Tag: AltLaw

Bilingual AltLaw Interview

A first for me — I’ve been translated! Frontier Economy interviewed me about AltLaw, then translated my responses into Spanish. The Interview in English The Interview in Spanish

Scalability for dummies like me

Alex Barrera wrote a nice little article about why “scalability issues” can prevent any visible progress on a web project for months at a time: Scalability Issues for Dummies. I’ve been in this position — no visible progress while redesigning a back-end — with AltLaw several times now. I’m contemplating yet another redesign right now,…

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Big & Small at the same time

I haven’t posted in a while — look for more later this summer. But in the mean time, I have a question: How do you structure data such that you can efficiently manipulate it on both a large scale and a small scale at the same time? By large scale, I mean applying a transformation…

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Hadoop Meetup 2/10

Just a little self-promotion: I’ll be presenting at the New York Hadoop User Group on Tuesday, February 10 at 6:30. I’ll talk about how I use Hadoop for AltLaw.org, including citation linking, distributed indexing, and using Clojure with Hadoop. Update 2/28: My slides from this presentation are available from the Meetup group files.

Dirty Necessary Money

Up at Cornell, Tom Bruce has a post about the problem of funding open access to legal materials. This brings to mind a conversation I had with a doctor friend recently about AltLaw. My friend, accustomed to the open-access requirements of NIH grants, was frankly shocked that there are no comparable rules for legal decisions.…

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When storing any large collection of data, one of the most critical decisions one has to make is when to normalize and when to denormalize.  Normalized data is good for flexibility — you can write queries to recombine things in any combination.  Denormalized data is more efficient when you know, in advance, what the queries…

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The Document-Blob Model

Update September 22, 2008: I have abandoned this model.  I’m still using Hadoop, but with a much simpler data model.  I’ll post about it at some point. … Gosh darn, it’s hard to get this right.  In my most recent work on AltLaw, I’ve been building an infrastructure for doing all my back-end data processing…

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Strange Referrers

The web is a strange beast.  Server logs reveal just how strange.  Someone’s crawling AltLaw.org, sending an HTTP Referrer of “http://www.nero.com/enu/downloads-nero8-trial.php” with a User-Agent identified as “MSIE 5.00; Windows 98”.  What the heck?