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kottke.org posts about Wolfram Alpha

Searching the web for planes in the sky

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 17, 2011

If you search Wolfram Alpha for “planes overhead”, it returns a list of planes passing over your current location along with a sky map of where to look.

Planes sky map

We Work Remotely

WolframAlpha launches

posted by Jason Kottke   May 18, 2009

If you’re skeptical of WolframAlpha (as I was), you should watch this introduction by Stephen Wolfram. The comparison to Google (usually “is WolframAlpha a Google killer?”) is not a good one but the new service could learn a little something from the reigning champion: hide the math. One of the geniuses of Google is that it took simple input and gave simple output with a whole lot of complexity in between that no one saw and few people cared about. Plus the underlying premise of the complex computation was simplified, branded (PageRank!), and became a value proposition for Google: here’s what the web itself thinks is important about your query.