Monday, December 7, 2009

Helpdesk software solutions

If you are selling software products in Japan, you might need a helpdesk tool to keep track of your clients' questions and problems. I performed an evaluation of 10 helpdesk software solutions and here are the results. I first selected 30 tools (including bug trackers), and restricted my choice to ten tools that are open source, actively maintained, and localized in Japanese.

In the QSOS spirit, I defined criterions and filled the matrix. I gave a weight to each criterion according to what is important to me, but using this OpenOffice spreadsheet you can input your own weighings according to what is important for your company.

My winners are SiT! and GLPI.
But OTRS would be above if it were officially localized in Japanese.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Drupal 7 semantic by default, when will Alfresco follow?

My university friend Stéphane Corlosquet has spent the last few months adding a very exciting feature to Drupal for its imminent next release: Drupal 7 will expose your website's structural information as RDFa, by default!

This has huge implications. Drupal being one of the most popular CMS, it handles a significant proportion of the Web's information. So Drupal 7 will effectively make the Semantic Web much bigger. Furthermore, a website's manager will now be able to define the website's ontology based on existing ontologies, which means each Drupal website will now be both a consumer as well as a producer of semantic information.

For website owners, an immediate result is that their website will be better understood by Google. But the Semantic Web is much more than an SEO trick. It is a way to make information more useful, more exact, and to make it understandable by computers.

So how long before Alfresco follows? The open-source Enterprise Content Management System should make sure the content it manages is understandable by both humans and machines. A company's way to structure information should not be kept in the Data Dictionary, it should be exposed as RDF Schema. The metadata, including aspects, should be accessible via RDF in addition to the usual REST/Java/JavaScript/JCR/CMIS APIs.

Tech videos

Some recordings of my Semantic Web-related presentations are available on video sharing websites. Here are my presentations at the Tokyo Linux Users Group and at the Yokohama Linux Users Group.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Released AnkiDroid 0.2

I just released AnkiDroid 0.2 !
You can install it on your Android phone using the Google Market. AnkiDroid is a memorization software with already 900 registered users. Of course, it is open source.
Many new features for this version 0.2:
- Basic spaced repetition.
- Preferences dialog to enable various things.
- Sample deck.
- Starts much faster.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Authorized trainer of Alfresco WCM

I am now an authorized trainer of Alfresco WCM! I am officially authorized to teach developers how to implement solutions using the Alfresco Web Content Management system. Here is the detailed review:
Nicolas was assigned a difficult topic to deliver, but delivered it well and confidently. He clearly has a good grasp of the material and is very knowledgable on WCM. He provided a good overview and delivered information without reading the slides.

Nicolas is comfortable presenting in English and gave full and detailed descriptions of some complex AVM concepts. Nicolas answered questions competently and should be able to train the complete course well and enthusiastically.

Reviewed by Ben Hagan and Carlos Miguens (Alfresco Software, Inc.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

First day at Aegif's Roppongi office

Last week's Alfresco gathering in Milan was great! After defining the future Alfresco certifications, we wrote hundreds of questions. I mostly wrote API questions, so people who try and pass the Alfresco API Developer certification will probably get a few of my questions :-) All of the answer are in the documentation, of course. We were also trained to become Alfresco WCM trainers.

I came back from Italy yesterday, and am now working at the 28th floor of the Mori Tower in Roppongi, Tokyo. I am working in Japanese. This afternoon, I replied to support requests in the Japanese-language Alfresco forum, and updated the Alfresco Wiki after investigating on export-import in Alfresco Enterprise.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working in Milan

This week I am working in Milan in the offices of Sourcesense. We are about twenty people from Brazil, Australia, Europe, India, the U.S. and South Africa, our goal is to brainstorm and define how Alfresco certifications will look like: Which different certifications will be proposed, what will be their content, price, modalities, difficulty, and many other things. We reached a consensus on most things, and tomorrow we will produce sample questions for each of the certifications.

In other news, I released OxygenGuide 0.3, which fixes bug #6, and AndroidBigImage 0.1.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Got hired to work on Alfresco

I got hired by Aegif (イージフ) to work on the open source ECM Alfresco! I would like to thank my former Japanese employers W3C Tokyo and Expresso for the great projects and wonderful time I had with them!

