Archive of Posts from February 2003

New location for the mophos

After considerable pressure from the anti-scrolling community, I tried to find a place for the mophos that will allow faster visual browsing. I think the net result is win-win. You can click the title for the archives.

Mophos Moblog

There's a new rectangle on the side of this page above called mophos (short for mobile photos). I put it together because I have a new cellphone that has a camera. The phone can send a photo as an email attachment—so I coded an email-to-moblog gateway. The gateway script works with my mail server and strips any attachments, creates thumbnails of any photos, and adds them to the moblog. It's fun to be able to add a photo to the site from anywhere with about 5 cellphone clicks. As you can see, the camera isn't the highest quality, but I'm hoping I can learn how to take decent pictures with it.

This page will show the last five photos and they'll all be archived here. Maybe I'll put together an RSS file of the latest five that has HTML image tags for each.

Smoking Loon

If you're looking for a sub-$8 cab that goes well with homemade macaroni & cheese, I recommend Smoking Loon. (We picked some up at Trader Joe's the other day. They always have good inexpensive wine.)

Trackback Ethics

I have a somewhat ethical question related to Trackbacks. But I'll start with an explanation. Several sites allow you to add a Trackback manually if you don't have the feature built into your weblog tool. (eg. BlogFodder, BlogPopuli, LazyWeb.) And there's no authentication or identity management that goes along with these. They're open for anyone and everyone to add a Trackback linking to any post on any site. (It relies on the honor system + moderation + IP Logging [hopefully!] from the site administrators.)

As Trackbacks are used now, there's an extra bit of information that doesn't show up on the page: the implication that it was the author of the remote post that initiated the Trackback. Is it wrong to use one of these open forms to trackback a post that you didn't write?

For example, Mena posted about her panel at SXSW and I'd like to see it under that panel's entry at the SXSW Notes Exchange. And I could add it with the open form. But should I? This example is no big deal, and I don't think Mena would mind too much. But I can think of situations where this would be a problem. I think Trackbacks could be used for all sorts of information aggregation, but the author-implication could restrict its use.

The Alties

The Alties is in its public voting stage. It's very cool that they're using instant runoff voting. IRV is better than the standard one vote/one choice method of voting, and it's great to see it in action at a fun project like this. [via Derek]

mophos

mophos



(From a Sony Ericsson T300.)

Cool 2B Sellout

Behind the Scenes: Cool 2B Real: Designer: "I know I should feel guilty, but my salary allows me to buy name-brand aluminum furniture." [via Anil] Reading this makes me think someone could pull off a Spinal Tap for the Web generation.

barbershop

Barbershop was pretty funny without relying on the inherent humor of bodily fluids.

Conference Collaborative Filtering

Also, some collaborative filtering for conferences would be nice. It would be interesting to know if there were other people at a conference who happened to attend all of the same panels I did on a certain day. Then it would nice to see which panels those same people were thinking about attending the next day. And then some way to contact them to talk about meeting. Stalking implications aside, I think this would be very cool as long as the users themselves are controlling what information is public.

New SXSWblog Features

I'm starting to get excited about SXSW 2003. I've been busy doing some coding for SXSWblog. There's a new photo exchange and notes exchange that's integrated with the site membership. (The notes exchange is also now Trackback-aware, so anyone can post to their weblog and trackback specific conference events.) Working on this has me thinking about other potential conference-related collaborative projects. I'd like to see something along the lines of geourl meets a weblog—tracking geographic locations of attendees through time. Imagine being able to say: I'm here now, I was there, and I'm going there through a web interface. It would be so much easier if everyone had a WiFi-enabled GPS and could "post" spots to their location-blog.

A Good Lawsuit

Now this is a good lawsuit: getting rid of commercials in theaters. [via boingboing] Aggressive advertising is just one of the reasons I've pretty much stopped going to big theater chains. Support your independent theaters, they wouldn't do this. And they play better movies. (Though in many places there's no alternative.) Here in Corvallis, the independent choice is Avalon Cinema.

Protests

If this sized crowd (not only in New York, but around the world) is protesting in the streets before a war begins, what will happen after bombs are falling? Once the initial surge of patriotism wears off, that is. Also, Rafe has a good analysis of what the protests mean.

