An aside: SEO for restaurants

Posted on 19 March 2010 in Personal

The other day, we got an ad through our letterbox for a new Thai restaurant. We'd become fed up with the other neighbourhood Thais, so decided to try this one this evening. We could remember the name, "Cafe de Thai", and the street, All Saints Road, but no more, but hey, no problem: let's Google it!

The results were odd; I won't link to them because they'll change rapidly enough, but what we found was that the front page results had two links to aggregators of celebrity Twitter accounts (because someone who is apparently semi-famous tweeted about the place), but everything else was about other places on the same street, or with vaguely similar names. By contrast, a search for their competitors came up with a bunch of random London restaurant listing sites, many of which I'd never heard of -- but all of which had the information I was looking for, to wit the telephone number and the precise address.

What's interesting to me is that (a) neither restaurant's own web page was on the first page of the listings, and (b) this didn't matter. All that mattered was that the contact details were at the front of the list; the more established place had loads of listings sites giving contact details for them, but the newer place was nowhere to be found. So perhaps, while software companies spend money to make as sure as possible that their own website is at the top of the search results for their name and industry segment, SEO for restaurants is much more nuanced: you don't need your own website to come first, just that of a decent listings site. Ideally, one would assume, a listings site where you get a good rating...

Anyway, just in case anyone has wound up on this page looking for details of the restaurant:

Cafe de Thai
29 All Saints Road
020 7243 3001

I recommend the scallops and the weeping tiger; Lola liked her dim sum and red curry with prawns. Alan Carr recommends the green curry, apparently...

OpenCL: .NET, C# and Resolver One integration -- the very beginnings

Posted on 18 March 2010 in GPU Computing, Programming, Python, Resolver One

Today I wrote the code required to call part of the OpenCL API from Resolver One; just one function so far, and all it does is get some information about your hardware setup, but it was great to get it working. There are already .NET bindings for OpenCL, but I felt that it was worthwhile reinventing the wheel -- largely as a way of making sure I understood every spoke, but also because I wanted the simplest possible API, with no extra code to make it more .NETty. It should also work as an example of how you can integrate a C library into a .NET/IronPython application like Resolver One.

I'll be documenting the whole thing when it's a bit more finished, but if you want to try out the work in progress, and are willing to build the interop code, here's how:

  • Make sure you have OpenCL installed -- here's the NVIDA OpenCL download page, and here's the OpenCL page for ATI. I've only tested this with NVIDIA so far, so I'm keen to hear of any incompatibilities.
  • Clone the dot-net-opencl project from Resolver Systems' GitHub account.
  • Load up the DotNetOpenCL.sln project file in the root of the project using Visual C# 2008 (here's the free "Express" version if you don't have it already).
  • Build the project
  • To try it out from IronPython, run ipy
  • To try it in Resolver One, load test_clGetPlatformIDs.rsl

That should be it! If you want to look at the code, the only important bit is in DotNetOpenCL.cs -- and it's simply an external method definition... the tricky bit was in working out which OpenCL function to write an external definition for, and what that definition should look like.

I've put a slightly tidied version of the notes I kept as I implemented this below, for posterity's sake; if you're interested in finding out how the implementation went, read on...

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