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Google's documentation is sometimes out of date, and on this topic it was clearly erroneous, so for anyone interested, here is how I managed to bridge an HTC Magic and Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty to allow debugging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