Name: Alan Chen
Member since: 2001-10-17 20:05:59
Last Login: N/A



I've recently started an Open Source based company, Digikata LLC. The primary customer right now is the U.S. Department of Education, under a Small Business Innovation Research grant. I'm trying to bring more Open Source to the education sector.

Recent blog entries by aero6dof

I often work with tabular record data, either ascii or binary, in varying formats. Usually it's pretty simple to manage, but a bit tedious. I've been thinking of writing some code as a nice compromise between using XML for data interchange and interoperating with repetitive table formats. Once you have an XML descriptor for how the tabular data is laid out per record (row), you can write code generators to handle reading, writing, and manipulating that data. You could even have a XML header plus body data type setup to inline the data in a single file, and get to omit some of the XML verbosity. Does anyone know of any existing Open Source projects along these lines?

27 Nov 2002 (updated 27 Nov 2002 at 20:53 UTC) »

Since I've been playing around with RuWiki recently, I've had some tangential thoughts on how we represent, interconnect, and learn technical information. If its a topic that I have only general knowledge about, I generally do some google searches and start poking through the pile of links until I find what I need. What I been wishing for in terms of a learning environment is some way of searching and navigating for technical information at varying levels of detail. Let me give an example.

Go to WhizBang Educational search engine.
Search on topic: Ancient Egyptian Civilizations
Maybe the top level of detail (LOD) is at a grade-school level - an encyclopedia type article saying where they lived, pyramids, blah, blah...

I get interested in pyramids, but this grade school stuff is too general, so I change topics to Pyramids and ask for the next LOD. Maybe thats SciAm or National Geographic type articles about the Pyramids.

Cool. But now I'm really interested in Pyramids and would like even more detail. Down one more LOD and I'm reading Archeology Today and maybe a few academic papers. Reading one of the papers, I read about a dig that happened last year. Another LOD and I'm looking at the raw field report data, photos and sketches of the archeologists and students.

I can wish can't I...


I need to replace my prototype markup code with something more robust. I have a multi pass process laid out and just need to find time to code it up. I already have the beginnings of a "plugin" markup and backend storage structures. I'm thinking that different projects can specify different markup transformations as well as different backend storage schemes.

I'm getting close to a workable version of a Ruby Wiki - currently titled RuWiki. There a couple of others that exist already, mostly they're difficult or impossible to install on a site host when all you have access to is the standard web services.

RuWiki is designed for multiple backends - currently the only one is a flatfile. MySQL or PostgreSQL will probably be next. The twist for RuWiki is that you can define different "Projects" which essentially create separate namespaces for Wiki topics. I need to decide on a notation for cross-project notations still...

I decided to start looking for full-time work. I've been working small projects, but that was never the intent of Digikata. I'd like to see something in the Open Source area, but it's more likely that I'd return to my roots in Aerospace Engineering (or Engineering related simulation and modeling).

I'm going to try to keep up at least a once-a-month posting to Advo.

Well, it looks like Digikata will not be winning a Linux based proposal to develop school administration software. The fustrating thing is that the evaluation comments said that they were extremely comfortable with the competence of the team, but basically "not a mainstream OS"... And this after spending extensive sections of the proposal explaining why Linux would be so advantagous to the education sector.

Anyway, I think it's time to find a regular full-time job now...

Started to write a ruby+postgresql contact manager. Right now its mosly a little application to run through a list of potential clients and tag addresses with labels and tracking notes. I'll probably finish enough features to make it usable and then live with it for a while to see how I like it. So far ruby+glade+gtk seems pretty quick to develop with.

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