Our Cat Needs A New Home

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May 032013


Meet Rocky

It all began with an email to our neighborhood watch group titled: Found Kitten. I’ll fill you in on the entire story of how Rocky came to live with us later, but for now… We have found out that our 9 year old Thing Two is allergic to cats. Her allergies have become harder and harder for her to deal with now. Also, we’re having to keep Rocky closed in the kids’ room to keep her away from our 75lb yellow lab, Sonny. This is no longer a healthy lifestyle for Thing Two any more than it is for Rocky. We are now reaching out to all of our friends and family to try and find Rocky a better home.

Let’s rewind back to us receiving that Found Kitten email… We already had our 2 year old Yellow Labrador, Sonny, and we wanted a cat as well, but knew that the cat would either need to be a kitten or one that was already comfortable around dogs. So seeing this message raised our hopes that if no owner was identified, we may be able to get a little kitten for our family and we reached out to the neighbor stating that we’re interested if no owner was found.

One week later, the neighbor asked us if we were still interested. The next morning, I drove Thing One & Thing Two a few blocks with a nice clean kitty carrier to meet and pick-up the kitty. The neighbor that found this cat was unable to bring the cat into her home because she already had an indoor cat that had a contagious infection, so she was tending to this stray outside. She had begun calling the cat Rocky because of her raccoon-like tail. Rocky was so little we too thought she was a kitten and she was sweet and accepting of us so we agreed to take her in.

The following day I took her to our vet to have her checked and was shocked to find out that this “kitten” had an estimated age of at least 13 years! She also had a thyroid issue that required medication. So, one day and over $300 of vet costs later, we went from having a new kitten, to having a sick old cat. It was hard to take, but we loved her no less than before. In fact, maybe a little more because we now felt some extra compassion for her age and condition.

That was where our good experiences lessened and some unfortunate realizations began to manifest. First of all, Rocky did not like Sonny one bit and attacked him multiple times after he would make the mistake of rushing up to sniff her. This required us to keep them separate. Rocky’s realm became the kids’ room and any time Sonny would be either out on his walk or snoozing on our bed, we would let Rocky have free reign of the entire house. We hoped that the separation strategy we implemented would become part of Rocky’s and Sonny’s routine and we could all live harmoniously together. Instead we feel more and more that Rocky is wanting to be out in the rest of the house with all of us (minus Sonny) and that we’re making her life unpleasant.

Today I reached out to a local no-kill animal shelter and asked if they could take her. I was told by a friend about this particular shelter and that I should be prepared to offer a large cash donation for taking Rocky because of her age. Our family worked hard to save up $300 over the past two months. Unfortunately, my idea of a large donation and this shelter’s needs are very far apart. They told me that they could only take Rocky with a $2,500 donation. I don’t blame them at all as I know they would take good care of her and tend to all of her medical needs (which are not cheap).

So I am asking if there is anyone you know of that may be willing to give this sweet kitty a good home? She is gentle with all people (including children) and loves attention. If you or someone you know can help, please contact me here.

Goose Wins 2nd Place in Text Extraction

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Jun 112011

In a recent comparison of different text extraction algorithms, Gravity’s open source project: Goose tied for second place and was even written up over at Read Write Web! I find this very exciting because our project is still quite young and actively in development whereas the algorithms in close standing are mostly well established and semi-finalized. Another interesting point is that most of the competition was built by teams of researchers, you know… Doctors in their fields!

The graph below from Tomaž Kovačič‘s study shows only a small amount of the data he collected in his analysis. If you are curious of how he compared these algorithms, I highly recommend you head over to his post. He does a great job exposing the details behind his analysis.


Goose's standing among other algorithms tested

So what is Goose used for at Gravity and why have we open sourced it?

Goose’s wiki provides a very detailed explanation about what Goose is and how it works, and also touches on the original need we had at Gravity behind its creation. Jim Plush wrote the first version from the ground up on his own and only recently gave me commit access to the repository. By the time I got into the project, it had all the bells and whistles required to compete in the analysis completed by Kovačič. My contributions to Goose have been to extend it to allow for more specific extractions of additional meta data outside of the primary content and have no effect on its standings above.

Such a utility can be applied to a wide variety of web content analysis problems, and I’m really glad Plush decided to share it with the rest of the open source community. At Gravity, we have been building a lot of exciting (to me at least) technology and most of it is held dearly by us and needs to remain a company secret as they make up a large part of our company’s overall value. When it comes to analyzing the content out here on the web, Goose can be looked at as our trusty messenger delivering our system plenty of content to analyze without a lot of the noise that comes along with it on the web pages the content is sourced from.

If you are looking to mine some of the golden nuggets of information that is buried under a ton of ads, peripheral links, site menu structures, and other distracting noise, then why not take a look at what Goose has to offer? If you find anything you think Goose may be lacking or have some ideas on anything else that may be improved, let us know on our Github repository: https://github.com/jiminoc/goose

A Whole New Blog

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May 152011

Well… I got sick of not being able to get my CommunityServer blog to do what I wanted, so I bit the bullet and went WordPress.

