|XML and software
XML, web and software in general, with notes on Radio Userland resources
Friday, March 16, 2007
The Globus Consortium Journal
: Overview of Virtualization Technology in Distributed Computing workshop. "Among the highlights was an interesting paper from Intel dissecting the
performance of Xen networking. A wonderful adoption scenario was
represented in the work from the University of Marburg where
suspend/resume properties of VMs are being used to improve backfill
strategies in the local scheduler - computations running in VMs are
simply suspended when a large parallel job is scheduled to run and
resumed afterwards. The remarkable part of this work was that it was
very much requirement-driven and has been voted into production by
users. Another interesting talk came from the Australian Partnership
for Advanced Computing (APAC) described their experiences using virtual
machines in production Grids for a couple of years now." 11:20:49 PM
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The endowment effect, the 9X problem and collaboration:
Nice summary from HBS. "the "endowment effect" [is when] we value items in our possession more than prospective items that could be in our possession, especially if the prospective item is a proposed substitute. We mentally compare having the prospective item to giving up what we already have (our 'endowment'), but because we're loss averse giving up what we already have (our reference point) looms large.
And Gourville points out three factors that make the situation worse for product developers who want their offerings to succeed. First is timing: adopters have to give up their endowment immediately, and only get benefits sometime in the future. Second, these benefits are not certain; the new product might not work as promised. Third, benefits are usually qualitative, making them difficult to enumerate and compare. ..
Because of all of the above, Gourville talks about the '9X problem' -- "a mismatch of 9 to 1 between what innovators think consumers want and what consumers actually want."1 The 9X problem goes a long way to explaining the tech industry folk wisdom that to spread like wildfire a new product has to offer a tenfold improvement over what's currently out there...
Email is a channel technology. It creates a private conduit between the sender and receiver. Other parties don't know that the email was sent, and can't consult its contents. Wikis, del.icio.us, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube, on the other hand, are all platform technologies. They accumulate content over time and make it visible and accessible to all community members. [They also foster emergence, where structure emerges rather than being imposed by "groupware" products.] .. So the new tools are not direct substitutes for email; instead, they're intended to provide capabilities that email can't. Will they succeed? It depends heavily, I believe, on whether companies and their managers want technology platforms for collaboration. This desire will be an important factor in solving email's 9X problem. " 1:44:26 PM
How To Tell The Open Source Winners From The Losers:
A 9-point checklist for evaluating open source solutions:
- "A thriving community: A handful of lead developers, a large body of contributors, and a substantial--or at least motivated--user group offering ideas.
- Disruptive goals:Does something notably better than commercial code. Free isn't enough.
- A benevolent dictator: Leader who can inspire and guide developers, asking the right questions and letting only the right code in.
- Transparency: Decisions are made openly, with threads of discussion, active mailing list, and negative and positive comments aired.
- Civility: Strong forums police against personal attacks or niggling issues, focus on big goals.
- Documentation: What good's a project that can't be implemented by those outside its development?
- Employed developers: The key developers need to work on it full time.
- A clear license: Some are very business friendly, others clear as mud.
- Commercial support: Companies need more than e-mail support from volunteers. Is there a solid company employing people you can call? "
Monday, February 12, 2007
Eleven Emerging Ideas for SOA Architects in 2007:
Good listing of how web services are actually succeeding today. "This is where the World Wide Web continues to teach us effective techniques for service consumption and adoption. .. This is using the basic Web formats and protocols such as HTTP, XML, REST, and JSON as the "Unix Pipe of the Web" -- to quote a colorful phrase of Ray Ozzie's -- as the fundamental glue between systems. This allows widgets, Ajax applications, and mashups to be wired together so quickly it can almost be done in real-time with the latest tools." 8:36:07 AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
d y n e : b o l i c -- a free multimedia studio in a GNU/Linux live CD:
"You don't need to install anything, you don't even need an harddisk .. Download the ISO-image, burn your own CD, reboot your machine and you'll get back true love ;^)
dyne:bolic is shaped on the needs of media activists, artists and creatives as a practical tool for multimedia production: you can manipulate and broadcast both sound and video with tools to record, edit, encode and stream, having automatically recognized most device and peripherals: audio, video, TV, network cards, firewire, usb and more; all using only free software ..
