October 13, 2010
The SolarPlots API provides a new data tool to track where the sun will be in any given location in the US (and adjacent parts of Mexico and Canada) for any specific date and time or series of dates. The sun plotting search tool could possibly be used by photographers needing to know best times to shoot twilight scenes, for sun-bathers wanting to book the best time on a hotel rooftop, or home buyers wanting to calculate how much direct sunlight their new property may get. Developers could use the app to scale up such individual needs or to add sun-loving contextual information to a location-based app product.
What if you published ground-breaking research. Would anybody notice? How would you know they noticed? Such questions aren't just for the narcissistic mad scientists among us. What if you funded the research? You'd want to know the impact. Altmetric tracks "article level mentions". These metrics are defined by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) as measuring usage, citations, social bookmarking and activity, media coverage (including blogs), ratings and discussion activity. The Altmetric API provides access to its metrics that are derived from its database of over 300,000 articles and over 8,000 journals.
Sometimes we forget what the real purpose of all this fancy technology is. And what is that? To make our real lives easier. Mashups often help with that, allowing us to do such simple things as find a good beer, our favorite music artists, where the streetcars are, or where a park is.