Google buys Pyra

In case you haven't heard, Google bought Pyra—the makers of Blogger. (I joined Pyra a few months after Ev and Meg founded it and was there for about two years.) I think this is a good turn of events for everyone who believed and invested in Pyra/Blogger in the early days. (Anyone close to the company has had a bit of a rough ride with ups and downs.) And it feels good personally to see something I believed in and worked hard for enter a new phase with a company like Google. Sometimes I wish I could still be involved with Blogger's development, but life never goes according to plan. We always had fun anthropomorphizing the application—and this feels like Blogger's graduation.

more reversible

I think reversible.org could add some order to the chaos by using the first two levels of the DMOZ category hierarchy (or a simplified version of it) from the top-level page. It's a very fun idea, and I hope it becomes a well-used resource.

Terrorism

Even after they're captured, terrorists can terrorize. [via Anil]

cat likes TV dogs

The only time the cat is interested in TV...

cat watching tv

photos at reversible.org

I like sending photos to reversible.

Build Your Own Submarine

It's amazing to me that there is a whole group of people out there who are building their own submarines. This site is filled with plans, photos, stories, news and general personal-submarine talk. They even have an Open Source Submarine project to design the ideal personal submersible as a group.

Item-to-Item Collaborative Filtering

The secret behind Amazon Recommendations: Item-to-Item Collaborative Filtering. [via Erik Benson]

Bowling for Columbine

The Academy Awards got something right? Bowling for Columbine is up for best documentary.

Feeder 0.1 (Alpha)

Feeder 0.1

In my continuing quest to prove you can do more with Windows scripts than nightly file backups, I wrote a simple RSS reader with WSH. It stores a list of feeds in a tab-delimited file, and grabs/transforms them on the fly with the MS-XML-parser and an XSL stylesheet. It will only work on Windows 2000 or XP, and you probably need the latest parser (4.0) and latest Scripting Host (5.6). (If you're using IE 6, most likely you already have these installed.) It might work with earlier versions anyway, though. It's extremely simple and doesn't have any features beyond adding/removing feeds and reading them as HTML. I wrote it for my own use and figured someone else might like it too. I got a huge head-start on the all-RSS-flavors XSL file at this page.

Download: Feeder 0.1 (Alpha)

To install just download the zip, create a folder at c:\feeder\, and unzip the contents to that directory. Double-click feeder.vbs, and you should be off and running. If you want to change the install location, just edit the first few lines of feeder.vbs to match your setup.

clockworks photo

clockworks

Flower photography

Beautiful macro flower photos. I can't wait for spring.

snapGallery fix

As I mentioned a few days ago, the default snapGallery design wasn't displaying properly on a Mac. After playing around with different solutions, I decided to go back to using tables and standard HTML. It's the only way to vertically center content across platforms. bummer. (Thanks again to Brian and Dave for helping out this Mac-challenged developer.) So the latest Mac-friendlier version is now available to download.

Ballot Tampering

I can't believe the ballot-tampering scandal that is unfolding in my home state and potentially around the country. If there was ever a need for open-source software, it's in vote-counting. Companies that create ballot-counting machines should be held to excruciating public scrutiny. (It is our process of electing our leaders, after all.) Apparently, they're not. And Senators should definitely not own stock in said secretive companies that they used to run. This is very scary stuff.

Jimmy Carter on Iraq

Jimmy Carter writes about an An Alternative to War.

AP Mars Presentation

Good use of Flash by the Associated Press: Red Planet Rising.

Sebastopol Bagels

I'm a big fan of bagels for breakfast. Toasted, with cream cheese. A month or so ago we stayed with some friends in Sebastopol, and they were making bagels for breakfast. Toasting. Great. Cream cheese. Great. But they were also slicing tomatoes. Wha? Tomatoes? On a bagel? For breakfast? It seemed like insanity. Then I tried it. Since that day, I've added tomato slices whenever I have a bagel for breakfast. I call them Sebastopol Bagels.

Secure Blogging

Secure blogging via email. [via Ben Hammersley] This is great, and this same technique could be applied to any anonymous discussion spaces. (I've implemented PGP-signing for my comments system.) It's heartening to see any work being done to bring digital signatures to blogland.

Interview with me!

I did an interview with Matthew Rothenberg a few months ago. He was doing his thesis on the semantic web at New York University and wanted to ask some questions about the Weblog Bookwatch. He just posted the interview on his weblog. He was studying in the departoment of Media Ecology—which sounds fascinating.