Opinionated Recommender Systems

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My main research area is recommender systems and the purpose of this (somewhat longer than usual post) is to discuss some thoughts on where recommender systems might be heading and, in particular, on the prospect of recommender systems that are based on user experiences and real opinions rather than more conventional ratings and catalog features.

Let’s begin…
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Building a Better Ski App.

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It’s that of year again. The time when I go digging in the attic for last year’s ski gear while thinking up some way to justify some new gear purchases for the trip (or trips) ahead. And of course technology plays a big part of every ski trip: the now-essential GoPro and associated accessories; my iPhone with the lates tracking apps; and various memory cards, batteries and chargers. The one piece of kit that needs to be improved, in my opinion, is the ski app.
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A Ski Report from Zell am See

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Just back from a few days skiing in Zell am See, staying at Pension Andrea. It was a great trip, despite some unseasonably warm temperatures (it was well above freezing on the mountain), which offered up some Spring-like ski conditions in the depths of Winter. It is remarkable how well these resorts manage so early in the season in such warm conditions and especially given that snow falls have not exactly been stellar these last few weeks. Zell has quite a thin covering now despite a few extra centimetres on the night we arrived. We spent 2.5 days in the local resort and a day in middle up on Kaprun, the nearby glacier, which offers some snow-sure confidence to the area.
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Plugging a Leaky Task Management Workflow

photo credit: Chaval Brasil via photopin cc

photo credit: Chaval Brasil via photopin cc

I’ve been using Evernote for a while. It is a great general-purpose information repository and provides me with anytime, anywhere, any-device access to all of the important information that orbits my life these days. Its task management capabilities are lacking however. This is not surprising. Afterall Evernote is not a task management system, although it is flexible enough to be configured as such, and, by all accounts, does a fine job of implementing many of the popular methodologies such as GTD. Indeed over the last few months Evernote has added some useful new functionality in the form of a reminders subsystem that goes a long way to bridging its native task management gap.

The problem for me is that if I rely on Evernote for task management then my task management workflow is not, as it should be, a closed loop. It’s leaky. Let me explain.
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