer word association "game" or experiment.

I've put "game" in quotation marks twice now as this implementation of Flash doesn't have a specific goal users must shoot for, nor is there any real way to win or lose. Instead, there are two main things for users to do:

1 - Play the "game"
When playing, a word appears with a text box underneath it. All you have to do is type in the first word that comes to mind upon reading it. Hit enter, and the site will tell you how many other people submitted the same word or connection.

2 - View the cloud
What I found more fun (and more relevant to the topic of this post) is playing around with the actual Human Brain Cloud itself. Essentially what it is is a representation of all the words and connections that have been submitted by users, shown as black circles with white lettering connected by black lines of varying thickness to represent the number of connections that have been made between the two words.

Enter a word in the search box or click on one that's already on screen and the whole thing changes, shifts, and morphs, allowing you to navigate through a string of associated words.

For example, I searched for "internet" and was able to connect through broadband to bandwidth to leecher to seeder, which refers to someone using BitTorrent.

As a warning, not all of the connections are pleasant; for example, I found a few racial slurs while searching through.

Also, many of the words are either nonsensical or misspelled.

Even still, I find things like this to be fascinating as they introduce new ways of accessing information that are only possible through the use of a computer and the Internet.


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