XML and software
XML, web and software in general, with notes on Radio Userland resources

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Saturday, January 31, 2004


SourceForge.net: Project Info - pennylender:  Some programmers are planning a global micro-lending system: "PennyLenders goal is to create a service that will allow any individual to loan/borrow money in a self-contained community-based network, irrespective of economic status, location, or age and without the interference of a central controlling Bank."  No working code yet.  11:30:57 PM  permalink  

GBIF portal: "The purpose of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is to make the world's primary data on biodiversity freely and universally available via the Internet. .. Technically, GBIF is evolving to be an interoperable network of biodiversity databases and information technology tools using web services and Grid technologies. In the near term, GBIF will provide a global metadata registry of the available biodiversity data with open interfaces. Anyone can then use it to construct thematic portals and specilised search facilities. Building on the contents of this registry, GBIF will provide its own central portal that enables simultaneous queries against biodiversity databases held by distributed, worldwide sources. In the long term, molecular, genetic, ecological and ecosystem level databases can be linked to the system. These will facilitate and enable data mining of unprecedented utility and scientific merit. "  Related: MaNIS: "With support from the National Science Foundation, seventeen North American institutions and their collaborators are developing a network of distributed databases of mammal specimen data. "

Several related sources are indexed at http://www.learningsite.com/

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daily link  Wednesday, January 28, 2004


New Explorer hole could be devastating: "Explorer 6 users (and possibly users of earlier versions) could be fooled into downloading what look like safe files but are in fact whatever the author wishes them to be - including executables.  The previous spoofing problem allowed Explorer users to think they were visiting one site when in fact they were visiting somewhere entirely different. The implications are not only troublesome, but Microsoft’s failure to include a fix for the problem in its January patches has led many to believe it cannot be prevented.  If the same is true for this spoofing issue, then it will only be a matter of time before someone who thinks they are visiting one website and downloading one file will in fact be visiting somewhere entirely different and downloading whatever that site’s owner decides. ..

We also have reason to believe there is no fix. It may be that today’s flaw is identical to one found nearly three years ago by Georgi Guninski in which double-clicking a link in Explorer led you to believe you were downloading a text file but were in fact downloading a .hta file.  Guninski informed Microsoft in April 2001. The fact that the issue has been born afresh suggests rather heavily that the software giant has no way of preventing this from happening. ..

So how bad could it get? Just off the top of our heads - suppose someone set up a fake Hutton Inquiry site today with a link to the report’s summaries - how many people across the UK would download a worm this afternoon? And imagine the computers it would end up on. "

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daily link  Monday, January 26, 2004


Maestro Headquarters: "Maestro is a public version of the science operations tool for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission. On this website, you can download a scaled-down version of the program that NASA scientists use to operate Spirit and Opportunity. During the mission, updates will be released on this site containing real data from Mars that you can add to your copy of Maestro."  Looks like a cool geeky edutainment program.  The site is a nice example of Plone in action.  4:34:15 PM  permalink  

Community Enabler: "What is Community Enabler? Powerful, feature rich online Content Management and Collaboration Framework developed using the Zope application server and the CMF Plone portal "  3:47:55 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, January 25, 2004


Sp@m ShEn@nig@nS!!: That Gibberish in Your In-Box May Be Good News: Are filters beating spam?  Good summary article.  11:09:55 PM  permalink  

Google Deskbar: Very nice tool for a taskbar form for Google searches with a popup window for results.  And, it's extensible:  "If you have sites you search frequently, you can add custom searches to the Google Deskbar menu."  9:41:40 PM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, January 24, 2004


TheYoke: Simple Perl RSS Aggregator, designed for command line execution. Source code online.  Many others listed in Google Directory of News Readers  8:21:03 AM  permalink  

BlogAfrica: Interesting effort to teach and spread blogging in Africa, with a companion site as a Catalog for blogs in action.  12:54:31 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, January 23, 2004


Google unveils rival to Friendster:  "Google quietly released a new online social networking service Thursday .. Called Orkut, the service allows users to link up with friends of their friends and aims to ``increase the overall satisfaction of social life.'' It is much like the hot Sunnyvale online dating service Friendster -- but possibly with more features.  The launch comes just three months after Google entered talks to acquire Friendster -- reportedly for $30 million -- and was rebuffed.

The project was developed by a Google engineer [named Orkut] and a few of his colleagues, and is still in testing mode, according to Google spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez. She said Google encouraged its launch but otherwise is taking a hands-off approach. .. For the time being, Google says it has no plans to use the personal information supplied by Orkut users for searches.  Like Friendster, Orkut  only accepts people invited by someone already on the network."

