2005-10-31

Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes

Jakob Nielsen - Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes:

"Some weblogs are really just private diaries intended only for a handful of family members and close friends. Usability guidelines generally don't apply to such sites, because the readers' prior knowledge and motivation are incomparably greater than those of third-party users. When you want to reach new readers who aren't your mother, however, usability becomes important."

Mon, 31 Oct 2005 10:22:00 +0000
2005-10-27

collectd

"collectd is a small daemon which collects system information every 10 seconds and writes the results in an RRD-file."

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 16:14:00 +0000

Managing metadata

Jon Udell at InfoWorld - Managing metadata:

"Everyone knows the common definition: Metadata is data about data, a secondary thing that's separate in some way from the primary thing to which it refers. But that definition begs a series of questions. Is metadata something we derive from data, or assign to it? Does it classify things, or enable us to search for things, or govern the behavior of things? If data that is described by metadata also, in turn, refers to other data, does it then qualify as both data and metadata?

These questions can verge on the philosophical, but by working through some examples, we can define various types of metadata, list the benefits that we expect from using it, and identify the challenges associated with maintaining it. Programs, documents, messages, files, Web resources, and Web services are some of the IT constructs often described by metadata. Let's review the roles that metadata can play in these different scenarios."

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 14:40:00 +0000

Point. Shoot. Kiss It Good-Bye.

David Weinberger at Wired - Point. Shoot. Kiss It Good-Bye.:

"As you pass the locked entrances to rooms - caverns, actually - that encompass entire patent-application warehouses and film libraries, you feel like you're navigating through the brain of a slumbering giant. And there, in one of its farthest recesses,is where the beast stores the 11 million photographs that constitute the Bettmann Archive, perhaps the best-known collection of photos in the world.

Although the photos are kept in one room, their sheer quantity means that locating any one of them requires an elaborate ritual. Suppose you want to find an image of President Coolidge talking with Native Americans. First, researcher Robinya Roberts looks up "Coolidge" in a central card catalog that looks like it's been transplanted from your local library to the Bat Cave. Yellowed and worn, the 3-by-5 cards contain surprisingly little information: only a caption, a brief description, and a reference number.

[…] This process of manual metadata tagging, subjective and labor-intensive, may work for Corbis, but it's a lot to ask of the rest of us. Even when software developers try to make it easy, it's not easy enough. For instance, Adobe Photoshop Album offers a similar type of drag-and-drop labeling. Right now, you have to enter keywords manually; presumably someday you'll be able to upload the names of people, places, and events from your address book and calendar so at least you can drag and drop familiar names. Still, mere mortals don't have a 60,000-term online taxonomy or twin screens. More to the point, we don't want to hire Nick Fraser to do the job."

Thu, 27 Oct 2005 13:03:00 +0000
2005-10-26

Guru - Multiplexing

Wez Furlong - Guru - Multiplexing:

"People often assume that you need to fork or spawn threads whenever you need to do several things at the same time - and when they realize that PHP doesn't support threading they move on to something less nice, like perl.

The good news is that in the majority of cases you don't need to fork or thread at all, and that you will often get much better performance for not forking/threading in the first place.

[…] You can use stream_select() to wait on (almost!) any kind of stream - you can wait for keyboard input from the terminal by including STDIN in your read array for example, and you can also wait for data from pipes created by the proc_open() function."

Wed, 26 Oct 2005 10:06:00 +0000
2005-10-21

Architecture Astronauts Are Back

Joel Spolsky - Architecture Astronauts Are Back:

"When I wrote my original complaint about architecture astronauts more than four years ago, it was P2P this and messaging that. [...] Now it's tagging and folksonomies and syndication, and we're all supposed to fall in line with the theory that cool new stuff like Google Maps, Wikipedia, and Del.icio.us are somehow bigger than the sum of their parts. The Long Tail! Attention Economy! Creative Commons! Peer production! Web 2.0!"

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 20:13:00 +0000

Making a routine of citizen journalism

Jon Udell at InfoWorld.com - Making a routine of citizen journalism:

"Google Maps and its brethren are frameworks we can use to correlate online data and services with locations in the physical world. GPS, phone, and data networks can supply the locations. We just need to work out a few kinks. Cameras need to know their locations and encode them in the images they write. [...]

