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November 2004
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How to find what you are looking for?

Ive been thinking alot about searching lately. The biggest thing I think we face is how to find what we are looking for, quickly. The internet as we know it has grown and is now changing faster than traditional search engines can index it. The implications are pretty clear - we need to find new ways of finding things. Ive been experimenting with tools to locate information of interest to me for a few months now, so I wanted to share some of the ones that I have found most useful:

www.feedster.com - searches rss feeds of news and blogs, often a good start for leads to the website you are looking for

www.pubsub.com - a free rss indexing tool using a push browser plugin, wonderful idea

www.daypop.com - I really like to troll through the top40 on here, once you ignore the political and election entries it is really quite interesting.

www.koders.com - steve passed this one along via slashdot today, searches sourcecode and returns examples of it in use. The implications are staggering - no more trolling through adpages posted on the internet looking for an *example*

so, what do you think? are there any other good ones Ive missed? Please share them!

 Comments (2) | Posted by: aaron @ 9:59 pm |


The VDC project so far…

Here is a little write-up on the VDC project so far, the problems that I ran into and the stuff that I ‘ve learned.

The first problem I ran into was the “missing packages". Not knowing enough about “yum” and being hinted by some stuff members (Joe, Aaron) that many packages that VDC depends on are missing & corrupted, I went through the Harvard repositores and google and downloaded/installed around 30-35 extra packages and got the thing running. However, after reading up on “yum” I went and checked the yum config file supplied by the VDC and realized that one of the repositories had an invalid path, and that caused the whole process of downloading packages to be stopped. After giving it the correct the path in the yum config file (or just commenting it out), the packages got downloaded and installed automatically (except for 2-3 rpm’s not found in those repositories).

The next bug I ran into after running the VDC configurator, was that httpd could not be started. This is were Mona helped me out, we simply opened the perl file (startup.pl) causing the error and commented out the line that gaves us the headache. I had no perl knowledge (and still don’t) but I’m pretty sure that it had something to do with verifying the system name/password in the LDAP database.

After that, most of the pages wouldnt work, simply because the LDAP database was not rebuilt from scratch. I ran the configurator again and rebuilt LDAP and postgresql databases. The next couple of days I ended up hunting for the admin user name which can be found in the vdc.ldif file. This brings me to the point where I am right now, being unable to create a study. I e-mailed the guys at Harvard, and they told me that there is a bug in the Repository Database connection. Fixing that is beyond my skills since the bug is in the actual software so the guys at Harvard are working on it right now.

Summary about LDAP:

I ‘ll keep it short, just enough to get you started. The first link posted below goes in a lot more detail.Anyways here we go, LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is pretty much a protocol for accessing the directory. What is a directory? It is a specialized database optimized for reading, browsing and searching (e.g. DNS). The directory is structured as a tree where every path from the leaf node to the root is an “entry” (think of an SQL entry e.g. name=Zoran, lname=Vujcic…).

An entry is referenced by its DN(distinguished name); e.g. “fn=Mona,proj=Game,team=SDG” (path leaf-root). Every entry also belongs to a class e.g. organizationalUnit, printer, person… and as in any OO language, belonging to a certain class requires that you maintain certain attributes. E.g. person must have its first name, surname, b-day… The classes (of objects) are defined in schema files. Some of them are predefined, but schema can also be extended by the classes of our own.

LDAP’s stand-alone server is called slapd and as a database backend is usually ldbm (lightweight dbm). In its config file (slapd.conf) there are 2 special entries: rootdn (e.g. “cn=Manager, o=vdc") which represents a unique DN which need not be in the tree but it is needed in order to add/delete entries from the command line. The other entry which is a rootpw is the password to the database. By using slapd we can add, remove and search in the database. The easiest way to add the entries is to use the files of the .ldif format which is specified in the first link posted below. Commands: ldapadd, ldapsearch and ldapdelete. For more info check the man pages and the following links:

VDC links

Here are some neat rpm commands:
Determine the package dependencies: rpm -qp -requires packageName.rpm
Remove the package while ignoring the dependencies: rpm -e -nodeps packageName
Get the description of the package: rpm -qip packageName.rpm
Get the files included in the package: rpm -qlp packageName.rpm
packageName = name of the package being queried.

That is all for now, I ‘ll keep posting as I go.

 Comments (3) | Posted by: Zoran @ 2:00 pm |


Dana leaving..

Dana’s last day will be this Friday.. Any suggestions on what to do for a farewell party? ;)

 Comments (22) | Posted by: Mona @ 1:51 pm |


Manage your bookmarks online

Manage your bookmarks online at Sitebar . Create a user name, log in and start adding your links.

 Comments (3) | Posted by: Zoran @ 10:46 am |



The new interface looks really smooth!

 Comments (6) | Posted by: mark @ 11:19 am |


AMD XP Athlon..

Got a new computer.. ;) Wicked.. :D

 Comments (1) | Posted by: Mona @ 2:19 pm |


Long weekend..

How was everyone’s long weekend?? :)

 Comments (2) | Posted by: Mona @ 8:53 pm |



Having problems with spam in outlook! Check out this free beta product…. It’s great! http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/index.html

 Comments (6) | Posted by: joe @ 3:28 pm |

Fixed it.

I added the feature where you can see individual user’s comments. It is not as sophisticated as the original.. but it shows the date, content, and who posted it.. So good enough eh? :D

 Comments (23) | Posted by: Mona @ 11:25 am |


Lookin’ Good


I think it will work out well. Good job!

 Comments (24) | Posted by: dana @ 3:08 pm |

needed features

for the blog - we need to be able to sort down on a per-person basis…. so as an example, if I want to just see what Mona has written, we need a way to filter down on that. Golam had written this for b2, and wordpress is based on b2, but I dont think his work will be applicable. Thoughts on how we will do this?

 Comments (3) | Posted by: aaron @ 9:42 am |



I am the admin, but I will be posting using my name.. ;) So how is everyone.. You like this design?

 Comments (23) | Posted by: Mona @ 6:12 pm |