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Philip (flip) Kromer's Homepage

Real Life


I'm building tools to help organize, explore and visualize massive information sources, an enterprise that unifies my lifelong interests in computers, education, physics and design.

Specifically, I've started infochimps.org: it's a data commons and a data marketplace, a place to find any dataset in the world. If you have data to share under an open license, we make it free for you to post and for the world to access (and to put back better than they found it). If you have data to sell, you set the price and the terms, we take a commission on each sale and make everything else easy. The combination provides pure incentives for people to gather, refine and share knowledge, and we hope it eventually becomes the foundational plumbing of the data web.


I have a work blog where I (very, very occasionally) post geeky esoterica, and infochimps.org goings-on appear at blog.infochimps.org . I'm on twitter, flickr and linkedin. I'm also on facebook, and I blog with my friends -- I bet you can figure out where those are if you like.


Please enjoy my Flickr page. The Washington Post used some photos of mine in an article by my mother. So did this interesting Austin guidebook. Some old snapshots: Me - My Family - All.


Please enjoy my Library Thing page. I also have a couple-years-old screenscrape of all my Amazon.com ratings. (Is there a good generic tool that lets me reclaim my metadata?)


Lock-in Amplifier in Labview

I built a versatile, low-cost digital lock-in analyzer in LabView, released as open source. A lockin amplifier lets you detect incredibly faint electronic signals in an experimental system, even when there's tons of surrounding noise. Imagine that you're at a stadium concert, with the crowd yelling and AC/DC rocking you all night long, but want to talk to your friend 50 rows away. Well, if you could get them to holler off and on, at a certain fixed rate you agreed on in advance, you could in principle design a lockin detector that would use the periodicity to pick up their side of the conversation even though everyone else is much louder.

In more practical terms, it lets experimentalists replace a $2000 box with the data acquisition system they already use (plus a few bucks worth of associated electronics

Rescue Tiny Signals from a Sea of Noise with UTiLIA: An Inexpensive Labview Lock in Amplifier

Reference sheets

Here are some pretty reference cards I made:

Quickie DNS

A little iPhone-optimized GeoIP-enabled DNS/reverse DNS/whois interface I whipped up.

Camping List A comprehensive, well-tested checklist for backcountry camping and backpacking.
Austin Sights The places I enjoy most Austin
Least Squares Excel routines to do least squares fitting with the error in two variables
Teaching resources Lesson plans and explorations

Various crap I've written up for one reason or another.

Econ Fiddlings Economic data exploring the typical historic rates of inflation and stock index returns.
More... ...stuff someone may actually find useful.


Me Big Dork I've orchestrated some good April Fools Stunts. At the 2007 O Henry Pun-Off I engaged in an epic 15+ minute long battle of twits with the estimable Joe Sabia. I won the local Edible Book Festival with my tasteful, restrained entry "A Havarti-breaking work of Saga and Cheeses". The nerdiest thing I've ever done, though, was to skip school to take the train up to NYC and watch Kasparov play Karpov.
Tri Stuff

I did the 100-mile Ride for the Roses three times, in memory of my friend Emery Kalinov and in honor of family friend and cancer survivor Elaine Levine. Money raised from the ride (donation info) goes to help cancer survivors and to support cancer research.

I've also completed a number of triathlons, including a half-ironman in October 2006 (one and a half years after my back surgery: thanks Sportcenter and Dr. McAfee). Thanks also to UT's Texas Triathletes club who made getting started fun and easy.

Old Cars

I have a 1968 Buick Wildcat convertible which is a blast to own and drive. Just about every time I fill up in East Austin someone offers to buy it. (Really: it happens more than 3/4 of the time).

I have been building a hotrod from a 1939 Tudor Sedan DeLuxe. For many, many years.

HEV I was on a team that designed and constructed, from the ground up, an energy-efficient passenger car.
Lock In I wrote a software digital Lock In Amplifier in LabView. A lock-in amplifier lets you extract extremely small signals, even in the presence of noise or interference.
Phoenix An animation that my friend Juliet and I made for the award-winning graphics course at Cornell (8MB MPEG).
DNA What is the shortest DNA sequence containing all 8-character palindromes (allowing overlap)? (.nb file)
Gadgets Once in a while I put together a crazy mechanical thing.
Design Some T Shirts & other artwork I have designed.
April Fools Jokes April Fool's Day hoaxes I've perpetrated.


Stuff, Rated Ratings for most of the books and some of the music I've bought the last few years.
Music Ska, Swing, and Surf; Punk, Rock, Rockabilly, 80's; Go-go, Rap, Afrobeat.
Hot Rods Vroom!
Science Mad and otherwise.
Design Especially typography and Information design.
Woodworking I enjoy woodworking with hand tools -- it's quieter.



A rapper also named mrflip.


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"Per m a n en tl y u n d e r con struc t i on "

My Political Compass reads (-5.0, -5.6): I am proudly in the center of the Libertarian Left