HTML Scraper 0.1 now available
Just wanted to point people to the first public release of my HTML Scraper package. This is a Java/XML-based utility which allows one to 'scrape' an HTML page and generate an XML document with data from that page. The program uses an XML-based rules file to control what data elements to scrape from the page.http://sourceforge.net/projects/htmlscraper/
is the SourceForge project page for the site. There is no specific homepage for the tool yet.Please download and let me know if you find it useful.read more:
Welcome to Erik Talvola's new home on the web
In the midst of changing jobs, I decided it was time to change my web presence, which has remained fairly static since about 1994... Soon there will be some actual content on this site. Specific projects I've been working on include the Wine Finder, a price/review comparison engine for wine; the HtmlScraper, a Java application which lets you intelligently 'scrape' data from HTML pages into an XML format; and the Sin Stocks page, which will be a place for information on stocks involved in casinos, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other industries which aren't considered 'politically correct.'In the meantime, you can take a look at my old page
, or the very first rough start at the Wine Finder
Lazyweb: full list of Sony BMG owned domains?
A non-spam comment recently arrived on the old Boycott Sony site, which is something of a rarity these days. Reader PJ asks whether there is a known list of sites that are owned by Sony BMG, or Sony generally, so that he can block those sites for showing up in AdSense ads.
I don’t have such a list. Does anyone out there? I suspect that part of the issue may be that Sony Music/Sony BMG registers unique domains for its artists, meaning that blocking ads for them may turn into a game of whack-a-mole. But I’ll throw the question out to LazyWeb anyway.read more:
Second impressions of LibraryThing
Following up my initial LibraryThing report from yesterday, last night I exported my Delicious Library to text (necessary because the underlying XML file was bigger than the 2 MB limit for imports) and uploaded it to the service. In spite of being overloaded by WSJ and BoingBoing traffic, the site was responsive; it reported all the ISBNs that it was going to add to my library, told me how many others were already ahead of mine to look up, and said that it should be done in about 10 hours. It beat that estimate and had my catalog of books live by 8 am this morning—unfortunately, though it was only part of it, since I hit the 200-book limit that comes with free membership.
The UI is a dream. You can view your books as a list or a virtual “shelf” displaying all the covers (fans of Delicious Library will recognize this view). Clicking on a title in shelf view toggles some options—look up the book in Amazon, view your information about it, view the social information (tags, ratings, reviews, weighted recommendations), or edit the information. In addition to the obvious features (tags, etc.), editing the information provides one very useful function, the ability to change cover art to one of a dozen variant editions, to art provided by another user, or to upload your own cover art. Very slick.
Similarity is an interesting feature, as is the ability to browse to see who else has a book in their library. I also like the automated tag clouds, and my personal author cloud is telling (though, again, skewed by the fact that only part of my library is represented). I look forward to exploring some of the additional social networking features over time.
The bottom line is that just a day or two after its launch, LibraryThing is shaping up to be a really interesting way to explore books, authors, and other people’s reading habits. Fun!read more:
New Releases for March 8th
There's a new Tiny Showcase
If I hadn't been spending all of my free time on the new site, I would have told you about these new releases: 50 Cent's Massacre
, 50 Ft. Wave's Golden Ocean
, Ash's Meltdown
, Boom Bip's Blue Eyed In The Room
, Decibully's Sing Out America
,Kasabian's debut (read Leslie
), The Kills No Wow
, Paint It Black's Paradise
and Sam Prekop Who's Your New Professor
. The last one was my personal pick of the week - Paul
's got a review on 75 or Less
I forgot to me mention it last week, but The Rutles 2 came out on DVD. We're about to wrap up the contest - get yourself signed up.
Here's a true store about Ash's old record label, Kinetic. They once begged me for months on end to run a contest. I'm serious - they sent me a weekly email like "We love your site and we would do anything to set up a promo with you." They eventually came up with a contest that was really cool. The prize was great - limited edition, signed - everything that makes a nice prize. They told me they would send me the prize after the contest was over. They, of course, never did. Wouldn't respond to my emails, wouldn't acknowlege that I was alive. Very classy move. So I became bitter and vowed never to trust anyone in the music industry (well, except for the good guys - you know who you are) ever again and started an art website. The end.read more:
My new website
I've got a confession to make
The lack of updates on this site is not entirely due to the fact that I've been working like crazy.
Somewhere towards mid-February, I was sitting in a long, semi-drawn-out meeting when this crazy vision popped into my head.
Now, ideas like this pop into my brain all the time. More often than not they involve insurance scams. I usually dismiss them within ten minutes. This one wouldn't go away though - partially due to the fact that I was stuck in a meeting with nothing else to think about, but mostly because I got the feeling that this was a genuinely great idea. It stuck with me and wouldn't go away.So, I started coding. Code code and more code. And, as I kept writing code, the project seemed to make more and more sense.
I've gotten to the point where I'm almost there - I can see the end product and I'm feeling pretty good about it. So, I've decided to set a project launch date.I am telling you this partially to evoke interest in my new website, but also to keep myself on track. I've integrated a journal so you can see how I'm doing.
Tiny Showcase launches March 1st, 2005. I hope you'll like it.read more:
New Releases for February 15th
Five for February 15th
has already stated, it's tough concentrating on this week's releases when next week looks so massively promising. Here are a few notables though. If none of them catch your eye, check out the Rutles 2 DVD giveaway we just kicked off (for those of you who are reading this via RSS, you're gonna need to open the website in an actual browser - sorry).
- Camper Van Beethoven - Discotheque: Live Chicago I'm not really sure why I chose this disc to link. Most of their stuff is available for download via archive.org.
- Dread Leppelin - Chickens And Ribs I know the joke should be old by now, but it still cracks me up. It features a guest appearance by Billy Zoom.
- Mahi Mahi - Remove Your Body This came out a few weeks ago and I forgot to mention it. I always bitch about the music scene in Providence, but when someone releases an album, I forget to write about it on the site. Sorry about that.
- They Might Be Giants - Here Come The ABCs Speaking of children's music, have you seen the Pancake Mountain site? I've probably already linked it, but the Fiery Furnaces "Mouse House, Moose Hoose" clip is too crazy to not mention several times.
