Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brief Visual History of PDA's

Today, I had to stay home and take care of our youngest one for a couple of hours. He was very busy playing out the story of Joseph being almost killed and then sold by his loving brothers, that I decided to do some cleanup. Since my G1 phone is more or less setup, I decided to trash the older PDA I used to use and which I still kept in my drawer. I had a moment of nostalgia and so I ended up saving for some of my memories for the generations to come.

Most of my adventure with PDA's is captured by the following picture:

I have been using all these PDA's, including Treo 90, the most fun one, in addition to the cell phone. Finally, with G1, I have one device instead of two. I didn't stress it: I was actually carrying the two devices always with me, wherever I went. One in my pocket and another in a little holster. I got rid of the holster now, which made my wife happy. She never liked this extra decoration. And, besides the two functions being one fullfilled by a single gadget, I must say I enjoy the G1 a lot. It's appearance doesn't give it justice. Really.

There is much more to say about this little brief history topic, but my time is limited while I want to have some left to play with extending WikiNotes app into a more fully developed wiki application. Yes, for G1, or I should rather say, for Android.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Search Web Services or API for Commercial Use

Suppose, you need to collect some data based on Internet search for your business. What options are there to use existing web search services? Google? Yahoo? Anyone else? Here's what I have found.

Here's what I have found:

  • Google SOAP search web services seem not to be available for new applications any more. In 2006, Google seems to have stopped issuing new API keys.
  • There is another option from Google: API not SOAP based. The terms don't exclude commercial use, but there is a restriction on caching the results of the search. I guess, if we process the results and store the processed data, it wouldn't be considered caching.
  • The API services have exclusivity requirement: you are not supposed to use on the same site any other search provider.
Here's what I have found:
  • Y! makes the search available via web services (REST but not SOAP webservices).
  • Each application has to use Application ID, which Y! issues for free. There is a rate limit for each application id.
  • Allowed usage: web search API is available to commercial use, however a form of exclusivity restraint is imposed: you are not supposed to integrate the results with results from other search providers.
  • Storage restrictions: "you may not store any user data collected through the Yahoo! APIs for more than 24 hours". Again, would storing the processed, for example aggregated data, be subject to this restriction? I suppose, not.
MSDN: Live Search WebServices API
Terms of use summary:
  • SOAP-based webservices call Silky Road.
  • No restrictions other than an application ID needed. But their license is more complex and I might have missed something.
I'm sure there are/may be other search web services available, and some of them may be free. DoubleClick? I didn't analyze other options.