The boring rants of a lazy nerd

Friday, April 30, 2004

FFDB - no comments

Why is this lack of interest? Is the project boring? Is it going too slowly? Am I asking too much?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Web Tech - WS Simplification?

It's not like Tim Bray needs my support, but here it is: hear, hear!

FFDB - sample data contribution

I hope everyone has found a few stories, and now I'll elaborate on the required data. You are requested to submit as much as possible about three fics of your choice, please try to get very different stories so we have the entire range of possible values for each property. Be creative, we want to see if this data is descriptive enough for every possible fic.

So far I've come down to this for a story:

Title: string
Author (1..n): string
Rating: one of: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X
First publishing date: date
Is it complete: Boolean (true or false)
Warnings: multiple entries of: slash, violence, whatever. We'll have to compose a full list.
Genres: multiple entries of: fluff, angst, drama, action, PWP, whatever. We'll have to compose a full list.
spoilers for: multiple entries of items from list of canon books (now: PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OoTP, FBAWTFT, QTTA)
Characters: multiple entries of items from list of canon characters (we'll have to compose it using the lexicon)
Ships: multiple entries of items from list of known ships (we'll have to compose it using fandom resources and maybe on the fly)
written based on what level of canon: (book4-canon, book5-canon, etc.), this is because AtE was good for a post book 4 story, but book 5 made it AU.
Is it part of series: Boolean
If true: name of series (list will be composed on the fly) and item number in the series
Does it belong to fanon: Boolean (for stories set in a world created by other stories)
If true: which story created the fanon
Is it a crossover: Boolean
If true: with what (list will be compiled on the fly)
timeframe: from list of: irrelevant, ancient times, dark ages (founders), in between, Victorian, in between, Grindelwald's war, in between, Voldemort's war (MWPP's school days), in between, pre book1, book1 ... book7, immediately post Hogwarts, Harry's generation's twenties, next generation, far future.
Archived at site: multiple entries from list of known sites (including private ones and yahoo groups, will be compiled on the fly)
Per site, identifier at archive site: name in FA, id number on SQ, id number on FFN, etc. perhaps full URL is better, with parsing in FFDB? Would like to get your $0.02 on this.
Word count: sum of word count for all chapters (calculated automatically)
Edited by: list, perhaps union'd from all chapters
Language quality: either voted or average of all chapters (voted there)
Last update date: max update date from all chapters (calculated automatically)
ic/ooc meter: voted, perhaps per chapter and then averaged (or min?)
General vote: duh
Chapters: number of (calculated automatically)

Per each chapter:

Number: string (for all those "twenty seven and three quarters" ;) )
Title: string
Author if guest author: string
Publishing date: date
Word count: number of real words! Counted _after_ parsing, not wc of html source! Including AN if easier.

I'll be the first and provide an example:

Title: After the End
Author: Arabe1la
Author: Zsenja
Rating: R
First publishing date: 2001-05-13 (estimated from y!g archive)
Is it complete: true
Warnings: they never talked about Sirius/Remus in the fic itself, right? Only in outtakes? So none, because the sex is not graphic.
Genres: fluff, angst, drama (others?)
Spoilers for: PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, FTTA, FBAWTFT
Characters: Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Charlie, Bill, Charlie, Fleur, Remus, Sirius (any others?)
Ships: R/H, H/G, Bill/Fleur. should the minor ships (Wesleys' SOs, that couple that got married summer after Hogwarts, etc.) be mentioned? $0.02 plz
Written based on what level of canon: book4
Timeframe: immediately post Hogwarts
Archived at site:
Identifier at archive site: 619
Archived at site:
Identifier at archive site: /
Word count: 593,743 (OotP is only 255,000!!!)
Edited by: B Bennett, Cap'n Kathy, Honeychurch, Dr. Aicha, Moey, Jedi Boadicea, Caroline and Hallie and Joe, Firelocks, CoKerry, ElanorGamgee, Lallybroch (from ANs)
Last update date: 2003-06-21 (day OotP published)
Chapters: 45

