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Many Eyes January 28, 2007

Posted by shahan in visualization.
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Posting a quick link to Many Eyes presenting a very interesting and well done online resource of user contributed data visualizations.


VisTopK Updated January 14, 2007

Posted by shahan in eclipse, eclipse plugin, GEF.
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I did some more reading into GEF and have advanced considerably. I’ve added bookmarking of timeframes and these are saved with the search terms to the currently edited VisTopK file. I also added mousewheel zooming for when the document graph scrolls off the screen. The bookmarks are marked off with a purple border similar to the screenshot in my previous post but without the t# text. Maybe it should be there?

Next steps are: index selection (local/network), specifying xpath expressions, specifying field to search

Self-interview: What do I like most about web working? January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in random.
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Having been a contract web programmer during and outside of my time as a student, I’ve provided a brief self interview to answer the questions from the hip Web Worker Daily blog including downsides as well. I’ve considered these questions in the light of contract work as opposed to web workers within a corporate environment. Hopefully, this will be helpful for those considering entering the industry or reassuring for those already enrolled in online web design courses and programs.

What do you like most about being a web worker?

The original article.

Is it the freedom to work when you want to work?

Pro: This is the best feature in my opinion. I am a night owl and have no problems working the 9pm to 5am shift. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how night-shift workers have poorer health regimes and such but I believe I’ve done well against this through my regular squash games, biking and workout regimen. The ability to take breaks as desired and figure out my own schedule

Con: Lack of a regular schedule can encourage laziness, extended vacations, and easy distraction.

The possibilities to work from anywhere?

Pro: At Work, school, home, or friend’s house, emergencies, updates, or quick fixes are easily taken care of. Since most of the work I did was not processor or bandwidth intensive, I was not hindered by the tech environment. It was cool to work in between classes to take care of the little things.

Con: Something that is difficult to do is controlling the environment which allows you to be most creative. As described in Scott Berkun’s Art of Project Management, it’s essential to notice the things that encourage and fit these moments into the lifestyle because creative work is not sudden, it takes effort.

The culture?

Pro: The culture is definitely much more different than in a corporate environment. It is more liberal and expressive while at the same time quicker feedback is obtained on ideas which can then influence the project. I’ve often felt that the people are interesting because it’s not simply a day job, and since they also have the freedom of different schedules, their personal activities are more diverse.

Con: Because it’s not a day job, if performance is not up to par it will be noticed. Diverse schedules also means that you may not be in constant interaction with people who influence you in a positive way. It takes a lot of strong will power to continue on your own path and not be misguided by the frivolities life throws in the way.

Doing things effectively and your way?

Pro: While politics still exists and is essential to attain goals, you know that you are working with others who have an independent mindset and it’s not simply your word against theirs, everyone is working towards the success of the end result and if someone falters along the way, it will be recognized. Recognition of talent and skill is more appreciated with the rewards of positive encouragement.

Con: There are lots of people smarter than I and sometimes it’s good to be told, even if the remarks are negative on an internally inspired brilliant idea. These learning experiences are essential to what make things more effective through time.

Working in your own space?

Pro: Can make myself as comfortable as I want, put music on, wear those big fluffy bunny slippers (with nothing else on).

Con: My bed is right next to my table and the kitchen not far off. It may seem sometimes like the family should just disappear.

To summarize, web working as a contract worker takes a lot of will power, self-motivation, and strong internal direction. Meeting others of this same kind is encouraging to be good, stay up-to-date, and keep yourself interesting enough for the next project.

I do have some feedback for the article referenced though, it mentions that 2007 is the year of the web worker, I completely disagree as I considered myself a web worker when I started. The term ‘agile worker’ has been around for a while such as in this article. Aside from the common understanding of the overvalued tech companies that contributed to the bust, I believe that the understanding of the lack of requirement for localization of tech knowledge and the current trend to contract out technical functions contributes to the ever increasing wave of web workers.

VisTopK Screenshot Available January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in eclipse, eclipse plugin, GEF, information retrieval, visualization.
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Although there was a large break in between VisTopK-related posts, the project is now complete. A labelled screenshot is provided for your benefit. The report will be uploaded soon as well. I’m very happy with the result and am excited by the possibilities offered by the plug-in as it allows integration of many other projects, existing and new.

Screenshot of VisTopK


I’ve created a screencast of VisTopK in action using the great application Wink, originally referenced from Greg’s blog entry, but WordPress doesn’t allow Flash (SWF) uploads. Anyone have any ideas on how/where I can post it? I tried converting it to an AVI to maybe post it to YouTube but the size of 1GB stopped that attempt cold.

Rogers Motorola Razr does not support Yahoo! Go January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in random.
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Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive Making life on the go easier with Yahoo! Go 2.0 «

Rogers Motorola Razr phones are not supported by Yahoo! Go even though their webpage mentions it does. I even tried by entering my phone number then navigating to the SMS-ed link. I really wanted to give their claim of efficient search results a shot. Here’s their relevant excerpt:

Mobile search redefined

Finally, mobile search that really works! Introducing Yahoo! oneSearch, an amazingly better search experience that redefines search for the phone. It’s designed to give you instant answers—exactly what you need when you’re on the go. Yahoo! oneSearch understands the type of search you’re doing and optimizes the results accordingly—so you get the answers you need instantly with just one click, right there on the page. oneSearch includes more actual content in your initial results than any other search—all grouped by subject matter and relevance, so there’s no sea of links to wade through like with a PC search. It’s easy to read, scroll through, or drill down further if you want more details.

Moreover, oneSearch improves results based on both where you are in the application and where you are in the real world. For instance, launching a search for “eagles” in Sports will return results for the professional football team first. Similarly, searching for a movie will yield showtimes in your local area.

Even using oneSearch is a snap. There’s no need to navigate to a search box or even specify a category. Just start typing anywhere in Yahoo! Go. oneSearch even remembers your previous searches to speed things up.

I understand the need for marketing, but how exact can something be? I’ve run searches for restaurants against a variety of search engines on my phone and generally the results are not bad, returned results were accurate for the location provided. Unfortunately the information is not well linked with the phone meaning that when examining a search result, I could not ask the phone to dial out nor could I text myself the information to save it. I’ve looked at the API for the Razr V3 and it lacks bluetooth connectivity for apps due to the missing bluetooth JSR (JSR 82), referenced from Motorola’s Razr V3 Development Page. This means that 3rd party apps would have to pass information through the internet (GPRS) in order to pass information to another device with both positive and negative consequences.

Simple and easy: management of blogs January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in random.
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The following are some personal notes I have regarding how to blog:

write things down

simple does not mean easy

Decline of the English Murder by George Orwell (very short and informative if you look at it the right way)

planning and vision and blogs

focusing questions – narrow scope of discussion and amplify attention to certain aspects

WordPress and Google Indexing January 11, 2007

Posted by shahan in search engines.
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I moved this blog from livejournal to WordPress around mid-November mainly due to the additional features offered such as number of viewers, trackbacks, the nicer interface, and Livejournal’s seemingly wierd-acting RSS. This was under the assumption that my readership will grow from zero, but this is only temporary which I can attribute to the lack of trackback functionality. As an experiment I did a quick search today to see whether this blog had yet made it into the Google indexes but surprisingly it had not. This is unlike Livejournal’s where my blog had been indexed by several automated feed collectors and Google had then indexed me indirectly through them. No assumptions as to why it’s like this.