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

“Tidying Up the Law” at VoxPopuLII

I wrote an article for Cornell’s VoxPopuLII blog: Tidying Up the Law. It’s about the curious intersection of computer science, legal scholarship, and the Lexis-Westlaw corporate duolopy.

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,… Continue reading Scalability for dummies like me

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, 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.… Continue reading Dirty Necessary Money

Fragmentation and the Failure of the Web

What makes an on-line community?  In the past two weeks I have received announcements of three new “communities” all interested in using open-source software to retrieve, share, and analyze data from or about governments.  Most of these announcements say the same thing: “A lot people seem to be working on this, but they aren’t talking… Continue reading Fragmentation and the Failure of the Web

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… Continue reading The Document-Blob Model

Strange Referrers

The web is a strange beast.  Server logs reveal just how strange.  Someone’s crawling, sending an HTTP Referrer of “” with a User-Agent identified as “MSIE 5.00; Windows 98”.  What the heck?