This is one smart thing!
I now know that the meaning life has no quantity ;-)
I’ve ignored following most of the pre-release on examples to get a taste of what it can do, and then see what happens as you modify it. So for a real simple one, say elevation of places, I try the highest point in the US – well heck I think Google knows that, Mount McKinley at 20 335 feet. The results are presented in data chunks, so I can explore down a path of looking ay Mount McKinley or (don’t know why) 20 335 feet. The McKinley path gives me more related information- year climbed, a map location, the atmospheric pressure at that peak elevation, nearby cities, and nearby high mountains– all fo those are more links to data and data and data.
Back to my original highest point in the US , it gives me the sources of all the data (linked).
But now I can dig deeper- get the highest point in Arizona, which I knew (and have been to), Humphreys Peak,12 631 feet near Flagstaff, plus other info about Arizona like land area, the lowest point. Hmmmm
I start thinking that it is about 0.5 * McKinley, so I try a comparison search AZ AK highest point and I get all of the data side by side for comparison.
More curiosity. Arizona is hot, what is its hottest temperature? It gives current info, 75 degrees F (and lets me easily flip units to 24C).
What if I want historic? I recalled the hottest temperature ever was in 1990, and sure enough a search on /?i=AZ+highest+temperature+1990 gives me that magical day – June 26, 1990, when the Phoenix temperatures hit 120 F (wow I could have sworn it was 125… but what do I know).
And I can go more narrow- I can find out the temps for my little town of Strawberry – Strawberry AZ highest temperature 1990 to find that on that hot day in June it pegged 103F here (and later n the year, Dec 23, 1990 it dipped as low as -9F).
It just feels amazing. It is not, I repeat not, a “Google Killer” – Google does miracles by shooting into the barrel a search term and getting a close match on some obscure items (and getting a whole lot else)– WolframAlpha looks like it works when you can formulate terms that can narrow or expand information as data.
And what more does one need to know than 42?
The post "WolframAlpha Hooks Me" was originally pushed out of the bottom of a purple jar of Play-Doh at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2009/05/wolframalpha-hooks-me/) on May 16, 2009.