Archive for January, 2006

And another thing!!! Macs in the Valley

January 31, 2006

In the 90’s if I walked into a meeting in the Valley with my PowerBook I got sideways glances and statements like “you work on Mac???” Now, it seems that times have indeed changed. Over the last couple (at least since I’ve decided to take notice) of months that on average 1 in 5 people, in meetings I’ve been in, are not Mac-based. It’s not because I’m meeting with people who aren’t developing heavy backend apps either. Quite the contrary. It’s rather remarkable (hence the post).

Now, instead of getting sideways glances about the fact that I have a PowerBook, I now get puzzled looks because I still use my 1st generation Titanium G4 book. I mean really…I’m not doing fractal encryption…I don’t plan on doing fractal encryption…Is it possibly that people have never seen this generation PBook and think it’s the hottest new thing??? Probably not. But it did consume cycles on my end.

It’s a very nice change to get off the StinkPad though. Bigger screens, nicer visuals, easier management and no more red trackbutton makes life oh so much better.

If I get Mono running on this thing as well, I may actually hand my StinkPad over to the shelf of doom…

Great read about why math will rule Web2.0

January 26, 2006

This is an interesting read:

In a meeting last week, a friend of mine said he recently read that “this is the best time in the world to be a mathematician.” Couldn’t agree more. For the next 5 to 10 years, anyone who said in school, that “I’ll never use statistics, algebra or calculus again” knows where they can stick it (if they’d paid attention in school)…right in the bank.

However, as we approach the finite bounds of Moore’s law and the atomic realities of processor fab, I believe that a new spotlight will shine in technology. This will evolve into the Web3.0. A Web that isn’t going to be as much about math as it will be about quantum physics. Where’s Feynman???

Then again:
“Anything is peaceful from one thousand, three hundred and fifty-three feet.”

“I think I see my dad.”

Hello my ol’ friend Macintosh…

January 23, 2006

For the last 4 years or so, I abandoned the Mac for everything except light HTML, Photoshop, Quicktime and Entourage. Having popped into the world pf PHP and Python, I now have a new set of long lost friends….namely my G5 and my Powerbook. Welcome truly back to my coding life… It’s so much easier to manage than anything on the PC or Linux side.

Simple NLP Part-of-Speech tagger in Python

January 20, 2006

So yesterday, I decided to learn Python. Been a .NET guy primarily for the last n years, had some people work in it around me, but never was inclined to try it out. DUH!!!! Such a nice language. It took a couple minutes to get my bearings, but I figured…why not! Everyone in the Valley is so anti-MS and so pro-(Python, MySQL, PHP) one needs to embrace the flow.

For the last couple years I’ve been using a very simple, yet (what I believe to be) a strong POS tagger built by Mark Watson and based on Eric Brill’s work. Written in C#, it gave me a very straightforward paring knife to do tokenization and POS tagging quickly and easily in .NET. Now Monty Tagger and NTLK are definitely incredible resources for NLP in Python, but I wanted something very strightforward and portable without all the bells and whistles so I can build on the core myself. Not to mention I wanted something fun for my first outting in Python. Well…ta da! Here it is.

It’s comprised of two (count them 2) VERY simple source files. The first is the basic hashing and pickling utility if you want to make changes to the lexicon (I believe I’m using the same lexicon file as Monty Tagger), and the second is the actual tagger/tokenizer.

I’ve made some additional tweaks to the versions I run and plan to port some of them also to Python. If you’re intersted in additions add a comment and I’ll do my best to share/accomodate.

You can download my Python NLP Part-of-Speech Tagger here.

This is my first anything outside of some Hello World stuff in Python. It definitely works, and does so at a decent clip (speed wise), but I’m sure I could have done some of the operations a little more elegantly. Leave comments though with recommendations/suggestions/!flames.

0.1 doesn’t support Exchange Server

January 19, 2006

The current version of JW!Convo doesn’t support Exchange, only POP3 accounts. A patch will be available in the next couple days.

If you would like to be notified when the Exchange patch has been included, click here.

“Toolbar doesn’t show up after install” issue

January 19, 2006

There was an issue with the Registry Entries being made by the installer. If you downloaded a version of the Toolbar before 6:25PM (PST), please re-download and re-install.

To do this, first go to Add/Remove Programs and remove JWConvo. Then re-install. That should take care of it. The toolbar will load straight-away and popup the registration box.

JW!Convo First Run setup tip

January 17, 2006

When setting up JW!Convo, the first thing you will see after installing the toolbar is a popup asking for a username and password (and a password confimation). I’d recommend NOT using your email account’s password, but something else that you’ll remember. This will provide even better security for your mail.

Once you’ve installed, hit Mass Import and the toolbar will pull a sample of your Inbox and Sent mail (125 mails from each) to give you a glimpse of what JW!Convo can do.

The Gmail-like viewing in Outlook is available either by clicking on a mail in your inbox or Sent mail box and then clicking on View Convo in the tool bar, or by clicking on View List in the look bar and then clicking on an email address in the list. That will bring up the conversation view similar to what you see in Gmail. The big difference is that the mails are shown from the first time you’ve mailed back or forth with someone and then also sorts by Subject on the left hand side.

Let me know what you think. If you have comments or suggestions you can post them here or at

JW!Convo ALPHA v0.1 up and running!

January 16, 2006


I’ve released the toolbar I’ve been chatting up for the last couple weeks. It’s in ALPHA, but I’ve spent some significant time making sure the backend can support decent traffic. Here are the basic into FAQs. The full FAQs can be found here: Full JW!Convo FAQs

Also, you can download it, by clicking here: JWConvoSetup.msi.

What is JW!Convo?
ALPHA ver0.1 rel: 16 January 2006

JW!Convo is a toolbar enabling Microsoft Outlook users to organize and view their mail in a more intuitive conversation format. Patterned initially after the Gmail conversation model, JW!Convo enables users to view conversations they’ve had with specific people over time. The conversation thread is date sorted first (like Gmail) and then sub-categorized by conversation title.

Core features within JW!Convo include:

    Mass Import

  • Mass Import enables you to import your entire Inbox and Sent mailbox into JW!Convo. Each email in your Inbox and Sent mailbox is first encrypted using 256-bit encryption, compressed to about 1/10th of its original size and then sent to the JW!Convo servers for indexing and storage. Each email sent to the database is only added once. So you’ll never see duplicates in your conversation views.
    View List

  • View List is a summary view of the people you’ve interacted with. It lists them alphabetically by email address and displays the last date you’ve had contact with them.
    View Convo

  • View Convo enables you to view conversations you’ve had with someone. You can go to View Convo two ways. First, simply highlight an email from someone in your Inbox and click the View Convo button on the Outlook toolbar. It will take you immediately to the conversation. Alternatively, you can View Convo via the View List button on the Outlook toolbar. Click on a person you’d like to view a conversation for and you’ll immediately be taken to the conversation.
    Automatic Send/Receive updates

  • Each time you send or receive an email, JW!Convo automatically updates your views.

Download it, by clicking here: JWConvoSetup.msi.

Skip Barber – Mid Ohio 2005

January 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by jasonwiener.

Mid Ohio 2005…