Archive for May, 2007

Property Searches

May 31st, 2007 No comments

I’m currently looking to move house, and I’ve noticed how unbelievably awkward it is to navigate through websites that are designed to do this thing for me.

The majority that I have used fall at the first hurdle for me – they only let me search within one town. This to me, is completely useless – I have a range of towns that I don’t mind living in, lets say about 3, but on most websites, I need to perform 3 separate searches to look at everything. Only one website I have used so far lets me search within more than one town. None of the sites let me exclude areas of towns, or entire towns at all.

I’m also not fussy about the number of bedrooms that I have, or it’s precise price. Many of the sites let me “save” a property so I can find it easier in the future – but none of them let me “hide” a property because I am not interested in it.

Many of the sites contain small pictures of the properties, and many properties do not contain information on them at all, and when information is present, it is often out-dated (e.g. The property is often sold subject to contract but it’s still advertised on the site). It’s also very difficult to get from the search site to the agent’s website.

And yet, I sit there, trawling these sites because there are none that are any better. During my ponderings, I often realise that I could write a much better site, with better searching, and easier to use interfaces.

So, with my developer hat on, I can quite easily draw a parallel with another fuzzy categorisation and search problem – Spam Filtering. It seems to me then, that a Bayesian filter would be a good solution to this problem, where users are able to tune their preferences to properties within certain areas, or within certain price brackets, but also for the system to “look” outside of these criteria and suggest properties just outside the boundaries of your preferences.

What this does require though, is information. This needs to come from the estate agents, and be correct and updated regularly. I think that this would be the failing point of the system though…

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Weird MythTV Colours Mystery Deepens

May 30th, 2007 No comments

Ages ago now, after I upgraded my MythTV box to v0.20, I encountered a problem with colours in the GUI. Basically, the colours were all wrong and looked almost neon.

It appeared that I wasn’t the only person with this problem either, and everybody with the problem appears to have an nVidia card….

Anyway, I thought I previously solved the problem, but it turns out I hadn’t. Last night, though, it appears I have uncovered something that I haven’t seen anyone else mention.

I discovered that if I kill the X server (using Ctrl-Alt-Backspace) and log bag in again, the colours miraculously correct themselves. No tweaking, no messing around with drivers, nothing.

I can’t really think what causes this now, then. It seems that when the system starts up, the loading of the driver gets corrupted, or something isn’t initialised properly, or something like that.

All a bit of a mystery.

Annoyingly, this doesn’t appear to work everytime. MythFrontEnd failed on me the other day so I restarted the application. The colours went wonky again, so I kill the X-Server and logged back in. The colours were still strange. This may only work once after each reboot, or when the video memory has been initialiased differently, or something like that. All very annoying
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I’ve Just Come Up With a Brilliant Idea

May 16th, 2007 No comments

Having just spent ages scrolling through a log file at work, trying to spot something (anything) different, I’ve just come up with a brilliant idea for a tool that I really really could do with.

I’ll see if I can write it. It’ll take a bit of work though, and need various interfaces to other products (i.e. libraries), but it should be more than possible.

Sometimes, I even amaze myself 😉

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Now This Excites Me

May 3rd, 2007 No comments

Via a news article on OSNews, I have been introduced to a new operating system this morning, and it’s making me sit up, notice and want to start coding.

It’s called GNU/Fiwix and is designed to be completely compatible with Linux, but the implementation is intended to be simpler. The intention is, once created, it can be used as an example operating system for Computer Science students to start learning how to create operating systems.

I did my time at University learning how to write for embedded operating systems by using VxWorks, but I’ve always felt that was a little lacking because the kernel was already there, and you weren’t implementing the kernel itself.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to download it and run it in VMWare and look at the source code to see how it works!

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