The Prologue, Expecto Sacrificum, 2001-05-13, 2072
Chapter One, Through the Fireplace, 05/28/2001, 6402
Chapter Two, In the Trench, 05/28/2001, 7595
Chapter Three, Morning News, 05/29/2001, 10488
Chapter Four, Meet the Press, 06/13/2001, 8472
Chapter Five, Goldie's Liquid Curse, 06/27/2001, 10370
Chapter Six, The Lewis House, 07/12/2001, 9963
Chapter Seven, Culparrat, 07/26/2001, 9565
Chapter Eight, The Apparition Exam, 08/20/2001, 7631
Chapter Nine, The Kinolia, 08/25/2001, 11680
Chapter Ten, Echoes of War, estimated early Sep 2001, 9735
Chapter Eleven, Confrontations and Confidences, 09/27/2001, 13919
Chapter Twelve, Care of Magical Creatures, estimated Oct 2001, 12003
Chapter Thirteen, The Wolfsbane Potion, 11/08/2001, 9594
Chapter Fourteen, Plans for Autumn, 11/23/2001, 12841
Chapter Fifteen, The Bar Brawl, 11/30/2001, 8229
Chapter Sixteen, Empty Nest, 12/17/2001, 10056
Chapter Seventeen, The Wedding, estimated new year's 2002, 11557
Chapter Eighteen, Morning After, Night Before, 01/07/2002, 9761
Chapter Nineteen, Islands, 02/07/2002, 6598
Chapter Twenty, Charms, and Other Subjects, estimated late Feb / early Mar 2002, 12594
Chapter Twenty-One, Pure Nerve, 03/20/2002, 13071
Chapter Twenty-Two, Without Restraint, estimated late Mar / early Apr 2002, 13280
Chapter Twenty-Three, Devotion to Duty, 04/11/2002, 10700
Chapter Twenty-Four, Halloween, 04/30/2002, 9143
Chapter Twenty-Five, Enquiring Minds Want to Know, 06/03/2002, 15359
Chapter Twenty-Six, The Very Late, Really Long Chapter From Hell, 09/22/2002, 16658
Chapter Twenty-Seven, The Seeker, 10/03/2002, 17356
Chapter Twenty-Seven and Three Quarters, First String, 11/26/2002, guest written by Firelox, 18328
Chapter Twenty-Eight, Homecomings, estimated late Nov 2002, 15685
Chapter Twenty-Nine, Christmas at the Burrow, estimated early Dec 2002, 16508
Chapter Thirty, Under the Influence, 12/25/2002, 14404
Chapter Thirty-One, Toil and Trouble, 01/25/2003, 13622
Chapter Thirty-Two, Black and Potter, 02/04/2003, 11153
Chapter Thirty-Three, Residual Damage, 02/19/2003, 14427
Chapter Thirty-Four, Breakthroughs, 03/06/2003, 15716
Chapter Thirty-Five, Outbursts, 04/13/2003, 17875
Chapter Thirty-Six, Hard Truths, 04/08/2003, 14444
Chapter Thirty-Seven, Blue Moon, 04/28/2003, 11493
Chapter Thirty-Eight, Beleaguered by Halfwits, 05/06/2003, 20016
Chapter Thirty-Nine, Ella, 05/20/2003, 14980
Chapter Forty, Ron's Secret, 05/30/2003, 13742
Chapter Forty-One, The Ring, 06/07/2003, 19475
Chapter Forty-Two, The Prisoners of Azkaban, 06/17/2003, 32517
Chapter Forty-Three, The Finals, 06/18/2003, 24304
Epilogue, 06/21/2003, 8362

As you might imagine, collecting all that info is a lengthy process. Any suggestions?

BTW, those figures indicate a throughput of almost 800 words/day (including weekends) of print-worthy class A material, while they were writing outtakes and that D/G fic I've never read (and working on their day jobs, I assume). I'm basically in awe.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Personal - Happy 56th birthday, Israel!

