Monday, May 23, 2005

Great stuff from Yahoo, soon

I've been playing around with MyWeb (beta) from Yahoo. It provides the ability to save a copy of a webpage to yahoo's servers. Then you can search your saved pages at a later time. This is wonderful for me since I'm always reading a lot of tech articles. So now I can save the articles and use search to find something I've read before. This works so much better than using Google or Yahoo seach on a topic because it is like searching through your own memory.

I've run into some problems with the beta of MyWeb. Currently it only works well if you use Yahoo Toolbar. Unfortunately the toolbar can slow down your browser. So I have to turn off the Yahoo Toolbar most of the time. Then just turn it on to save a page.

Yahoo 360 is another product in beta. I'm not in their invitation only beta. So I cant really say how well it works. However, it looks like it has many features I've wanted. You can check it out on Yahoo's site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Java + XQuery + JTidy to parse HTML!

Occasionally I've written little programs to scrape webpages for useful information. In the past I've used various open-source libraries with varying satisfaction. My favorite approach so far is to use Ruby and it's HTML parsing libraries. Today I found an article published by IBM Developerworks that provides another approach that looks really cool: Java theory and practice: Screen-scraping with XQuery. The approach is to first use JTidy to cleanup the badly structured HTML and return the document and XML (4 lines of code). Then using XML tools like Saxon XQuery to easily query XML and reformat the data (several examples that were <10 lines of code, very readable!). Very nice solution!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Short Game Anyone?

After a long battle (47 turns via email... spanning 6months), the glorious battle resulted in a **DRAW**. Maybe I should look into a short game. Gamasutra has a great article "Making a Case for Short Games" by the author of Strange Adventures in Infinite Space. A great little game. A short game is a nice change from the 20+ hour games I've been playing. While the Author makes a great case for 20min games. I personally tend to like 6 - 10 hour games. Enough time to be engaging, but not so long that I get bored or tired of the gameplay. One of my favorites on the PS2 ... "Ico" was a delightful 10 hours of play. The game was outstanding, especially considering it was an early release when the PS2 was new to the market. Ico stood out to me because of the castle you played in. Ico's world wasn't just a bunch of designed "levels" that you jumped from one to the other. Instead the castle was wonderfully designed and architected. Each set of rooms which made a small level, fit beautifully into the design of the entire castle. From the towers and parapets of some areas you could see other areas of the castle. All the rooms fit together and made sense. It really felt like you were inside a old castle that was once real and functioning medieval castle. I hear the Ico team is cooking up a new creation that sounds really really cool... Shadow of the Colossus where the level isn't a static castle; instead its a living behemoth colossus creatures. The E3 videos look fantastic!

Soon I will get back in the general's seat and start off another battle against my nemesis Matt in Combat Mission. Our last battle, while a draw, did have some really cool events. I would have completely lost if I hadn't made a desperate and crazy dash up the middle to get behind his tanks. Even then he made a great move to repel my assault on the strongest hill on the map. Only then did a single shot from an overwatching tank stop him. The battle really did spell victory or shattering defeat on that single shot. If I hadn't gotten the kill (and that was a really lucky line of sight); he would have been able to secure a great position and hold my forces off. The results would have been a defeat. Instead, my play worked and finished off his tanks. It was just a mop-up operation after that. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to take the highest scoring object from him before the time ran out. Matt was able to claim a draw. We shall have to fight again!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

... disconnected ...

I don't have Internet service at my new house. It will take a few days more to get setup. So I haven't been able to add to the blog. Sorry, more to come later.