- Wedding Present - Take Fountain I wanted this album to be absolutely amazing, but I'm having trouble getting into it. I'm gonna give it a few more tries - I can sense that there's some great material hidden in there.
CMC Sound Adventures receives Applied Arts design award
The CMC website Sound Adventures has received Applied Arts magazine's best information and educational site award in its Advertising & Design Annual. Canadian Music Centre is recognized for its work on Sound Adventure, an educational web site designed in collaboration with ecentricarts.This year, the Applied Arts Advertising & Design Annual celebrates its 14th year and status as Canada's most prestigious design competition. The annual competition receives thousands of entries from Canada, the U.S. and beyond, in six main categories: advertising, design, tv/video, editorial designand digitalmedia. An international expert panel of 30 judges decided winners. The Annual is available now on selected newsstands in Canada and the U.S.and online at www.appliedartsmag.com.read more:
Schafer's Patria Cycle gets a wild new home
A permanent home has been established in the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve for the outdoor works of R. Murray Schafer's Patria Cycle, the most ambitious body of music theatre ever devised by a Canadian.In making the announcement yesterday, accordionist Joseph Macerollo, president of Patria Music Theatre Projects, said he hoped the site would become Schafer's Bayreuth, alluding to the home of Richard Wagner's annual opera festival in Germany.The site includes a lake and forest within the 60,000 acres of what is known as Canada's first certified sustainable forest. Peter Schleifenbaum, owner and operator of the forest reserve and a long-time Schafer supporter, wants the initial five-year agreement to be extended.read more:
In Hollywood, the man-child is king
Two new movies this week are the latest that star men suffering from arrested development.
Non shell-related news:
Slate goes widescreen
10th anniversary redesign. Jake says
For one thing, we're no longer owned by Microsoft, which for some reason seems to make it easier for us to build a site that works as well in Firefox and Safari as it does in Internet Explorer. And now that larger computer screens and broadband have become commonplace, we felt Slate could do more to take advantage of both. The new home page, for example, is wider than the old one and has graphics so numerous that a dial-up modem would have choked on them. We've used the additional real estate to give permanent homes to Explainer, the Has-Been, Doonesbury, Today's Pictures, and our editorial cartoons[~]regular features that have sometimes been hard to find.I love that remark that suddenly Slate can work in non-MS browsers now.
Early this week, in an email to a coworker, I mentioned that I made music and pointed her to my site. On Thursday she wrote back and said “cool, you’re even on iTunes!” This surprised me; my two albums were submitted about 3 and 8 weeks ago and hadn’t shown up on iTunes as of Monday or so. But I looked, and indeed, there they both are on iTunes. For those of you who’ve heard the music, I’d appreciate a customer review. For those of you who haven’t, what are you waiting for? :-) Of course there are also old-fashioned shiny discs in plastic cases. Thanks!
Last modified: 24 June 2006, 19:18 read more:
Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, announced a little shindig in San Francisco to be held on August 5th. He’s dubbed it WordCamp and even set up a site at wordcamp.org.Since I’m within reasonable driving distance, I’m planning to go and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll get to meet lots of people [...]read more:
There are currently 736,425 benchmarks in the database at geocaching.com. Overall, 82,517 benchmarks have been found and recorded in 114,528 logs. In the last 7 days, 1,007 benchmarks have been logged by 407 users. Four of them were found by me in Greentown, Pennsylvania near Exit 20 of Interstate 84.
I had tried to find a 1959 benchmark named "Burke" a couple of months ago. The eXplorist 600 indicated that I was within a half-mile of and then I realized I would have to trespass on private property to get to the mark -- something I do not do, at least on purpose. I saw a sign nearby labeled Robert Burke Consulting. Upon visiting his web site and seeing that he works with Linux, I concluded he must be a nice person and likely would not mind me giving him a call. Not only did he not mind, he offered to escort me to the benchmark -- he had noticed it in the past and knew right where it was. I met Bob and his four-year old son at his driveway and off we went in his four-wheel drive truck down a dirt road and off into a field. Turns out that Bob's father owns hundreds of acres of land where the benchmark is located. Five generations of his family have lived in Pennsylvania.
Turns out that there are actually four benchmarks (Burke, Burke 2, Burke Reference Mark 1, and Burke Reference Mark 2) all within a couple of hundred feet of each other. Three were placed in 1959 and one in 1967. The descriptions given are accurate for finding them -- but don't rely on lat/lon because those are not accurate. One of them was off by nearly 200 feet. Ater many a wild goose chase, I have learned that the best way to find benchmarks is to carefully read the datasheet. Here is a typical description for finding a reference mark...
REFERENCE MARK 1, A STANDARD DISK STAMPED BURKE NO 1 1959, IS CEMENTED IN A DRILL HOLE IN TOP OF A 2 X 3 FOOT BOULDER IRREGULAR IN SHAPE AND PROJECTING ABOUT 2 INCHES ABOVE THE SURFACE OF THE GROUND. IT IS 85.9 FEET SOUTHEAST OF AN 8-INCH TRIANGULAR BLAZED MAPLE TREE, 72.8 FEET SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF A STANDARD METAL WITNESS POST AND MARKER, 37 FEET SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER OF A TRACK ROAD AND THE MARK IS ABOUT THE SAME ELEVATION AS THE STATION
The disks were all readable, although there is some corrosion. All are in plain view and the main mark (Burke) has a witness post. If you ever noticed a 3-4 foot long orange stick in the ground with some wording on it, that would be a witness post. It says basically, there is a benchmark nearby and don't mess with it! The marks would have been useful to surveyors and civil engineers decades ago, but with the advent of inexpensive and accurate GPS devices, they have become unnecessary. In spite of this, they are fun to find -- 72 for me so far and only three-quarters of a million or so to go! Lastly, remember the Honda ads from years ago -- "You meet the nicest people on a Honda"? Well, this past weekend I discovered the same thing about looking for benchmarks. If you need any systems or Linux consulting in the northeast Pennsylvania area, pay a visit to Robert Burke Consulting.read more:
Other patrickWeb stories about benchmarking
Flight To The Kremlin
I have learned a lot during the last two weeks while visiting six countries. One of the most interesting days began with a flight from Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg to Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. The Russian airports could use some upgrading of services, shopping facilities, and direction signs in English, but they are said to be quite safe. Boarding the Ilyushin-86 aircraft was an experience. Like many European airports, the first step is to ride on a bus across the tarmac to the plane. What was different was the entry -- it started by going up steps into the belly of the plane where luggage is stored. From the storage area a stairway led to the main cabin where there were approximately 350 seats arranged in three sets of three per row.
