Updated: 5/16/2006; 12:42:47 PM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Tuesday, December 13, 2005

AJAX and E4X for Fun and Profit:  Functions to make Ajax easier in Firefox.  Published code on page.  "What I came up with was a lightweight Javascript AJAX class, with the following APIs. Note that this was designed specifically for use with Firefox 1.5 and above, though when I publish the full class specification (this is still something of a work in progress) it should work, with minor exceptions, on most browsers that support AJAX."  10:52:27 AM  permalink  

Objectifying XML - E4X for Firefox 1.1: E4X is ECMAScript for XML, a language extension proposed to the ECMA late last summer.  "The principle behind E4X is simple, but very profound. Currently, Javascript is rather stupid about XML - if you want to manipulate XML, you have to create a set of interfaces and use the W3C DOM and frequently some VERY painful treewalking or convoluted XPath calls in order to be able to do anything with it. .. [E4X] lets Javascript treat XML as a native application type in exactly the same way that Javascript handles strings, numbers and regular expressions. [And] it "objectifies" XML. In other words, it lets you convert an XML document into a representation of an object, without having to go through the long, involved steps involved in working with DOM."  10:41:31 AM  permalink  

FTP File Sync: "Add robust FTP file synchronization to your web application (ASP, PHP, etc) in just a few lines of code. As an ActiveX component accessible through COM, FTP Sync is easily integrated into client side, or server-side applications and scripts. FTP Sync requires no user interface and can run transparently in the background or respond directly to an event.

With both Uploading and Downloading Synchronization methods, FTP Sync can be used in a multitude of applications. With FTP Sync enabled client applications, you can easily deploy new files to every client application simply by uploading updated files to an FTP server."  Inexpensive.
  10:29:10 AM  permalink  

Software That Binds, And Converts, And Retains: In two articles, Baseline magazine profiles the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software in churches.  They track people so that visitors become members, members contribute and volunteer more, and members change churches ("churn") less -- all classic CRM.  "Eighteen months ago, [pastor] Hand implemented a new process based on software from a company called ConnectionPower to improve the church's outreach methods. ConnectionPower features modules for such things as automating the visitor follow-up process, tracking donations and revenues, and creating a Web portal for members. It's priced from $1,000 for a small church to about $20,000 for churches with 6,000 or more members. 

At [Hand's church], new visitors continue to fill out registration cards as they had in the past, with information such as family member names, ages, address [and] e-mail address. But now volunteers immediately type the information into the Windows-based ConnectionPower software. And now, each Monday morning, Hand or his assistant logs in to the system and see the names of the new visitors. .. The software then produces follow-up recommendations. For example, if a 28-year-old mother of two visits, the software prompts a volunteer of a similar age and background to make contact later in the week."

And the churches embrace podcasting and other media.  "69%of evangelicals use the Internet to send, receive and forward spiritual e-mail and electronic greeting cards and request prayers online, according to a Pew Internet survey last year. That's compared with 51% of Catholics and 54% of Jews, the Pew Internet study said. .. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, an evangelical church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with 18,000 members, lets Apple iPod users download and take along a daily message from pastor Bob Coy, as part of what the church calls its Active Word Ministry. .. "If you don't have a parking lot, you can't get the people in the church to hear the message and ultimately lead them to the Lord. A Web site is as important as a parking lot to a church." "

  10:12:28 AM  permalink  

Brain imaging detects lies:  "Brain-imaging techniques that reveal when a person is lying are now reliable enough to identify criminals, claim researchers. .. neuroscientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia have now told Nature that they believe their test is ready for real-life scenarios. Daniel Langleben and his colleagues use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track people's brains when they lie and tell the truth. By analysing brain activity during both scenarios, they have developed an algorithm that can detect lies from truth with 99% accuracy.

Team member Ruben Gur points out that, unlike the polygraph, fMRI does not rely on controllable symptoms such as sweating or a fast heartbeat. Instead it monitors the central nervous system. When someone lies, their brain inhibits them from telling the truth, and this makes the frontal lobes more active. "A lie is always more complicated than the truth," says Gur. "You think a bit more and fMRI picks that up." ..

Langleben has previously warned that fMRI is a research tool, not a way to spot liars. But the latest research has changed his tune. "We can't say whether this person will one day use a bomb," he says. "But we can use fMRI to find concealed information. We can ask: is X involved in terrorist organization Y?" .. Critics argue that lab experiments do not equate to real-life situations. .. Critics and researchers agree that more funding is needed to standardize the method and iron out ethical concerns before the approach is used routinely. The team's next step is to expand its studies to include women, people of different cultures, and psychopaths."  9:13:17 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 12:42:47 PM.