Monday, March 31, 2008


At the SIP Symposium (at Stanford), there were some guys from the Freebase development crew. This was my first exposure to Freebase and I was intrigued with the idea. According to Kurt Bollacker (the Chief Scientist) the reason they were at the symposium was to "get people using our data". I also learned from him that they were VC funded and currently had about 60 developers.

They have built upon the existing data sources, such as Wikipedia, and have added structurally typed data to go along with it. The resulting data repository is then easily accessible via the Freebase API.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SIP Recap - Wednesday

I'm here in Palo Alto, California attending the AAAI Spring Symposium at Stanford. So far, the Social Information Processing Symposium has been very interesting and exciting. So far, I've met some people doing some neat research. Today's presentations were the following (I've added links to those I could find online):
  1. Bernardo Huberman (HP Labs), Social Dynamics in the Age of the Web
  2. Ed Chi (PARC), Augmented Social Cognition
  3. Tad Hogg (HP Labs), Solving the organizational free riding problem with social networks
  4. Riley Crane (ETH), Viral, Quality, and Junk Videos on YouTube: Separating Content From Noise in an Information-Rich Environment
  5. Yi-Ching Huang (NTU), You Are What You Tag
  6. Julia Stoyanovich (Columbia), Leveraging Tagging to Model User Interests in
  7. Steve Whittaker (Sheffield), Temporal Tagging: Implicit Behaviour Identifies Points of Interest in Complex Event
  8. Georg Groh, Implicit Social Network Construction and Expert User Determination in Web Portals
  9. Elizeu Santos-Neto, Content Reuse and Interest Sharing in Tagging Communities
  10. Matt Smith (BYU), Social Capital in the Blogosphere: A Case Study (this was our presentation, of course)
I enjoyed all of the presentations, in particular I liked Bernardo's address which covered a variety of interesting topics, Ed's comments, Riley's trend analysis, Julia's talk analyzing hotlist generation and tag, Steve's flamboyant presentation, Georg's work (as it had some thoughts related to our work on Implicit Affinity Networks).

(Oh, and I lost my cell phone today.)

I'm looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Firefox 3 Extensions

As Firefox 3 nears graduation from the Beta phase, many of the great extensions are finally becoming available. Here are links to the extensions that I find essential:
What extensions do you use?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Emptying a File in the Terminal

Here is a handy trick that I find useful from time to time:

$ echo "here is some jibberish" > somefile.txt
$ cat somefile.txt
here is some jibberish
$ cat /dev/null > somefile.txt
$ cat somefile.txt

Essentially by calling "cat /dev/null > somefile.txt" we redirect nothing (/dev/null) to the file 'somefile.txt', which in effect empties it. I like to use this for emptying log files as it saves time recreating files and possibly resetting the right permissions.

If interested, you can read more on I/O redirection.