Weekend fodder – arm and a leg

Affording Health Care – Some weirdness going on with the area chart on the curve of the leg, but I like the aesthetic of the graphic overall.

Wolfram Alpha shifts focus to ubiquity – Lowered iPhone app price by 96% and brought back mobile version of website.

State of Twitter Spam – With lots of users comes more bad ones. Luckily Twitter has been making good steps forward.

FollowTheMoney – Updated so you can easily download all contribution records for your state, local officials, or committees. Create an account or sign in via Facebook.

P.S. Happy Easter!


  • Wolfram finally figured out that $50 was more than a tad too pricey for an app that is, for now, an interesting distraction and not a tool to help you get your work done ($50 is probably the harmonic mean of $2 for a distraction-app and $1000 for a real tool like Mathematica).

    I guess they can’t figure out how to sell it to consumers (who knows if businesses are biting) and figure giving it away as a platform is the way to get a return on it.

    Before I downloaded it, I thought $2 was way too little. Now that I’ve tried it, I’m not quite so sure. It seems to be primarily a webkit view, with a nice custom keyboard on top. I guess I would have liked to see a native app that took a different angle from the web interface.

    • yeah, $50 was a bit pricey, although according to techcrunch, i think there was something like 10,000 purchases, so someone liked it. i think the app is mainly meant for power users, so the $2 is worth it for that slightly smoother experience.

  • Michael Hoopes April 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I took a look at followthemoney.org, and don’t see data for the 2010 upcoming elections. The archive data has some interest, but I don’t find much that is actionable related to the 2010 California gubernatorial or state congressional races. Am I doing it wrong?



    • @Michael – i guess it’s not updated yet… or maybe it hasn’t been made available yet at the government level?

      • Michael Hoopes April 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

        Looks that way. I did try 2008 – it was interesting drilling down through the candidates to the contributors – back to other candidates, etc. Plus, the statistical breakdown is interesting. I’ll keep my eye on that site.

        As for Wolfram|Alpha- I snapped that up ASAP. Looks like they pulled the iPhone-optimized web app, so that was a no-brainer for me.

    • Michael – I’m a staffer at FollowTheMoney.org, and wanted to answer your question. We are working to compile California data right now. Unfortunately the process of getting data from the states, making sure it is in a workable format and releasing it to the site takes longer than we like. We are constantly looking to improve the system to release data more quickly.

      The best way to see when data is available for California is to use our Grid system (http://www.followthemoney.org/database/grid.phtml?s=CA&y=2010&c=116678&t=0#c116678) It shows which reports are due, and shows the status we’ve made on releasing it to our site.