The Il-86 development was announced at the 1971 Paris Airshow and the wide-body entered service in late 1980. This particular IL-86 was showing it's age and may easily have been twenty-five years old. The interior of the plane and the uniforms of the flight attendants were outdated but the service was efficient and friendly. The four Kuznetsov NK86 turbofan jet engines lifted the plane to cruising altitude very quickly for the one hour trip. The flight to Moscow and the return to St. Petersburg both left on time and arrived at the destination on time.
The afternoon at the Kremlin far exceeded my expectations. Kremlin means "fortress" in Russian and generally refers to any major fortified central complex in Russian cities. The one we visited is the best known one, the Moscow Kremlin, where the Russian government is based and where the President of Russia lives.
Standing in the center of Red Square was a real treat with spectacular sights in every direction. Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin towers are majestic and incredibly colorful. The Red square separates the Kremlin from an historic merchant quarter and the major streets of Moscow radiate from the square in all directions. The square is steeped in centuries of history. I don't recall the famous events that took place there in 1941 and 1945 nor the establishment of Lenin's Mausoleum, but I do remember when a German pilot named Mathias Rust landed a rented Cessna 172 on Vasilevski Spusk next to the Red Square in 1987. On the eastern side of the square is the spectacular GUM department store which in addition to shops offering all the top retailing brands of the world had dedicated the first floor of huge open ceiling building to the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci. It would have been easy to spend a whole day there.
Following a one-hour tour of the Kremlin art galleries -- which rival the Vatican Library in Rome -- we had a traditional Russian dinner, complete with vodka, and then a return flight to St. Petersburg. We got back to the ship after midnight. It was a day I will never forget.More on the rest of the trip to follow. read more:
Behind The Scenes In The Blogosphere
Last month I got an email from Nora Barnes who is a professor of marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She said she was conducting the first academic study about blogging and wanted my input, which would be combined with that of dozens of others. Her goad was to report on what motivates bloggers, how they handle legal and ethical issues, and how blogs have helped promote their businesses or points of view.
This morning Dr. Barnes reported that her blog study is now finished and up on the UMD Center for Marketing Research web site. The report is in pdf format and you can find it here. Nora's study takes the emotion out of the subject and adds some substantive research and a great deal of insight. She said that what started out as "just another researcher trying to study something interesting" revealed what makes bloggers "different from those of us watching (reading)". I am certain her report will be quite valuable to institutions of all kinds who have not yet gotten their blogging strategy to the level they want.
Other patrickWeb stories about blogging
One of the many innovations Sam Palmisano has spearheaded at IBM is the idea of reaching out to "alumni". The first initiative was a few years ago when he started a semi-annual reception for executives and former executives of the company. That was just the beginning and now the idea of reaching out has been opened up big time. The number of past and present IBMers is probably close to a million people. Establishing communications with such a huge base can be nothing but a good thing for the company.
When I left engineering school and joined IBM in 1967, it was common to look for a job at a company and expect to stay there your entire career. Nobody thinks that way anymore. If you tell someone you were with a company for decades, they might ask "what's the matter, couldn't you find any other jobs?". Another change is in the old days if someone left the company they were considered a traitor and barred from coming back. Today, there are many executives that left the company at some point, got some experience at one or more other companies, and then brought that experience back into IBM.
The Internet has enabled everything to be connected to everything, so setting up a blog to "connect" past, present, (and maybe future) IBMers to each other and with the company seems like a very good idea. The The first step was the Google Group, the logical step two is the new Greater IBM blog. Over time other forms of web technology such as wikis, audio and video podcasts, instant messaging, and various mobile technologies will likely enter the mix.
The possibilities are endless -- collaboration on projects, personal networking for jobs and deals, referrals to and from IBM, and social networking for the fun of it. I look forward to being part of this as it evolves. Upon e-tirement in 2001 with nearly four decades at IBM, I don't really feel like I left anyway! Feel free to visit patrickWeb. There are a number of categories that I have been writing about for more than ten years. Things related to IBM are at this site, I am sure I will be writing about and linking to the Greater IBM blog as will others. Cross linking will increase the overall "connectedness". That's what the web is all about. I am really proud that IBM is taking the blogosphere so seriously.
Greater IBM Blog
Greater IBM on Google Groups
The Application Web
This week I attended an IBM software technology briefing about SOA. Only brilliant technical people could come up with SOA as a name for something. Let's see, is it safe operating area, School of the Americas, Skies of Arcadia (a Nintendo game), Society of Actuaries, state of the art, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act? Nope. Maybe it is about an architectural firm that has great customer service? Or maybe it is about the architecture of a building that has a good service entrance? Neither. The SOA of the briefing stands for "service oriented architecture". It is really important. The wikipedia has a comprehensive definition of SOA but basically it is about a new way to get things done with software. Actually it is isn't new -- the idea has been around for decades -- but now it is really happening. It is so much a part of the vernacular at IBM that they just matter of factly call it "so a". After an IBM briefing about "virtualization" a year ago, I tried to explain the word in simple terms (see Virtually Real or Really Virtual). I'll try that approach here with SOA.
In a nutshell, SOA will allow web sites to do much more than “click here to buy”. In fact web sites built with SOA will result in us standing in fewer lines in the physical world and have to endure fewer telephone call centers that want to control us. Fulfillment models at our favorite retailer’s web site will result in the staple goods we need just showing up outside the garage door when we need them. If businesses have the right attitude, SOA will enable them to get closer to the ultimate Internet -- to build a people-oriented and user-friendly integrated experience for all parties involved - employees on the intranet, suppliers, customers, partners, analysts and prospective constituents. There is more to this story. (read more) read more:
The overnight flight to Oslo was uneventful and the weather on arrival Monday morning was as rainy as it was leaving New England -- Norway is 59 degrees north latitude (and ten degrees east longitude) so it is not too far north of home. Opera Software is a short cab ride after taking the clean and comfortable train from the airport to central Oslo.
