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What Kind of Pinner Are You? The 8 Types on Pinterest

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Many moons ago, I posted What Kind of Friend are YOU? The 13 Types on Facebook. Now that everyone and their grandmother has opened a Pinterest account, I thought it timely to do the equivalent for the new-ish social sharing site.

A) The Bookmarker

This is the person who uses Pinterest only as an updated, visual version of the old delicious. Usually, Pinner A has no idea what the “Bookmark” functionality is on their own browser and is often the type of person who uses Google to find Yahoo mail.

B) The Project Procrastinator

Pinner B sees something on the Web and immediately gets excited about a DIY project based on the image pinned. Unfortunately, Pinner B is a major procrastinator and is easily distracted by the next bright, shiny thing and winds up emulating @shanenickerson‘s amazing tweet: You guys, my new podcast, “Ideas I have in my car that I’ll never follow up on” will never be available.

C) The Designer

Forget humor, forget food pics, The Designer is almost exclusively into design and uses Pinterest the way one would place Post-Its on pages of old-school design magazines. This pinner is often the one who gets repinned by his/her friends who zealously follow The Designer much the way 30-plus-year-old women follow Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop.

D) The No-Pinner

This person has no business being on Pinterest whatsoever and only created an account to see what all the hubbub was about. The whole concept of boards vis-à-vis live timeline feed proved to be too “new” and overwhelming and Pinner D never checked into the site again.

E) The Over-Pinner

Pinner E pins everything and anything! This is definitely a pinner you want to follow with caution. Like the overzealous Tweeter who feels the need to live out loud (“OMG - This rerun of SNL with Steve Martin that I’m watching right now is HILARIOUS!"), The Over-Pinner needs to share every image s/he finds on every Web page, especially icanhascheezburger.com.

F) The Foodie

Quite simply, the Foodie is only interested in pinning photos of foods/recipes, etc. There’s nothing wrong with this, unless, of course, you prefer eating food to looking at pictures of it.

G) The Stand-Up Comic

This type of pinner is very hit or miss. Either the humorous photos they’re sharing are hilarious, and you’re thrilled you’re following him/her, or the jokes strike you as sophomoric and you wish you never followed based on that one funny image that drew you in to begin with.

H) The Corporate Shill

This pinner is using Pinterest with the great hope that s/he will be noticed by some company or other and offered free product for all the free promotion s/he is doing. They hope to be influencers across multiple verticals in multiple markets, yet generally fail to impress much of anyone except themselves.

Okay guys, I'm sure you feel that I left some off the list. So tell me: What kind of pinners do you love most?

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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