For my first week, my company sends me to Milan, Italy for an Alfresco "Train the Trainer" training.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Guardian takes me as a reference!

In an article about the Google Chrome OS, British newspaper The Guardian cites a Wikipedia article I had created two years ago, that's funny! The extract they cite actually did not change much since I wrote it. The article is about Splashtop, an instant-on Linux distribution. I used to write it because Splashtop seemed like a very promising technology to me, even though it had not been released at the time. Splashtop now ships with Lenovo, LG and Sony products; and with most Asus motherboards.

My new open source project

I just released AndroidBigImage, an open-source library for Android.

Are you developing an Android application in which the user reads a static map, a comics page, a cheatsheet, a book page, or any other kind of big image? Such an image does not fit on most devices' screen, and that's where AndroidBigImage comes in: integrate a few Java files into your application to let your users display, zoom and scroll big images!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just published AnkiDroid on the Market

Anki already helped me memorize 7000 Japanese words, so having this software on my Android phone would be pretty helpful in the subway, I thought.

So today I published AnkiDroid on the Market, as the result of a combined effort with Damien Elmes, Andrew Dubya and Casey Link. To install it on your Android phone, just click on "Market", search for "anki", and click "Install". 57 people installed it in two hours, so far. Here is the source code.

Now listed in Market's "Popular applications"!

Developing on an Android device using Ubuntu 9.04

Google's documentation is sometimes out of date, and on this topic it was clearly erroneous, so for anyone interested, here is how I managed to bridge an HTC Magic and Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty to allow debugging over USB:

On the phone, in Settings/Applications/Development, check the box "USB debugging".

On the computer, install the Android SDK, change to the "tools" directory, then log as root and create file /etc/udev/rules.d/50-android.rules with this content:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666"
and file /etc/udev/rules.d/90-android.rules with this content:
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666"

Then type this:
sudo chmod a+rx /etc/udev/rules.d/50-android.rules
sudo chmod a+rx /etc/udev/rules.d/90-android.rules
sudo /etc/init.d/udev restart
./adb kill-server

You should get something like this:
./adb devices
List of devices attached
HT963LF01297 device

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Semantic Web slides translated to Japanese

I just discovered that my Semantic Web slides have been translated to Japanese! Your can find the translated content here. Many thanks to AT-Corp for this!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Created OxygenGuide, an open-source offline travel guide

A lot of people were asking for it, so this weekend I developed OxygenGuide and released it under an open-source license.

Imagine you are traveling around the world and suddenly find yourself in Riyadh looking for a restaurant or a place to sleep. Carrying travel books is a pain, and browsing the Internet on your mobile phone abroad will probably cost a lot.

That's where OxygenGuide comes in: It is a compact offline travel guide that takes only 150MB of your smartphone's storage space. The data is based on Wikitravel, but customized for small devices. With this world travel book on you mobile device, you will travel lighter and further. The current version works for notebooks such as the Eee PC. I will try my best to release an Android version during the next weekend.

Update: Now usable on Android too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Created a social rating framework today

Today I was at FujiSoft for the OpenSocial Hackathon organized by Google. Tomomichi Ono, Robert Gravina and I implemented a rating framework (and a sample movie rating social application using this framework) based on the idea I had proposed last week.

This framework allows anybody (without any hardware) to create a social rating application for social networks. This can be book ratings, news rating, or anything that can be rated. "Social rating" means that the act of rating can be shared with friends and commented on, and in addition to the average rating you see the average rating from your friends, among others.

There is a lot to do before it is usable, so contributions are welcome! This Open Source project's code is available: server-side code in Python for App Engine, client-side code in JavaScript for OpenSocial. Today was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Google gave me an Android smartphone!

