Cultural stereotypes retrieval from Google Autocomplete API

An American in Rome (Alberto Sordi)
A scene from the Italian movie “An American in Rome” (1954). Nando Mericoni is a young Italian living in the early ’50s in Rome. He loves the United States (that he discovers through the movies) and he tries to live like an American.¬†The movie is a smart satire of “americanization”, plenty of stereotypes about Americans.

Stereotypes are often inconsistent generalizations based on cultural, social, sexual, linguistic, ethnic and religious differences.

Google offers an interesting autocomplete predictive algorithm that, while the user is typing, displays search queries based on millions of users’ search activities.
I developed an automatic web-based tool that allows the real-time extraction of cultural cliché and stereotypes based on Google autocomplete:

Free public APIs offered by Google and many other web services such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, can consitute a precious source of information since they allow to obtain extremely large and rich datasets that couldn’t be collected otherwise through standard means (e.g. questionnaires).

The cultural cliché and stereotypes retrieval tool aims to be a proof of concept of how data retrieved from the web can provide insights on human culture and beliefs (including but not limited to human ignorance and xenophobia). The results of our tool are retrieved in real time hence they cannot be previously moderated or controlled: take them with a grain of salt.

[EDIT January 2014: Google seems to have removed most of the stereotypes from the autocomplete features, therefore the Cultural stereotypes retrieval tool  is now presenting empty results in most of the cases]

Super simple Text to MD5 Converter

Text to MD5 converterYep, I know, there are tons of web-based MD5 encryption tools out there, however some of them store the associations between strings and their hashes into a database that allows eventually to “decrypt” in real time (no bruteforce) any string previously entered…

For this reason, I decided to dedicate one minute in writing “yet another text to md5 converter“, which I can use in my own server!

Nothing special, just a few lines of PHP code, ut prosim!

echo '
<h1>Text2MD5 super simple converter</h1>
<p>Type a word or a sentence below:</p>
<form method="get">
 <input name="string" type="text" id="string" />    
 <input type="submit" value="Convert to MD5" />

if (isset($_GET['string'])) {    
$str = $_GET['string'];
echo '<p>The MD5 hash of <strong>'.$str.'
</strong> corresponds to:<br /><strong>'.md5($str).'

Download md5-convert.phpTry it online

Free facelift for your webpages


A common solution in order to use freely typefaces while designing a web page, is creating graphical representations of the text content;  this solution apparently works well, however it is not efficient and not easy to update when the text content changes, as each text must be written or modified manually through an image manipulation software.

For this reason web designers normally use a narrow range of fonts in their web pages and usually adopt web-safe fonts.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting alternatives. Facelift is an excellent solution in order to use custom fonts in your web pages writing simple text while not dealing with images creation and updating.

Facelift Image Replacement (or FLIR, pronounced fleer) is an image replacement script that dynamically generates image representations of text on your web page in fonts that otherwise might not be visible to your visitors. The generated image will be automatically inserted into your web page via Javascript and visible to all modern browsers. Any element with text can be replaced: from headers (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) to <span> elements and everything in between!

Give a look to these examples!

Facelift is free software released under GNU/GPL license. It requires a quite common web server configuration (PHP along with GD libraries with freetype and PNG support enabled) and can be freely downloaded from the official web page.