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daily link  Monday, January 19, 2004


Quiz: Is Your Project at Risk for Disaster?: " three business school professors describe a continuum of risk onto which they say every project falls. Take this quiz, created by Baseline, to find out what risks your project faces"  11:43:16 PM  permalink  

Vivisimo Clustering - automatic categorization and meta-search software: Interesting software with neat demo on web search.  11:32:05 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, January 18, 2004


New Zealand News - Americans need to question their style of democracy: "In contrast [to the US], Australia has designed a system that addresses and eases these concerns.  With a transparency that should be the gold standard by which all democracies conduct themselves, it made the software running its electoral system completely open to public scrutiny.  Although designed by a private company, drafts as well as the finished software code were posted on the internet for all to see and evaluate.  This ruins one American election official's comment that no country in the world has the rigorous certification and testing standards used in the US. "  10:39:26 AM  permalink  


daily link  Saturday, January 17, 2004


Poor Nations Eye Western Outsourcing: "The tech research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that the offshore outsourcing trend will result in at least one in every 10 U.S. technology jobs moving overseas by the end of this year.

India gets a huge amount of that work but also has set up so-called centers of excellence in Mongolia, Mauritius and Nepal to help those countries develop software skills, understand international business practices and enhance education. At the Hyderabad summit, Kamal Thapa, Nepal's minister for information technology and communication, said the Himalayan kingdom is laying fiber-optic cables along highways and liberalizing investment rules to attract foreign companies. Mongolia's infrastructure minister, Byamba Jigjid, said a software park has been built in the capital, Ulan Bator, to house companies that provide services to Western firms .. "We are small. But we have a young work force well skilled in information and communication technologies," Abdul Moyeen Khan, science and information technology minister for Bangladesh"

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Information Patterns - Toucan Navigate: "Toucan Navigate is the Geographic Information System (GIS) for users of Groove Workspace, the desktop collaboration software."  Integrated with GPS, with its own collaborative viewer and data entry engine.  Looks very powerful. Michael Helfrich discusses potential applications for NGOs.  9:56:21 PM  permalink  

Topical, polemical, and short:  Rick Klau and Dan Bricklin (Pamphleteers and Web Sites) make the point that weblogs are the modern equivalent of pamphlets in 18th century America: low-cost ubiquitous personal publishing.  Historian Bernard Bailyn is cited about pamphlets, quoting "George Orwell, a modern pamphleteer":   "[The pamphet] is a one-man show. One has complete freedom of expression, including, if one chooses, the freedom to be scurrilous, abusive, and seditious; or, on the other hand, to be more detailed, serious and "high-brow" than is ever possible in a newspaper or in most kinds of periodicals."  Bailyn says none were professional writers, that "The American pamphleteers were almost to a man lawyers, ministers, merchants, or planters heavily engaged in their regular occupations."

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daily link  Friday, January 16, 2004


Web Blog Directory - Root Blog - Aggregating the PoweR of Blogs!  Categorization of blogs with RSS feeds.  11:28:05 PM  permalink  

Soundblox: "can be embedded into a personal blog template or Web page, and displayed in any modern Web browser (via Flash Player 5 or above). .. : SoundBlox is part of a series of BlogBoxes that provide rich Internet functionality for bloggers while showcasing the merits of Laszlo's declarative XML development approach. Application code in this series is available under an Apache-style open source license."  This example played me the Grateful Dead.  11:03:25 PM  permalink  

'My So-Called Blog': "the vast majority of bloggers are teens and young adults. Ninety percent of those with blogs are between 13 and 29 years old; a full 51 percent are between 13 and 19, according to Perseus. Many teen blogs are short-lived experiments. But for a significant number, they become a way of life, a daily record of a community’s private thoughts — a kind of invisible high school that floats above the daily life of teenagers"  5:27:52 PM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, January 15, 2004


DNS will map RFID: "The Auto-ID groups and now EPCglobal are in fact promoting the use of DNS as the means by which RFID tag identifiers are mapped to URIs that represent various sources of product data.  Called the Object Name Service (ONS), the standard "...specifies how the Domain Name System is used to locate authoritative metadata and services associated with a given Electronic Product Code (EPC)." 

