11 May 2004

stop scaring me, basil

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cambridgeshire/3701977.stm|Four attacked by knifeman cyclist (in Cambridge)]

hrmm ... i wish Basil didn't tell me this.

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10 May 2004

pyhack and musictagger released, pyid3v2 (pytagger) updated

i've just put up two pieces of code that i've been working on recently. one of them is [http://www-lce.eng.cam.ac.uk/~acnt2/code/#pyhack|pyhack]. it is a really cool module that i wrote for a lab screen saver on a plasma screen which uses my [http://www-lce.eng.cam.ac.uk/~acnt2/spyrit/|spyrit]. i should really put up a screenshot, but i don't know how easy that is with linux opengl.

the other piece is my first macosx app that does some simple id3 editing. this is MusicTagger, which is a pure python program using pyobj and interface builder. its so sweet to use python to write totally native OSX apps. next step is to try and write python programs on win32 *shiver*.

musictagger screenshot

other thing is that i've decided to rename pyid3v2 to [http://www-lce.eng.cam.ac.uk/~acnt2/code/pytagger/|pytagger] to avoid conflicting with the other pyid3 project that doesn't have a webpage. plus that i've made so many changes that it really deserves a new name.

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09 May 2004

l33t tshirt folding skillz

l33t tshirt folding skillz
check out the tshirt folding trick that could save you hours. thank god there isn't a patent on this. MUST SEE!!

[update: people who are deep linking this will be referred to google video]

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09 May 2004

safaristand screenshot

safaristand screenshot
screenshot of safaristand in action

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09 May 2004

searching safari bookmarks

one problem i always had with safari is that you can't search your bookmarks. although the problem isn't just related to safari, alot of other browsers lack this functionality, or implement it poorly. however, i expected more from apple seeing that they have search boxes everywhere!

but i've just come across [http://hetima.com/safari/stand.html|SafariStand] via [http://www.macinblog.com/2003/10/search_your_saf.html|MacInBlog]. It basically is a detached drawer (i wish it was a proper drawer on safari (oh well..) but it adds all sorts of neat features like syntax highlight for viewing source, searching your history and bookmarks using the simple apple style searching, very neat!

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09 May 2004

social networks networks

also another idea i have is how we visualise social networks. as i talked about before, i'm always interested in how we represent data in social networks. WARNING: incomprehensible random brainstorming session below!

it just occured to me that knowing how strongly you are connected to a person would be much more useful than the path you are connected to the person. because most of the people you are interested in being connected with are usually your immediate inner circle. so you want to know how you are connected.

one can imagine an implementation (barring all privacy and attacker issues) where every user has a list of all the networks it is a part of. for instance, i'm a part of many networks, icq, aim(ichat), msn, yahoo, liquidx.net, cam.ac.uk, unsw.edu.au, etc. think of this as the orkut type communities.

now if we use a dotted hierarchical notation, we can represent them as icq.aol.com, aim.aol.com, msn.microsoft.com, yim.yahoo.com, www.liquidx.net, www-lce.eng.cam.ac.uk, www.cse.unsw.edu.au, thedailyshow.comedycentral.com, ssh.recoil.org, itunes.apple.com, macosx.apple.com, gentoo.linux.org, python.org, etc.

so having a list of membership to networks means that now i can say i'm connected to my friends via 4, 5 or 6 networks. the more networks they are connected to me, the better they are friends with me. naively, that is what we think, but on a deeper level, this is only useful if it has any resemblence to real life. in fact, most of my friends are only connected to me online via instant messenging, but there are alot more connections outside of the online world, for instance we may share the same month for birthdays, we like cars, been to a holiday together. all those are not easily represented as a network because they are very transient. and no one has the amount of time to enter all these relevent details, and no way would that be complete.

so the difficult question is not how we represent networks, but how we create these networks in the first place. how do we document these tiny and transient networks?

maybe one thing i'm thinking of is to make a social networking site/service that just does this. doesn't need you to create a profile for yourself trying to list all the things you know and do, but just to list the events that make you close to people. so an example of this would be to come back home after dinner, and then record into this site, who you've just had dinner with, all the people there. in some sense, you are now creating a record of this network, and if you do this regularly, you can track all the people in your network without relying on them. people can collerate your network with theirs and find connection points.

it would nearly be a diary generation method, record all the people you interact with on a daily basis. document the people you see at work every day. this would be how something like a location system or automatic diary generation system would fit in and be useful.

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09 May 2004

crypto on handheld devices

ok, so there's a problem with doing pub/priv key encryption on mobile devices because the CPUs are slow. so most devices now have network capabilities, like bluetooth, GPRS, wifi, etc. so why don't we create what i will term as "crypto daemons". basically, a handheld, when it wants to encrypt or decrypt a packet, it establishes a secure link with a crypto daemon (using some sort of stored or generated link key), then forwards the key and the data to be encrypted/decrypted (encyrpted with the link key), and the server sends it back.

now this means you have implicit trust of the server, so the ideal place for such a server would be on your desktop computer or laptop. a commercial entity like a mobile network provider can also provide that functionality. you could also think of ways to encrypt/scramble the data so it can be somehow obfuscated.

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09 May 2004

most popular names in US

Hot on the heels of the release of the top UK baby names, the US has released their top US baby names. there are even tables of the top 1000 baby names for each decade. it looks like Alastair isn't very popular in the US, its not even in the top 1000 for 1980s.

so what are the top baby names in US and UK?

For UK boys 2003:
1. Jack
2. Joshua
3. Thomas
4. James
5. Daniel

For US boys 2003:
1. Jacob
2. Michael
3. Joshua
4. Matthew
5. Michael

For UK Girls in 2003:
1. Emily
2. Ellie
3. Chloe
4. Jessica
5. Sophie

For US Girls in 2003:
1. Emily
2. Emma
3. Madison
4. Hannah
5. Olivia

so not much in common in the top 5 except for Emily and Joshua. do you reckon that Emma is up there in 2nd place in the US because of Rachel in Friends naming her daughter Emma? hahaha.

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09 May 2004

drupal, metaweblogapi and moblogs

i've just been playing around with trying to get some sort of moblog like module for drupal. so i've been looking what others have been doing, so i can reduce my work.

so there's the [http://drupal.org/node/view/4878|really cool patch] that does [MetaWebLogAPI] style file uploads, and therefore I can use [Ecto] to upload images directly to my [http://www.liquidx.net/files|file dump]. there's also another module called [http://drupal.org/node/view/5737|flexinode], i'm not sure how useful it is, but its quite complicated. the [http://drupal.org/doxygen/drupal-4.4/fileupload_8module-example.html|file api] in drupal is actually pretty neat, the file upload api is pretty seamless as well.

basically, my requirement is that i want to write a simple on linux and osx (eg. in [Python]) that i can just drag a photo on to the icon (or command line interface) and then it'll popup with something for me to enter a comment (possibly username/password) and then it uploads it as a moblog node on my [Drupal] blog. now, of course, i could do it over [GPRS], but its damn expensive, and it also means i have to write a [Symbian] app for my phone to directly speak XML-RPC.

finally, i'm looking for some webdav hosting as well, figured that if i'm going to pay for a bunch of money for hosting, might as well do everything from IMAP, WebDav, Multi-Domains, heaps of storage, SSH, etc .. i think i've found one, see my [WebHosting] wiki page.

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08 May 2004

on social networking apps

this is a great piece on why certain social networking apps are popular. so it lists some traits in IM clients where people have reputation , have persistant identifies, share!

it also links to this blog post and comments where huge amounts of people have discussions about what makes good social software (apparently also called SoSoWa)

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