Archive for the ‘Software’ category

Facebook Graph Search with Cypher and Neo4j | Max De Marzi

January 31st, 2013

Facebook Graph Search has given the Graph Database community a simpler way to explain what it is we do and why it matters. I wanted to drive the point home by building a proof of concept of how you could do this with Neo4j. However, I don’t have six months or much experience with NLP (natural language processing). What I do have is Cypher. Cypher is Neo4j’s graph language and it makes it easy to express what we are looking for in the graph. I needed a way to take “natural language” and create Cypher from it. This was going to be a problem.

via Facebook Graph Search with Cypher and Neo4j | Max De Marzi.

The article is an interesting introduction to treetop (a “language for describing languages” used in Semr, a “framework to [support] natural language processing”) and how Mr. De Marzi uses it to create a simple Facebook Graph-like search using Neo4j. Very slick.

Electronic Books & Printed Books: Conflict and Opportunity

April 14th, 2012

I love books, just like Jeff Atwood, who compares electronic books with their age-old printed counterparts, concluding that

…unless the publishers are willing to treat eBooks with the same respect and care that they give to their printed books – and most importantly of all, adjust their pricing to reflect the brave new economy of bits, and not an antiquated economy of atoms – they’re destined to eventually suffer the same fate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.

via Coding Horror: Books: Bits vs. Atoms.

I’ve been repeatedly disappointed by the clear lack of attention paid to e-books’ layout and typography. Amazon has let me down repeatedly. O’Reilly is better, because they create both the print and electronic formats. Amazon doesn’t. Until Amazon gets it right, I’ll stick to my paper books, thank you very much.

Live Coding example with D3 and Mike Bostock’s chord diagram from

March 17th, 2012

Bret Victor is a genius. His recent CUSEC 2012 talk, Inventing on Principle, is one of the best talks I’ve ever seen. If you watch only one talk this year, make sure it’s this one.

I was blown away by his ‘live coding’ idea, but couldn’t find any actual live examples, so I put together a quick demo using d3 and Ace. I 100% totally based it on Bret’s idea – down to the clever book styling. Imitation is the sincerest… etc etc.

The default code is Mike Bostock’s beautiful chord diagram, tweaked to fit the Twilight theme. And remember, click the pulsing red numbers and hold down the alt key!