Bart @ Ryerson

Posted by Bart Thu, 05 Mar 2009 03:49:00 GMT

In September 2008, I began a Master's Degree in Computer Science at Ryerson University. You can view my Ryerson page here. As a result, this blog has become a bit outdated. But I've been busy, and updates are there, specifically my links page.

My primary area of research is ontologies. Specifically, I'm researching automated ontology mapping through machine learning (video from Standford). The domain I'm currently concentrating on is logical representation of ontologies in first order logic languages. This field is dominated by deductive theorem provers, and inductive logic programming. See Alan Bundy's paper Survey of Automated Deduction

OpenSource does not mean "No Copyright"

Posted by Bart Tue, 19 Aug 2008 06:01:00 GMT

The verdict was simple... just because you decide to give your work away for free, does not mean anyone can take it from you, and use it in a way which you did not allow. Thank you Larry Wall for the original Artistic Licence.

Essentially, Robert Jacobsen (plaintiff) proved that Matthew Katzer and Kamind Associates Inc. (Defendants) violated his Artistic License Agreement, under which he published his Java Model Train Interface (JMTI), when they unlawfully used his code in their own commercial venture. Now this does not mean that you can't make money off of OpenSource projects, notably Apple's OSX (via Unix) and Red Hat (via Linux). What it does means is that the family of open source licenses are legally protected under the US copyright laws.

This is truly great news. Fundamentally, I think it shows that ideas, passion, and collaboration drive innovation, not profit.

Entire US Federal Appeals Court Ruling The Headlines
The OpenSource history

WWDC 2008

Posted by Bart Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:37:00 GMT

So by now I'm sure you know of all the fun features the new iPhone provides, such as GPS, enterprise support, location detection, $199 price tag, 22 countries on July 11th (including Canada.. yey!.. eh), etc. There's a lot of new features available in Xcode for us, the developers and designers, and tools we use to build and improve our applications, but unfortunately, the WWDC NDA doesn't allow me to mention any of them, except for what was said during the keynote.

So instead I thought you could have some fun with something random, like Chemistry.


Good-bye Netscape

Posted by Bart Sat, 01 Mar 2008 23:50:00 GMT

Today is the first day that the Netscape browser will not be supported by it's founder Marc Andreessen, Netscape the company, or buyer AOL.

Why is this significant? It's the first time in the internet's history, as most end-users know it, that Netscape will not be officially supported. Netscape was the first big commercial internet browser when it came out in beta back in 1994. It made the internet available to millions of people, removing it from the restriction of the dorm-rooms, research labs, news-groups, and of course military. It gave the rest a new way of doing business, connect with others, share information, learn, discover, and yes, find porn.

Netscape's decline in popularity was set in stone a long time ago, when Microsoft bundled it's own browser, Internet Explorer, with it's operating system Windows. Their monopolization tactics are still costing them serious money in Europe. But Netscape's essence will continue to resonate through the growing popularity of Firefox, and the new kid on the block Flock, which are both based on Nestcape's original Mozilla code base. Mosaic (the original Netscape) left, but can be brought back from here to a computer near you. Opera is a powerful browser, and I encourage everyone to try it.

Thankfully for Netscape's many loyal users, support will still be available through the user maintained support on the net, which we've all become dependent on.

Netscape Skin for Mozilla:

Netscape Archive UFAQ
Netscape Community Forum

MatchMaker on CBC's The Hour

Posted by Bart Wed, 12 Dec 2007 04:39:00 GMT

We're pretty excited about this one!

Hossein will be featured on the CBC's The Hour, and it's segment, Is this A Good Idea?. The idea is that The Hour will give some TV face time to projects which sound interesting and innovative. Then lets its viewers decide whether it is in fact, a good idea.

Is this a good idea?

That's what we'd like to know. Good idea -- sliced bread. Bad idea -- Gary, Indiana.

We're building a tally of the best and worst ideas around, and the power, my friends, is in your hands.

An idea a week for your viewing pleasure, and all we ask is that you weigh in with your thoughts, your thumbs, and with what I should eat for lunch, because the food in this place is killing me. killing. me.
- itagi

Coming up with a scheme to pay you to recycle, spreading joy through t-shirts, and others have been ranked by the viewers.

Well now it's our turn. I'm involved in a Mobile lab at Ryerson University in Toronto, which produces, well, mobile technology. One of the research projects we are working is a matching engine for ad-hoc networks and social interactions in such environments. One of the applications is the dating scenario which will be featured on the show, this Thursday, December 13, at 11:00 pm, on CBC. Make sure you check it out, then go online and give us the old yay or ney.

So would you consider dating using mobile devices, in a club scenario. would you like to find people with particular resources quickly at a conference, exchange information with people in a meeting, and automatically know who's the best match for your new start up, who's got the technical skills to make your project the next Google?

Dumb as a Chimp? You wish...

Posted by Bart Tue, 04 Dec 2007 08:37:00 GMT

Researchers in Japan have found that chimps have better short term memory then humans. Most people, including some biologists and psychiatrists, believe that human cognitive skills are far better then that of any primate, but according to the research of Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa of the Kyoto University in Japan, this is not the case. Dr. Matsuzawa's results will be published in the Current Biology journal.

Check out Ali's page, the chimp in question, for some pretty cool videos of his memory skills.

