Updated: 17/04/2003; 22:48:15.
New technologies that I find interesting

28 February 2003

What is Zope?

Zope is an open source web application server primarily written in the Python programming language. It features a transactional object database which can store not only content and custom data, but also dynamic HTML templates, scripts, a search engine, and relational database (RDBMS) connections and code.

There are numerous products (plug-in Zope components) available for download to extend the basic set of site building tools. These products include new content objects; relational database and other external data source connectors; advanced content management tools; and full applications for e-commerce, content and document management, or bug and issue tracking. Zope includes its own HTTP, FTP, WebDAV, and XML-RPC serving capabilities, but can also be used with the Apache or other web servers.

10:54:17 AM    comment []

25 February 2003

Dialing for bloggers. The latest Web-log trend is audioblogging, the posting of audio clips instead of or alongside text entries, which is inspiring software developers to raise a new crop of tools. [CNET News.com]

Is this the start of the process that will eventually make the words  - "Captain's (b)log star date ..." become a reality for everyone?

Is voice really the final frontier?  Thus far voice interaction with computers has failed to pass the Turning Test.  Microsoft and IBM have done well thus far to provide some dictation capabilites but in many cases it is still quicker to type your thoughts.

My Orange SPV - Smartphone- has given me glimpses of the future or should that be the past?  The grainy {camera} images, postage stamp video clips, cumbersome email, limited storage, poor battery life alongside the worldwide wait web browsing remind me of the early days of Windows on portable PCs.

Although less than 3 years ago this tri-band phone/PDA/MP3/IM/browser was everything I hoped for and imagined when I owned one of the original Compaq iPAQ's.  

As with the early laptops things are set to improve. We are promised improved battery life with fuel cells and better storage. New compression technologies for video (MPEG4) and audio (AAC) combined with better bandwidth (3G or UWB) and faster Intel X processors. At the same time plans from companies such as Casio include combining a mini-TV into the phone. It is not inconceivable to see satellite and digital radio also being included once UWB arrives along with a PVR solution (TiVo) to pre-record our personal viewing habits.

And yet one problem still remains - inputting data.  Txt msgs r ok 4 a while but quickly become annoying especially when trying to decrypt and make sense of some elses abbreviations. 

Voice then is the final frontier and with VoiceXML 2.0 steps are being taken to make it easier for man and machine to communicate.  I still remain unsure as to the value of audio weblogs but it is an exciting development.

And then there are Nanotech advances ...

2:25:48 PM    comment []

18 February 2003

Google has bought Pyra, the alternative blog software to the one I use here. The bigger question is what is Google trying to become?  

AltaVista went down this route by trying to monetise their search traffic.  This didn't work for AltaVista and it probably won't work for Google. 

Thus  far I have not used any of their new services - Google News, Scout or Froogle - and looking through Google Labs it is clear they plan to develop other services. 

I would add that I have used their new Google translation service which is free.  I am also experimenting with Google's web services which enable people to embed Google into their applications.  

What I love about Google is that is is quick and simple. I hope they don't kill that!!!   

5:04:18 PM    comment []

05 December 2002

Please find below a very quick and simple demo I wrote today to show how the current Amazon Associates program can be easily integrated into my weblog. I have also created a number of examples that use the new Amazon Web Services. (AWS)

To begin with below I have used a variety of the Amazon Associate (AA) examples using my Associate ID - secondthoughts-21


 In Association with Amazon.co.uk  In Association with Amazon.co.uk

Example of links to Amazon.co.uk using my associate id:

I have also used an example from the AA to link with a specific CD using both the linked image and link options.  Having purchased over 171 items from Amazon this year according to my history orders list, I intend to create a proper "Sam's best of 2002" page in the next few days.   

At the moment my favourite album of the year has to be Camino Palmero from The Calling but Avril Lavigne, Five For Fighting, Sister Hazel and LifeHouse are all very close.


Amazon.co.uk Review
While the Calling don't blaze any new trails on Camino Palmero, they have revived the power ballad to give it their own emotionally charged spin. And if that weren't enough, they inject so many inspirational messages into the 11 songs on their debut that one could almost mistake them for a contemporary Christian band.

Musically, this band stands proudly next to such earnest forebears as Creed, matchbox twenty, and Lifehouse (the latter makes sense given that Calling guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme's brother, Rick, is Lifehouse's drummer). With their brooding, contemplative lyrics about love, loss, rejection and revenge, the Calling embark on an anxious journey into the state of modern relationships. And while they don't offer any conclusions, they certainly provide an interesting mirror on an apprehensive time. Along with their sturdy musicianship and rhythmically driven melodies, this band very likely will enjoy a longer shelf life than most of their contemporaries. --Jaan Uhelszki

I have also included the Amazon search engine just to complete the list of examples which is also linked to my associate id.   I have also edited the HTML so that only those categories that I have an interest in will appear.  i.e no classical music


In Association with Amazon.co.uk


Amazon Web Services (AWeSome)

What is more interesting was the recent CNET news article about Amazon's AWeSome.

Below is a very small list of some applications that have been developed using AWS in conjunction with XML & SOAP: 

  • Amazon Light is a simple text only version of Amazon.
  • Amazox makes a call to Amazon Associates XML interface, displaying the results in a table, suitable for inclusion in a Web page.  This example requires the developer to use PERL.  But there is a demo of Amazox on the right hand side of the linked page.
  • Yes.net which is the best example of using the AWS that I have seen.  It links live to every radio station in the USA and then as the song is playing, enables you to buy the single directly from Amazon.  Click on the link above for a full demo.

    The live example below uses only the Seattle Radio station KNDD 107:7.  Simple click on the drop down box below to get an update on which track is currently playing. If you then choose buy from Amazon it uses my associate id to get the current track/album and places it in a cart ready for purchase.

I have recently spoken to YES.net and they are currently working closely with Amazon in the USA and are planning to come to the UK/Europe very soon.

  • Book Post:  uses Amazon Web Services to get the book information, and the Blogger API Web Service (which I am using here) to retrieve my weblog. This service is completely dependent on Amazon and the Radio UserLand weblog tool.  

Related Articles on AWS taken from XML Hack.

Second Generation Web Services

Amazon uses REST not SOAP 

Finally here is an example of someone who has created a complete store using the new AWS which is called aptly callled The Simplest Shop.


9:53:34 AM    comment []

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