Day: December 18, 2002

  • *Lookup

    Jon Udell brings up some interesting issues with his latest LibraryLookup notes.  There are definately problems with using ISBNs to search.  You can read Jon’s post for details, but a single title can have multiple ISBNs (hardcover, paperback, editions, etc).  Here is one specific problem that Jon notes:

    Another is that, book titles being non-unique, there is no universal identifier for the genus. I wonder if there’s a need for a Web service to solve this. Given an ISBN (for, say, a mass market paperback), it would map from species to genus, collect all species in the genus, and return a lists of ISBNS (paperback, hardcover, audiocassette, etc.)

    I have a feeling that implementing a service like this wouldn’t be too hard to implement using Amazon’s or Google’s web service APIs (or by Amazon themselves) and then send that back a list of ISBNs (via XML-RPC, SOAP, REST, etc) so that your javascript bookmarklet can look them up in turn.  This solution does have a problem, though.  If implemented on a single box somewhere, you’ve got a single point of failure.  It doesn’t just work, it’s not decentralized.  In order for this to work properly, you might have to employ some Javascript web services calls and employ some of localhost web services.

    I get a little fuzzy on details at this point, mostly because I don’t have a whole lot of experience in Javascript, but I’m sure that a javascript client could take advantage of Amazon’s XML over HTTP, or you could use a Javascript SOAP implementation.  Once you’ve got that going, a few calls to Amazon to get a list of ISBNs and you can proceed on your way.  Of course you could always make your calls, parse some data, and create a result page on the fly containing amazon and barnes and noble results, info and status from your local libraries, and related information from Google.

    Think of it as a on-the-fly search result dashboard.  Now extend that to include more than just books.  I’ll try to implement this when I get a chance, but I know there’s someone out there that could whip this up in 10 minutes, so feel free to do so if you get bored.

    In conclusion, it’d be nice if Amazon implemented a web service like Jon spoke about, but they don’t neccesarily have to.  We might be able to do pretty well on our own (with the help of their web services, of course).

  • Arch Linux 0.4 (Dragon)

    Arch Linux, an i686-optimized Linux distro, released version 0.4 (Dragon) today.  Coverage comes from Judd Vinet’s Advogato diary, PCLinuxOnlone, and Freshmeat.  Arch Linux 0.4 is built using GCC3.2 with other tweaks and bugfixes.

  • Really Simple Discovery, 1.0

    Dave and Brent cover RSD 1.0.  From Dave’s post:

    For users this means word processor-like editors to write for your weblog.

    I’ll drink to that.

  • Creative Commons RSS 2.0 Module

    Dave Winer:

    The creativeCommons RSS 2.0 module is now deployable. Thanks to everyone who commented, most of them were incorporated into the spec. At this point you may use the module in RSS feeds, and thanks to the magic of namespaces, as an extra bonus, you may also include them in other XML formats that are not RSS 2.0.

  • Java Rendezvous

    Pelle Braendgaard:

    I always liked the way Apple Rendezvous or Zeroconf was written by combining existing internet standards like DNS and DHCP in different ways. Now we as Java developers can join in the fun as well. Strangeberry a cryptic (dare I say Stealth) startup in Palo Alto have released a LGPL’d library for publishing and listening for Rendezvous services. This is super cool I think. The library itself is nice and lean. What this means is that anyone with a SOAP, XML-RPC or even just plain vanilla HTML service can publish it easy for use on very local networks.

    Pelle also goes into some code snippets.  It’d be nice if everything figured out how to work with everything else, wouldn’t it?

  • New Web Services Security Specifications

    Werner Vogels notes that six new web services security specs have just been published:WS-Security

    You can find them at MSDN and IBM.

    Clemens Vasters and Chris Sells are also on top of it.

