Romantic Gifts for a Spy

So you’re dating Xenia Onatopp, or at least someone that resembles her mysterious ways. Why not exchange memorable gifts this season. If not memorable, we’ll start with plain memory.

2 GB USB necklace from Touch of Modern.


2 GB USB Cufflinks available at Touch of Modern

Open Source Machine Learning: Try out Prediction IO

Machine learning is all the rage, but very few shops understand enough about it to implement an effective solution. Machine learning involves having an expert on the team that understands all the mathematical algorithms used to analyze data and map it back to users. Explaining machine learning to the masses, has often reduced complex programs to mere ‘Related Articles’ or ‘Books you might like’ examples. Developers new to machine learning, then gain a false sense of confidence after home-brewing a recommender engine – but they’ve only scratched the surface.

Prediction IO takes all the complex math out of the equation and bundles a machine learning server into an open source platform to store user data. Here are some screenshots that Shekhar Gulati posted to illustrate the basics of Prediction IO.


1. Add an App

2. Setup App Key

3. Create an Engine

4. Collect the Data and Train the Model


The adding the engine will requires setting up the Prediction IO server, then writing client code to store user data and attributes to the server, then retrieving recommended data. This solution puts machine learning into the hands of Web developers without the need for a math programmer guru. It seems like a good start, but will still require many hands on deck to get something like this rolled out with any longterm meaning.


Portable Car Seat by Volvo

Parents with young children have all endured the dreaded airport trips with carseats in tow. Handling your suitcases and carseats seem just about feasible, until you’re faced with chasing a 2 year old around the security lines. Addressing this pain point is Volvo, with their inflatable concept portable carseat – something only a well-branded (and well-insured) company known for its automotive safety, would dare bring to market.

The Whiskey Smash

One of my favorite cocktails is the Whiskey Smash in the summer months. It has a nice citrus-mint kick, while still allowing you to savor the complexity of the bourbon.


Garnish:Mint sprig



In a shaker, muddle the lemon. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake, and double-strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice or one large ice chunk. Slap a mint sprig between your hands and use as garnish. Serve with a straw.

Robot Bartender

The Monsieur artificially intelligent robotic bartender makes a Manhattan perfectly every time: It mixes drinks to within a milliliter of accuracy. The mini-fridge-size device has eight 30-ounce bottles controlled by pumps and a microprocessor. Monsieur also makes recommendations based on drink habits. $2,699


In 2007 I built – a form field abandonment tracking utility. Along came Clicktale and several others, but it seemed super cool in theory, but the data ended up being… well – anyone have thoughts?  Where are blog posts that show how it moved the conversion needle?

In 2010 – Google Analytics could be configured to do the same thing… yet few people actually know how to do it. I’m wondering if anyone has learned anything from the data.

Here’s an example of one of them: