Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Building the Perfect Reputational Beast

One of the sore spots in the Real Estate Industry is a missing reputational model for evaluating professionals and their services. Since there isn't an open and neutral model which already exists, I started modelling a potential application. Below is a use-case diagram modelling potential actors, scenarios, and associations for an application:

A use-case diagram depicting actors, scenarios, and associations for a real estate reputational application.

As you can see, I've defined just three types of Actors: Professionals, References, and Guests. I've also defined two external entities, OpenID and a web service. The scenarios listed are a first pass and expect to refactor their associations while adding/removing some. I won't go into detail here regarding the scenarios, but if you would like to follow the wave and/or offer comments, please feel free to contact me on google wave. My gwave account is

My next step in this process is to create component, deployment, and behavioural diagrams. I'll post these also to my blog in the future.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

DIY Mobile Coaching Video System

DIY Mobile Coaching Video System
A Sony PSP connected to an HDTV Sharp Monitor via component av cable.

For the past two seasons, I've been experimenting with the idea of showing and reviewing game video to my players at practices for instructional purposes. My players are between the ages of 9 to 12 and are heavily into video gaming such as Modern Warfare 2 and NBA 2k10. So integrating
video with a gaming device seemed like a perfect match for displaying our film footage from games.

In creating a solution I decided to use a handheld PSP, a component av cable, and an HD 19" monitor. The specific hardware follows:

Once I have the previous game encoded into an mp4 format I then connect the psp to one my macs via usb cable. I then copy the mp4 file to the memory stick on the PSP. The average size for an mp4 game file is about 200mb.

After disconnecting the PSP from the mac, I then connect the PSP to the HDTV with the component AV cable. On the HDTV, I select the correct input. And finally, on the PSP navigate to Settings > Connected Display Settings > Switch Video Out > Select 'Yes' when asked if you want to display output on a connected device? > Video > the mp4 game file.

To playback, fastforward, or rewind just use the navigational keys and video options on the PSP.

For a future direction, I look forward to Apple's tablet being released in 2010. A tablet would eliminate the need for a stationary monitor and separate handheld device and merge the two together.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Real7: Globalizing Real Estate Information

Of late, I've been doing quite a bit of research and work on enterprise type applications specifically speaking, Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). An EAI system allows applications to "talk" to one another via a messaging model even though the two applications are completely different. An example would be a cobol legacy app needing to exchange financial information with a java web application.

My EAI research led me to two real world models: SWIFT and HL7. From the SWIFT about page:

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. Over 8,300 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.

From the HL7 about page:

Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven (HL7) is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited standards developing organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services. HL7's 2,300+ members include approximately 500 corporate members who represent more than 90% of the information systems vendors serving healthcare.

As I read more about these two models I wondered if a secure messaging model could be used within the real estate industry. The first use case I came up with was a global referral network for professionals needing to find other professionals for real estate referrals. Currently, there isn't a global network which allows this particular model (and facebook doesn't count). Obviously, Metcalfe's Law factors in:

the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).

So for Real7 to be of value to its users, a number of users would need to have access and use the model, but this is always the rub for any online service. But I believe this type of service would not only solve the referral challenge, but also create a greater efficiency regarding time savings in searching for other real estate professionals to refer a buyer or seller client. I'm certain more use cases will be applied to a messaging model as others join in on the discussion, but for now I'm just concentrating on one use case to begin.

I created a google group called Real7 to begin discussions on security, grid computing, and other related technologies needed for a global real estate messaging infrastructure. If this topic is of any interest, please join the google group for posting and receiving discussions on real7.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Combating Real Estate FUD

I was listening to a Diggnation podcast the other day and the acronym FUD came up during the show. I don't recall in what context, but it stymied Kevin Rose, one of two hosts, for awhile for a definition of FUD. I believe he was stalling so he could google it, but I'm just guessing. ;)

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.[1]

Normally, if I'm not quite certain about a term or acronym I will then look it up on Wikipedia. Now I was very sure of FUD having been in IT for years, but curiosity was too much for me so I browsed the term anyway over on Wikipedia.

