Jeff Heaton

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Top Stories by Jeff Heaton

Spiders are used for many purposes on the Internet. Search engines use spiders to locate Web pages for their databases. Companies use spiders to monitor their competitors' Web sites and track changes. Individual users use spiders to download the contents of Web pages for later offline viewing. Developers use spiders to scan their own Web sites looking for broken links and other issues. Spiders are used by many people for a variety of different purposes. But what exactly is a spider? Spiders are semi-autonomous programs that travel Web links just the way a real spider travels strands of its web. A spider is semi-autonomous in that it is given an initial Web page to start from, but where the spider goes is determined as it runs. The spider scans the starting page for links, and later visits those links. Each of the pages that was linked to will in turn be checked for... (more)

A Class for Reading Binary Files

Java contains an extensive array of classes for file access. A series of readers, writers, and filters make up the interface to the physical file system of the computer. The advantage to this sort of system of classes is that the programmer is freed from the overhead of dealing with the physical layout of files. The main disadvantage to this architecture is that the programmer is isolated from the physical details of how a file is stored. Java programs have a distinct, well-defined way in which they store data to files. Unfortunately, this complicates matters when dealing with f... (more)

Programming Neural Networks in Java

Computers can perform many operations a lot faster than humans. However, there are many tasks in which the computer falls considerably short. One such task is the interpretation of graphic information. A preschool child can easily tell the difference between a cat and a dog, but this simple problem confounds today's computers. In the field of computer science, artificial intelligence attempts to give computers human abilities. One of the primary means by which computers are endowed with humanlike abilities is through the use of a neural network, which the human brain is the ulti... (more)

Interfacing to AIM with Java

Instant messaging has become very popular in recent years, earning it a deserved spot with the "killer apps" - browsing and e-mail. Most of the Internet's killer apps have spawned a host of accessories to be used in conjunction with the app. Instant messaging is just starting this process. Many clients are appearing that can often send messages over various protocols. But do other models exist, besides simply sending instant messages between human users? Several companies are already putting computers on the receiving end of instant messaging. One such company, ActiveBuddy (www.s... (more)