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The Interactive Fiction Database - IF and Text Adventures

The Interactive Fiction Database is an IF game catalog and recommendation engine. IFDB is a Wiki-style community project: members can add new game listings, write reviews, exchange game recommendations, and more. Tips & More Info

These are a few randomly-selected games with high average member ratings. If you log in and rate a few games yourself, IFDB can offer customized recommendations (explain).

url: http://ifdb.tads.org/

type: project, format: page



ChangesetMD is a simple XML parser written in python that takes the weekly changeset metadata dump file from http://planet.openstreetmap.org/ and shoves the data into a simple postgres database so it can be queried.

url: https://github.com/ToeBee/ChangesetMD

type: project, format: page


DC Address Coordinates

tags: database, address, DC, GIS
DC GIS logo

A blog regarding the official address database for Washington, DC. The Master Address Repository (MAR) not only includes addresses but also has information on intersections, blocks, place names and residential units.

url: http://dcaddresscoordinates.blogspot.com/

type: none, format: none



tags: database, model, ERD
logical model

Open System Architect (OSA) is an application used for modelling a system. OSA currently supports data modelling (physical and logical) with UML in the works. The unique thing about OSA is that it is an Open Source product licensed under the General Public License (GPL). The free factor makes OSA particularly interesting for students but OSA is powerful enough to compare favourably with products costing thousands of dollars.

url: http://www.codebydesign.com/

type: project, format: none


Akonadi: Database Design

Akonadi ERD

This is an overview of the database layout of the storage server. The schema gets generated by the server using the helper class DbInitializer, based on the definition found in server/src/storage/akonadidb.xml.

url: http://api.kde.org/kdesupport-api/kdesupport-apidocs/akonadi/html/akonadi_server_database.html

type: article, format: blog

Graphing Traffic Speed Data

For the past few days i've been working on a new project. You see, i can't stand the traffic and i'm trying to avoid it. In order to do that i need to know when it's the worst. Thankfully the state of Maryland measures the speed of traffic on major roads. I take that data and graph it. Details follow.

My source is a web page that is hardly worth calling HTML. It's probably version 3.2, maybe be 4.0; in either case, (1) not easily parsable and (2) not semanticly marked up. So i wrote a script to convert it into XHTML 1.0.

Now it becomes easy to use Xerces, and just pluck the data i need. It goes directly into a database. Where are my calculations? On the back of an envelop in the trash, of course. Reading my source every 5 minutes, i'm collecting 400 kilobytes per day.

With it in a database i can create fancy views any which way i want. The next views to create are weekday versus weekend traffic, followed by school season versus non school season.

Finally i wrote a PHP script to generate graphs using JpGraph. It doesn't look great now because i haven't collected data for the averages to appear as averages.

If anyone can find similar data for Virginia, DC, let me know. The CHART website has a map to display the locations of the sensors. If anyone has suggestion or comments, just speak up.

Ironic Driving Day

So yesterday (Sunday) i went into work because i like doing things the Right Way (tm). Unfortunately the long term savings usually comes at a heavy up front cost. Now here's the funny thing. I'm at work and i decide to upgrade the software on my computer at home. No big deal, except my computer locks up. Now this normally isn't a problem.

But sometimes the fans on my G5 will rev up to max, creating a tornado effect in my apartment. So... i take a break from work just to check on it. Sure enough it was loud as a vacuum when i got here. Fixing that i went back to work.

To be more specific, i was organizing a database schema into third normal form aka Boyce-Codd Normal Form.

Just after seeing that ultimate word COMMIT i flew (hehe) to the airport, to pick up Laura and her mom, who just got in from their European vacation. From there it was about a 1 hour trip to G-berg (Gaithersburg). They treated me to dinner. The grilled salmon was excellent. The mashpotatoes and carrots were.... mashpotatoes and carrots. OK the smashed potatoes were good.

Too short

Agree, but I would like to see ar real life positive example.
What's wrong is that this example is too short. I have yet to see a nice user input exception handling for a real life database entry screen. Ok, I can throw new Exception( "User is dumb.", NFE ) or maybe better, UserIgnorantlyTriesToEnterNotNumberException but I myself have to handle this puppy too or else it will go screaming up. And the dumb user will not pay me for such software!
parent post: Exceptions
notify me: yes


After a long day at work of arduous programming, i come home to do what? Yes more programming. But wait there's a difference. At home, i can sip my beer while waiting for code to compile.

At work today i was able to take the Tiger dataset and draw a map. Tiger comes with only line data, ie. only one dimensional. However for each chain of points there are attributes referring to adjacent polygons. Using tigerpoly.py in the GDAL project i was able to construct the 2 dimensional polygons.

All that data was inserted into a PostgreSQL database with PostGIS installed. PostGIS and GDAL needed a couple patches. Then i wrote a Java program to grab the data using JDBC and drew it using AWT. Sure Java2D is better, but i'm not sure i need it. After all i'm just drawing lines and polygons. Sheesh.

I'm guessing all map data comes from the same source. The Census Bureau. Therefore, even Google (eventually) gets their data from Tiger. How is it different? Well (1) the roads have width proportional to the number of lanes, (2) all the corners are rounded, and (3) their roads are labelled. Those are the major differences in appearance. As for differences in feel, don't get me started.

And on a side note, it's been so long that i almost forgot my password to my own website. Back to dinner (Otter Creek Alpine Ale).

USDA Nutritional information

The USDA has already taken care of figuring out the nutritional value of flour - and every single other plain/unprocessed food :) http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ You can search their online database, but they also make it available for download.
parent post: Nutrition Manager
notify me: yes

Nutrition Manager

Laura's starting a new project to track her inventory and recipes. I think this can be integrated with a nutrition regiment and possible workout schedule.

I think we all have Cue Cats, let's put them to use.

I've thought about this extensively. When you get home with your groceries, you can scan them into an inventory database. Then the can make more healthy dishes. As you eat, you can measure your intake of calories and nutrients. You can balance out the will with a diverse set of foods. Then as your inventory get low, your computer will put new items on your shopping list.

If you can scan and OCR your receipt, and format it into something machine readable, then you can track your finances .

I see three hurdles so far: (1) where do you get the nutritional information of all possible foods you will eat, think flour; (2) some of these require a scale for food, do you have one?; (3) scanning receipts.

I've already created a finance manager and recipe manager. (I need to publish this software.) The recipe manager is just for my bar. It uses a database of 300 cocktail recipes, all liquors including brand, type, size of bottle, and a list liquor i own. Then it puts together a list of all the drinks i can make. The finance manager forcasts your long term wealth using incomes, utilities, loans (with interest), and other expenses. It predicted i will be a millionaire when i'm 88 :)

I think this would be a great team project. I'm very good with databases. I'm sure each person can get their portion of the project.


Readers may now post comments on articles. You may be wondering why don't i just use some blogging software. "Why reinvent the wheel?"

Well one reason is to exercise my programming abilities. Also, i want a blog that blends seemlessly into the my web site. It can't look like a separate entity in any way. Any blogger i'd use must be fully open source.

WordPress looks interesting, but it uses that pseudo-relational sell-out database MySQL, which doesn't even have support for views, transactions, or foreign-key constraints. PostgreSQL is much better. However when i release my blogging software, it will use ODBC.


Blog entries are now in a database. I've got the hooks for comments. I'll need to create a new table for them. I'll work on that tonight. For now they won't be recursive comments.


To at lunch, i will work on moving these postings into a database. This will facilitate a new feature: reader comments.

I tried install-power4-2.6 from here last night. It still hangs on asking which language i prefer. Though Colin said on the mailing list that usb-discover has been fixed.