  • JavaWorld Article on J2ME Design Patterns


    Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) is widely used for developing interactive applications on mobile devices. However, programming in MIDP can be frustrating because it provides very limited support for interactive content. As a result, some typical user interfaces are difficult to implement in mobile devices. In this article, Ben Hui describes four design patterns, Cascading Menu, Wizard Dialog, Pagination, and Slide Show, which make interactive content creation easier. These design patterns are simple to understand and apply to your projects.

    Your design pattern will vary depending on the project, of course, but I particularly like the Wizard/Dialog pattern for a data input/output oriented application.

  • JSch: Java Secure Channel 0.0.9 Released

    From the JSch page:

    JSch allows you to connect to an sshd server and use port forwarding, X11 forwarding, file transfer, etc., and you can integrate its functionality into your own Java programs. JSch is licensed under GNU LGPL.

    JSch 0.0.9 was released.  The freshmeat page says that this version added support for SSH2 through a SOCKS 5 proxy.  Just a heads up for anyone looking to incorporate SSH tunneling into their projects.  Requirements are JDK1.4+.  Excellent project!

  • IBM’s 16-Chip Server


    IBM has begun shipping 16-processor x440 servers, its highest-end mainstream machines using Intel chips, the company plans to announce Wednesday.

    The system consists of two eight-processor, rack-mounted systems that are 7 inches tall and connected with high-speed cables. It’s the current flag-bearer for IBM’s sustained effort to build ever more powerful Intel servers. The system uses the first version of Intel’s Xeon MP processor, code-named Foster MP.

    An x440 with 16 processors and 8GB of memory costs $81,000, said Deep Advani, vice president of IBM’s xSeries servers.

  • AmazonLookup Bookmarklet, Now With Bonus BNLookup!

    Access an amazon detail page from your local library’s website, or any website with an ISBN in the url.

    A quick URL replacement in Jon Udell’s LibraryLookup program allows you to go an amazon detail page from any url with a single ISBN number in it.  This was a request by one of Jenny (the shifted librarian)’s friends.  So anyway, here it is:


    AmazonLookup (Redirect)

    The usual: drag it to your ‘Links’ bar on internet explorer, go to a URL with an ISBN in it (a library page for example), click AmazonLookup, and you’re there.  I wondered how fun it would be to transport yourself from Amazon’s page about a book to Barnes and Noble’s page about the same book.  A little more URL tweaking, and we have:


    BNLookup (Redirect)

    Feel free to pop by your local library’s website, pop over to Amazon, to Barnes and Noble, back to your local library, and so on.

    Update: It should now open full screen in a new window with toolbars and all that good stuff.  I have tested it with IE6, Phoenix 0.5, and Mozilla under windows.  Let me know if you have any problems.  I have licensed AmazonLookup and BNLookup under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.  The original work (and all of the heavy lifting) was done by Jon Udell.  These two scripts are merely a quick hack on Jon’s awesome idea.  See Jon’s recent post for details.  Redirect version added at Dan Gillmor’s request.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

  • RTP Roadtip

    Looks like I might have a roadtrip to the Research Triangle Park area in my near future.  Mapquest posts the time to beat at 4 hours, 51 minutes.  I won’t compare Mapquest vs. actual time for DC->Atlantic City or DC->New York City trips just in case a law enforcement officer happens to be reading this.  🙂

  • Managed Pointers

    Thomas Restrepo asks the question:

     What would managed pointers pointing to unmanaged memory be useful for?

    I believe the answer is 42.

  • Java Memory Profiler, Written in C

    JMP, a Java Memory Profiler, is written in C:

    JMP is a profiler for java that can be used to trace objects usage and method timings. JMP uses the JVMPI interface to gather statistics and interact with the JVM. JMP uses a GTK+ interface to show the status.

    Does that hurt your head too, or just mine?

  • Uncle Bill’s Helicopter

    Michael Taht:

    The light turned from red to green. And from green to red. And from red to green. And from green to red. I thought about how many lives that little traffic light had saved, of the engineer who made it work that good, and of the people that had worked so hard to keep it working… the light turned from red to green, and I said thanks, and drove on.

    And if you’ve heard from Josh Taht lately, read this.