When you have a number of things on the go at once, your blog and your RSS feed-reader are inevitably the first things to suffer. You have no time for writing any posts of substance, whilst you are all too aware of the potential for whiling away the day if you dive too deep into the blogosphere, as such you are wary of starting either. However, after finally finishing a book review that has been hanging over my head for weeks at 2.30am, I approach my feeds with pleasure this morning. Not only would I have the time to give more than a passing glance to the stories that piqued my interest, but I would have time to write about them if I so wished. Unfortunately it seems that the blogosphere has gone on holiday.
Despite not having the opportunity to check my feeds since Friday morning (a weekend to the mere mortal is a lifetime to a blogger), I found that it was filled with a rather measly 170 posts, barely half a glance’s worth. This lack of new information was then couple with my so-called open desktop (as open as the average bank vault) refusing to allow me to install Google’s Lively Virtual World, something I have wanted to have a look at for a couple of weeks.
So all in all it has been a rather disappointing start to the week. Could the blogosphere please let me know in future when it decides to go on holiday.
I love the Wii and its wireless peripherals, but I hate having to make sure I have a constant supply of charged batteries. However a story over Engadget about a power-generating dance floor, got me thinking. Couldn’t they create a power-generating wii board? Or a shake generated remote?
I appreciate that one person stepping on and off a Wii board wouldn’t provide much power, but how much power does a Wii Fit board need? Whilst the Green Wii Remote could be a scaled down affair that doesn’t include sound or vibrating. Would these be possible with current technology??
This morning I discovered that another person had clicked on one of my GoogleAds, earning me 73 cents and taking me within spitting distance of the $10 mark (where Google ask for my banks details). Whilst GoogleAds don’t make me a fortune, it is always interesting to see the ads that Google ‘thinks’ most appropriate for my site. A glance today finds that I strangely have an ad for hotels in Leamington Spa on the homepage! There was once a Leamington Spa post on the front-page of the blog, but it has long since descended into the archives, and any visitors would find Leamington Spa hotels wholly inappropriate (except whilst this post is visible). Anyway, whilst clicking around on the AdSense site I decided that it would be interesting to see what videos ads the AdSense Player algorithms would deem appropriate for my site.
Without entering any keywords, and accepting videos from all categories:
Whilst I first noted Qik a few months ago, I haven’t used it for anything useful. However, today we have a speaker from Finland (Kim Holmberg) talking on Library 2.0, and he has agreed to be streamed live (with the video continuing to be available afterwards).
It should all kick off at 1pm BST (about 25mins after this post), so if you are seeing a video of my shoes it hasn’t started yet.
Way back in April I wrote that the answer to Bill Thompson’s “Who will write tomorrow’s code?” may be found amongst the Eee PC generation of users. However, after having my programming interest piqued once again by last week’s Python workshop, I discovered I had regularly been carrying another device around that could have Python easily installed: my N95. Whereas the Eee PC takes programming out of the bedroom into the community, programming on the mobile phone takes portability and sharing to a whole new level. Even more importantly, mobile phone programming would instantly grab the attention of the younger generation. Mobile phones are filled with their music, their videos, and their friends. Enabling users to create applications that use the data they already have (and more that they can download) can’t help but be popular.
Python is easy to install directly onto the mobile phone (nb. you need to install the PythonScriptShell as well as PythonForS60), and by installing simple text software (such as Light Notepad) you can program directly on the mobile (albeit rather clunkily) rather than having to send it across from a PC.
Whilst Python for the S60 has now been available for a couple of years, you get the distinct impression that it is only really popular amongst those people who would be programming anyway. Surely its time that it went mainstream and introduced more people to programming. The solution to the perceived programmer shortage would seem to be in people’s pockets.
Python is a really simple programming language for the novice programmer. As such I held an afternoon’s “workshop” for a couple of PhD students in my front room: The aim of the workshop was to provide sufficient information about programming in Python so that at the end of the afternoon the user could: -Install Python libraries -Download information through various APIs -Manipulate the downloaded information. As it was necessary to create an extensive slide show, covering everything from installing Python to getting data from the Yahoo API, I thought it may potentially be of interest to other novice users who don’t know where to start.
It doesn’t necessarily include the quickest or most efficient way of doing things, but it is simple and does the job.
If you have any questions about specific points, feel free to ask…the questions can’t be more stupid than the questions the PhD students asked…and some of the slides could probably benefit from further explanation.
Whilst there have been numerous different papers that have compared the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar, until recently I have had to trust in others’ opinions as I have not had access. In the last month, however, I have gained access to Scopus through starting an Open University course. Non-scientific early impression: Scopus is far better.
Scopus strikes me as much faster and more user-friendly than Web of Science, and the API takes its potential a step further. Just changing a few lines of the example code, and you can create a list of the most cited webometrics papers of all time, or the latest published webometrics papers. Web of Science will have to open up a lot more if it is going to keep its position as the number one citation database.
Already there seems to be an embarrassment of riches: a neighbourhood statistics API from the Office of National Statistics; Transport information from Transport Direct; Health care services and information from the NHS…and the list just keeps going on. Despite messing about with APIs for a number of years, the quantity of data available means that I have no idea where to start. The good news is that the Power are offering up to £20,000 to develop any ideas that you may have.
Whilst I have not had a chance to play about with any of the data yet, I do have one criticism: The use of a .co.uk domain name (i.e., www.showusabetterway.co.uk). As the Power of Information Task Force has a government email address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org), why didn’t they use a government domain name? Such domain names are restricted, and therefore provide a indication of legitimacy.
You don’t have to be an information scientist to know the importance of good timely information. Whilst everyone should know the importance of politeness in keeping the customer happy when things do go wrong. Unfortunately someone seems to have forgoten to pass this information on to Virgin. After failing to inform me of a visit to sort my phone line the other week (a problem that is still waiting to be sorted), I have now been told to leave a train at a Virgin station with no explanation as to what the problem with the train is, when the next train is coming, and most importantly, no word of an apology for the inconvenience.
Maybe the increasingly mobile nature of computing will help to change the poor service that seems to be everywhere. Whilst I am often annoyed by the service I recieve, I have often calmed sufficently by the time I get home to not bother writing a letter of complaint. Mobile computing allows you to complain there and then…or at least blog about it.