KMi’s Mark Gaved and Tom Heath have been experimenting with a little sideline task involving automatic batch processing of data items (such as ISBN book numbers input via a bar code reader) that are handled by external web services that do the necessary conversions. The web services themeselves are typically designed for one-at-a-time enquiries, so Tom wrote a little ‘iterator’ black box that allows the user to input a list of items, and then the black box invokes the external web service repeatedly. The guys were speculating about generalizations of this and wrote:
If there are any other data types that could be usefully batched processed from one string then let me know and I’ll look into hacking the script to handle that too 🙂
So I emailed back the following thoughts, which I thought I’d share:
Neat! Top-of-the-head examples of other things that are designed as ‘one-off’ black boxes, but for which an ‘iterator’ batch-box would help *SOMEONE* who needs to do ‘a lot’ of em:
1. soundex converter (great for genealogists)… the only way to discover that
etc. resolve to the same phonetic name. eg http://resources.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/soundexconverter
2. ‘in-air’ flight arrival times [type in one flight, it tells you ‘on time’ info – maybe nice to have more]
3. http://www.wordreference.com does wicked stuff, but only a word at a time… maybe someone wants to do a lotta words (but from a list of single words, not full text)
4. http://www.xe.com/ucc/ universal currency converter… as above… maybe someone wants to do a lotta conversions (frankly, easier to get the rate and do them oneself in a spreadsheet… but that’s not the point)
5. http://www.digitaldutch.com/unitconverter/ arbirtrary converter (newtons to tonnes, whatever)… hmm… as above…
6. email address -> sha1sum [for FOAF hackers]
7. reverse phone book e.g. http://reversedirectory.langenberg.com/ Google probably better… see next
8. Anything Google tricks can find e.g. http://www.google.com/help/features.html#wp
SO HERE ARE A FEW MORE CATEGORIES:
Parcel tracking IDs, patents and other specialized numbers can be entered into Google’s search box for quick access to information about them. For example, typing a FedEx tracking number will return the latest information on your package. Other special search by number types include :
• UPS tracking numbers example search: “1Z9999W99999999999”
• FedEx tracking numbers example search: “999999999999”
• USPS tracking numbers example search: “9999 9999 9999 9999 9999 99”
• Vehicle ID (VIN) numbers example search: “AAAAA999A9AA99999”
• UPC codes example search: “073333531084”
• Telephone area codes example search: “650”
• Patent numbers example search: “patent 5123123”
Remember to put the word “patent” before your patent number.
• FAA airplane registration numbers example search: “n199ua”
An airplane’s FAA registration number is typically printed on its tail.
• FCC equipment IDs example search: “fcc B4Z-34009-PIR”
Remember to put the word “fcc” before the equipment ID.
And of course there must be zillions more examples. Is this something (an iterator service) that has already been solved?
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