Facebook News Feeds

Recently, Facebook, a social networking site for students added a feature that showed brief happenings around facebook occuring with your friends. Many people are against this for privacy reasons. People do not seem to realize that this information is already available. Even if it is not available on Facebook, information can be obtained from different resources and put together. For example, I once needed to find somebody’s home phone number. That person did not have their home phone number on Facebook, but they had their address. I then looked up the person’s last name in the phone book. I did not know the person’s parent’s name, but I knew the address. I simply matched the Facebook address with the phone book addresses and found the right number. The world is networked people. Get used to it. The only way to keep information unavailable to other people is to not give it out. You can’t trust giving information to companies since they sell that information for whatever reason.
Additionally, if privacy is such a big deal on Facebook, then why do you have a grocery store card. All that happens there is that the grocery store pays you in discounts to collect information about your shopping patterns.

Web History Center Member

Two years ago, I helped my school organize a World Wide Web conference entitled WWW@10: The Dream and the Reality. During that conference, I met several Web pioneers including Robert Caillau, Ted Nelson, and more. While that experience was great, more would come. Robert Caillau, Professor Pickett, and I were walking across campus from Hatfield Hall and I mentioned that we should create a center for Web history with the resources that had been unearthed in planning the conference. Little did I know that it would become a reality. Anyhow, Caillau mentioned that somebody had already gone around to most of the Web pioneers and interviewed them exhaustively and had subsequently disappeared. Consequently, Professor Pickett tracked down the person who had done these interviews and talked to him about making use of what had already been gathered. That person who had disappeared was Marc Webber, who ran webhistory.org. Last year, Professor Pickett got approval to begin a center for Web history at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and we have been looking for groups with which to partner since then. Even with the help in organizing the conference and the initial suggestion to have a center for Web history, I was never officially connected with the project; that is, until now. A few days ago, Professor Pickett extended membership to me with the work I had done and interest shown in finding other project partners and general interest in Web history. Check out the revived Web history project.

Bugs in OpenCV

The work I do right now at Rose-Hulman Ventures for Elastic Image involves the use of OpenCV, an open source computer vision library. Earlier this summer we updated from OpenCV 0.9.5 to OpenCV 0.9.7. However, portions of our software quit working after the update. We recently downgraded to 0.9.5 again until we can figure out what the problem is in 0.9.7. Some theories were that internal formats of OpenCV changed and we were relying on certain internals of OpenCV. However, I was invesigating it today and found that there is a problem with 0.9.7’s implementation on cvSetIdentity. That function is supposed to set the diagonal of a matrix to a given number and everything else to zero. The problem is that the same test case code shows that 0.9.7 is only setting position 0, 0 to the value and not the entire diagonal. This is confirmed in three ways. Looking at the internals of the matrix confirms shows this issue as does cvTrace which tells the sum of the diagonal and cvmGetAt which retrieves the element at a given position in the matrix. Hopefully, the issue will get sorted out and we can update to 0.9.7 or later again. That version has a newer chess board detection algorithm that works better when lighting conditions are not ideal.

Yet Another Blog Attempt

This is yet another blogging attempt. I have tried several times before, but I never blog consistently enough for my blog to be of any value. Anyhow this entry starts yet another attempt.