yesterday's technology tomorrow

Sunday, May 25, 2003

The weekend
Ug...the race has been run. Wet, slow and tiring!! I can't believe that I'm planning a marathon in 4 months!!!

Anyway...I'll write more tomorrow. In the meantime

Time to watch TATU on the Eurovision Song Contest

Meg is thinking of moving to Australia.....yeah!!!! That would mean some competition for Claire for the next bloggies ;-)

0 comments | 8:24 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The First Smile
Jasmine smiled at me for the first time this morning.....3 gummy smiles and 1 more adult ;-) attempt and a soundtrack of cute happy sounds to go with it.

Happy Daddy Milestone!!!

0 comments | 8:54 AM

Monday, May 19, 2003

Blast from the past
The internet archive is amazingly good!!

This is from version 1

0 comments | 1:15 PM

Saturday, May 17, 2003

I am a bag fiend
I have sooooo many bags...Computer bags, courier bags, backpacks, wheely bags, suit bags....I can't get enuf.

I say I'm on the journey to finding the perfect laptop/work/travel bag that fits my needs.

Last year I bought a lovely High Sierra laptop bag which is just perfect for traveling overseas or interstate with when I need to take my laptop, papers, a couple of books; basically when I need to have my work stuff with me away from home.

This week I was traveling to Sydney for a day (not overnight) and decided that I needed a new bag. I could have taken my Crumpler courier bag (as Suzette quite rightly pointed out....several times) but on top of my shirt and pants business look it wouldn't have quite worked out.

I "needed" a bag that would hold the minimum stuff for a day trip and would keep with my image as a not conservative techie without looking like a skater.

So I schemed to get a new crumpler laptop bag. It was purchased on a run this week much to Suzette's disbelief!!

So now I have yet another crumpler bag (we have 5 crumpler bags between 2 people).

The result....well I ended up going to Sydney without the laptop but the bag did take all the things I needed (except a drink bottle). And to finish the day the staff on the Virgin flight complimented me on the bag...thanks ladies!!!!

So bleh to you Suzette ;-)

0 comments | 11:55 AM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Sydney you've changed in 5 years
5 years ago, Suzette and I moved to Sydney for my work. It was a great time with plenty of disposable income and a nice place and we had only been living together for a few months so it was all very exciting. Over the last 5 years I've been up to Sydney many times a year for business (looking for investors, board meetings, biz dev ops, conferences, etc.) but its probably been 9 months or more since my last trip.

Yesterday, Andrew and I went up to meet a few people at Telstra and OZTAM (they do the TV ratings). In a word it was WET. But there were two interesting things I noticed.

1. My old haunts had changed. The restaurant in North Sydney I used to have breakfast and coffee at had lost its old feel, the streets had changed and the overall feel was different, bigger and more transport oriented. Of course, I'd be naive to think things wouldn't change but I was surprised by how different it all was.

2. The people we met actually knew their stuff. Over the last 4 years I've been to lots of meetings with Australian (and US) dot coms where the staff were useless. Yesterday we were meeting with people who work in tech businesses but not dot coms they were sharp, to the point and most of all professional. No KGrind style board shorts and skateboards for the CEO on 500k here.

Back in Melbourne and its wet and cold.....a nice day to stay at home and work quietly....perfect!

0 comments | 8:46 AM

I saw Stelarc in San Fran last year, which is funny given he is actually from Ballarat which is 1 hour out of Melbourne...much like when I saw the Hoodoo Gurus in SF in the early 1990s, a show filled with VB, XXXX and Australians.

Anyway, Stelarc is showing his exoskeleton this month. If you can get to the show I'm sure it would be worth while.

0 comments | 8:30 AM

Monday, May 12, 2003

The Winning Panetone
At easter I won the inaugural Jo-Ben Panetone Bake Off :-)

Here is a photo of my two panetone's resting on a pillow (to stop them sinking) when they came out of the oven.

0 comments | 1:27 PM

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Die Puny Humans
Warren Ellis on social software

I like the idea that you flame people who you don't know and that adding images to social environments be that through seeing the person in the flesh or photos immediately and unreversibly changes how you perceive and interact with that person (i.e. Its much harder to flame someone you have to see in person later in the day).

0 comments | 5:54 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Music EcoSystem Launched

We formally launched Music EcoSystem yesterday. It's a site which shows the Data Mining technology I developed for creating relationships between music items based on a crawler that I build which scours the Gnutella P2P network finding what people are sharing.

Today I added a link from it to Apple's iTune Music Store so you can search for tracks you might like and buy them if you have OS X and iTunes 4 (and live in the US for the moment).

0 comments | 6:01 PM

iTunes Internal XML and URLs

Apple's iTunes 4 comes with the built in Apple Music Store application/browser. Basically, the store uses a REST interface with quite complex XML, by that I mean it contains data and detailed rendering information, which is transformed by iTunes to display as it does.

A few people have debugged/hacked the url for the search page so I decided to take it a little further to see what else could be gathered from the underlying data which might be useful for some projects.

