Visualizing Google News

Marcos Weskamp announced on his blog yesterday a new application called newsmap, which displays the constantly changing panorama of Google’s News Aggregator (across countries too). [IMHO: This is probably one of the most useful applications in flash I have yet to see.]

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.”

Missing: Silver 2000 Volkswagen Passat

So this morning I’m out walking my dog before I head off to work, chatting with my neighbor about the NCAA games at the Meadowlands the night before when I noticed that my car was missing from our driveway!

WTF!!!! It’s gone! Stolen while we slept during the night!

Called the police, insurance company, etc… Ugh! Frustrating!

However, if you happen to be in vicinity of West Orange, NJ and see a silver 2000 Volkswagen Passat with a black Thule roof rack, let me know, because apparently the driver “borrowed” it sometime early this morning without my consent.

My car was recovered early Saturday morning. It was abandoned after the thieves slammed the right rear end of the car into a curb snapping the rim off the axel. Luckily for them, the car has side-impact air bags, which deployed to cushion their thieving little heads. Oh and to show their appreciation, they punctured holes in the leather seats and roof with a screw driver (Thanks).


Open Source Movies

I just read via Boing Boing that the copyright on the original Night of the Living Dead movie has expired and the entire film is available online for download via! (Brewster Kahle, I’ll say it again, you rock!)

Incidentally, not only does the Internet Archive have a huge collection of Public Domain movies, it also has what appears to be a growing compilation of Open Source movies (and I don’t think they are talking about code)

My SteVo is currently downloading it for me… WAIT! I thought SteVo was an inanimate object… Zombie Server?

Are we seeing the end to commercial TV? Probably not, but it’s nice to dream…

ERP All Over Again

After taking week off to spend with the family I’m getting back into the swing of things and stealing some time to blog.

To motivate myself this morning I read an out of the ordinary article in Info World regarding how ERP implementations are coming back into favor (again).

The topic of the article is of particular interest to me because I’m in midst of an implementation of PeopleSoft 8.4 and seeing many of the themes of this article played out in real-time.

Some excellent quotes:

“You can sit there and turn [the] PeopleSoft [ERP software] upside down and sideways and say, ‘Now, make it do what I asked it to do.’ But then, next upgrade — poof — it takes four years.”

“The only real way to solve the upgrade problem is to crack ERP applications — and their custom modifications — into discrete components that use standards-based interfaces. Upgrade one component or even a group of them and, with luck, you won’t break anything else.”

“The idea that you really need to componentize the functionality, separate the logic from the process from the application, is something that isn’t just good computer science, it’s good business, too,” says Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting. “Without a doubt, that is where the market is going,” he says and adds that this massive overhaul of architecture, although underway, will take years.

“And 41 percent say they’re using Web services to expand the functionality of ERP apps to a greater number of users, which makes sense given our readers’ prediction that more employees will use ERP apps in the next 12 months.”

“Companies now crave a single global accounting function, Shepherd says, with global visibility and common processes. Other business drivers include global cash management, global credit management, a more unified view of customers, and global purchasing leverage in procurement.”

“It’s an implementation that affects every level of the company, every level of the organization,” says Sonnax’s Loewer. “An ERP implementation seems like it’s 75 percent culture and 25 percent technology.”

In that last quote, I might argue that the culture change is more like 85 percent of the effort, but that might simply be my own experience.

Gunning for Google Below the Radar

Stefanie Olsen of CNET pulls together a good overview of the start-ups targeting Google’s dominance.

Some quotes from the article:

“…Google also faces Lilliputian threats from a fast-growing group of start-ups that hope to replicate its own meteoric rise from unknown upstart to Internet powerbroker….

At the top of the list are companies like Quigo and Industry Brains that aim to improve on search engine advertising techniques. A second group, including Mooter, Eurekster and Dipsie, are advancing ways for people to get personalized query results, something that both Google and Yahoo also are hoping to perfect. Others are developing search tools tailored to specific localities as well as visualization features to assist in better targeting search results around specific topics.”

“…some analysts now predict it’s just a matter of time before Google loses its dominance to rivals in at least some areas of the search market.”

WinMyth: MythTV Front End for Windows

I’ve got to try WinMyth on my Laptop. It’s simply a .Net-based Windows front end for MythTV.

And now with spring approaching, we can watch our Stevo outside!

However, I suppose I could simply re-boot with KnoppMyth, but since I run XP as my primary OS on my laptop, I’m hoping it will be simpler with WinMyth.

Note: WinMyth requires the dsMyth, which contains the DirectShow filters that enables playback of MythTV .nuv files on windows. (Also very cool!)

Posted in PVR

Personal Search Synergies

After the excitement of the last week, I’m finally catching up on work and subsequently blogging.

In particular last night I had a few minutes to check out one of the latest Desktop/Personal Search applications.

Specifically, Lookout Soft’s email search add-on for Outlook, which seems like a great tool.

In limited tests I found Lookout’s search accurate and fast (once the initial indexing was completed). In general I think Lookout and similar products such as X1 are immensely useful.

However, in my experiences the indexing functions of these personal search tools always seem to annoy me with larger corpuses — such as my fat 800 MB PST file — even on a relatively fast system.

So I end up uninstalling these tools because they simply get in the way more than they facilitate.

It seems I’m not alone with that opinion as John Battelle mentioned last week:

“Desktop search (ie searching your own hard drive) is one of those things that seems to have gotten worse in the past ten years (why Yahoo, MSFT or Google don’t do it is a mystery, imagine the goodwill…).”

As well what Philipp Lenssen said in reference to John’s post:

“We wonder why Google takes below a single second to find something in billions of pages (and do some clever ranking at the same time), whereas Windows takes anything from minutes to hours – for a small fraction of documents.”

In my opinion, I’d like to see more Personal Search applications borrow from architectures such as P2P, Social Networking and Grid computing.

For example, I imagine a cross between Groove, Eurekster and United Devices.

Specifically, I would take the secure networking and synchronous file updates from Groove and toss out its thick client.

Push indexing, data mining and analytics to a social or peer network via United Devices toolkit and wrap the entire package in a web service-based API that can be easily embedded into productivity applications such as those found in MS Office, Open Office and even Mozilla.

Indeed, I’m glossing over the details, but I’m sure something like this is either already out there or about to be released. Perhaps it’s where MSFT is going with Longhorn. I’m not entirely sure, but I am sure that there are obvious synergies with these technologies that I’ve yet to see completely tapped.

Nathaniel Delett Hatch

The last few days have been an amazing series of sleepless nights filled with dirty diapers and emotional highs that I suppose can best be appreciated as the right of passage for parenting.

On that note, please join Catherine and me in welcoming our son Nathaniel Delett Hatch to the world!

Nathaniel Delett Hatch: Day 2

Nate was born on February 29, 2004 at 9 AM; he weighs 8 pounds 5 ounces and is 22.25 inches long. Yes, indeed, he’s a leap year baby!

Mother and son are doing well. Pinto is very happy with his new pack member.

Update: More pictures here, with a RSS feed of course