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

Ken Novak's Weblog

daily link  Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Shirky: Situated Software:  Stimulating essay.  Reminds me of CGNET's helpdesk.  And what we'll do as programming gets really cheap.  "Part of the future I believe I'm seeing [in my students' work] is a change in the software ecosystem which, for the moment, I'm calling situated software. This is software designed in and for a particular social situation or context. This way of making software is in contrast with what I'll call the Web School (the paradigm I learned to program in), where scalability, generality, and completeness were the key virtues. ..  Situated software isn't a technological strategy so much as an attitude about closeness of fit between software and its group of users, and a refusal to embrace scale, generality or completeness as unqualified virtues..

We constantly rely on the cognitive capabilities of individuals in software design -- we assume a user can associate the mouse with the cursor, or that icons will be informative. We rarely rely on the cognitive capabilities of groups, however, though we rely on those capabilities in the real world all the time. ..  There is another strategy, however, analogous to asking the user to recognizing icons; the designer can simply assume the group has a certain capability, without needing to recapitulate it in code. If you have an uncollected payment in a communal buying pool, the software can kick out a message that says "Deadbeat alert. Deal with it." A real world group will have some way of handling the problem ..

So what happens next? If what I'm seeing is not transitory or limited to a narrow set of situations, then we'll see a rise in these small form-fit applications. This will carry some obvious downsides, including tying the developers of such applications to community support roles, and shortening the useful lifespan of the software made in this way.

Expectations of longevity, though, are the temporal version of scale -- we assume applications should work for long periods in part because it costs so much to create them. Once it's cheap and easy to throw together an application, though, that rationale weakens. Businesses routinely ask teams of well-paid people to put hundreds of hours of work creating a single PowerPoint deck that will be looked at in a single meeting. The idea that software should be built for many users, or last for many years, are cultural assumptions not required by the software itself. "

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StreamSage, Inc.: Search audio and video with speech and video recognition.  CPU-intensive, possible grid application.  "StreamSage's Audio/Video Search Engine finds relevant content and displays it in a prioritized list of search results. Whether the content is a news story, training presentation or web conference, StreamSage automatically identifies the precise intervals of content that are relevant for every topic addressed in the media file. The resulting index of "Relevance Intervals" allows you to quickly find the information in audio/video content that you need."  Example: NASA indexes a lecture series.  11:08:33 PM  permalink  

Search NextGen: Survey of many companies with search applications or extensions.  10:28:55 PM  permalink  

daily link  Sunday, March 28, 2004

More stuff you can search with Google:  Google returns links to display

  • UPS or FedEx packages: enter the tracking number, digits only
  • US Maps by area code
  • UPC product descriptions:  enter the 12-digit number under the bar doce
  • Flight status details: enter the airline and number (eg Qantas 26)
  • Vehicle identifier:  enter the VIN from the door frame, like JH4NA1157MT001832 to find out the car's year, make, and model
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daily link  Friday, March 26, 2004

daily link  Sunday, March 21, 2004

CafePress Free Store: Interesting e-business concept:  Make up artwork, music or content, they'll reproduce it on 50 products. They'll also create an online shop for you to set your own markup, and send you the net proceeds when people buy.  So you can do content and marketing, no production or fulfillment.  9:41:32 PM  permalink  

2RSS.com: Source for software and links regarding RSS.  First, an Atom-to-RSS converter:  "As you know, many sites offer Atom feeds instead of RSS. Most noticeable Blogger.com [and therefore, Google's blogger]. .. Converting Atom XML feed to RSS feed is a new service our site offers, for free. You even don't have to register. All you have to do is to use a link to atom2rss.php page and pass your Atom URL in atom parameter. " Also, a big directory of news readers, and libraries of ASP and PHP functions for processing RSS.  9:38:07 PM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, March 19, 2004

CommuniGate Pro: MAPI Connector: "The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector acts as a "MAPI provider". It accepts Messaging API requests from Microsoft Outlook (Outlook 98, Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002, Outlook XP and later) running in the "groupware" mode, and from other Windows applications. The MAPI Connector converts these requests into extended IMAP commands and sends them to the CommuniGate Pro Server. "  10:52:06 AM  permalink  