Eventually, the gathering of basic documentary evidence won't be, in and of itself, a special act of citizen journalism. It will just be routine. With lots of eyes and ears on the ground, and a network to connect them, everyone - first responders, journalists, and citizens alike - will cope better with crises."

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 20:03:00 +0000
2005-10-20

VMware Player and Virtual Machine Center

"VMware Player is free software that enables PC users to easily run any virtual machine on a Windows or Linux PC. VMware Player runs virtual machines created by VMware Workstation, GSX Server or ESX Server."

"VMTN's collection of pre-built virtual machines from industry-leading ISV and open source partners simplifies software packaging, distribution, and deployment. Instead of spending time installing and configuring applications, developers and QA teams can now focus their efforts on development and testing.

To download any pre-built virtual machines below, you will need to register and download from each partner's site. Then to run these virtual machines with the application software pre-installed and configured, simply download and install the free VMware Player."

Thu, 20 Oct 2005 21:08:00 +0000
2005-10-14

The importance of interaction data

Jon Udell at InfoWorld - The importance of interaction data:

"Rather than consulting a dictionary to propose alternatives to misspelled words, Google instead mines its own database for patterns of use. If statistics show that a query for "Boswerth" is likely to be followed by a query for "Bosworth," the search engine will make that connection for you.

Discussions of software as a service tend to focus on its obvious benefits: zero-footprint deployment and seamless incremental upgrades. Less noticed, but equally valuable, is the constant flow of interaction data. The back-and-forth chatter between an application and its host environment can be a drag when connectivity is marginal and it precludes offline use. But when this communication flows freely, it paints a moving picture that shows how individuals and groups are using the software. As they watch that movie, developers become intimate observers of their users. They can't help but think of ways to optimize the patterns they discover, and, as a result, the software improves gradually and continuously."

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 15:06:00 +0000
2005-10-11

Core Data as a Cheap Database

Mac Geekery - Core Data as a Cheap Database:

"Core Data is easy enough non-programmers can handle a basic database with it. No, really, it is. Let's go through a simple no-code project to log phone calls."

Tue, 11 Oct 2005 08:48:00 +0000
2005-10-06

The Zing in Zimbra

Nathan Torkington - The Zing in Zimbra:

"The server platform is the Microsoft Exchange killer we've all wanted. There's an ocean of people who want the Exchange feature set without the Exchange nightmares: administration, performance, and security. The folks at Zimbra have released it as open source, not just the Ajax client and the toolkit used to build it, but the server as well.

Nathan Torkington - The Zing in Zimbra:

"The server platform is the Microsoft Exchange killer we've all wanted. There's an ocean of people who want the Exchange feature set without the Exchange nightmares: administration, performance, and security. The folks at Zimbra have released it as open source, not just the Ajax client and the toolkit used to build it, but the server as well. [...] The Zimbra server ties together Postfix, MySQL, OpenLDAP, Tomcat, and more, building an integrated platform out of what used to be a patchy chaotic mix of protocols, libraries, and file formats."

The Zimbra server ties together Postfix, MySQL, OpenLDAP, Tomcat, and more, building an integrated platform out of what used to be a patchy chaotic mix of protocols, libraries, and file formats."

Thu, 06 Oct 2005 11:28:00 +0000

OpenLogos

"The LOGOS Machine translation system is one of the largest and most powerful among the commercial machine translation systems. [...] The open source version of LOGOS will be available under the name OpenLogos. [...] It is planned to release the OpenLogos code base after final approval by the LOGOS owners, GlobalWare AG, by midst of October through their download page at http://www.logos-mt.com."

Thu, 06 Oct 2005 11:20:00 +0000
2005-10-03

SPARQL: Web 2.0 Meet the Semantic Web

Kendall Clark - SPARQL: Web 2.0 Meet the Semantic Web:

"RDF is pretty foundational to the Semantic Web, and it's got a data model, a formal semantics, and a concrete serialization (in XML). What it didn't have till lately was a standard query language. Imagine relational algebra and RDBMSes without SQL. Pretty hard to imagine. So the SemWeb needed a SQL. It stood up the Data Access Working Group, which has been working for about 20 months and has come up with SPARQL - an RDF query language and protocol."

Mon, 03 Oct 2005 22:13:00 +0000