After reading the initial definition, I scrolled down to read more about the derivation of FUD and was suddenly taken back by what I then saw.

Real Estate Agents. In response to a growing number of homeowners forgoing the use of real estate agent services during the sale of their homes, National and Regional real estate boards have adopted a strategy of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Ads reinforce consumers anxiety over legal paperwork, and suggest that consumers are weak, intellectually lazy and fearful. That consumers can't possibly learn; and that it would be much safer to leave the process to a real estate agent. [1]

It all made sense now. The tweets. The facebook updates. The ads. Everything.

I see these fud-like sales tactics streamed across sites where once only located in newspapers or park benches. So instead of offering a one-off opinion, what is the action item then to curb fud selling or marketing?

This is where I am with this issue, simply asking questions. I forsee a case study for researching this issue with a published online white paper. Time to get to work...


1. Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Inkscaping Biz Cards

[caption id="attachment_231" align="alignright" width="275" caption="GR8C Biz Card created with Inkscape"]GR8C Biz Card created with Inkscape[/caption]

For my upcoming trip to Icann Seoul, I needed a new set of business cards for networking purposes. One of the tools I've been using to create business brochureware for many years now is Inkscape. It's an open source vector application which practically mirrors the functionality and features of Adobe's Illustrator, but not the $599 cost to purchase.

Here's how I created the card:

  1. Create a new document.

  2. Under File > Document Properties > Set Units to 'in' or inches

  3. Change Page Orientation to 'Landscape'.

  4. Choose 'Custom Size'.

  5. The width of a business card is 3.5 inches.

  6. The height is 2 inches.

  7. I'll leave the design part up to you, but I used 'Bank Gothic' font at 48pt size for the logo and 10pt for rest of text. I added a Medium style to my name and title while using Light for the rest.

  8. I recommend using the grid feature for spacing in addition to the 'always snap' choice under File > Document Properties > Snap.

  9. The most important step is saving your file in .eps format. An encapsulated format packages the font styles, font sizes, font faces, and colors so your printer will have all of the needed information to print your job.

  10. --Corey

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sony Touch over Amazon Kindle

After weeks of research, I recently ordered the Sony eBook Reader Touch Edition instead of the rival Amazon Kindle. Here is a list of reasons why I did in no particular order.

  1. The Touch displays multiple formats: PDF, Word, and EPUB.

  2. After I created an account with Sony's ebook store, I now have access to Google Books, a public domain project by Google to scan and organize the world's books online.

  3. My local library partnered with a service called Overdrive which allows me to check out and download books right to my mac and ebook reader.

  4. I am not a big reader of fictional books so a wireless connection to download books on demand was nonessential.

  5. The nonfictional books I do read are mostly pdfs which I couldn't upload to the Kindle, but can upload to the Touch.

  6. Since I'm an enormous fan and member of the docbook working group, creating my own epub books using the docbook language along with the stylesheets will make it fun to publish my own books to read.

  7. I didn't see the need for a physical keyboard.

  8. The color white makes machines look cheap.

  9. I own the following Sony products: HDTV, PS3, PS2, PSP, HD handycam, and noise canceling headphones.

  10. Sony Memory Stick Pro Duos work interchangeably with all of my devices plus the Touch Reader.

  11. Black looks kewl.

[caption id="attachment_140" align="alignright" width="215" caption="Sony eBook Reader Touch"]Sony eBook Reader Touch[/caption]

I expect to receive my Touch Reader this coming week or early the following week via Walmart's Store-to-Store delivery. In addition, I ordered a reader cover to protect the screen and exterior body.

BTW, I am not sponsored by Sony nor did I receive a free reader from Sony for this blog post. In addition, I have an Amazon account, order producs/books from Amazon, and have an Amazon Web Services account with ec2 machines.

-- Corey

Friday, October 9, 2009

Foward thinking to Remetal 0.4

As I finish work on 0.3 of the Real Estate Meta Language, I can't help to look forward to release 0.4. The obvious element which needs a bit of attending to is the <location> element. So here's my thought for this.