After the board proceedings a some follow-on meetings, it was time for a taxi ride to the Holmenkollen Park Hotel where a special dinner would be held for my friend and Opera chairman Christian Thommessen who will be leaving the board to take on an important position as a diplomat at the United Nations Development Program at U.N. Plaza in New York. I am sorry we will be losing him from the board but am happy that he will be putting his time and energy into some really important work and also that he and his family will be close enough for more frequent visits.
During my last trip to Oslo in February, I was determined to find the "Troll's View" geocache which is hidden across the street from the world famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump. The first jumps at the "Holmenkollrennet" took place in January 1892. The world's skiing elite meets at Holmenkollen every year and 50,000 spectators watch the jumps from the 180 feet high spectacle. The view of Oslo and the fjord below is breathtaking. The cache is in the woods near the famous Kollen Troll but it was so cold and there was so much snow and I was not dressed for the hunt. I finally had to give up.
Yesterday when I got to Holmenkollen, the rain had stopped and the weather was perfect. I remembered where to have the taxi stop to wait for me. It did not take too long to follow the needle into the woods and find a blue bag hanging in a tree exactly at the latitude and longitude where it was supposed to be. I signed the logbook and headed back to the taxi and on to the hotel. It was a late but delightful evening with my colleagues from Opera Software. Results for the first quarter were posted during the day. read more:
Healthcare and IBM
The Intellectual Property briefing by IBM on May 2 in Greenwich was extremely interesting and I hated to leave a bit early but there was an overlap with another briefing down the road in Stamford, Connecticut -- this one about healthcare. IBM's healthcare and life sciences business is huge with 4,000 employees and revenues in the U.S. alone that would put it well into the Fortune 500. The company counts as customers 8 of the top 12 hospitals and all of the top 30 pharmaceutical companies. What has really put IBM on the healthcare map is last year's acquisition of Healthlink, which brought with it 400 top healthcare consultants. The insight of the consultants plus the smorgasbord of IBM technology has put the company on a mission -- to be a major factor in creating "Transformed Healthcare".
IBM's vision is significant -- to build patient-centric information systems, shared health and wellness management systems, and integrated networks to pull it all together among the payers, the providers, and the patients. Many of the benefits are obvious but some are more subtle. Payer insurance companies may be transformed from claims processors to wellness concierges. Smoother workflow and process optimization due to better integration and access to information can lead to improved quality, fewer errors and lower healthcare costs.
IBM has a vested interest in becoming the leader at these things because it has a half-million employees and retirees. Their Global Health and Wellness program is a partner in developing solutions for clients and may itself become a model. The company not only has a wealth of information at the intranet web portal but also enables an electronic health record into which employees enter their personal information which is then supplemented by automatic updating from claim and pharmacy data. The company also provides incentives to exercise and stay healthy. As a result, IBM's labor cost is significantly lower than industry averages.
The conference was attended by several dozen healthcare software vendors and various industry experts, including more than a half-dozen physicians. Most of the discussions revolved around the notion of "Patient centric" -- connecting healthcare information about patients with insurers and healthcare providers for the benefit of the patient. The key to make all this work is standards and they will evolve through Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) and a National Health Information Network (NHIN). The RHIO includes consumers, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, payers, public health offices, and physicians. Progress is being made. A presentation was made by John Blair, MD, who is CEO of Taconic Healthcare Information Network, a RHIO just west of the Hudson River. They have connected practices, hospitals, labs and payers and have developed standardized electronic health records, e-mail access to physicians, and e-prescriptions. The NHIN has asked four IT companies to work on interconnection of the RHIO's. Part of IBM's NHIN architecture will be based on royalty-free health care information systems patents (discussed in the IP meeting earlier that day) which give priority access to requests for patient information coming from emergency rooms vs. routine office requests.
From a purely heath point of view, the biggest transformation will come from information based medicine that bridges healthcare and life sciences. Molecular level understanding of disease is being made possible, in part by supercomputers such as BlueGene, and the result will be the development of targeted drugs. In other words, based on a DNA sample and genomic analysis, a diagnosis and treatment can be based on our individual medical history and genetic predispositions. Whole new fields are opening up including pre-emptive medicine, pharmacogenomics and clinical decision intelligence. A small device the size of a cell phone can take a sample of your blood and determine your rate of metabolism which in turn affects how much of a drug you need to provide optimal results. It will soon be possible to predict the likelihood of a person getting something deadly but yet preventable.
Advanced analytics are beginning to provide the ability to run complex algorithms to answer complex questions. For example, there is a 100 page document that provides guidelines on how to perform a particular surgical procedure. It is based on the "average" person. Nobody is average so would it be nice to be able to have a system which can provide specific recommendations based on many variables that are particular to an individual -- providing the surgeon with a "how to" guide unique to each patient.
Molecular Profiling Institute is creating tools for genomic and proteomic profiling and treatment of cancers. Seventy of our 40,000 genes can predict breast cancer accurately. Dr. Robert Penny showed incredible examples. A particular gene that is missing or not working can tell the cause of a particular disease and a drug that can attack that specific gene can fix it and the patient can be cured. This is called "jumping diseases" -- using a cure for disease xyz to treat disease abc. Dr. Penny showed before and after images of a dying cancer patient. After the application of a drug that attacked the targeted gene, the cancer disappeared. It gave the audience a lump in their throats.
There are many new issues arising along with the breakthroughs. For example, being able to know you have high odds of getting xyz disease for which there is no prevention and no cure after getting it, is questionable. The trend from physician centric to payer centric to patient centric is accelerating. It is likely that what will be accomplished in the next ten years will be vastly more than what has been accomplished in the last one hundred.
Other patrickWeb healthcare related stories
For many of us, leaving our alma maters was a relief or even a good riddance -- what a joy to graduate and move on. Over the years the primary connection to the campus may have been sports related without much thought about academic roots. As time goes on that feeling changes and in fact some of us not only began to recall our college days but actually go back to visit in a more serious way and even get involved. Financial support of alumni is critical but involvement and sharing of experience is even more valuable.
At the engineering advisory board meeting today at Lehigh University, I was quite impressed with my colleagues' intense interest in what is going on at the university. In addition to getting an update from Dean Wu, there was a lot of discussion about future directions and how the extended family of alumni could collaborate to help out.