For now, all of my previous robnrob.com posts are tucked away in a MSSQL database hidden away from the world. Once I can get the data ported over to this WordPress instance, I will most definitely do it.

Short post, but I have a lot of work to do.

— robbie

Do you still use myspace?

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Feb 222010

QUESTION 4 my peeps: Do you still use myspace? If yes, why? if no, why not? Please respond at least w/a yes or no. THANKS!

Was posted to these 17 Services at the same time via Ping.fm:

AIM Bebo Brightkite Facebook FriendFeed Friendster GTalk / Google Buzz LinkedIn Y! meme Multiply MySpace Ning Plaxo Plurk Posterous Xanga Yahoo!

That is the question I asked all of my friends and followers from all of those social networkie sites I’m active on. I asked this about 5 hours before posting the results here:

  1. MySpace (view post): 6 comments:
    4 yes / 2 other (but of course all were a yes by the fact that they used it to respond)
  2. Facebook (view post): 24 comments:
    10 yes / 9 no / 5 other
  3. Twitter (view post): 4 @replies [ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ] + 1 direct message:
    3 yes /  1 no / 1 other
  4. Brightkite (view post): 1 comment (actually 2 but from the same person):
    1 no
  5. Work Email (lol, yeah, since a lot of my coworkers follow me): 1 response:
    1 yes

This makes the total “yes” answers 18 and the total “no” answers 10 out of a total of 37 responses.

Two interesting points are that out of the four networks I’ve inked to above, the most commented network gives me a link that can only be viewed by a logged-in facebook user and the 2nd network (twitter) has no “view entire thread” link as the other three do. Either way, I am not some social media guru, so I only have a “normal” following (under 600 on each network) and this may not be much of a representation of the web masses at all. I did however find it very interesting and really appreciate all of the responses. It is also worth noting that I posted this same question on  13 other networks without any response at all.

I also need to mention that out of those responding “yes”, about half of them mentioned either a minimal usage or tried to explain why they still do. As many of you know, I work at MySpace and a quite a few of the respondents do as well. 10 of the total yes answers came from my fellow employees at MySpace and 2 of those stated only using it for work. To keep this in perspective though, there are at least that many people that are my friends/followers that used to but no longer work at MySpace and that can affect their perspective differently.

Here are some of the key points made by the respondents (I don’t mention too much detail here but covered all of those not publicly visible in the links above):

  1. If they do use MySpace, most noted that either not for social networking, or very little.
  2. Some mentioned using it for either just music, or finding connecting with bands.
  3. Out of those that used to use MySpace but no longer do, some mentioned they stopped when their moved on to twitter or Facebook.
  4. Out of the other reasons why some don’t use MySpace, the two top were bad design and bad impression of what users are there.

As pointed out by Christina Gagnier in her article on the Huffington Post:

“The users of MySpace are diverse. It is superficial to cast off MySpace as merely a “digital ghetto” because its demographics may be different from that of the other social networks.”

My friends / followers do not represent the entire internet at all and in fact most like represent a very small demographic, but this is the same demographic that is most active in the “popular” social networking space.

I have more detailed feedback that I felt would be better suited for a separate post entirely.

Robin’s Art will be in a Gallery

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Jun 242009

UPDATE: Here is the link for the Event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=95970609326

My Wife Robin will have two pieces showing at the art gallery: Upstairs at the Market, 1057 South San Pedro Street Los Angeles, CA 90015 (see map) on:
Friday, July 3rd @ 7pm.

This is a group show where she will be showing work for the 1st time with several other artists and we are very excited.

Please come and view their creations.

Some brief info about Robin's work in this show:

U R HERE, a large wall hanging, featuring images of female family members and friends, collage with renderings of lace on paper, sewn onto fabric.


Paper Snowballs
Paper Snowballs
, are Robin’s personal journals, torn and then made into a paper pulp and formed into balls, which are then wrapped in thread, a playful reminder that life is consisted of moments.

Need some L.A. folks to help out!

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Mar 052009

Wow! I ask for help from you and you came to read about it? Awesome!

This is something that won’t be for everyone, and I do understand this; however, it is something that all of us need to live: Platelets. This little blood helpers replenish quickly in healthy people and do not make you feel weak in the process of self-replenishment.

I have a friend from work who’s son, Dylan, needs platelets to be donated in order for him to regain his health during his treatment. I will not go into all of the details of what his treatment is and all here, because his father, Eric, that also works for FIM already did a much better job with the whole story.

So… back to what I’m asking of you. I’m donating platelets tomorrow for Dylan and I’m hoping that you can do the same sometime soon. Even if Dylan’s platelet needs get met, there are many other children with the same need. Platelets have a very short shelf-life and must be transfused within five days of collection. I won’t lie to you, donating platelets takes a bit longer than just donating blood. But you don’t get to sit in the e-Chair (ultra-cool, comfy chair with easy access to: movies, games, internet browsing, and more) if you just donate blood. It takes about two hours to complete the platelet collection process, and part of this process is giving you, the donor, the rest of your blood back. This process allows you to feel much more normal shortly after your donation is complete.