For <location>, Remetal will reuse the <Location> compound element offered by Google's Keyhole Markup Language (KML). <Location> is the parent element to following elements as such:

[sourcecode language="xml"]

With this and a bit of xsl transformation, could this element inclusion lead to mapping apps reusing remetal listings? Hopefully is my first thought. I'll let the developers decide what to do and resist tainting. ;)

One of the main principles of the Internet is to "reuse" protocols which already exist, but in this case Remetal will simply reuse an element which already exists thanks to KML.

Feel free to leave comments.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Remetal 0.3 Upcoming Release

It's been awhile since I've updated Real Estate Meta Language, Remetal, but that's changed. I'm currently adding children elements to the following elements:

  • kitchen

  • livingroom

  • office

  • garage

Here's an example for the pool element:

[sourcecode language="xml"]





I hope to have the DTD and schemas refactored and published by this sunday evening. I'll have an announcement for the release soon after.


Service Assembly Composition

Deploying an Enterprise Application Intergration (EAI) project entails building a zipped file called a service assembly (sa). SA's are comprised of service units (su) which offer specific functions of your eai project such as messaging, web services, transformation, etc.

Below is project diagram visually depicting an eai project I am currently working, one of many of course. :)
[caption id="attachment_96" align="aligncenter" width="632" caption="ESB JBI Service Assembly Project"]ESB JBI Service Assembly Project[/caption]


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Servicemix-file Message Flow Diagram

For the last few weeks, I've been head down in ESB concepts and programming. Below is a diagram I created using The diagram depicts the message flow of a file within a directory which is then passed to the "bus". It's routed through servicemix service engines (eip, http, camel, saxon) and then finally written to an "out" directory on the file system.

[caption id="attachment_90" align="aligncenter" width="632" caption="Servicemix-file messaging flow diagram"]Servicemix-file messaging flow diagram[/caption]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Playing Videos on PS3 Slim Hack

I thought I should share this with those who recently purchased a PS3 Slim this past Tuesday.

To play a video or movie on a PS3 besides a disc just save the file on a usb device, memory stick or external hard drive, and simply create the following directory at the root of the device:


Then just simply copy your video file preferably an .mp4 file to this new directory. Connect your usb device to the PS3 via one of the two usb ports and navigate to videos and then down to your usb device, select this icon.

You should then see an icon for your mp4 file, select it and it should play. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

JBoss Messaging Installation Hack

To use JBoss ESB, I needed to install a messaging system within JBoss 5.0 GA. I chose JBoss Messaging 1.4.4 and swallowed the red pill.

RTFMing the docs, I cd'd to the util directory and then ran: ant -f release-admin.xml. First try failed with the following error message:

Warning: Could not find file ...\path\to\jms\jms-ra.rar to copy

So I vi'd release-admin.xml and read the copy command found on line 116. Looks like it wanted a jms-ra.rar in a directory called jms. I examined my jboss installation and didn't find a jms directory present within my developmental server so I created a jms/ directory and copied an available copy of jms-ra.rar into the jms directory.

Unfortunately, you cannot just simply rerun the install file, release-admin.xml, straightaway. You must remove the messaging/ directory completely before reinstalling.

rm-rf messaging/
(I know, I know, this is a no no but my first red bull of the day was still in full circulation. :) )

After removing the messaging/ directory, I retried:

ant -f release-admin.xml

Success! The build was successful and now it's on to JBoss ESB and the helloworld.esb for testing messaging and eventual soap client service.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

S10 netbook

Yesterday I ordered a new lenovo s10 netbook, but it came preinstalled with windows xp. My plan is to install mac os x leopard over xp. It can be done, but involves an iso downloadable from piratebay and a utilities file. The torrent is only at 26.6% so I am still in the proverbial holding pattern for the installation. I'll blog my s10 updates once 100% is obtained.

New Blog Skin

Well, I finally decided and made time to reskin my blog. It's very "twitter" or "" like which are both embedded in my day-to-day personal and work processes. I plan to create new pages for my basketball coaching, real estate projects, and technology hacks in the coming two weeks.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Definition of the RealWeb


The RealWeb is comprised of agents, applications, or humans exchanging, publishing, subscribing, or transferring real estate related information over the internet asynchronously or in real-time.