In the 1960's, Lehigh was primarily an engineering school and it was 100% male. Today engineering is a third of the university and women represent more than 40% of the nearly 7,000 students. When I graduated 39 years ago, there were no women at Lehigh (although there were many nearby, including my wife at St. Luke's School of Nursing), and last week Dr. Alice P. Gast, a world-renowned researcher with a passion for teaching, was named Lehigh University’s 13th president.
One area of focus for the college of engineering is to provide degree programs in which students can develop horizontally as well as vertically. Over time, a top student can be an ultimate techie but can also be outstanding as a business or arts student. This will mean they will be able to move from their undergrad experience to enter law school or medical school or join the ranks of business management or consulting with an edge because of their broader perspective. An engineer uses creativity, technology, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. What about communicating the solution to the problem and working with global multi-disciplinary colleagues to implement the solution? That is where Lehigh's thrust toward integrated programs comes in.
The Integrated Business & Engineering degree (IBE) is an innovative example of the potential of more diverse education. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in industrial research and development, entrepreneurial initiatives, management consulting, high-tech ventures, and innovative technology. I have no doubt that this integrated approach to engineering will produce some future leaders for the world's top businesses. read more:
At a speech in New Orleans on Monday I said we were just five percent of the way into the Internet -- that of all the things that could simplify our lives and save us time, only five percent of them are here so far. New companies such as Pandora are pressing the envelope to do great things but unfortunately many existing companies have not kept pace with expectations.
This morning I checked on the status of a medical prescription at Express Scripts, my "online" pharmacy. The web site had an order number but did not show the name of the medication. Clicking on "check status" gave a line that said "In pharmacy" -- since May 6. No information available. Sending an email to them is hopeless -- I have done it before -- they respond to the email by telling you to call if you need information. I called and was told they had received the prescription on May 3 and it then takes them three days to enter it into the system. Four days later they determined that it needs "prior authorization" and so they faxed a form to the doctor requesting that he fax a form to the insurance company who would then need to fax a form to customer service who would then notify the pharmacy it is ok to ship the medication. The pharmacy and customer service are the same company. There is no feedback to the customer at any point. Meanwhile everyone is calling everyone and the doctor's office is so overloaded with calls about prescriptions that you can't get through to them. This is the status of online pharmacy. Five percent would be an overstatement.
The point that top management of these and many other companies are missing is that the perception of their company and their brand is no longer based on their past history or even the reputation of their products and services. The way we see them is the way we see their web sites. Unfortunately, a lot of things we see are not pretty. Increasingly our loyalties will shift to the companies who make our lives simpler and save us time instead of frustrating us. Many are trying hard but they have a long way to go. read more:
After finding four official National Geodetic Survey benchmarks during an interesting walk around downtown New Orleans, it was time to meet at Antoine's for dinner. The famous restaurant has been continuously operated by the same family since 1840. Through wars, the Great Depression, epidemics and storms, the culinary treasures continue to be served. The French Quarter, where the restaurant operates, was fortunate to not have any water damage, although the winds took a toll and repairs are still underway. After dinner, my son and his friends headed for the music they wanted to hear. For me, there was only one place I had in mind.
I had not been to Preservation Hall for more than thirty years but I remembered exactly what to expect. The sound of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is unique and inspiring. The musicians are polished and professional. I talked with the trombone player during break and he told me he was a professor of music at a local college. To hear him and his colleagues play you would never see a piece of music. It seemed to come from their soul. The saxophone player told me he read music when he was a boy but that now it comes from the soul. From their web site are a coupe of great quotes. "Musicians in New Orleans are born to entertain. There's nothing wrong with that, because I'm happy when I play. I love what I do". "We play gospel music here. We play old spirituals. We play military marches. There's no end to the variety of music that we play. But we play it all our way. And the more we play, the more the level of happiness rises. Just to watch our audiences go wow when we play, that gives me a good feeling and makes me want to put out more."
The amazing part to me is the coordination. There is no sheet music, no conductor, not even subtle leads from one of the members. All seven -- trumpet, two trombones, tuba, drum, tenor saxophone, and piano -- played as one. Soloists knew when to stand -- at times several would stand -- the crescendos and decrescendos were perfect and soft harmonies were flawless. These are truly great musicians. Walking a half mile down Bourbon Street back to the hotel there were dozens of "bands" playing at peak volume. It was a different world than Preservation Hall. I prefer the latter.
After Sunday brunch overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, it was time to head for JazzFest. The temperature was 90, the humidity was 100%, the crowd was 100K+ and there was no place to sit. In spite of this it was a great experience. The Paul Simon performance, in particular, was worth the price. Nice to see the 60+ performers -- he was amazing in every respect. Digital music is great but nothing compares to a live concert. The big screen made you feel like you were in the front row (even though there were no chairs). Regrettably, Fats Domino (78 years old) cancelled at the last minute for health reasons. Lionel Richie took took the stage instead.
On Monday morning it was a pleasure to make a presentation to a group of networking and IT executives at the English Turn Country Club. The topic was, guess what, the future of the Internet. With the incredible humidity, I do not regret not being a golfer and staying for the afternoon.
With regard to New Orleans,I found a mixed story. The water marks, damage, and debris were staggering. One can see why a huge number of people have been displaced and why housing is the main issue on many people's minds. I spoke to a number of residents who were working in the service industry. The common thread was that they were hopeful, courteous, and wore smiles on their faces even though they had every reason to be bitter. One person told me there was three feet of water in the second story of his house. He and his family moved in with a cousin -- eight people in a small home. The only good news is that there are plenty of jobs. The biggest tragedy may be that there are only five schools open in a city that was once more than a million people. read more:
IBM Happenings: April 2006
The month of April had the normal slew of announcements in hardware, software, services, acquisitions, and corporate initiatives. Being "tax" month, the company announced a new solution for optimizing tax auditing. IBM's Tax Audit and Compliance Solution uses advanced analytics to help revenue agencies zero in on questionable tax returns.
There was also a milestone in April. Ten years ago, IBM WebSphere Commerce -- then known as Net.Commerce -- made its debut at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Thousands of customers later, WebSphere Commerce is one of the best-selling e-commerce applications on the market, running many of the world's top e-commerce sites. Most of the top 100 online retailers use the middleware to power their Web sites that generate billions of dollars of online revenues. I am sure some will say it was great planning, but those of us who were there at the time know that the "ticket server" for the Olympic Games was an experiment. At about $5m in ticket sales it turned out to be the largest e-commerce site on the web at the time. The first real customer was L.L. Bean, Inc. of Freeport, Maine. See the complete history of Websphere Commerce here.
