Are you busy? In the US, the standard answer is “no” even when this is untrue. In Japan, the standard answer is “yes” even when this is untrue. It seems that I am always busy, but September is already shaping up to be especially busy. Right now, my priorities are:
1. Finish fixing some problems with the Informicant crawler. I fixed a major problem in the latest version which caused it to skip over pages when a socket was not immediately available. Bad news: an error with little indication other than a note it the data saying the page could not be retrieved.
Unfortunately, it ran into a recursion problem on the last run. It hit a site that replied on bad URLs with a relatively correct page, and then continued the problem. For example, http://www.bob.com would have links to http://www.bob.com/andy and http://www.bob.com/barb. Then http://www.bob.com/barb would have links to http://www.bob.com/barb/barb and http://www.bob.com/barb/andy; and rather than returning a 404, the server would joyfully serve up the root versions of these pages, leading to a collection of the site that quickly exploded and continued to grow. When the server gives you a page that is not exactly the one you requested, it is supposed to tell you as much. I thought I had set up a way of catching such problems, but I’ll have to do the post-mortem to be sure. Either the script is not correctly dealing with the server indicating that a different URL than the one requested is arriving, or the server isn’t communicating this.
2. Directly connected with #1, I need to collect data from a set of international NGOs for a project Maria Garrido and I are working on. This data is also promised to Mukhbir Singh and Tom Jacobson to help test a system to automate q-analysis, integrated with pajek. I’ll also be helping Mukhbir translate some routines Frank Tutzauer has already written in this area into Python. I’d like to have the data collected, analyzed, and written up for our project by the end of the month, but…
3. I am chairing a double-panel on blogs (part a and part b), and presenting a paper for the Internet Research conference called “Urban sociology and a research agenda for the blogosphere.” The paper is due on the 1st of October, and while I’ve thought about it a lot, and have scraps of paper together, I haven’t actually written more than a few lines of nonsense.
4. I recently received the good news that I will be presenting a paper called “Tracking ideas in the blogosphere” at HICSS in January of this year. The bad news is I need to substantially revise my paper. One of the four reviewers had me down as a “definite reject,” and it seemed he or she may have had the most background in the area of research presented. I still hate rejection, especially when it is on point. I knew that the paper was far from perfect, but I am trying to submit things that have flaws in the knowledge that it is better to look like a fool and learn from the critiques than actually sit around and stew while trying to create only high-impact research. I had hoped to have a fully operational demo system done for the rewrite, but the possibilities of this are now vanishingly small. And this revised version is due (yikes!) by September 26.
Luckily, some of the other projects I have in the works are historical in nature, and so the data I’ve collected won’t go stale. I have a feeling that the above is going to keep me more than a little isogashii this month.