Using Safari, telnet, iTunes and the excellent TCP Flow Recorder, I've managed to determine the following...

All requests can be made using either http:// or in OS X itms://. itms is iTune Music Store which basically forces iTunes to handle the request rather than the browser.

The base server for the requests is which will generally be handled via the akamai network.

The requests

Search Requests ...

The parameters are:
songTerm - song title
artistTerm - artist name
albumTerm - album name
composerTerm - composer name
term - all fields 1

so a search for New Order's regret track would be

itms:// ...
wa/advancedSearchResults?songTerm=regret&artistTerm=new order

View Artist ...

where xxx is the artistid. This can be gathered from the search or possibly via the browse function (see below).

View Album ...

where xxx is the album id. Note that the field is playlistId not albumId.


To get the list of genres use ...

The result currently has the following genres (associated ids included)

id="20" Alternative
id="2" Blues
id="3" Books & Spoken
id="5" Classical
id="6" Country
id="17" Dance
id="7" Electronic
id="10" Folk
id="18" Hip Hop/Rap
id="22" Inspirational
id="11" Jazz
id="12" Latin
id="13" New Age
id="14" Pop
id="15" R&B/Soul
id="21" Rock
id="16" Soundtrack
id="23" Vocal
id="19" World

Once you have a genre you can then browse it using ...

where the genreId xx matches a genre above.

Now the issue here is that the data is returned with the following http response header

Content-Type: text/xml; charset=UTF-8
Server: Apache/1.3.27 (Darwin)
Last-Modified: Wed, 07 May 2003 02:28:14 GMT
Content-Encoding: gzip, x-aes-cbc
x-apple-crypto-iv: 40d2096e571bd518af88b1bd7ec1f1d8
x-apple-protocol-key: 2
x-apple-asset-version: 182
x-apple-max-age: 3600
x-apple-application-instance: 8
Vary: Accept-Encoding

From this I gather that the content has been compressed using gzip and the encypted using an AES (Rijndael) algorithm so the response is not yet readable by me. The crypto key looks to be included so if anyone is able to break this down into steps for decrypting and viewing it would be great.. The response should again be XML.

You can also browse an artist to see what albums they have, but again, the response is encrypted and compressed. The request to browse an artist is ...

where xxx is the artistId for the artist you wish to browse.

As for other info such as images and clips they are all contained in the album detail page and in the search response page, the m4p file can be downloaded and played allowing you to save away the clips if you wish.

Finally, if someone was a XSLT guru you should be able to make a working web version of itunes with obviously cut down user interface for others to use.

0 comments | 3:09 PM

Monday, May 05, 2003

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!

0 comments | 8:30 PM

I think I can, I think I can

Yesterday I raced Puffing Billy. VERY VERY Hilly. Nope, I didn't beat it. It did 53 mins and I did under 61. 200 people beat it this year vs 500 last year (when Puffing Billy broke down in the first few hundred meters). Well done to those who did manage to beat PB.

It was the fastest I've run in many years and my heart rate was very very very high for the entire time so I was very pleased with the result. I hitched a ride on the train back which was wonderful.

Saturday we had Phil, Claire and AJ over for coffee and pastries....yummmmmmmmmy. AJ has such cute hair!!

0 comments | 11:12 AM

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Deliveries For those of you who don't know, I work from home. This has its ups and some downs but being able to work in jeans and tshirt and slippers each day with a great view and quiet surrounds is just wonderful. Today I got a visit from the delivery/courier man and it made me think how much I love getting deliveries. There is something very special and joyful about getting a buzz at the gate and having to get a box...I guess it generally means a present or something fun has arrived but I love it. It seems to make working at home all that more special.

0 comments | 12:01 PM
Playground Finder Flink Labs - Data Visualisation

neuronwave is the personal site of Ben Hosken. I am the founder of Flink Labs, a data visualisation studio based in Melbourne. Previously I founded AgentArts, where I developed a recommendations system that we ultimately sold to MSFT.I have two patents, one in Recommendation Systems and one for a datamining algorithm I invented. I have a strong interest in physical computing, emergence, self organising systems, immersive games, bluetooth ad hoc networks and other fun things.
A while ago I built and ran Blog Change Bot - an AOL IM Bot which notified you when blogs you like are updated. I also built IcyPole, a bluetooth based P2P mobile phone app in 2004. With Suzette, I've built Playground Finder - a community contributed site for parents to find playgrounds nearby and while traveling for their kids to play in. Its a "playground" for my social, location, community and mobile interests.
I live in Melbourne with my wife Suzette, son Oskar Tex and my little girl Jasmine

Random Pile of Ben
Bodypump, Flink Labs, autumn weather, balance.

Downloads etc
The Best Bagel Recipe ever
iTunes XML structure
Photo of some of my best Panetones

Neuron EcoSystem
Flink Labs
oskartex.comOskar Tex
JasmineJasmine Aurora
Playground Finder

April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004

ben at neuronwave dot com