Here are the announcements made by the company during the month. The complete index of prior IBM Happenings is here.read more:
On Monday and Tuesday of this week a number of analysts and consultants gathered with IBM at an intellectual property briefing in Greenwich, Connecticut. Not as glamorous as the meeting in Rome but exceptionally interesting. The term intellectual property reflects the idea that the subject matter is a product of the mind and that legal rights to the "IP" are protected in the same way as any other form of property. IP is a vital issue for many companies but probably no company has as much influence in this area as IBM. IP is a broad and deep subject but one of the key elements is patents.
The United States granted the first patent to Samuel Hopkins of Pittsford, Vermont in 1790. Mr. Hopkin's idea had to do with making potash which in turn was used in making glass and in various industrial processes.Two other major patents granted the same year were related to making candles and milling flour. Earlier this year the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that for the thirteenth consecutive year, IBM received more patents than any other private sector organization in America. No company, other than IBM, has yet been granted 2,000 patents in any year while IBM exceeded 3,000 four years in a row and last year had 1,100 more than anybody else. IBM has a portfolio of more than 40,000 patents globally and has another 21,000 U.S. patent applications pending. Potentially more significant than IBM's leadership in creating inventions is the fact that it is giving away thousands of patents. See Patent Commons (January 2005).
The industrial age focused on proprietary innovation and patents became the key differentiator for technology companies such as IBM. In the 1970's and 1980's there was a lot of cross-licensing to provide freedom of action; e.g. IBM cross-licensed with many other technology companies so that it could be able to ship it's products without any concerns about patent infringement. Since IBM's inventiveness created a lot more patent licensing income than licensing expense, the IP business became a major source of income -- to the tune of a $1 billion per year and mostly profit. Now that the industrial age has given over to a knowledge economy based on collaborative innovation, IBM has begun to re-evaluate it's IP strategy and begin to leverage IP as a new source of business growth.
Since IBM has a very large group of engineers and scientists who are prolific inventors, the patent portfolio is sure to grow and the income from it will be significant for quite some time. The company has more than 1,000 active licenses whereby companies pay IBM to use it's patents -- that represents about a third of IBM's IP income. Another third comes from joint development; e.g. with Sony, Toshiba, and Samsung where the companies work together on a project and then share the results. A prominent example was the development of the Cell processor which is used in the new Sony PS3 game console. A final third of IBM's IP income is from the assignment of patents for things that IBM invented but does not want to pursue on it's own -- digital cameras, liquid crystal displays, the laser used in eye surgery, setup boxes, and many other things.
Technologists working in healthcare and education cheered the move by IBM to allow them royalty-free access to its patent portfolio for the development and implementation of selected open healthcare and education software standards built around web services, electronic forms and open document formats. If new application software is developed in these key industries, society is better off and IBM will get it's fair share of the hardware, software and services opportunity. Very smart. To leverage internal ideas, IBM has created ThinkPlace -- a next generation suggestion program where employees don't just submit an idea and hope to get an award but where they tee up an idea and enable others to build upon the idea and collaborate to take it to the next level. IBM is also leveraging it's IP by using it to solve problems for it's clients through services engagements. For example, a group of PhD's from IBM Research helped a limousine company optimize the routes of it's cars to minimize wait time and fuel costs
The world of patents has become ever more complex across the spectrum of collaboration and competition as the world has moved from proprietary to open -- as the world has gotten flat. Patents issued have skyrocketed in the past dozen years -- more than 150,000 patents issued in 2000, and so have patent suits. The thousands of suits are taking a huge economic toll and in many cases are stifling innovation. Patent reform has become urgent. IBM is not waiting on the sidelines. It is taking a leadership role and encouraging progressive changes. For example, it has launched initiatives to improve the quality of patents by developing and proposing an index to evaluate if a patent meets the standards of patentability -- in other words, to test if the patent is really legitimate. These efforts are not just for IBM but for the entire economy. Hopefully the politicians, many of whom have links to trial lawyer associations, won't kill the pending patent reform legislation.
Other patrickWeb patent related stories
The Big Picture From Rome
The final afternoon of the Business Leadership Forum focused on the big picture -- of both global political factors and technology. A panel included Karl-Heinz Grasser, Federal Minister of Finance for the Republic of Austria. He spoke about how governments can not only avoid being an obstacle to innovation and growth but also encourage competition thereby creating more jobs. The panel was bullish about how the information revolution -- ushered in by the microprocessor in the early 1970's and the Internet of the 1990's -- has led to an explosion of new products and new business models, However, there was a consensus that retaliation from poor economies and over-regulation by some countries could stymie the growth.
Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and commissioner in the European Union for ten years, was quite optimistic about the EU -- a market of 480 million people -- and said that the EU itself is an innovation. He said that Europe is much more like the U.S. than it was. It is now a single market, has a single currency, and has been expanding market reach around the world. The shortcoming is that Europe, unlike America, does not yet have a constitution. This results in an economic disadvantage because the European community can not make a decision for the total. The European economy is not innovating quickly enough and in fact some countries are protecting the past at the expense of the future. Mario says it is time for "naming and shaming" the laggards through peer reviews. Then he got more specific -- "Germany, France, and Italy are behind on liberalization of service markets and have resisted initiatives to increase competition". These three countries will have a negative impact on the Euro which in turn will hurt the rest of Europe. Mr. Monti's presentation was sobering but hopeful. He said the EU has a lot of good features, that it can protect intellectual property but also move against monopolies such as Microsoft. The key to get innovation going in Europe is for the EU to innovate itself by completing it's constitution.
