Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Amazon mp3 store: Linux kudos

Heh, just bought an mp3 album from Amazon (having discovered Synaesthesia on, and expected the usual "Linux? Sorry, is that Windows or Mac?" trouble. Was very pleasantly surprised to be presented with a page to grab the download manager for mp3 albums for any one of four Linux distros, including Fedora. Cool. Thank you Amazon!

Edit to say that nice though it is to have some Linux support, I've just upgraded to Fedora 11 and the Amazon player doesn't work on F11. Not only that, Amazon customer services have yet to respond to the email I sent them three days ago. Sigh. You win some, ....

Updated again to say that I have now had a very polite reply from Peter at Amazon customer services, but, no, they're not going to say when or if a new version will be released. Since it's just a matter of recompiling with with the new version of the libraries, this is a little disappointing. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Blind search comparison

I generally default to just using one search engine (yes, that one). Blind Search is a service for trying the three main search engines currently in use (Google, Yahoo and the new one with the silly name). Given some search terms, Blind Search shows you the top 10 results from each of the three engines, anonymously, and asks which set got closest to your expectations. Interestingly, I found that honours were spread fairly evenly, and, even more interestingly (given my normal search behaviour) Yahoo edged ahead.

It's also a nice bit of UX engineering: I found myself very curious to know which engine was which, but you can only get to find out by selecting the engine that best matches your expectations, thus feeding useful stats back to the service. Neat.

Tip 'o the hat to Tim at UMBC for the pointer.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Interesting: KI 2009 Mashup Challenge

This looks like an interesting competition: use some sort of AI technology of your choice (including semantic web reasoning) to do something cool in the KI 2009 AI Mashup Challenge. Could be fun!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Cupboard ontology collaboration space

Collaboration around ontology development – sharing, discovering, re-using, augmenting ontologies – is one of those tasks that keeps coming up as a missing part of the puzzle that "someone should do something about". A recent blog posting from Mathieu d'Aquin in which he pre-announces the Cupboard system (or announces the invitation-only beta if you prefer) sounds pretty intriguing. It apparently garnered some good feedback at ESWC, and I'm looking forward to having a go when it's publicly available. semantic-web

Friday, June 05, 2009

Fedora 10 upgrade

In the past, I've been rather wary of upgrading my Fedora-running PC's to the latest spin of the OS. I've had problems with the upgrade path, and found it easier to blow away everything except the /home partition and start over with a clean install. This does work, but I then have to spend a long time re-installing all of the customisations I make to the way things work, add back in my preferred packages, etc etc. Very dull, takes a long time. Feeling brave, I thought I'd give upgrading another throw of the dice. I burned a DVD from the torrent of Fedora 10, rebooted my Fedora 9 pc, and selected the upgrade existing OS option. First thing that I noticed is that it only asked me one question: what kind of keyboard did I have? Easy enough. Everything after that ran unattended. At the end, I reboot, and nervously watch the bootlog for problems. Nothing obvious, apart from CUPS not starting. Log back in, find a few things that seem a bit borked, but in general it's looking good. Run yumex to get the latest updates: over a thousand of them, 1.5G of downloads. Ouch. I had to uninstall cinelerra-cv to solve a dependency issue, but I'm not actually sure what that package is. After that, and a long, long wait, I reboot the system and everything seems to be working smoothly. The only glitch so far is that my grub.conf got overwritten, so I have to recover the alternate OS boot options. Easy.

Summary: kudos to the Fedora team, this has so far been a painless upgrade. Thank you!

And, yes, I know that Fedora 11 is about to drop. While I'm frequently a bleeding-edge junkie, maintaining Linux is one place I feel more comfortable lagging a bit behind the curve!