Dr Lisa Parr of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, associates this to "to our increasing reliance on language-based memory skills." [quote]

If you have trouble believing that we might not be the smartest primates on this planet, you have to admit that we are at least getting dumber.

3D Graphics

Posted by Bart Tue, 27 Nov 2007 08:34:30 GMT

It blew me away, how the fuzzification and merging of other faces can approximate 3D images from 2D images. Even the Mona Lisa can gain texture, expressions, and a complete physical remodeling:

Google advanced features

Posted by Bart Thu, 08 Nov 2007 08:09:29 GMT

By now I'm sure lots of people know about the cool little and big tools that Google provides. Google Scholar is a great way to look up publications, Google Book is becoming an efficient way to browse libraries, not the internet (the internet is virtual library, yes, I see that relation), and there's many utilities you can quickly get information on.

Ever want to know what the population of Canada is? type in:

  population canada
A quick calculator:
 5 + 3 = 8
 sqrt(-3) = = 1.73205081 i
 28 fahrenheit in celsius = = -2.22222222 degrees Celsius
Custom domain search: rails

So these are cool utilities, but there's also a ton of advanced features you can use to perform your searches right in the search bar as well. For scripting these features become powerful tools, such as daterange. I found it today while researching something.

Google lets you restrict your search to specific time frames. So to check out my site's existence, changes, and references can be tracked nicely through this feature:

  bartgdev daterange:2454101-2454131 
has a few results, and:
has the whole picture, telling you how long (not that long apparently) my site has been up.

Very neat utility I think.

Evolution of Scientific Discovery (a demarcation problem)

Posted by Bart Fri, 21 Sep 2007 02:04:00 GMT

I've been discussing the difference between science and pseudo-science for the last few months with my theology, science, and sociology friends, and we've come up with more questions then answers. This is good news, because that is what good science dictates....

Anywho... I found an interesting article on the status of the "Hobbit" species found several years ago on the Island of Flores. They're about a meter long, and have human like features, except for the fact that they're about a meter long, and don't exhibit any signs of a disease to have stunted their growth. The small size is/was believed to be a necessity of the lack of food (scarcity of resources) on the island they were inhabiting.

I heard humans are adaptive creatures....

Now to my main point. I found this article on the BBC site, which on the side also has any relevant information about the current article. This feature gives the reader a great history of the developing story. This article is a science based one, and shows how the science of this discovery was viewed and reported at each new development. This article has the following trail:

Notice the tone of each sequential news article.

Sorted by date:
  • 'Hobbit' joins human family tree
    - they're just like us.... we've learned so much about ourselves
  • Hobbit was 'not a diseased human'
    - 000 more clues, they're sort of like us, but evolved differently
  • New 'Hobbit' disease link claim
    - they're like us, but diseased... but still like us!
  • More Flores 'Hobbits' described
    - oooo... even more clues... we can start classifying them much better now
  • 'Hobbit' stirs scientific clash
    - scientists argue over the science involved in categorizing the 'Hobbits'... scientific rigor and review
  • Team widens search for 'Hobbits'
    - more research is needed.. and we've learned so much in the process
  • New twist in 'hobbit' human story
    - they had small brains, but were smart enough to make and use tools.. hmm.. interesting... very interesting
  • 'Hobbit' human 'is a new species'
    - they don't fit a formula.. they must be a new species
  • 'Hobbit' wrists 'were primitive'
    - oooo, more clues revealed through empirical evidence: bones, mass, motor skills, pressure, etc

Science by it's nature is open to criticism. It wouldn't be science if it wasn't. It's not exact all the time, but scientists realize it's a work in progress on most days. And if anything is true in the first principle and self-evident, such as

if (true OR false) then true 
then it's true "as far we can tell". And that's true through practice, no metaphysics involved.

The most important thing is that scientists are always willing to say, "this is what we believe", and it's never an absolute truth, unless it's an axiom, as appose to tautology.

To me it comes down to subjective and objective logic. Subjective conclusions are biased. Subjectivity is great for formulating hypotheses, but conclusions require a greater amount of empirical and logical proof; and that proof NEEDS to be objective. Otherwise you're playing politics by consciously pushing an agenda.

YouTube's fastest rising star

Posted by Bart Wed, 12 Sep 2007 22:57:00 GMT

I don't know if you've linked into this yet but this "Leave Britney Spears Alone alone video, has been insanely popular. I'm not a fan of hers, or defending this guy's rant, and free speach says let him rant.. why not! I'm not particularly interested in spreading the video either.

The reason I'm writing about it, is that it's view count is going up incredibly quickly. This video was uploaded yesterday (Sept 11, 2007) When I first saw it on YouTube at 10:30am EST, it already had about 1.4 million views. I checked again now at 6:40 pm EST, and it has 2,317,638 views, with 41,266 comments been favorited 5,940 times, and 575 video responses. Keep in mind that YouTube's most popular video of some dude dancing has just over 36+ million views. Way to go Chris Crocker!

Check out YouTube's "YouTube :: Most Viewed Videos - Today" list.

The closest is Kanye West's breakdown, with a measly 834,663 views.

So to recap (approx as I don't know what it started with):

2,317,638 views in 24 hours
96,568 per hour
737,638 views in the last 8 hours
56 commnets per hour
100 favorited per hour

Wow! indeed...

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