Irving Wladawsky-Berger kicked off the final segment of the forum, which focused on the future. IBM supports Linux because it is a great operating system for computers. Irving introduced Linus Torvalds the developer of Linux which he published as a student in 1991. Don Tapscott, a widely acclaimed author, who invented the term "paradigm shift", then moderated the final panel which included Linus, Nick Donofrio, executive vice president for innovation and technology at IBM, and Ann Mettler, executive director and co-founder of The Lisbon Council. It was a wide-ranging discussion. Linus is an incredibly humble guy. He said he has no vision, just looks 5 cm ahead before each step, and loves to solve technical problems. Linux is successful, he says, because both the development and the decision making are distributed -- a "built-in meritocracy". Don asked why volunteers worked on Linux for no economic return. Linus said, "if you were all engineers, you would not be asking that question". Open source software is viable in most all software areas, with the only exception being niche markets which are too small to get adequate collaboration. "Open source will take over most all infrastructure".
Ann said there is a huge gap between businesses which are moving ahead rapidly and societies which feel left behind. The key problem is that the economy is 70% services but the regulations and governance are still based on an industrial model. She believes that government should learn how to innovate from businesses. "Politicians are clueless about the discussion of the past day and a half". She says that businesses need to share their leanings with society. The labor market in Europe is flat because companies do not want to hire and that is because the laws are so onerous. "You can hire but you can't fire". Labor reform is needed desperately.
Nick says' It' s all about change". IBM is doing a balancing act by supporting both open things and proprietary things. The company is generating a lot of patents but also giving away a lot of patents to move the ball forward in key markets such as healthcare and education. "The world can move ahead faster if the OS is Linux -- it is good enough and a "blow for freedom". A California venture capitalist asked about business ethics and Nick was very aggressive in his response saying it was not optional for companies to be totally and completely ethical in every respect. (Having been at IBM for 38 years, I can say I never ever had a concern about ethics at the company). Nick summarized that anyone can innovate if they are willing to change. "If nothing changes, nothing changes". Sam wrapped up the conference by saying corporations need to be transparent. Their ultimate responsibility is to create value for the constituencies: stockholders, customers, employees. He walks the talk.
Intro to Roman Rendezvous Stories
Index to Roman Rendezvous stories
Let's get small
For the benefit of those of you who just absolutely can't do without your dose of There Is No Cat while you're mobile, I've added a stylesheet to automagically reformat the site so that it displays in a more pleasing manner on such things as PDAs and maybe even telephones....read more:
UNLEASHED Drummer 'Making Fast Recovery' Following Lung-Collapse
According to a posting on UNLEASHED's official web site, the group's drummer, Anders Schultz, is "m...
[in BLABBERMOUTH.NET Latest News
] read more:
April Chamber Concerts - Alauna Ensemble
The Alauna Ensemble will give the first performances of Alan Bush's Septet for Woodwind and Strings Op.118 (1987) in South Wales, as part of the Crwth 3rd Series of Chamber Concerts 2002/2003.
Two concerts including Alan Bush's late work will take place on:
Friday 11th April 2003 at 7.30pm at St Elvan's Church, Aberdare.
Saturday 12th April 2003 at 7.30pm at the Brunswick Methodist Church, St. Helen's Road, Swansea.
The programme also includes Beethoven's Septet and Serenata in Vano by Nielsen.
The artists performing Alan Bush's Septet are:
Graham Mayger - flute
Jean Marsden - oboe
Verity Fielding - clarinet
Peter Morgan - bassoon
Gabrielle Painter - violin
Annette Morgan - viola
Martin Thomas - cello
Tickets will be available at the door - Prices: £8, Concessions £6, Students and Unwaged £2, School age free.
For more information, contact Peter Morgan: read more:
Telephone: 01792 548231
or visit the Crwth web site.
New Redcliffe CD - British String Quartets (No. 3)
The Alan Bush Music Trust are raising £3000 for the issue by Redcliffe Recordings of a CD of British music written for string quartets, in their series British Musical Heritage. The CD includes Alan Bush's Suite of Six for String Quartet Op. 81 (1975) and works by William Byrd and Frank Bridge.
The artists are the Bochmann String Quartet with Michael Bochmann (violin), Mark Messenger (violin), Helen Roberts (viola) and Paul Adams (cello).They performed Bush's Dialectic on Redcliffe Recording's 1997 CD, British String Quartets, and at the Centenary Concert at the Wigmore Hall in November 2000.
Alan Bush's work was commissioned by the BBC and given its first performance by the Chilingirian Quartet at St. John's Smith Square, London on 15th December 1975 at a BBC Lunchtime Recital.Its first concert performance took place at the 75th Birthday Concert given by the Workers' Music Association for Alan Bush at the Wigmore Hall on 11th January 1976. Writing about the broadcast performance, the Daily Telegraph, 16th December 1975 wrote:"Alan Bush celebrates his 75th birthday this month and the B.B.C. have marked the occasion by commissioning a new work, 'Suite of Six'...This, the composer's fourth work for quartet, confirms his faith in the principles of structural argument initiated by 'Dialectic' over 40 years ago. The new piece is more relaxed in its succession of eight short movements than the earlier taut structured masterpiece, but the forms are still braced by concentrated development. The fourth movement, for instance, moves quickly from exposition into a paragraph of considerable contrapuntal and motivic tension and then closes without a backward glance."
It is appropriate that Alan Bush's composition should be included on the CD with a work by Frank Bridge, because of the link between the two composers.They got to know one another in about 1929 and corresponded between 1929 and 1933. Alan and Nancy Bush also visited Frank Bridge at his home on more than one occasion. Bridge was very encouraging to Alan Bush, who at that time was a very young composer. Alan Bush was very touched that Frank Bridge took a "kind interest" in his work, in particular, his piano work, Relinquishment. Alan Bush, himself, went out of his way to promote Frank Bridge's work when he was in Germany and performed two piano pieces by Frank Bridge at a recital in Berlin, on 29th January 1931. At this concert he also played his own work Relinquishment.
The full CD listing is:
String Quartet No.4 by Frank Bridge
Suite of Six for String Quartet (Op.81) by Alan Bush
Fantasias for Strings by William Byrd
The Trust is raising money to fund the CD, which will be issued in June 2003. For a minimum subscription of at least £13 we will send you a copy of the C.D. upon its release. All donations should be sent to: read more:
Dr. Rachel O'Higgins
Alan Bush Music Trust
7 Harding Way
Cambridge CB2 3DA
The Irish Première of 'Lidice'
On Sunday, 14 April 2002, in the College Chapel of Maynooth University, the Maynooth University Chamber Choir, conducted by Mr Ciaran Duffy, gave the first performance in Ireland of Alan and Nancy Bush's work, Lidice. The concert also included performances of Hayden's Te Deum, Faure's Requiem and two recent compositions by contemporary Irish composers, Andrew Purcell's Ave Maria and Ciaran Tackney's Gloria.