I just came back from Google Developer Day 2009, where I attended enlightening presentations about OpenSocial applications optimization, advanced Android programming, and how to push the limits of the Google Maps API, among others. I definitely recommend watching the videos when they come online. I ran into a lot of acquaintances and got introduced to very interesting people. As if it were not enough, Google offered me this shiny smartphone running Android!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Attending Google Developer Day 2009

Even though inscriptions closed months ago, today I finally managed to get what they call a "VIP invitation" for the Google Developer Day 2009 tomorrow at Pacifico Yokohama. I will skip the morning sessions because they look boring, but the afternoon session sounds very promising:
  • Life of an App Engine request
  • Java で動かす Google App Engine
  • Potential of the Social Web
  • OpenSocial in Japan
  • Google & Open Source
  • Performance Tips for Geo API mashups
  • Google Wave APIs
  • HTML5 により拓かれる次世代 Web

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Semantic Web: Information wants to be useful

Yesterday I gave a presentation about the Semantic Web at the Miracle Linux headquarters in Shinbashi, Tokyo. The attendees were 50 Japanese engineers from a lot of different IT companies. The presentation was broadcast live on and a video should be uploaded here soon. After my 90 minutes presentation, I talked with many attendees around pizzas and beer, very interesting questions and persons! As the organizers said:「イベントは盛況のうちに終了しました。皆様ありがとうございました」

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brainstorming at Google's Shibuya office

I just came back from an evening at Google, where I and a dozen people exchanged new OpenSocial applications ideas. The goal of this session was to define a few projects that will be implemented during next week's hackathon at Fujisoft.

The project I had sketched up in the train in a hurry is one those that will get implemented. It will allow anyone to easily create rating systems in social networks services, where ratings will hugely benefit from being shared and receiving friends interaction. I will describe this new project in details later. It will be open source.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Semantic Web for everybody

Suppose you are about to launch a great new Semantic Web application, but you don't have much hardware. The bottleneck of most Semantic Web applications is the triplestore, which can be seen as the equivalent of the SQL database in normal web applications. Companies can afford the hardware to host a big one, but volunteers (such as mashup and open source people) can not.

That's where free RDF data hosting comes in. Yes, you can get a triplestore for free. Couple that with a traditional LAMP stack (there is a lot of free LAMP hosting) and you can deploy a Semantic Web application for ¥0 ! A company called Talis is now offering free RDF data hosting, complete with remote SPARQL querying, provided the data is public domain. I hope other companies such as OpenLink will follow. I received an account from Talis' programme manager Leigh Dodds and tried it right away, loading and querying data, with success. They also provide an API that seems quite interesting, but I did not try it yet.

This will be extremely useful to open-source/open-data groups who are run by volunteers and want to enter the Semantic Web scene. In particular, I expect this will lead to an explosion in the number and quality of mashup websites on the Web.

Preparing Google Developer Day 2009 Japan Hackaton

Tomorrow evening I will be at Google's Tokyo office to prepare the Google Developer Day 2009 Japan Hackaton, where I will concentrate on OpenSocial. EXPresso CEO Tomomichi Ono and me are preparing something big that involves OpenSocial, I will let you know!

Giving a presentation at Miracle Linux

I will give a presentation about the Semantic Web on Friday (2009/6/5) at 7PM at Miracle Linux's Tokyo headquarters, in Shinbashi.

The presentation will be the same I gave a month ago, but this time in Japanese! I will try my best, but my friend Osonoi Yasushi, CEO of Open Dream, will be translating what I can't say yet in Japanese. The audience will be Japanese-speaking. Socialization activities will follow.

You can watch the event live at and a video will be available on YouTube a bit later.

Details on the Yokohama Linux Users Group's website.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mozilla Party Japan

Today the もじら組 (Mozilla Gumi) organized a party in Tokyo to celebrate 10 years of Mozilla. My W3C colleague Kazuyuki Ashimura gave a short presentation about the multimodal web, and community coordinator Asa Dotzler detailed the history and perspectives of the Mozilla project. Chao Po-chiang reported on the Taiwan group's activity, and an Ubiquity developer explained how natural language interpretation differs between Japanese and English, which was a great grammar exercise for me!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alfresco's CEO in Tokyo

Today I attended the Alfresco seminar organized by aegif, at the 49th floor of the Mori Tower. Alfresco's CEO John Powell exposed the strength of the open source Enterprise Content Management system, and several Japanese integration companies demonstrated their Alfresco-based offerings.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Giving a presentation at Tokyo LUG

I gave a presentation about the Semantic Web, and how to use/contribute to it. At the top of Sun Microsystems' headquarters building, the presentation lasted for about 90 minutes and should appear soon on YouTube. My slides (PDF) are copyleft.

About 40 people showed up, they reacted well and had very interesting questions. The presentation was followed by a nomikai in Yoga and a pub in Shibuya.