Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Web site graphs as art

April 3, 2010

Here is a fascinating application by Marcel Salathe that shows a web site as a very interesting graph. The graph to the left is the generated art for

What do the colors mean?

blue is for links;
red for tables;
green for the DIV tag;
violet for images;
yellow for forms;
orange for line breaks and blockquotes;
blackfor the HTML tag, the root node; and
gray for all other tags.

PDFpen is worth every penny

March 22, 2010

Every now and then you want to add your signature to a PDF file. This simple job is not possible in the current version of the Mac Preview application. The simplest way for doing this that I’ve found is the PDFpen application ($49). This application is affordable and works really well. Kudos to the PDFpen team.

How to run a business in the 21st century

March 15, 2010

REWORKI rarely read a technical/biz book in its entirety. REWORK is an exception. I read it when I was trapped in an airplane for 8 hours traveling from San Jose to Orlando. Remarkable book, definitely worth reading. Lots of good advice and kind of justifies the seat-of-the-pants style of decision making. The book is well written, brief and witty. It is 273 pages, but the font is big with double line spacing, so it is about 100 pages with normal font and spacing. Brevity is what makes this book great. A required reading for anyone that joins Aquacue.

I enjoyed the chapter “Sell your by-products”, how true. At Aquacue, our data visualization services for the Barnacle morphed into its own product that works really well with Utility monthly billing data or customer’s own data. I never thought of it as a by-product, but that is exactly what it is.

SMS to e-mail?

May 21, 2009

I knew that you were able to send e-mail and get it as SMS, but I was not aware the reverse also existed. On AT&T you can send an e-mail via SMS by sending a message that starts with e-mail address followed by a space and then the text of the message to the magic number “+121”. I wonder what other magic numbers there are out there?

OpenDNS is Brilliant

April 13, 2009

The last time I looked at network filters was a few years ago. They were all a pain to setup, manage, and use. After trying a number different solutions I gave up. Today I read an article on San Jose Mercury News about OpenDNS and I decided to try it. Well it exceeded all of expectations and more. This is a brilliant solution. Perfect for home use, where you want to protect your home network from inappropriate adult content, e.g.. Kudos to the OpenDNS team for making this service so easy to use and so effective.

Physical Prototypes

September 24, 2008

So you’ve been writing software for ever but never build a system that interfaces with a physical world. Well here comes Processing and Arduino. I’ve not been this excited about building a prototype since … well a long time ago. The book that sparked my imagination is O’Reilly’s Making Things Talk. Well it all seems pretty easy. Order a pre-built microcontroller such as Arduino USB Board from Sparkfun, connect its input to a sensor, its output to the physical object that you wish to control, program what you want in Java (using Arduino based on Processing IDE right from your MAC laptop), dust off your soldering iron and voila you got yourself a real prototype. I cant wait to receive my Arduino board.

Basic terms of superscale distributed systems

October 27, 2007

Databases are so yesterday, Availability vs. Consistency, the CAP theorem, failure is the norm, and network partitions these are just a few terms associated with Internet scale and modern distributed systems. In this world, Paxos is a critical algorithm for implementing a fault-tolerant distributed system and is not the famous Island in Greece, and the Clash of Cultures refers to distributed systems based on ACID semantics vs. modern Internet systems that focus on BASE.

Gone are the days where distributed objects (CORBA, e.g.) were synonymous with distributed systems. Now days for a vast array of applications, performance and availability is what counts and ACID reliability is only considered a requirement for areas where direct currency is involved, e.g., ATMs or checkout phase from an e-store.

I’ve started getting interested in this area and this is the first of a series of notes on modern distributed systems. This first note is simply a collection of the important terms in this space.

ACID: Atomic, Consistent, Isolated, Durable.

BASE: Basically Available, Soft-state (or scalable), Eventually consistent.

CAP Theorem: Consistency, Availability and network Partition tolerance (Prof. Eric Brewer, UC Berkeley). In a distributed, system, you can have only two of the three properties of CAP.

Proximic – a better search engine

October 6, 2007

A German search company called Proximic has introduced a contextual based search engine (as opposed to keyword based) that promises to find more relevance in search results. I’ve downloaded their Firefox extension which displays related pages as you browse the web. The related pages it displays appear to be quite good. But I need to use it for a while longer to see if they are useful. There was also an article (and here is one more) about this company on today’s paper. Here is the Scoble Show interview with the Proximic founders.

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Logitech Harmony Remote and Apple TV

September 22, 2007

Apple TVLogitech Harmony software does not have an entry in its supported set of devices for Apple TV. But I managed to get it to work. There may be multiple ways of doing this. But this is how I got it to work: first add a Digital Music Server as a Device, and then add an Activity that informs the remote that you’ll be using your TV to control the sound. I’ve created a screencast of the steps.

Note: make sure that you’ve not paired your Apple TV with the Apple TV remote. If you do, then Apple TV will only respond to the remote that it was paired with.


Bike from Los Gatos to San Jose

September 12, 2007

Los Gatos to San JoseThis morning my neighbor Tom & I bicycled to work (my first time). I had purchased a GPS device in the anticipation of this bike ride and today was the day to put this GPS track recorder to good use. I used GPSBabel to download the data to my computer and then with a small Ruby program I converted the data to a Google map. I need to update this program to also display the distance traveled and other useful bits of information that is in the GPX file — one of these days.