In her programme note on Lidice, Mrs Emer Bailey wrote: "No evidence was ever found to support the claim that the inhabitants of the Czech town of Lidice were in anyway involved in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. But in an act of reprisal, on June 10 1942, the town together with all its male inhabitants, was obliterated by the Nazis. The rest of the villagers were sent to concentration camps.
|Alan Bush conducting at Lidice|
Alan Bush was so horrified by this appalling tragedy that he composed Lidice
in 1947 (with words by his wife and librettist, Nancy) for the Workers' Music Association Singers whom he conducted for many years. English composer Bernard Stevens, was assistant conductor at the time and recalls as one of the memorable experiences of his life, the occasion in 1947 when the choir sang the piece on the site of the destroyed town.He describes Lidice
as a masterwork that expresses all that we felt on that awe-inspiring occasion, comparable to Shostakovich's memorial to the victims of the destruction of Dresden in the Eighth String Quartet
The work begins in a sombre mood, describing the scene of devastation once the soldiers had gone. "Silence had returned to Lidice" with its "smould'ring wood" and "shattered stone". Then the tension slowly begins to build to a climax: "An unquenched spirit stirs and springs...to live and burn again". The work ends with a mood of quiet determination reminiscent of the opening bars.
Nancy Bush's poem expresses most clearly the anguish and horror of that terrible scene:
"When the last marching step had gone, and the hands, clenched in agony, the outstretched hands were motionless, silence returned to Lidice.
Voiceless, the threads of smoke crept up from smould'ring wood and shattered stone. The charred beam falling to the ground alone disturbed the empty noon.
Men and women, friends and lovers, now had left the valley lonely, and the despairing child's last cry, as he looked back, an echo, an echo only.
Here ranged along this shallow pit the men of Lidice once stood, and here their last glimpse of the world was this green curve of field and wood.
From the frail cavern of the skull their sightless eyes confront the sky and stare undaunted from the dust, proud men who did not fear to die.
Man's priceless treasure here lies spilt; but from this bitter ash of pain an unquenched spirit stirs and springs, renewed to live and burn again.
Now silent Lidice lies still, and stirs not, yet its stones proclaim, ravaged and mute, to all the world a matchless and immortal fame."
The Maynooth University Chamber Choir was conducted with real understanding by its young conductor, Mr Ciaran Duffy. The clear young voices of the choir conveyed with wonderful tenderness and feeling, the pathos and anguish of the work. The choir had very good diction, which enabled the audience to hear Nancy Bush's words clearly. It was a very moving performance and a welcome revival of a beautiful work.
Rachel O'Higgins, April 2002. read more:
Web Site Hosting with Streamyx ADSL Connection
Streamyx Broadband from TMNet, a Telekom Malaysia Berhad group (Telekom Malaysia has been re-branded as simply TM since late 2005), has been around since 2002. It started with 384kbps for home users, then increased to 512kbps and later increased to 1Mbps until today. Home users in this bandwidth category pay RM88 per month but normally transfer rate effectively less than half as advertised. At least that what I been experiencing since I become their first 5000 subscribers. Nevertheless, it is a lot better than dial-up and Streamyx Broadband remains the cheapest broadband provider in Malaysia.read more:
Connecting Sony Ericsson K700i to the Internet through my PC
I was recently stumped with CSS over handheld devices. I was using Sony Ericsson J200i, an entry level nice hand phone from Sony Ericsson to access WAP pages over GPRS. Now I need to test run my web sites development and CSS on handheld devices. In a quick impulse shopping I got myself a mid entry level Sony Ericsson K700i for RM850. The phone was selected for its price and features. The guy was nice enough to throw me a free gift in the form of quite nice canvas bag. So if you are shopping for Sony Ericsson, just try your luck but don't forget to be nice to the salesperson. I also bought a DiGi prepaid, activated the GPRS account and surf away with K700i.read more:
Web Development Team
When a web site is online, someone, somewhere must have been responsible for its creation.
You may be thinking about setting up your own web site and have done much research to find your perfect or rather agreeable company base on price, features, their proven works etc., this article introduces you to the people behind a typical web development project.read more:
Making Your Presence on the Web
You have been using the Internet for years now. If you are like me, you think it's a fascinating place. There are so much information in here you wish you have the time to surf away.
I will not waste your time so let get down to the reason you are here.
you want to have a web site ...
.. and you know exactly what your web site will contain.
Let's get started.read more:
Web Design & Development>
Web development incorporates all areas of creating a Web site for the World Wide Web. This includes Web design (graphic design, XHTML, CSS, usability and semantics), programming, content management, marketing, testing and deployment. The term can also specifically be used to refer to the "back end", that is, programming and server administration.
ref: Wikipedia: Web Developmentread more:
Web Site Maintenance
When web site is published on the Internet, the web site need to be monitored, evaluated, reviewed and updated. Maintenance of a web site starts with the owners intention to publish a web site, then it focus on its users needs, habits and preference, which is why the web site is published in the first place, to give its visitors useful information. A web site also promotes image and reputation of its owner whether it is a company, a brand name, a product or service, an individual or a community. Having to stumble into an out-dated information on a web site will, more often than not, frustrate a visitor. An out-of-date web site, be it for its content or design speaks for itself about its owner.read more:
Image and Online Success and The Importance of Good Design
Having a good looking site isn't everything but definitely crucial in the overall scheme when branding your company.read more:
Whose Site is it Anyway?
I spend a lot of time emailing with online business owners. Since that's my specialty, I find a lot of people asking me questions about my success. What amazes me is that many of those people are asking the wrong questions!read more:
Hand Picked SERPs from MSN
Forget algorithms, get hand picked results from MSN. Please take this post with a grain of salt. While in reality found on the MSN site, it is highly...read more:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Web site, consider thyself healed!read more:
Cleaning up their own site markup and hard drives everywhere.read more:
The Scottish Borders Council
You Searched for
An interesting layout, especially for a government site. Remember: if it isn't Scottish, it's crap!read more:
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