And some of you wonder why I sweat engineers…look at what amazing things they do! Hot off our tip-line:
A couple of weeks back, Sree asked SAJA Forum readers to help him see if there were any Desis affected by the Madoff swindle: http://www.sajaforum.org/2009/02/crime-any-desis-on-the-madoff-client-list.html
As a techie, needing to have humans manually crowdsource the filtering of Desi names out of a long list seemed inefficient.
That’s why I built DesiFilter, a new web tool to help community journalists and obsessive Desi-angle stalkers:
(click on “Example 1″, etc. for sample datasets)
It’s pretty simple — just feed it some text, and it’ll go through a list of about 26,000 common South Asian names and highlight possible matches.
South Asian names are super-multicultural. I tried to remove most common Anglo names (otherwise any list of American names would be all false positives), but there’s still substantial overlap with Iranian, Arab, Turkish, and Portuguese names. It may miss Anna John and catch Osama Bin Laden — but it’s still infinitely easier than looking for potentially Desi names by hand.
My goal is for the tool to be part of any obsessive Desi-angle stalker’s toolkit. I’m interested in what you or Sepia readers find with it. I’d love feedback. Thanks.
You want feedback? Boy, you ’bout to get you some feedback, let me tell YOU. I love how it’s an accepted practice to be an “obsessive, Desi-angle stalker”. It’s just so matter-of-fact. And warm and fuzzy– we at SM are not the only ones! Admit it, you totally do it, too. When movie credits roll, and you see a Best Boy named Neel/Jay/Anil Patel/Sen/Singh, you feel a little twinge of recognition…or indigestion. Who told you to get a Large popcorn AND nachos?
Anyway, is this the first time I’ve reprinted an ENTIRE, somewhat lengthy missive to the tip line, verbatim? Why, I think it is. I just don’t have the heart to remove anything. Especially any sentence which allows me to escape freely (muahahaha) while catching Bin Laden. FINALLY! Someone needed to do it and the U.S. sucks at it. Jai Hind! No, wait…Jai Ho! Actually, more like Jai HIM—-> Anirvan.
Of course, if you’re a bibliophile, you already knew him; he’s behind the very respected BookFinder.com
…the best resource (online or off) for finding used, rare, and out of print books. The Library of Congress recommends it; both Newsweek and Money magazines called it one of the two best book sites online (the other, in both cases, being Amazon.com). [link]
And no, Anirvan didn’t pay me to splort all over your screen with my giddiness over his geekery. I splorted for free! Wait, that sounds awful. My point is, we get dozens, if not hundreds of tips. We rarely have the resources to cover each one. Most of you are aware of this.
I’m sure Anirvan sent in his DesiFilter message, shrugged, and thought “maybe”. He certainly couldn’t have expected that I’d put down my outrageously late dinner of lemon rice and paavaka mezhukkupuratti, pause the DVR and postpone packing for my trip tomorrow, just to publish an effusive endorsement of his efforts. He deserves it, though. It’s not every day that reading a tip makes me go –> . Better living through technology, y’all. I’m ’bout it bout ‘it. Let the stalking begin! Wait, that doesn’t sound right, either… Continue reading