ResourceShelfPLUS: Extensive list of patents and filings in search technology.  1:30:54 AM  permalink  

Topix.net launches: Interesting news and RSS aggregator.  "You can keyword search the Topix database (over 4000 sources, a great deal of content that's difficult to quickly access elsewhere) but the real power comes via easy-to-use "pre-built" pages that aggregate news and other information onto over 150,000 topical pages (company names, industry names, etc.). This total also includes a local news and info page for every Zip Code. "  FAQ: "the classification technology can be applied to a variety of text classification problems."  RSS feeds available, though not yet for search results.  1:24:31 AM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, March 18, 2004

Google Search: superfund near East Palo Alto, CA 94303: Here's an interesting example of Google's new local search.  Instead of searching for hotels near my house, I asked for "superfund" (as in toxic waste sites).  Its top 10 results includes 4 toxic sites, 3 city agencies, 2 consulting firms that advise about superfund issues, and one newspaper.  The newspaper link is an odd one: it points to a page where an environmental advocacy group asks people to write letters to the newspaper!  Changing the query to "superfund site" adds a company that sold software to a superfund-related company.  I also looked for "USAID" as a way to find local people in international development, and got a similar mix with a few interesting bits and some odd ones.  Google calls it a beta version; it's US only.  It'll be interesting to see if it improves.  11:15:29 PM  permalink  

daily link  Wednesday, March 17, 2004

SharpReader RSS Aggregator: New widows app with several interesting features.  Appears to be desktop app only, not web-viewable.  8:51:08 AM  permalink  

Groove in Iraq: "Groove closed a first-quarter deal with the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) for use of its collaboration software. .. Groove was enlisted a year ago by Dr. Eric Rasmussen, a civil military medical coordinator looking for technology to connect humanitarian efforts. Chat, maps, satellite images, manuals, news articles, pharmaceutical inventory, PowerPoint presentations and photos were commonly traded in Groove, and when phones were deemed unreliable, Grooveâ019s Voice Over Internet Protocol tool was enlisted."  8:39:12 AM  permalink  

daily link  Monday, March 15, 2004

AcceleNet XML compression: "XML-Xpress™ (XXP) is a software data compression engine optimized for XML (eXtensible Markup Language) data formats, particularly for query-based data transmissions where XML schemas are known in advance. It is the premier solution for software developers and companies who are distributing or storing information over the Internet via XML. As the use of XML in communication systems and databases increases, XML-Xpress™ provides the means of decreasing the amount of data that has to be transmitted or stored. " Compression ratios of 5 - 35 x are claimed, with a thruput test cited at 9mbps.  10:19:31 AM  permalink  

daily link  Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Guestmap Service: "Guestmap service allows your visitors to add a pin to a map pre-selected by you, to show where they live. Zoom in, zoom out, select from different types of pins, and more in this unique and fun service."  From Bravenet, who has other mostly free gizmos for enhancing simply web sites.   2:33:53 PM  permalink  

daily link  Friday, March 05, 2004

IP2Location.com - Lookup IP address to Country, State, City, Netblock, Longitude and Latitide:  Good way to locate an internet IP address.  Free demo search.  Database subscriptions range from $50-$500/year, depending on how specific the location info is (country, region, city, lat/long).  10:34:52 AM  permalink  

daily link  Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Digital Imprimatur: Lengthy and persuasive dystopia of an increasingly restrictive Internet, all based on current technologies.  The key are digital certificates:  "This, then, is the digital imprimatur; the right to publish as, in olden times, was granted by church or state. A document's certificate, its imprimatur, identifies the person (individual or legal entity) responsible for its publication, provides a signature which permits verifying its contents have not been corrupted or subsequently modified, and identifies the document registry which granted the imprimatur and which, on demand, will validate it and confirm that it has not been revoked. Trusted Computing systems and the Secure Internet will perform these functions automatically and transparently; to a user browsing the Web, everything will look and feel precisely as it does today."  6:00:09 PM  permalink  

Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/25/2005; 12:02:38 AM.
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