It is optimized to run on slower computers, turning them into a full media stations: the minimum you need is a pentium1 or k5 PC 64Mb RAM and IDE CD-ROM, or a modded XBOX game console - and if you have more than one, you can easily do clusters.
dyne:bolic is RASTA software
released free under the GNU General Public License. This software is about Digital Resistance ina babylon world which tries to control the way we communicate, we share our interests and knowledge." Integrating many multimedia tools, running with minimal system installation, doing automatic clustering for quick render farms: sounds real interesting. 11:51:39 PM
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Amazon S3 vs DreamHost
: Good comparison of cheap generic hosting versus Amazon's robust storage service. The reader comments make many excellent points. 9:08:41 AM
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Web Applications 1.0
Friday, September 15, 2006
SSH for Java:
Lots of implementations of SSH clients in Java, under proprietary, GPL, or BSD lisences. 11:57:48 PM
Wind Blade Technology
: I started looking into sustainable energy in 2001, and found an active community that was open to sharing its findings and that was starting to use the internet to communicate. As I learned about RSS and weblogs, I thought that this area, like many in the IT world, would see weblogs grow, and with them a spontaneous division of labor to speed the spread of new developments would emerge. Blogs from universities, corporations, development institutions, non-profits, and from motivated independents would identify and highlight findings that mattered in specialized areas, and others who would otherwise search original sources would save time and effort by reading their blogs.
In the last 12 months, that dynamic has taken hold in sustainable energy. Starting in 2001, I kept a blog collecting important results I discovered in emerging energy technologies
and developing country energy
options, but now I find others are keeping close track and I can just follow their investigations. They include venture capitalists
, investment companies
, and independent engineers
The Wind Blade blog (above) from six employees of Owens-Corning is an advanced example. They work in different countries, but all concentrate on the materials from which the blades of wind turbines are built. They write: "We accept the value of renewable wind energy as a given and we are
committed to helping it become more cost competitive and widely used." They work in a specialized but critical technology. Why? Well, the output of a wind turbine is proportional to the area swept by its blades, which is the square of the length, so even small increases in blade length matter. Longer blades need materials that are strong, light, and rigid enough to turn in moderate winds while flexible enough to bend rather than break in strong winds. New materials for blades continue to make wind power more economically compelling every year.
It will be interesting to see if these bloggers find an audience among other engineers, and if they retain their corporate backing. 11:21:18 PM
Monday, July 31, 2006
"Everyone's an expert at something .. How to make money by talking on Skype." Service that integrates billing and directory listing for voice-based services, like translation, coaching, computer help desk, etc. Via Skype Journal.
I wonder if Nuance's latest, well-reviewed
Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9
software could be integrated for some services as well. (NaturallySpeaking 9 is the first version of any voice recognition program that seems to get good results without having to train the program to each user's voice.) 1:02:27 AM
Hacktivismo releases secure IM for dissidents
: "to communicate across oppressive national firewalls, [consider] ScatterChat, a secure IM application
developed by an international group of hackers, human rights activists, lawyers and security experts. .. [It] is based on the open source Gain IM client and uses the anonymous Tor network to offer secure end-to-end encryption for both chat and file transfers, the developer group Hacktivisimo said on Friday. Installers for Microsoft Windows, as well as the software's source code, are available now, and packages for Linux and Mac OS X are listed as "coming soon."
It's designed for "nontechnical human rights activists and political dissidents" but could also be also useful for corporate environments and other settings where privacy is important, according to the groups Web site. .. The anonymity and encryption provided by ScatterChat ensures that [obscures] both the identities and messages of users". Good techincal doc on their site
. 12:34:17 AM
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
IM Interoperability matrix
: Useful reference to features and connections among AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Google, Skype, and a few others. 11:52:07 PM
Saturday, January 28, 2006
The sparring and spin of the Google dance:
"To test the effectiveness of these tactics, the Guardian created a spoof site and tried to force it up Google's rankings. Over one week, a number of tricks - some similar to those used by black-hat firms - were used to successfully push it to the top.
The spoof site was set up to promote eco-friendly flip-flops, a bogus product promising zero harmful emissions. The simple page featured a disclaimer to make the nature of the experiment clear, and a picture of the goods. At the start of the experiment, there were more than 11,500 results for "eco-friendly flip-flops" on Google, and the spoof site did not feature. Within two days of creating the site, Google's spider - the program that explores the web - had discovered the site and included it in its main index, but it appeared within the lowest 100 pages.
