I actually witnessed SQL Injection

SQL injection is one of those hacks you can do on websites with really bad security practices. It can occur whenever your database query includes user input. If the user puts something you don’t expect, they can alter the database in ways that you don’t expect. A funny example – which is kind of famous … Continue reading I actually witnessed SQL Injection

Marsbot and Chatbots

I spoke about Marsbot a number of times on this blog, but I wanted to write my own (short) piece on what we did and why we did it. The short of it is that Marsbot is a personal assistant that tells you about all the best places around you and what to do there. The … Continue reading Marsbot and Chatbots

Talkabot: The bot conference in Austin

Last month, I also attended the Talkabot Conference in Austin, TX. I gave a 30 minute presentation on Marsbot. I guess you could say I am on a national tour! This time, I shifted focus to how we’re adopting everything we’ve learned about user context (location stops, taste likes, time) to send messages that are really … Continue reading Talkabot: The bot conference in Austin

Marsbot Slides for Industry Talk at RecSys 2016

I recently attended the 2016 conference on Recommender Systems at MIT with my Foursquare coworkers Stephanie Yang and Enrique Cruz. We had several contributions – 2 posters and a 20 minute industry talk on Marsbot. Marsbot is a character in your pocket that acts as a text-based service for local recommendations. I’ve been working on … Continue reading Marsbot Slides for Industry Talk at RecSys 2016

Swarm Creator Coins: Another Hackday Project Launch

This post is about another hackday project on Foursquare that we were able to quietly launch into the Swarm app recently. I always felt that Foursquare and Swarm should give recognition to people who contribute to our database. We want our venue database to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. I also feel a … Continue reading Swarm Creator Coins: Another Hackday Project Launch

YASC trip to Ghana – Part 3

Now in Yamaransa, I was on the business consulting team which is similar to the work I did in Trohilo, Nicaragua in 2013 and 2014. We set up a makeshift consulting firm in a couple of classrooms with half-built desks and lots of flies. Men and women who run local businesses come in periodically. We … Continue reading YASC trip to Ghana – Part 3

YASC trip to Ghana, Part 2

Now on to Yamaransa, the community where we were working last week. Yamaransa is located between Accra and Cape Coast, 2 important cities and Ghana. Yamaransa lies at an important 3 way intersection: to the west is Cape Coast, to the East is Accra, and inland to the north is the major city of Kumasi … Continue reading YASC trip to Ghana, Part 2

YASC Trip to Ghana – Part 1 of 3

I just returned from Ghana on a volunteer trip with the Yale Alumni Service Corps, and what an amazing trip it was! This was my first time visiting Ghana, or any country in Africa for that matter. Turns out that I didn’t know a whole lot about the country and I had a lot to … Continue reading YASC Trip to Ghana – Part 1 of 3

Passive Computing: The Applications

What would hands-free computing really get us? Adding the internet to the PC revolution enabled us to do things we could never do before. That one was clear. At the cusp of the mobile revolution (say 2006), I would have been skeptical that the change to mobile was the defining change. It’s great and all, … Continue reading Passive Computing: The Applications

Passive Computing: The Hardware

The hardware devices for passive computing are designed to make existing tasks easier and more efficient. Like in previous eras, they are also going to allow us to do things we couldn’t or wouldn’t do with our devices before. We have already starting to see a cycle of marketable wearables hit the market. The wrist … Continue reading Passive Computing: The Hardware

Thoughts on Data Science, Local Recommendations, New York City, and Technology Innovation