Feb 20

Link blog: Cheesy Version 0.1

Tech No Comments »

I think that I am well suited to a link blog. I read far too many feeds and often have only a little to write about on a topic so I bypass a full blog post on it.

I also didn’t find a good solution out there.

My requirements are:

  • Trivial for me to tag things and put in a description (I do not just want to tag only, but want to give SOME context)
  • Ties into the way I browse feeds and content (needs to fit into my browser/feed reader world)
  • Be able to embed my list blog items on my normal blog
  • Minimal initial work on my end else I will never do it

I thought about using shared items in Google Reader, but that doesn’t allow me to put my dumb thoughts into the mix, but does a lot of the other things (also not good for me when I am using NetNewsWire).

I also thought of using delicious and turning on the FeedBurner feature that throws out items. I always held back because:

  • I don’t want everything that I tag to show up. You probably care even less about my local hospital website than my thoughts on tech.
  • Do people really care? Some people that I subscribe to turned this feature on at first. I hated it. I didn’t care. I unsubscribed to some of them. Others like Dean Edwards are top notch.

As soon as private features were added to delicious I had the option to say ‘not shared’ for anything not interesting, and use public to actually mean ‘put it in the link blog’. This is a bit of a pain, as there are items that I would like to share with the delicious community, but don’t want on my link blog.

I also wish that delicious could hold a bit more of a description. It is pretty weak right now. Can you bump up the varchar? :)

It would be nice if FeedBurner had a tweak to their end. Ideally I would use a special tag (linkblog or whatever) to say “this is for the blog”. That would mean that I would be free to use delicious as it is intended and not put on my own meaning to public/private.

I should also make the feed let users choose whether they care or not. I am sorry, I got lazy and just turned it on. If you think my inane collection of links bundled up are too painful let me know.

Feedburner kindly “burned” 7 days worth and threw out a bunch of entries which made it look like I was an online nutter. We should be back to normal now (no more than one entry in a day).

Feb 19

Just call me Keanu

Personal 2 Comments »

I have been feeling like Keanu in Speed recently.

When I have been driving, I have had to keep above 30 miles an hour. A bomb wasn’t going to off if I dipped below of course, but my son may wake up.

~30 miles an hour seems to be the magic speed that knocks my son out if he is tired.

Of course, you have to disconnect from the speed issue to drive safely with Baby on Board, but I still couldn’t help feeling like I was driving a bus.

I now have an urge to learn kung fu.

Feb 18

Smart way around spam: ask humans to do something different with the same data

Tech 1 Comment »

I somehow haven’t noticed the form of spam avoidance than Joe Gregorio uses on his blog.

Instead of asking for some inane piece of information (CAPTCHA) he simply asks for your name and email || website in a special format: bob (email) or bob (websiteurl).

This is so simple and smart in that most blogs ask for this anyway, but it is different enough that spam bots won’t know about it yet (hopefully). If they grok it you can just change the format (e.g. bob [email]).

More hackable than a “your site specific” logic CAPTCHA, but it does have the nice effect of being obscure, and hopefully it will stay that way.


Feb 18

Knowing that the link will be opened in the same window, a new tab, or new window

Tech 3 Comments »

I have various addons to try to normalize links, but I still run into issues where I do dumb things based on now knowing where a link will be opened.

How many times have I CMD-clicked in a gmail email and two new tabs have opened with the same content.

At this point I think I would like to see a slight subtle change to the cursor that would let me know where the link is going to be opened. Then I can hit modifier keys and know what they are doing as the icon change will be shown.

This would help a lot when I am on other computers that may not be tweaked out in the same way.

Feb 17

8GB Card Drive

Tech 1 Comment »

Jason Hunter gave me the hint on this one. I was able to go to Fry’s, which is a pilgrimage in of itself in the bay area, and get an 8GB card usb drive that fits in your wallet for $60 bucs with sale and rebate.

I was using a 1GB USB key chain flash drive which is OK for moving files around, but not enough for much more.

Feb 17

Phantom Flickr Photos

Tech 5 Comments »

Some users are either enjoying, or freaking out over their photo streams having photos from other people in them.

Personally it is kinda fun to see what random photos come into a stream, but then you read comments like:

  • “YOU NEED TO TAKE THE SITE OFFLINE — there is all kinds of freaking porn in my photostream now; I have family members (inc. children) who look at my stream. I am sure there are many others in the same boat. This sucks.”
  • “I am and I’m freaking out – this is my business portfolio site “

And I quickly realised that this is an issue.

I think we will run into this more as we move our world from our own websites/just on a PC to global services.

Ironically, I just started to put more of my photos on Flickr. I used to use JAlbum and would generate webpages which I would then sftp up to an area on my website.

I wanted to use Flickr to enable my wife to upload easier (right now the process is a bit too much and is only on my machine). The only downside has been that it is a pain to share photos with family. On my own site I could put the personal pics behind an HTTP Basic directory and pass out the username/password to anyone who cares. With Flickr I need to invite everyone in the family and they need to signup to be able to see things. A bit of a pain. That being said, I love the tools and when I want to share photos to the outside world it is a no-brainer.

Feb 16

Ruby in large teams on huge projects

Tech No Comments »

I have been talking to a lot of interesting companies out west, and I had to laugh a little at one old fashioned large shop.

I overheard a conversation about how Ruby as a language would never work where they are since their projects are too large. They were discussing how the platform is too loose in that anyone can use the powerful meta protocols to rewrite methods on the fly and such.

Now, I kinda get it. There are some reasons why Java can make sense. Java code tends to be fairly readable across people, and it is very restrictive.

What had to make me laugh though was learning about their process for developing code. There were a million gatekeepers involved, scripts that run on code for style and other checks before it checks in etc.

If you have to develop a huge process around your engineering anyway, would it *really* be that different if you were writing some of these things in Ruby?

You would end up with probably a tenth of the code for these automated systems to scan :)

I have seen this again and again. I have heard of other banks that have actually dabbled in Rails for some of their apps and guess what. The world didn’t end.

This goes for other “scripting” languages too. I think there are a couple of lines of Python at Google for example.

Feb 16

FreeYourId.com is very bouncy

Tech No Comments »

I hopped over to FreeYourId to check it out.

As I went through the process of setting up an account I was surprised by how bouncy the site was.

Every time I clicked something on input something else, something in the user interface was moving around.

Forms were collapsing and expanding. Arrows were moving left to right.

I think that I tend to dislike it because I am programmed to think:

If it moves. It is an ad.

Less gratuitous richness please!

Feb 15

Waking FF up to new fave addons

Tech 36 Comments »

It was nice to restart Firefox (due to it taking up a few GB of memory, but we will ignore that…. I *am* asking it to do a lot these days) and see my two favourite addons autoupdating:


Firebug Release

  • Support escaping the % sign in console.log() calls using %%
  • Support “Find Next” in the CSS tab
  • Fixed problem causing inconsistent breakpoint triggering
  • Deleting a disabled CSS property will work properly
  • Fixed bug that prevented editing of DOM properties with numeric values
  • Inserted warning about incompatibility with Sothink SWF Catcher extension
  • Fixed incompatibility with HTML Validator extension
Feb 15

Web 3.0 and 4.0 definitions?

Tech 362 Comments »

People still argue about what Web 2.0 means, especially in a world where the web changes one event at a time, with billions of events per second.

The idea of defining web 3.0 and 4.0 is quick comical.