Saturday, March 07, 2009

Take a look at Timetric

Some time ago, I had some ideas burning a hole in my head. Ideas I knew I had no time to pursue but felt pretty passionate about. My Two Django ideas in need of good homes posting resulted in some meetings and some false starts...but it also resulted in meeting up with three ace Django/Python programmers / "recovering" scientists, based in the fine city of Cambridge, UK. Three of the smartest folks I've ever met to boot.

It took me all of, uh, 20 seconds to explain one of the ideas to them and the result, a mere matter of months later is it is now in public beta and you might like to check it out.

The idea is simple but has significant consequences in my opinion

The basic thought is this: What if numbers were first class members of the Web ecosystem?...
  • What if numeric quantities had their own "home" on the Web? I don't mean a great big slab of numbers, or a database, I mean the actual numeric quantities themselves : the time it takes you to drive to work, the spot price of gold, the average daily rainfall in Tanna Tuva...whatever.

  • What if the changes to those quantities are recorded through time? You would end up with a time series for each numeric quantity.

  • What if each time series was a blog, with its own feeds, its own simple web based update mechanism etc?

  • What if all these numeric blogs lived out in the cloud so that it can scale to silly numbers and provide very high availabilty?

  • What if the entire system provided simple webby APIs so that developers can upload as well as download stuff easily?

  • And last but definitely not least...what if new time series could be created using spreadsheet like formulae - and automatically updated when any of the underlying numeric quantities are updated.

That would be pretty interesting. Not a database on the web, not a spreadsheet on the Web. Something new and much more interesting on the Web.

It will be fascinating to see what types of applications get built on top of the Timetric platform.


Calvin Spealman said...

I know it sounds hugely cliche but "I thought of that too, I just never got around to it!" I looked around the site and I like what I see. I see a lot of cool numbers there, and there are certainly ideas I have. I feel dumb, however, to use it for some things. Like diet tracking and other personal things, or building a diet tracker on top of it. It seems trivial in the face of economic measures and voting statistics I see on the front page. It could use a personal touch.

Christopher Clarke said...

I agree with Calvin. It reminds me too much of something from a statistical agency (IMF, St Louis Fed etc.) I think you need to put some non-economic time series on the front page. Also can i combine the time series? Change the frequency etc
I like the charts. Are you using stuff like numpy, matplotlib etc.??

Sean said...

Calvin, Christopher,

Thanks for the comments. It is early days and I know that the Timetric guys will be avidly following and incorporating all feedback.

Christopher, its best to direct questions about the technical underpinnings at Timetric directly :