Making boring homework fun

JFs Pop Artist slide

JF's Pop Artist slide

One of the cool things about working at Sun Labs is all of the very smart interns that come and work for a summer. They are invariably creative, and bring  many new ideas to the labs.   One intern I worked with a few years back, Jean-Francois, just posted a blog entry about how he wanted to create a slide for a presentation that showed the pop artists from Sweden as a word cloud.  Now most of us would have just typed in a few artist names and resized the fonts based on what we though was the approximate popularity of the particular artist.  But not Jean Francois.  He turned this slide into its own little research project – first trying to scour the popularity data from the Wikipedia, then mining Google search results and finally settling on using the webservices to get the listener data.

JF took a rather boring assignment – make an oral presentation on Sweden – and made it a learning experience for something that was interesting to him.  I am not sure how much he learned about Sweden, but he certainly learned something about web mining, artist name resolution and ambiguity,  and  using web services.  I wonder if Jean Francois’s International Communication’s professor understood the depths of detail that JF went to get the information on that one slide correct.

Anyway, it is a cool post from a JF.

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