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November 29, 2003

webMathematica upgrade going well

The installation of our webMathematica (and Mathematica) upgrade, on the new box is going very well. There was a problem with performance speed, but seems to be all cleared up. We should be switching over very soon.

My cold is fading, at long last. As soon as I'm fully healthy, I'm getting a flu shot. If this is what the season's cold will do, I don't want to find out how bad the flu can get.

Keith Peters Blogs

Keith Peters just started his own blog: BIT-101 Blog.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Keith!

November 25, 2003

Interview on ActionScript.com

Recently, Vera Fleischer interviewed me for ActionScript.com. I think it turned out well. Perhaps I'm being a bit shy, but Vera's introduction is extremely flattering to me. Seems like I have a lot to live up to now :-)

Back to my box of tissues and tea, now...

November 19, 2003

Cold slowing me down

Last week, in the Central Dev Chat, I promised to put up some code for an old project. I meant to get it online by now, but I've come down with a rather unpleasant cold and it's going to have to wait until next week. Hopefully, I'll be better by then.

November 16, 2003

Open Source Convention 2004

OSCON 2004, will be in Portland, Oregon--July 26-30. Expect a call for submissions in mid-December.

November 15, 2003

Spam Conference 2004

That's right. There will be another Spam Conference, in Cambridge. January 16, 2004, 9am to 6pm.

Let's hope for some great ideas for dealing with the problem. Hmm....don't wait for others to come up with ideas, start thinking of ideas and talking about them. If you've got a blog, post your ideas. Have you seen or heard a good idea? Give it some publicity, get some conversation going.

November 12, 2003

Problem sending query string with loadVars in Central

Recently, I've been modifying our word search game for Central.

The first step was to get rid of all the _root syntax, from when the application was first written in Falsh5. This is an important step for modifying an existing application, since _root would refer to the Central environment, instead of the root of the application.

Next step, was testing in the Central environment. For that, I'd need a product ID, which goes in the product.xml file. Uploaded the application and product.xml to my server, along with that handy installer. Ready to test!

Everything looked good, except that the data needed to generate the grid of letters wasn't coming through. It seems that there is a problem with sending a query string with loadVars, from within Central.

For example, this fails to return the desired results from within Central:

myLoadVars = new loadVars();

myLoadVars.load("http://www.mydomain.com/myOtherVars.cfm?myVar=" + localVar);

The same swf works fine, outside of Central.

I'm still investigating what the problem could be, and asking lots of questions.

Patent office re-evaluating Eolas patent

What great news to start the day with!

The potential impact of the Eolas patent, the lawsuit with Microsoft, and the impending changes to IE and thus the internet as a whole... it all had me worried. It would be expensive for commercial applications to adapt, but a large portion of educational projects would have been effectively erased from the web.

But there is a glimmer of sanity on the horizon...the US Patent and Trademark Office is re-examining Eloas's patent. What makes me hopeful is the swift action the office took: a mere seven days!

The patent has not yet been revoked, but now it's at least possible.

For more information, read Dale Dougherty's article on the O'Reilly Dev Weblogs.

~Via JD on MX

November 11, 2003

Tarbell's Bubble Chamber

One of my personal Flash heros, has been busy with Processing. The results are quite remarkable: Bubble Chamber | Processing exhibition, November 2003

One of the gallery images reminds me of a lunar landscape, in sepia tones.

November 10, 2003

Congratulations Phyllis!!!

Big congratulations to Phyllis! She just made Assistant Professor!

Phyllis Pugh is one of the founding members of GalaxyGoo and is our Chief Science Advisor. Her contributions to GalaxyGoo include popular articles on Nicotine.

Her promotion elevates her from previous position as post-doctoral scholar of neuroscience, at the Medical College of Ohio.

Flash Fractal Landscape Challenge Deadline Approaches

This is the last week of the GalaxyGoo Flash Callenge: Fractal Lanscapes. Deadline for posting your final entry is this Friday, November 14th.

November 07, 2003

So, blog comment spam is a drag. What are we going to do about it?

Today, Colin Moock announced his decision to disable comments on his blog. Why? The more and more ubiquitous commercially motivated vandalism we call "blog comment spam".

When we publish a blog, we take responsibility for our part of the internet. We put aside anonymity for the sake of our community and our place in that community. We invite people to join us, and comment. In fact, a blogger is happiest when a post sparks a long discussion in the comments, or even picks up on other blogs and forums.

We do NOT invite peddlers of illicit products (often illegal products) to abuse our good reputations and our community, for any reason.

Supposedly these trolls and pros (vandals, really) do this to get higher ranking in search engines. If this is true, then search engines will respond and blogs won't have the same weight. This would be a shame, because some of the most interesting content on the internet exists in the comment system of blogs.

While reading the anti-spam blog, an idea popped into my head. The mark-up for blogs and comments is all dynamically generated, so it should be easy to insert a standard tag that flags text as a "comment"? Then let the search engines do their magic and determine the weight of any links in that block of text. If search engines and blog system developers join forces, this problem could be solved without gagging honest communication.

This problem is bigger than a few hacks to MT can handle. We need to join forces, get creative, and come up with some big ideas for handling this problem and foster the growth of community at the same time.


moockblog: spam killed moockblog comments


November 04, 2003

3D classes for AS2.0

Nice resource:
Creating 3D Classes with ActionScript 2.0