If you are up to the challenge:

  • Be at least 17 years old (there is no upper age limit)
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • Be in general good health
  • Have not taken any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications within 2 full days of donation
  • If diabetic: No insulin (oral medications are acceptable)
  • If asthmatic: No oral medications (Singulair is acceptable)
  • Must be willing to allow approximately 2 hours for the entire donation process.

Then please schedule an appointment today for a time that is convenient for you. To do so, please call UCLA’s Blood and Platelet Center at 310-794-7217 and ask to make a platelet donation appointment. Please mention Dylan David as the patient you are donating for. The facility is located in Westwood Village (map here) and you can read more about them here.

Even if you do not do this for me, thank you for reading my plea for help.

Ping ’em All

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Dec 062008

Ping 'em All

So I finally brought together two of my favorite services:

  1. MySpace
  2. Ping.fm

If you need an explanation for what MySpace offers then my wee little blog post is not the best resource for you. However, Ping.fm is a new up-and-coming web site that offers some great value to its users. It allows registered users to post status updates, micro-blogs, blogs, location (check-ins), and even pictures and audio to over 30 of the top social networks.

So… if you know me, you'll know that I enjoy getting around on the Internet. I've registered for over 20 social networking sites and Ping.fm was a treat for me. In one place I could broadcast my status to all of them. Old friends and colleagues begin to comment on my status updates and follow along with my life as they did when I sat, worked or socialized with them for realz. But, I found myself constantly switching between my Ping.fm browser tab and my MySpace browser tab.

A while back before we launched the MySpace Developer Platform (MDP) with its OpenSocial implementation, we had an internal competition to develop an app. I worked my tail off to create an app that would post your MySpace status updates to Twitter's API. I was close… and then we went from the 0.6 spec to 0.7 of Google's OpenSocial specification. My app was busted, and I was done with hacking.

When the holidays got closer, I got this uncanny urge to develop something new, and the "Ping 'em All" project begun. It took me two sleepless nights to get something solid enough to submit and now I am sharing it with you.

So, check it out (if you don't mind):

and speak your mind on the app's forum:


Ping ON!!

I’m Finalizing the WLW Cross-Post Plugin

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Aug 172008

Sorry for the noise, but in order for me to truly test the latest modifications that I have made to this plugin, I need to use it. And when I use it, it broadcasts to just about everything I've got, so… sorry.


Gee… after my last post, I sure do sound like an annoying (micro)blogger today.

WLW Cross-Post with Ping.fm posts – Details

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Aug 142008

This is a follow-up post that I had promised regarding these two previous posts:


So… first and foremost, I only extended an existing WLW plugin developed by Daniel Cazzulino called Cross-Post (CodePlex source here). I found his implementation very easy to follow and well suited to boot-strap my idea for posting to Ping.fm's REST API. I also used (but modified to my liking) the C# Wrapper Class written by Adam Duffy (a developer at ping.fm) located here.

Now for the details of each component (Cross-Post plugin & Ping.fm API)…

Cross-Post plugin

The Cross-Post plugin was designed to take a just published blog post in Windows Live Writer (WLW), and then post it (optionally summarized) to all the other weblogs configured in WLW. For a full and complete description, please check the author's blog post that describes it:
How to cross post entries across blogs from Windows Live Writer


Ping.fm REST API

Ping.fm did a wonderful job keeping their REST API clean and simple. If you are not familiar with their site or service, they describe themselves in the following way.

"Ping.fm is a simple service that makes updating your social networks a snap."

They allow you to post to 22 (at the time of this post) different social/bloglike sites (listed here in no particular order): twitter, jaiku, facebook, myspace, bebo, tumblr, pownce, friends, message, mashable, brightkite, xanga, plurk, plaxo pulse, identi.ca, friendfeed, blogger, hi5, kwippy, wordpress, livejournal

As far as their REST API, it is well documented here. The two methods my implementation uses are:

  1. user.validate: Validates the given user’s application key. This is how authentication/authorization works on their calls. The combination of the developer's API Key and the user's Application Key. I call this method when a user enters their key into the plugin's Option Dialog within WLW.
  2. user.post: Posts a message to the user’s Ping.fm services. This allows 3 basic methods, blog, microblog, and status. I make two of these calls for the cross-post.
    1. The first as a blog post with title intact yet the body is optionally summarized with the link back to the source post. This uses that optional "title" parameter of the "user.post" method.
    2. The second is a microblog post that states:
      "New Blog – " [title]:[permalink]
      The best part about this is that Ping.fm automatically shortens all links greater than 20 characters long.


So what does it look like when it posts…?

Well… this post that I am writing now and you must be reading sometime later was posted using WLW and this Cross-Post plug-in. So it got posted as a full blog post here, and a summarized (200 characters) to the following blogs:

It was also posted as a announcement link on the following Micro-Blogs of mine:


Now all I need to do is complete me testing and fine tuning, then I can submit it first to Ping.fm for approval (that will allow for users other than me to use my API Key to post). Once that is done I can submit the plugin to the WLW Gallery.

YAY! I got the Cross-Post to work

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Aug 142008

I know that I promised to explain how I got this to work, but it is now too late, but I will get them details out later today at a normal hour.

For now, you can see the results by hitting up where this will cross-post to:

now… off to sleep.