My technology week in review ending 2009.11.20

My summary of interesting URLs from last week, including stories related to:

And for those of you on Twitter, the stories relate to: @wavety @jeresig @jgemmell @yayQuery @maassp

Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device in Windows

Every so often when I try to safely remove a USB drive from my Windows machine I get the Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device error even though I'm sure no programs are using the drive.
Error dialog that reads: The device Generic volume cannot be stopped right now. Try stopping the device again later.
Microsoft suggests using a free program to fix this - Process Explorer (from a company called 'Sysinternals' that was purchased by Microsoft a few years back). Once you've downloaded the software it is a simple enough process, but does have the potential to make you system unstable, so make sure you understand the risks before continuing through this quick tutorial.

Alone in Google Wave? Public search tutorial

Google Wave navigation panel - note the SEARCHES itemMany people I've talked to were excited to finally get their Google Wave invitation, only to realize they were all alone in the latest document collaboration system. What good is collaboration if you have no one else to work with?

Here's a quick hint to get you up and running and experimenting with Google Wave until your friends catch up: searching for public waves.

By adding the with:public qualifier to your search terms you can find public Waves to see how other people are using Wave and to start working with Waves yourself.

My technology week in review ending 2009.11.13

I've been making updates to my Perl script that summarizes my weekly technology tags. Here's another week's summary, including sections on generating Tag clouds, The Singularity, DB2 and SQL, as well as the podcasts and TED videos I found interesting. For those of you on Twitter, the stories relate to @timoreilly @scramm @Bre @makerbot

My technology week in review ending 2009.11.06

I thought I'd write up a quick little Perl script to summarize my technology related Delicious tags. The output is pretty stark right now, but if it seems useful I'll make the output a bit fancier....

Here are the various links I found interesting in the week of November 2nd through the 6th, 2009:

Matthias Shapiro Ignite talk: Effective Information Visualization

Screencapture of Matthias Shaprio at Ignite presenting on Data Visualization
A quick 5 minute 'Ignite' presentation back in March 2009 by Matthias Shapiro, introducing the basics of information visualization - use the right presentation techniques to tell a story about your data - in three easy steps:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Gather the right information
  3. Apply the right metric to convey the meaning of the information

How to view iPhone application data

Here's a quick tutorial on using the SQLite Firefox plugin to view (some of) the data in your iPhone (or iPod touch) applications. Many applications use the standard SQLite library to store their data on the phone, and then back that up on the computer. All you need to read this data is the browser plugin, a bit of patience, and a bit of luck! There are applications that will automate this, but if you're curious about how this works, the following steps are easy enough to follow.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil vs the state of the art in robotics

Every so often a couple of unrelated news stories come along that just seem to fit together, somehow. Yesterday I read about two technologies that are getting closer and closer to reality:

  • Immortality only 20 years away says Futurist Ray Kurzweil
  • The 4 legged LittleDog robot strutting its stuff

While it may be true that "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future" there are some fascinating possibilities, and more importantly, huge social impacts here.

Why is Bell Canada returning a fake web browser 404 error?

Why is Bell Internet Canada ( via a domain called ) presenting a pseudo web browser 404 error message even after you opt out of their 404 domain not found service?

*** Update Nov 25, 2009 - While not 100% related to this, IT World has a good summary of a comment from ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that "condemned the practice of redirecting Internet users to a third-party Web site or portal when they misspell a Web address and type a domain name that does not exist. Rather than return an error message for DNS (Domain Name System) requests for nonexistent domains, some DNS operators send back the IP (Internet Protocol) address of another domain, a process known as NXDOMAIN substitution. The target address is often a Web portal or information site." You can also see the full PDF from ICANN

Toronto Public Libraries too: iPod Touch and iPhone Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks for Bell Internet customers

You may have heard that Bell Internet customers can now wirelessly connect to the Internet at Starbucks locations across Canada. Although the Bell website only mentions laptops running Windows, I thought I'd go grab a grande latte and see what the process was to connect with my iPod Touch. It worked, and I could browse the web and connect to the internet with all my applications, too. Here's a set of screen captures walking through the process.

** Update ** Turns out the Toronto Public Libraries are also offering free WiFi which will work on the iPod touch and iPhone as well - take a look at their website for details - and no, you don't need to be a Bell subscriber.

( This is a link to an older technology based blog entry I wrote. )

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