A second site was created which contained a large number of links to the first. Because Google rates the authority of a site partly by how many times they have been linked to, this ploy can makes a site appear popular. Within hours, the effect was apparent - the spoof site was now the top result in our test search, trumping the other 11,500 sites within days." 4:57:28 PM
Friday, January 27, 2006
: Software for Starving Students (SSS) version 2006.01 released, with many useful free utilities, both Windows and Mac. 11:42:03 PM
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Small unit that provides voip and gateway functions. Interfaces for ethernet, and for "normal analogue telephone (or cordless) and a standard PSTN line. In
technical terms, this has both an FXS and an FXO interface - the FXS
interface allows a normal telephone to be turned into an IP phone and
the FXO interface provides connectivity to a PSTN line (or of course
another voip adapter which is locked by the provider). These interfaces
can be configured independantly using the onboard web interface where
when you log in as an admin user and switch to advanced mode, there are
hundreds of settings ..." Has instructions for remote control by Asterisk. About $100. It ought to would work with a virtual machine Asterisk
, I suppose. (Spec sheet here
). 3:41:26 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Monday, January 09, 2006
The Looming Attention Crisis
: Nice quote from Herbert Simon: "a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." Even in 1971. 9:04:23 AM
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
AJAX Web Database Project:
A school project using ajax, php, and google maps to excellent effect for a classic database app. Source code supplied. 11:15:37 PM
: Great Ajax example. As you type the words of a sentence, they are automatically translated into the language of your choice. No doubt there are translation issues, but the immediacy is gratifying. 11:09:01 PM
Monday, January 02, 2006
U3 and RoboForm:
RoboForm is software to keep passwords and form-filler info for browsers like IE and Firefox. They have a version that keeps the info on a USB key for portability, and now has a version for the U3 device. 3:24:56 PM
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Business Blogging - Yahoo! Small Business hosts Movable Type
: "get the power of Movable Type for blogging from a web host you trust: Yahoo! Small Business web hosting. All the features you need, with no installation required." $8/mo for 200 GB transfers and 5GB storage, with normal upgrades from there. 11:23:08 PM
Gapminder: An interactive presentation for the "Human Development Report 2005" by UNDP, relating population, income and health across countries and regions over 50 years. Much improved in recent months. In 10 minutes, it conveys a lot about where the world is going. 12:50:27 AM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
How to use yahoo alerts to issue SMS from RSS feeds, for free. 8:24:35 AM
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
AJAX and E4X for Fun and Profit:
Functions to make Ajax easier in Firefox. Published code on
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
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
you have to create a set of interfaces and use the W3C DOM and
frequently some VERY painful treewalking or convoluted XPath calls in
XML as a native
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
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.
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.
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
Monday, December 05, 2005
Why free software:
"you have three types of customers: those that will pay you, those that might pay you, and those that will never pay you. .. There were sufficient folks in the first category for us to get off the ground as a business, and enough in the second to grow the business. How did we do that? By leveraging the third category - the folks who will never pay us. I'll do anything and everything in my power to help the individual developers in my world for absolutely no money, because they give us relevance to the folks that will or might pay us. It really is that simple. Nor do we give everything away .. Like SugarCRM, most of what we do is free and available, but some isn't. To sum up: giving things away can easily grow your revenue opportunities, rather than undermine it." Then again, it ain't easy:
: "Even JBoss has had difficulty converting those who download its software into paying subscribers - BusinessWeek
earlier this year reported just five percent of JBoss users are subscribers." 8:45:32 AM
Thursday, December 01, 2005
How wikis are evolving: Several recent examples of how large numbers of collaborators can contribute and distribute information rapidly:
- Wikinews collected stories from "citizen journalists" during Katrinareporting, linking and photographing from Louisiana and around the world. Among professional journaists, the Online Journalism Review also assembled a wiki to aggregate crucial information after Katrina struck.
- The Katrina Information Map, a public resource for tracking or reporting flood damage. "most people are using the service to inquire about loved ones or report flooding on various streets."
- London bombings information was tracked in real time. Among other things, you can view every revision as it was posted to see how the information was released.
- The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2003 looking for evidence of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It put the 4000 pages of documents on the a Detention Practices Project wiki and asked readers of the community blog Daily Kos to rapidly read and review them.
- Authors Cory Doctorow and Larry Lessig post their latest books online and invite readers to note errata or updates for the next edition. "Assembling pages of errata for my editor was a pain in the ass and very hard to use comprehensibly, especially when I got thoughts from readers in no particular order," Doctorow said. "Wikis let my readers self-organize it."
Friday, November 11, 2005
History's Worst Software Bugs: Cool story of software bugs with bad effects. First, why "bug"? In 1945, "engineers found a moth in Panel F, Relay #70 of the Harvard Mark II system. The computer was running a test of its multiplier and adder when the engineers noticed something was wrong. The moth was trapped, removed and taped into the computer's logbook with the words: "first actual case of a bug being found."
