Introduction to Apache Solr – presentation and code

I recently presented about Solr at Bangkok meetup group. There were about 40 people and I had great follow-up discussions afterwards.

As part of the presentation, I showed how Solr deals with Thai language. Even though my knowledge of Thai is fairly rudimentary, I dug into existing resources and found at least a couple of ways to process Thai language.

Two thumbs up for Pandora.com’s new classical section

Pandora.com has just added classical music to their already huge collection. It made my day. I like classical music, but never took enough time to actually figure out my exact preferences or composers. I just recognise familiar or mood pieces when they are played and enjoy them. So now I can put the name of the piece I do remember into Pandora and let it find that or other items with the same feel.

Easy ways to sign out from Amazon, eBay, others

Ed Foster has discovered that it is very difficult to sign out from big companies’ websites. Yes, it is true when staying within the website’s rules. But it is dead easy otherwise. The important thing to remember is that your identity is most of the times stored in the browser cookies. So, if you kill cookies, the session will go away and your identity will go away. The easiest (but most destructive way) is to delete all cookies.

Story of Human Language – great introductory audio course on linguistics

As part of doing a PhD in Computational Linguistics, I need to understand both computers and linguistics. I am fine with computers, but linguistics is not my strong point. Unfortunately, many of the linguistics books and resources are quite dry. So, I was really happy to discover an audio course Story of Human Language from The Teaching Company taught by John McWhorter. It is quite long a covers a lot of material, but - apart from some overly long parts on universal language - it is really interesting and Professor McWhorter is a great presenter.

Is the Internet good, bad or bits of everything? – Weinberger/Keen debates

Two books, two views - no agreement, but certainly a lot of sparks. Is the Internet full of junk and by killing off the conventional media we are loosing all our good information sources? That is a point of view of Andrew Keen, author of the book Cult of the Amateur. On the other hand Weinberger, with his own book Everything is Miscellaneous, agrees that there is a lot of bad stuff on the Internet, but argues that there is a lot of good stuff too.