If you got here from the MysteryProject blog something weird is going on and the nice people at WordPress are looking into it for me.

Regular Programming back soon. ūüôā

Wow, did I ever get behind in posting, I was doing so well keeping up the info stream… ¬†Well I had a pretty good reason I’ve been heads down in code on a tool I have wanted to release for some time now. ¬†It’s a relatively small tool (though I could see it morphing into something bigger) but one I think will be very useful dealing with some of the data rot we all face as we interact with more people and do more things.

I am not releasing a lot of details at the moment but I am pushing hard to release a small beta to a test group then the full on application soon after that. ¬†It’ll be a desktop application (yup they still exist) and will release first for the Apple platform. ¬†This is a new way of deploying for me as I have always released for the Windows platform first (and in most cases only) but working with my new MacBook Air has inspired me to go Mac first.¬†

While I am not sure of the pricing model I may go with something like the Freemium plan outlined by Fred Wilson way back in 06. ¬†One thing is for certain it won’t be an ad-driven model as it doesn’t fit the application, maybe a business pay / consumer free model.¬†It’s odd… coding seems simple compared to finding the right revenue model in today’s marketplace.

New Project, New Blog

July 5, 2008

So while I need a new project (or a new blog for that matter) like a hole in the head, I have started one to cover an iPhone games project I am going to be working on.

I am pretty stoked about the game and will likely be writing a whole bunch over there. ¬†There are social interaction designs throughout the game so even though it’s a game it may still be of interest to social interaction buffs. ¬†

Come join me if your interested in watching the soup being made… ¬†

The blog is at http://mysteryproject.wordpress.com/

I have been testing SugarSync using their liberal 45-day free trial and I have to say I am quite impressed with both the service and even more importantly the support which I have made use of already.

Some background… I a wanted a no-nonsense way to backup source code from my repository; a secondary fail-safe if you will and with this in mind I tried a number of free and pay-for cloud-based storage services and decided to go with SugarSync. ¬†The main reason was the level of support…

Why did I need support?  Well I store everything in a TrueCrypt volume and when I tried to upload the volume it failed (at the very end which was a bit annoying as it was large).  Since I was having issues I logged a support query using the built in method in SugarSync and even though I am only on trial I had a response back within a couple of hours.  I went back and forth with emails with the SugarSync rep. trying various things and while we did not solve it during these conversations I did figure out what was causing my upload issue.  The TrueCrypt volume I was trying to place on SugarSync has executables in it and for whatever reason it did not like that; once I removed these all was well.

While I can’t seem to use SugarSync the way I intended (uploading a TrueCrypt volume) given the great level of service I experienced I plan on signing up for the service anyway and as I am a paranoid person where my source code is involved I have come up with a different method of encrypting it before uploading…

The method… Using OpenSSL I will encrypt each checked-in file and have the encrypted version replicated to a sync directory which mimics my repository and this directory will be set to automatically sync to the SugarSync store. ¬†To do the encryption I am using a method I found on the¬†LifeHacker¬†site combined with some simple scripts I wrote that automatically encrypt each file as it is changed or added, that deal with deletions and finally that copy each file to the sync directory. ¬†If the worst ever happens to my source code repository and my development boxes I can just download the encrypted files and do a batch decryption.

While it’s not as simple as simply copying my encrypted volume to SugarSync I have no problem doing it this way given the excellent support I received. ¬†While I wish it would work with my TrueCrypt volume I have no hesitation¬†recommending¬†SugarSync given my excellent experience.

So I am moving to Apple for much of my development and am wondering whether as a developer you prefer¬†Textmate or Subethaedit and why…

An editor is a very personal thing so I’d love some input on the relative merits and also the downsides of your¬†preferred¬†tool, especially if you have used both.

Thanks, Christopher!

Microsoft Powerset

July 3, 2008

I wonder if the tools Microsoft acquired via the Powerset acquisition will be used in not only their consumer live search environment but also to create new ways of looking at data in their enterprise search tools.

It seems to me that using Powerset to semantically slice, dice and present additional facetted data on a corporate information stack could be very useful indeed.

Some form of integration with SharePoint maybe…

Today an interesting startup came out of stealth, (no not mine) and launched a very interesting sounding product.  

The startup is Pluribo and their product is designed to help users rapidly get to the gist of product reviews by aggregating and summarizing the available reviews data and then generating small descriptive sentence(s).

This is the kind of thing I think of (and have mentioned) when I speak of directed Text Analytics, Semantic Learning or Search. ¬†Text analytics is core to their product but they are using text analytics not as a product in and of itself but as an ends to a means. ¬†We will see more and more companies (I am one) producing very specific vertical products based around these larger horizontal technology buckets. ¬†It is unimportant how they do their summarization and what¬†algorithms¬†are chosen to do it… ¬†All that matters is the outcome.

This is another great example of utilizing large quantities of data with a bit of semantics sprinkled in to provide the end user with an answer.

Pluribo says they have some patents pending on this stuff… The¬†summarization¬†space is quite well researched and there is a TON of prior art out there so I hope they are not pinning success on a patent. That said I am totally IMPRESSED with the sentence generation system; this is a very hard thing to do right and from the brief look I have taken they are doing a great job. ¬†It appears that they do not only pull summary type data out of the aggregated reviews but figure out the sentiment that is most relevant and with this in mind generate the summary sentence with appropriate words.

Pluribo has created a great product I thought of building once upon a time before I went the product route I am going and it’s also one I will use a lot and I bet others will too.

I hope they stay focused and refine the product even more as I think it’s a winner and not because it’s a directed application of text analytics but because it’s darn useful.

Cheers Guys! ūüôā