A site devoted mostly to everything related to Information Technology under the sun - among other things.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Maven 2.0

Maven is an open source build tool for enterprise Java projects, that uses a declarative approach, where the project structure and contents are described, rather than the task-based approach used in Ant

Its model incorporates the idea of a build life-cycle, it sets-up a web site with report generation capability, and it knows how to find and download utilities (such as code-checkers) and their required recourse's and libraries.

Find it @ http://maven.apache.org/

There are two comprehensive guides available :

"Better Builds with Maven,” by four authors (www.devzuz.com/web/guest/products/resources),

“Maven, The Definitive Guide,” by three authors (www.sonatype.com/book).

There is also Sing Li’s “Introduction to Apache Maven 2” (www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/j-dw-java-mavenv2.html) which at 35 readable pages gives a quick, easy overview of the tool and how to get rolling.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Interesting Game Weblogs


Yehuda Berlinger, a Jerusalem game designer, offers a combination of insights into particular games and a wide-ranging discussion of games as an important part of life.

Gamer's Mind

Jim Cote, who goes by the name Ekted, writes reviews and descriptions of games and offers readers insight into how he decides which games to buy and take to game nights.

The Metagamers

A series of pod-casts in which board-game fanatics discuss games.

Gone Gaming

Gone Gaming's 12 contributors cover many game categories -- including war games, card games, fantasy and children's games -- and always seem to be learning new games at game nights, conventions and trips abroad.

Towards Emotionally Aware Computers

A "mind reading" technology has been demonstrated at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2007, Oct. 7 to 10). Using functional near-infrared spectroscopy Tufts University researchers have successfully crafted machine learning algorithms that deduce users' "stress levels," while performing tasks with varying levels of mental workload (from bored to overwhelmed) and adjust the man-machine interface to match.

Functional near-infrared spectroscopy, currently in clinical trials to detect tumors through the skin, has been re-purposed. The infrared sensors are mounted on a headband with eight laser diodes sending near-infrared light through the forehead to a depth of two to three centimeters (about an inch), where it scatters inside the brain's frontal lobe. Light passes through deoxygenated hemoglobin in the blood but is blocked by oxygenated hemoglobin. Since oxygenation levels indicate brain activity, the amount of scattered light detected by the two infrared sensors on the headband detect stress levels on a scale ranging from bored (low stress) to overwhelmed (high stress).

A perceptron neural network with 16 inputs, one hidden layer, and up to five outputs is employed to associate the sensed blood oxygenation levels with the stress levels of specific users. In the tests, different patterns of Rubik's cubes are presented to the users, giving them just nine seconds to identify how many colors are present on each cube. By starting with just two colors and working up from there, the researchers have been able to teach the neural network to recognize stress levels.

Insect Cyborgs

The science-fiction-writing brothers Arkady & Boris Strugatskii have written of a future in which humans use spaceships that are alive; i.e. biologically organims that have been modified by Man to act as space ships etc.

This vision of enhanced animals with electromechanical controllers has been explored in other science-fiction stories; among them in the novel "Sparrowhawk" (1990) by Thomas Easton. His presentation on this topic may be found @ http://technoprobe.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html

These visions have taken a tiny step towards reality since DARPA has started funding research on Insect Cyborgs. Cyborg insects with embedded micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) that will run remotely controlled reconnaissance missions for US military. So far, what is achieved has been the ability to insert a MEMS chip into an insect's pupae, with the adult hatching successfully.

The living space ships, I suppose, are at least a 100 years into the future; which brings us to the world of "Noon: 22 Century".

Salamander-Inspired Robot Motion

A group of researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, led by Auke Ijspeert, have shown how the salamander is able to swim, walk, and crawl. Based on that, they have invented a modular robot that can mimic the motions f the salamander quite well. ead about it @ http://birg2.epfl.ch/publications/fulltext/ijspeert07.pdf

This is not a trivial achievement since there have been 2 major hurdles to building such robots:

  1. Making machines that connect to others easily using low power, hold with sufficient mechanical strength to support significant weight and then disconnect easily--again, without expending too much energy--is a difficult job in itself. By adding to that the freedom of movement within individual robots or flexibility in joint angles, then the problem becomes really tricky.
  2. The other difficulty is control; how does one get the robots to form the correct structures on the fly? And, how does one enable these new bodies to figure out how to walk, crawl or otherwise move themselves around the room?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

5 Free Tools and Widgets

XML Notepad 2007
Lets developers treat XML in its native hierarchical fashion @ http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=72d6aa49-787d-4118-ba5f-4f30fe913628&DisplayLang=en

Open XML File Format Code Snippets for Visual Studio Developer
Creates code to automate tasks in Office applications using the Open XML file format introduced with Office 2007 @ http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=8D46C01F-E3F6-4069-869D-90B8B096B556&displaylang=en

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar
IE utility lets developers discover the HTML structure behind every page rendered in the browser @ http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e59c3964-672d-4511-bb3e-2d5e1db91038&DisplayLang=en

Windows PowerShell
Lets developers script batch files for administration and automation tasks @ http://microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=6ccb7e0d-8f1d-4b97-a397-47bcc8ba3806&DisplayLang=en

Process Explorer
Goes beyond Task Manager by providing detailed information about the running system, including processes, memory, CPU, I/O, loaded DLLs and file handles @ http://microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/processexplorer.mspx

OpenSpan Application Integrator

OpenSpan is a platform and a development environment for building highly-detailed custom integrations on Windows applications.

If you want to be able to automatically open an MS Word document, select some words or phrases, feed that to Google, and capture and save the browser's output, then OpneSpan is for you.

Using OpenSpan Studio, you create a project and add components that represent applications that are installed on that machine. You then visually interrogate those applications to find data (usually, but not always, in UI fields). The tool then taps the application to process the data and pass it off to another application.

This is really a work flow builder that could help with many software development process tasks as well as data analysis and visualization tasks in the business intelligence and data mining domains.

Domain Specific Languages

Microsoft has released a set of tools for the creation of Graphical Domain Specific languages. One can then create models that conceptually represent the system that one is building, together with diagrammatic representation of its content.

The DSL Tools of Microsoft are part of the Visual Studio SDK, and may be found @ https://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/DSLTools

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Top 100 Classic Sites

From the PC Magazine:


Envisioning year 2000 in 1910

These are from a collection of images in the French National Library from the year 1910, envisioning life in theyear 2000.

Free PDF Books


Friday, October 12, 2007

Some breath-taking pictures from NASA…..

Click on the images to see a larger picture with more details.

About Me

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I am a senior software developer working for General Motors Corporation.. I am interested in intelligent computing and scientific computing. I am passionate about computers as enablers for human imagination. The contents of this site are not in any way, shape, or form endorsed, approved, or otherwise authorized by HP, its subsidiaries, or its officers and shareholders.

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