The fireworks are great, and the official ceremony I watched on TV was decent. Human Resources have got the national flag for safekeeping till next year's! :) I've looked at the young clerical female officers there, and oh boy, the fighting men really get to see what they're fighting for every day (It's only fair that the better looking ones generally get assignments to combat units to boost morale, after all I get to see as many girls as I like after work hours, being at home every night, but man!). :)

Personal - Memorial Day

Today was the first Memorial Day when the dead were no longer a faceless number for me. RIP Gleb.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

FFDB - call for contribution

Dear readers, I ask for help assembling a comprehensive sweep of fandom. I need a small but diverse number of fics that I can experiment with while defining entities and metadata (I'll need your help with that too). It's not such a hard task either: please list three unique (amongst yourselves too, if possible) fics. I'll choose enough of them and then we'll assemble their full descriptions, to see what is useful and easy enough to collect (ROI of gathering metadata vs. meaningful search results). If comments are not working - don't hesitate to use email.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Personal - illness

I have a cold or something similar. 99°F and a really nasty headache from oxygen depravation. It's going to be a lousy weekend, and I'm afraid an even lousier week (unless I get better), because that fever is not high enough to get sick leave.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Personal - meme reply

  • Lou's

    1. Who are some of your real life heroes?

      Yosef Trumpeldor, for being a real patriot? Bill Gates for being a real Slytherin? I don't know. I don't believe in conventional heroes and haven't yet heard of someone who has successfully dealt with some of my problems in an inspiring way. Each and every man and woman who raise productive members of society, are, in a way, heroes, to me.

    2. If one fictional character from any media could be made real for you for twenty-four hours to talk and interact with, who would it be?

      I have no idea. I can't think of any book heroes in the second person, only in the third. I'd feel out of my place to interact with them, being too mundane, like a Muggle in Hogwarts. I mean, what would you do if you suddenly found Mark Vorkosigan in your room?

      If I have to choose I'd say Cordelia Naismith, realizing the implications are that I need a shrink (maybe the realization is a step in the right direction, or maybe I'm just in an introspective mood).

    3. If you could choose any talent and become a master at it, what would it be?

      I want to have a better understanding of how shape and color make beautiful things, because I can't design a basic web page. I used to draw when I was little (I mean draw well), but it has disappeared. I don't want to become a master though – computer graphics or design don't allure me (drawing and painting even less so).

      I could wish for awesome coding skills, but I enjoy learning it, I don't want to cheat – it would spoil the fun.

      I guess the most useful talent is interpersonal relations (aka “people skills”), i.e. a good mix of extroverted personality, empathy, psychology and some magic, but that sounds very unlike me.

  • Teri's

    1. Are you happy with your position in the military? (And will you please lose the crew cut once you get out of the army?)

      Yes, very much. Now I know I've got a terrific assignment. Good profession (the one I love), career path (well, outside the military, at least), interesting work (in both the technological and the what-the-numbers-stand-for meanings), the best people (who tolerate my geekiness), the most relaxed atmosphere you'll find while still in uniform (it doesn't get any more relaxed out of uniform either, at least not anywhere where you're not your own boss, and not even then if you want to be successful).

      I can't believe I'm saying it, but I like my short hair. It's generic, which helps to blend in in a crowd. We'll see.

    2. Do you think you will move from Israel? Would you want to?

      For as long as it's “Israel” – no. I have no business living in some other people's country while I have my own. I want to raise my Jewish kids in a Jewish State, knowing it's a privilege that carries a high price tag. I don't believe in the long range vitality (or viability? Is there s difference? Any advice from native English speakers?) of multinational political constructs – they'll have to either fuse into a single nationality or divide into autonomies. I don't want my descendants to lose their nationality, and I don't think a Jewish state in the union (or a Canadian province) is such a good idea.

    3. What do you hope to be doing ten years from now? (And don't say, "married to a redhead", because that is assumed as one of your aspiritions. ;))

      Ah, you know me too well. :)

      I hope to be taking a couple of weeks off work (doing software development/engineering for an Israeli company) and unpaid work (free software development, for fun) and taking my (redheaded :P ) wife and kids to the 10th anniversary Wahleecon, to see the 7th movie.

      Or at least dealing with life without major foul-ups.