My favorite story was an intentional bug placed by the CIA in 1982. The background refs are worth reading. "Operatives working for the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly (.pdf) plant a bug in a Canadian computer system purchased to control the trans-Siberian gas pipeline. The Soviets had obtained the system as part of a wide-ranging effort to covertly purchase or steal sensitive U.S. technology. The CIA reportedly found out about the program and decided to make it backfire with equipment that would pass Soviet inspection and then fail once in operation. The resulting event is reportedly the largest non-nuclear explosion in the planet's history." 11:19:26 PM
Discover Music - Pandora
: Neat service that generates a radio station by picking music that resemble a single artist or song. Way cool. An outgrowth of the Music Genome Project
: "Over the past 5 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world." [Thanks, Scott
] 10:57:13 PM
Anapod Explorer vs. iTunes
: 3d party iTunes replacement, supporting alternative file formats, file and playlist management systems, PDA functions, and web and streaming access to iPod contents. $20-30. 10:59:12 AM
NearlyFreeSpeech.NET Web Hosting: Hosting with "long tail" pricing. "no contracts and no commitments .. If you'd like to talk to one of our sales reps to get a quote, you're out of luck. We don't have any. We also don't have any commissions, referral payments, or kickbacks. With NearlyFreeSpeech.NET, your money goes straight to the services you actually use"
- Data Transfers (Bandwidth): $1.00 per gigabyte
- Disk Space (Storage): $0.01 per megabyte-month
- DNS at $0.02 per registered domain per day, no matter how active your domain gets.
- Domain registration at $7.45 for a one-year .com and $7.68 for .net or .org.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Desktop Integration Bounty Hunt: Great idea. Corporations (primarily Novell and Google now) announce bounties for open source code that integrates open source desktop software in the Linux environment. "The goal of this contest is to improve the quality and functionality of the Linux desktop. .. Each task listed below has a bounty associated with it. Your job is simple: choose a task, do the work, fill out the claim form, and collect the bounty. " 4:36:16 PM
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
New Worm Plupii Targets Linux Web Service Holes: "The three vulnerabilities it attacks through are the XML-RPC for PHP Remote Code Injection vulnerability; the AWStats Rawlog Plugin Logfile Parameter Input Validation Vulnerability; and the Darryl Burgdorf Webhints Remote Command Execution Vulnerability.
When Plupii is successful in infecting a server, it then sends a notification message to an attacker at a remote IP address via UDP port 7222 or 7111. .. Next, it opens a back door through one or the other of these ports. This enables an attacker to gain unauthorized access to the compromised system. Once in place, Plupii generates a variety of URLs .. in an attempt to find and infect other vulnerable systems.
The worm itself is easy to destroy. One need only delete the file: /tmp/lupii. The more significant problem is what the attacker may have downloaded to the server while it was active. Indeed, Symantec's Deepsight Alert Services recommends that, "Due to the ability of the remote user to perform so many different actions on the server computer, including installation of applications, it is highly recommended that compromised computers be completely reinstalled." " 8:11:15 PM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far
: Detailed detective work showing how Sony's DRM "solution" resembles the worst of malware, embedding and cloaking itself in Windows. There's potential legal liability for Sony in the process. Makes me want to avoid Sony and other proprietary DRM hacks. 10:33:09 PM
Sunday, October 23, 2005
The Year of Rewards: Penestanan 2
: When I travelled in Africa and Asia in the 80s, I shot a lot of slides. I dreamed then of a digital future where my camera would record sound as well as pictures, and where I could annotate the recordings and beam them out to my friends at home in real time. Even in 1983 you could see it would come, eventually. Now, here's a fine example from my friend David Lincoln. Today he's in Bali, taking a walk with villagers in their rice paddies. 11:44:11 PM
Monday, October 17, 2005
Socialtext going open source:
First with UI tools, then the whole product. Also noted: "One year free 5 person wiki at socialtext by mentioning "web20"." 10:30:23 PM
Back to the Future: Introducing Email Subscriptions
: FeedBurner now offers email subscriptions to RSS feeds, so newsletters can be automatically both RSS and email. Bloglet did it before, but it hasn't been updated in a long time. FeedBurner will integrate statistics on usage, among other things. 10:29:20 PM
Monday, October 10, 2005
: "Orbeon PresentationServer (OPS) is an open source J2EE-based platform for XML-centric web applications. OPS is built around XHTML, XForms, XSLT, XML pipelines, and Web Services, which makes it ideal for applications that capture, process and present XML data. Unlike other popular web application frameworks like Struts or WebWork that are based on Java objects and JSP, OPS is based on XML documents and XML technologies. This leads to an architecture better suited for the tasks of capturing, processing, and presenting information in XML format, and often does not require writing any Java code at all to implement your presentation layer." Runs under JBOSS or Apache Tomcat with LGPL license. Several other XForms support software were reviewed in 2003
. Xforms book and tutorial
also online. 10:59:59 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005