Gdgt: The data siloed web

GDGT sticker

So I've been checking out which is written and created by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block previously of Engadget fame. Its a small social network around a database of user inputted data. Its not bad but 2 things urks me a little.

The inputting of data is painful, one because its too american centric so for example you need to put the release dates in the US. I tried to add the pacemaker to the list but it was rejected because it was already submitted to the database by another user, however when search for the pacemaker I still get nothing except the option to add it the database again.

The second thing for me is the data portability of the data. There's no API and although theres rss feeds I was expecting RSS feeds across the whole site no matter what type of view or cut I choose. I also kind of expected very rich rss feeds more like RDF linking data.

For the GDGT guys this is all good stuff, with their reputation and expert knowledge they could pull off the biggest database of gadgets online. It would be so much more easier if you could pull in gadgets from else where such as It would also make population of the database so much quicker and with added information not elsewhere. I would have liked them to do something a little more radical like the use of DBpedia or even Freebase. Right now, I feel there in a lesser place that even Techcrunch's Crunchbase. At least Crunchbase has a API and licences all its data under creative commons attribution. Once GDGT allow much deep access into the data for purposes beyond listing what gadgets I have, want to own or have owned. Good luck guys, i'm sure you'll pull it off soon.

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A home in New Islington?

Urbansplash's Chips and Islington Wharf

The flat hunting is coming close to the end now. I've seen some amazing places and almost bought a couple but now its come down to two very different developments on the same plot of land. The plot of land is the much talked about New Islington or Ancoats. If you say Ancoats to most people who live in Manchester and they shudder and I see why. Its got a bit of crime problem, no where near most of the places in London I've lived in (such as Woolwich). Actually when I took this picture I had 6 youth come up close and tell me to stop taking pictures of them. Not afraid, I made it clear that I was not taking picture of them. To which I was called a prick while they walked away of course. Anyway that aside, the place is having a major redevelopment and the new tram stop and other things do make it a first time buyers ideal location. Its also just a short walk from Manchester Piccadilly Station and the trendy Northern Quarter.

Question is which development is the one for me? Chips or Islington Wharf?

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So what happened to my blog?

The blog went down back in June and only went back up a few days ago. So what happened? Well I'll spare you the long story. did a upgrade on the Operating System and other bits and pieces, and broke the frankly weird setup I have for my blog. Now normally I would say they should fix it but the truth is that I've been hosting my blog on there lovely servers for years for free. Well I say free but I did do some work on the website a while back. So we have a gentlemans agreement that I don't bug them and they let me have a nice virtual private server, which is needed to run the Blojsom blogging server. So I needed to fix why Resin would start then stop. It ended up being a problem with the change of configuration in later versions of Resin.

The reason it took so long was because I tried a few things along the way to fix it and move my blog elsewhere. My previous setup was Apache running on port 80 in front of Resin on port 8080 (always worth checking port 8080 to see if my blog is actually down or not). Previously I was running Pound in front of Tomcat, now I'm using Pound again in front of Resin. Apache isn't really needed because Resin is fast enough to serve up static files along side dynamic processes.

When things went wrong, I did decide to finally move my blog from Blojsom to WordPress. To get stuff out of blojsom I needed to get the server up and running again. I won't explain how but theres ways to get every single entry out of blojsom in a xml/atom/rdf feed. Hell you can even filter between 2 dates and get those entries out in any format you like. Once blojsom was up and running on port 8080 I was able to get all my entries. I also discovered that Blojsom creator had created a export plugin which is now standard and very useful. The problem is WordPress, wordpress fails to import anything I get from Blojsom. I double checked the blojsom files and there all well formed. I've even tried importing into but none of them work, I think its mainly the size of the import file (almost 10meg). Ultimately I do want to move to WordPress because although Blojsom is great, its not quite as actively being developed. Also moving to WordPress will mean I can switch to a cheaper hosting plan and get full support. Hub are great but I think its worth paying for my blog to be up as much as possible. Maybe I'd host my blog somewhere else and I'd use the hub account for my experiments with Cocoon. Although with Google App engine supporting Java servelets now, even that might be a little mute.

For now, the blog will stay where it is but I may be doing some stuff else where in the background. Expect lots of entries from now on.

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