Lest you think that it is a document only, with no momentum behind its implementation, Auto-ID / EPCglobal issued a request for proposals in the third quarter of 2003 for bids on the implementation and operation of the root network directory for the EPC Network being established by EPCglobal.  The contract has reportedly been awarded to Verisign."

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daily link  Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Scientific American: Robot Scientist As Effective As Humans At Lab Work: "Ross D. King from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and his colleagues designed their Robot Scientist using existing technology and two new software programs that they wrote. The team then assigned the robot the task of determining the function of specific genes in the yeast Xaccharomyces cerevisiae (commonly known as brewer's yeast). Robot Scientist, armed with preloaded information about yeast biochemistry and biological pathways, first generated hypotheses regarding possible functions and then ran a variety of experiments. When the real scientists compared the results obtained by their robot student to those achieved by actual graduate students, they didn't see any significant differences. And because Robot Scientist ran fewer experiments, its overall costs were lower than those of its human counterparts. "  10:07:20 PM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Getting the Word Out:  Short list of news release services.  Addressed to non-profits, but usable generally.  2:51:54 PM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, January 12, 2004


Hosts for Web Sites or Blogs: plus an update from Rick Klau on his current favorite.  I've been experimenting with hostingmatters.com with good results (sounds like the same setup as Klau's hoster).  10:00:37 PM  permalink  

Blog Tools: PC Mag reviews a few, praising Moveable Type and its hosted version, Typepad.  Law blogger Jerry Lawson concurs (he switched from Radio to MT in 2003).  That blogger also says he not only has time for blogging, it saves him time.  9:26:56 PM  permalink  

Bloglines: Free, Web-Based News Aggregator: "Bloglines is a free service that makes it easy to keep up with your favorite blogs and newsfeeds. With Bloglines, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs, and Bloglines will monitor updates to those sites... Make it easy for your readers to stay up to date with your blog. Add a Bloglines Subscribe button and with one click they can subscribe to your blog."  Also has means for adding email subscriptions and treating as a subscription alongside other RSS feeds.  5:34:44 PM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, January 11, 2004


Knowing how to find the people you need: Cool story about how a weblog programmer volunteered a very productive few days to the Dean campaign.  8:36:52 PM  permalink  

Visualizing Connections: "Exploring the corridors of iterated similarity you get on Google is a good way to spend an afternoon. That's what makes the TouchGraph Google Browser so much fun. Entering a URL lets you see a graphical map of its various "Similar pages" links, as well as the pages similar to those pages, and so forth. It's Java-based, so it presumably runs on anything able to run JRE 1.3+, with typical Java alacrity."  8:09:56 AM  permalink  

MT Plugin Directory: MT Resources and Newsfeeds: Help for users of Moveable Type, from an extensive directory of add-ons.  Also found an interesting story about A Movable Type Intranet, where the comments are also worth reading.  And, a user noting some useful addons.  12:22:55 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, January 09, 2004


Software for micropayments online: "Ronald L. Rivest, the R in the public key encryption system RSA, which he helped invent, and Silvio Micali, whose honors include the 1993 Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science, founded Peppercoin and introduced it commercially in December. Peppercoin hopes to reduce online merchants' transaction costs substantially, particularly the number of credit card charges they pay. These are typically about 25 cents per sale, said Robert W. Carney, vice president for marketing at Peppercoin. The company's software uses advanced encryption and mathematical models to avoid charging a seller a fee each time an item is sold. Instead, the system statistically selects a representative sample of the transactions for billing...

BitPass, another new micropayment company, stresses the simplicity of its system. Kurt Huang, chief executive of the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said that all the gatekeeping and financial processing services were bundled in a single file that can easily be uploaded to a Web server for use by a hosted Web site. "This way the little guy can engage in digital commerce," Mr. Huang said...

PayPal recently offered a special micropayment rate, restricted for now to large digital music providers. These sellers will be charged 11.5 cents for a 99-cent song - 2.5 percent plus 9 cents per transaction - rather than the standard 25 to 30 cents.

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daily link  Thursday, January 08, 2004


MythTV: "MythTV is a homebrew PVR project that I've been working on in my spare time. It's been under heavy development for over a year, and is now quite useable and featureful."  Cool feature list.  Linux-based.  11:38:24 AM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, January 07, 2004


rss2mail: Basic perl module that "delivers new information from RSS feeds direct to your inbox, one email per feed. "  Related code by same author: Foo2Mail, a function to fetch content, checking the content's not already been sent, format the mail, send it and doing some general cleanup.  10:51:38 AM  permalink  

Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/25/2005; 12:01:50 AM.
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