  • Mostly unrelated link.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Personal - Pics

See what you make of 'em. Though I warn you: taken with the crapiest disposable camera by blind people with Parkinson's and scanned with the cheapest scanner, diagonally. Also, the site shows them scaled down instead of in native resolution (I think I can tweak that).

Internet - Hello, Security?!

It's worse than I though. Most of the stuff there is not generally known to the public (internal unit numbers? locations? operations, officers' names, photos...). They say there's no classified info there and content is approved by military censorship, but I would suggest deleting a few things and proofreading it (goddammit, they teach better English in school!) ;)

Friday, April 16, 2004

Personal - Meme

I know I'm going to regret this: I want everyone who reads this to please ask me 3 questions, no more no less. Ask me anything you want, and I promise to answer truthfully. Then I want you to go to your journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends (including myself) to ask you anything.

Cool - LĂșnasa

Thank you Lou for the link. I've pirated myself four CD's worth of music and am enjoying it as I type. :)

FFDB - Tech research

Too much to learn. But hey, at least it's exactly the stuff I enjoy learning. I think I'll have to construct testing environments for each technology I'm evaluating to see how difficult it is to learn how to use the thing and tune it for my needs.

Let's see: XQuery, XML:DB, OO PHP, Cocoon, Tomcat, Servlets, dbXML, eXist, Berkeley DB XML, Xerces, custom relational mapping to Oracle 9i and mysql, phoenix and postgresql...

I'll sit myself down and draft the requirements (data size, number of simultaneous queries, type of queries), then install and configure the servers and run some benchmarks. That can take a month, without the custom relational mapping. Then we'll see what's quicker. I'm pretty sure what's easier by now. ;)

Monday, April 12, 2004

Cool - Space Station on IMAX

I'm sure I'm the last person on earth my blogroll to see this, but better late than never as they say (who says?) so here's the link: Space Station. Very good shots for technogeeks, interviews with crew, effects for the kids. Better than the 3D animation by far - you can bet personal realtime 3D by John Carmack will catch up pretty soon, but a documentary is timeless.

Personal - back from holiday

Now I know why the tourism industry in Israel is taking a nose dive in recent years: not only are people afraid to come here thinking their changes of dying in a bombing are higher than being struck by lightning, but the level of service is not very good and unprofessional (my personal impression, from cheap services. In all likelihood, if you pay for a decent suite in a five star hotel - you'll be properly pampered). That is my excuse for the really poor quality of the web sites I can link to (these do not deserve the links, really):

Friday, April 09, 2004

FFDB - progress

So, you might be wondering what's going on with the project, since my last post almost two weeks ago. Not all that much.

I've decided to think and write an actual document before implementing anything, but I do know the design will change during implementation, as my understanding of the problems and the tools gets better. I just didn't want to start coding before I was sure I knew what I wanted to code. So I have the introduction written. It's more Rationale than Requirements or Specifications (the Design part is not even started). It's a bit too formal for a personal post and a bit too personal for a formal document. I can't quite feel the reader.

Instead of doing my Passover homework (reading by all accounts an excellent book) I'm reading up on Web Services (beyond the buzzword).

I'm having a very difficult time deciding on the right technological approach: the API is in XML since I see my data best in XML form and the existing tools are indispensable in processing for presentation and achieving interoperability. But I don’t know of any good free (at least as beer if not speech) XML database, and anyway I think I can better tune a relational one. But of course, mapping XML into a relational database might be bad for both performance and maintainability. Also, I think Python is cooler than Java, but the benchmarks definitely favor the statically typed language. And of course, PHP is the popular choice, but it always felt like a giant kludge to me, and its latest attempts to imitate Java only serve to point me to the real thing.

One thing I can tell you right away: dotNet is not even considered, because I’m biased.

Personal - Almost 150 years old

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov (1858) Still very current. I'm scared.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

HP fandom - Red Blaze's "War and Passion" is now complete

link I've been following that story since almost the beginning. It is the definitive AU H/G smut fic. The author's betas, inspired, have posted NC-17 fics of their own.

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