Library of Congress photos on Flickr

On a similar theme to Google offering to host open source scientific data, the US Library of Congress has announced on its blog (( which is impressive in its own right, and appears to use WordPress too )) a project that has published over 3,000 photos from the LoC archives and seems to be going down a storm with Flickr users!

This is a pilot for what seems to be a larger Flickr initiative, which the LoC describes thus:

We’re also very excited that, as part of this pilot, Flickr has created a new publication model for publicly held photographic collections called “The Commons.” Flickr hopes—as do we—that the project will eventually capture the imagination and involvement of other public institutions, as well.

The LoC is also pretty sharp about the potential power of this, and how it may benefit themselves (and future generations), saying:

The real magic comes when the power of the Flickr community takes over. We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images.

This potential is foreshadowed by the discovery of 3 previously misidentified images of Abraham Lincoln’s second commemoration by a user of their traditional archive!

A user of our Prints and Photographs Online Catalog raised questions about the images, which sent Library of Congress curator Carol Marie Johnson sleuthing. Careful comparisons to the only other two known images from that event and meticulous combing through records led her to this discovery. My point is that if we can uncover those kinds of treasures, thanks in part to our discerning Web users, imagine what might happen after setting loose hoards of eager photo fans at Flickr.

This is why preserving our information for future generations is such an important activity, and why projects such as the National Archives of Australia push to develop open source Digital Preservation software tools is vital to ensure that our descendants have a rich picture of their history as we have of our ancestors.

Google to host Open Source scientific data sets

Now this sounds really interesting..

Sources at Google have disclosed that the humble domain,, will soon provide a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets. The storage will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all.

They may also provide data viz tools..

Building on the company’s acquisition of the data visualization technology, Trendalyzer, from the oft-lauded, TED presenting Gapminder team, Google will also be offering algorithms for the examination and probing of the information.

There is more information (including about why Google intend to import data by shipping RAID arrays around the world) here and (more up to date) here.

We live in exciting times!

SCO stock price

I’ve not been following SCO’s stock price recently, it’s been pretty bad since the heady days of around $4 per share, but a Groklaw newspick from their RSS feed just piqued my attention by pointing at the Yahoo chart for SCOXQ.PK (delisted from NASDAQ, trading on minor markets) which shows SCO trading at barely over 5c a share.

SCOXQ.PK share price, January 20th, 2008.

IFPI – can we control all European Internet traffic – please ?

From Ars Technica (early December):

Imagine a world in which a single industry could control an entire continent’s access to particular web sites, force ISPs to install expensive deep packet inspection gear that would search the complete Internet data streams of millions of users, and force Internet applications to conform to its design parameters or risk being blocked. If you’re a European consumer, this might sound like a paranoid dystopia, but it’s actually a vision of paradise—if paradise were designed by the IFPI.

What are they after ? Terrorists ? Paedophiles ? Drug runners ? Not quite..

In a recent memo to European legislators, the worldwide music lobby laid out its vision of a world in which all ISPs adopted three “feasible and reasonable options” to help address copyright infringement on their networks.

Not surprisingly the EFF has something to say about this (PDF)..

Vacation 1.27.0 beta 5 released

This release of vacation fixes a brown paper bag bug that broke compilation completely due to a duplicate case statement. Apologies to everyone for not spotting either the bug or the report on the tracker! 🙁

This release also fixes the case where a user who had configured a .forward file for vacation but had not created the database with the -i option (or had the database removed for some reason) would find that vacation generated an error. Vacation will now silently create the database if it is missing.

Please report any problems, I think we’re getting very close to a release!

SourceForge has the released sources.

Google Code Search

If you’re ever looking around for a piece of code to do something, then you should try Google’s Code Search.

For example, say I’m looking for some C code to parse RFC 2822 mail headers (which, strangely enough, I am). I go to codesearch and put in a search term of lang:c rfc2822

That gives me back a bunch of results, but say I want to look for something with a BSD license to use with Vacation, then I just extend that search with a license:bsd term, which gives me the great news that SMail (which I used to run 13-14 years ago now) has a librfc2822 directory, which deserves further investigation!

KDE 4.0.0 is released!

So the announcement is up on the KDE website, Kubuntu has announced its packages and for the past week or so I’ve been running KUbuntu Hardy Heron (currently in alpha, will be 8.04) with it installed and trialing it with a “kde4” test user!

Not bad actually, the final release seems like a massive improvement over earlier versions and I’m not running into the killer bugs that I found previously (to much relief!). The new desktop effects in KDE4 work well with this Intel G33 graphics card (once I’d dropped the Xorg acceleration method back to the old XAA from EXA) and I must admit to being sorely tempted to try it out as my main desktop. I think I might create yet another user for that an experiment first though with a copy of my .kde files.. 🙂