O'Reilly Hacks
oreilly.comO'Reilly NetworkSafari BookshelfConferences Sign In/My Account | View Cart   
Book List Learning Lab PDFs O'Reilly Gear Newsletters Press Room Jobs  

Christmas Shopping Hacks
Find gift suggestions using the given social hack or the given Google/Amazon hack.

Contributed by:
Sid Steward
[12/20/04 | Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Christmas Shopping Hacks

The Poser

It's hard to find something online if you don't already know what it is, by name or by part number. "Doll house" isn't good enough; you need to know "Fisher Price Loving Family Sweet Streets Townhouse" if that's what you want. When I went looking online for a Christmastime doll house for my kid, my wife brought one home from Target by the time I finally discovered the *name* of what I wanted. What would Santa say? (Funnily enough, we both picked out the same thing.)

Social Hack: AskDex

Intrigued by this poser, I devised a social hack called AskDex (http://www.AskDex.com). The idea is that people with similar tastes will enjoy similar things. Enter a few things you like, and it comes back with related things that other people have entered. By simply entering a query, you are telling AskDex: "these things go together." Over time it should get pretty smart about what people like: music, books, restaurants, web sites... anything. In the doll house example, I would have been able to enter some of the names of toys we already like. AskDex would have responded with ranked matches from other people's submissions. Ideally, that list would include good doll houses worth investigating.

The problem is that I just put AskDex online. It is a blank slate that knows nothing. So I appeal to you to please visit AskDex and share some of your "favorite things." Maybe by next Christmas even Santa will find it useful.

Google/Amazon Hack

"Next Christmas!? What about this Christmas?"

During my research, I also came up with a nifty way to query Amazon's archives of "similar stuff" via Google. When you use AskDex, it automatically creates these links for you (so try AskDex first!). Or, pop these arguments into Google:

  site:amazon.com inurl:similar-stuff

and then add the things you want to similarize, e.g.:

  site:amazon.com inurl:similar-stuff "talking heads" "the smiths"

Hacking AskDex

When you visit AskDex.com you'll see a "category" drop-down box. You can actually ignore that, since all input are thrown into the same pool. Use AskDex to associate anything you want: bad movies, sandwich fixins, coffee shops, conspiracies.


Sid Steward
Author: PDF Hacks

See also:

http://www.AskDex.com: Find What You've Been Missing

O'Reilly Home | Privacy Policy

© 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Website: | Customer Service: | Book issues:

All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on oreilly.com are the property of their respective owners.