MovableBlog: Archives: April 2003
April 30th, 2003
Since Blogzilla has its own comments system, you can comment about any Mozilla-related cross-post there.
April 27th, 2003
I'm calling on people who are smarter than me to fix an OPML template for Movable Type that I've made. It outputs well-formed XML (see my output), but it (from what I gather) crashes Userland's Radio, which is a Bad Thing. I'm under the impression that my output is valid against the OPML spec, but corrections to that impression are welcome.
So, before proceeding, note that this template is a work in progress, and is not sanctioned by anybody. But maybe you can fix it. An XML expert I consulted believes the problem is not the encoded HTML in the resulting file, but the paragraph tags and
title attribute in anchor (link) tags, and the individual paragraphs need to converted into individual
outline elements, all the while stripping out tags that will not render in Radio, whatever those may be. In other words, a MT Text Formatting filter is needed.
Or perhaps there's a better way to write the template?
April 26th, 2003
It's always interesting to see designs and development in progress, especially when the designers and developers make their notes about them available to the public. Zeldman and dive into mark are the prime examples, and now Dave Winer is implementing Trackback in his products, and linking to those accepting Trackback pings from his demonstration site. He has also written an in progress document, Trackback in the UserLand environment.
April 24th, 2003
A friend of mine has written a paper about addiction as community building, using Everquest as her example. I happened to be on campus when she presented, so I stopped by, but didn't get a chance to comment on it then. She sees Everquest as a tool for people to negotiate roles for themselves they might not necessarily play in real life.
I emailed her links to two articles, Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch and a K5 article, The Net: A Cause of Social Disconnect, and asked her to comment on how they related to her project, but evidently she would need to write a whole paper on that too, so I let her off the hook. Also related is Social Software and the Politics of Groups by Clay Shirky, which I very much enjoyed, but that's only because my degree was in Political Science.
April 23rd, 2003
Earlier I expressed disappointment that Zeldman doesn't offer an RSS feed (and used the phrase 'main offender', which was probably inappropriate). He recently commented about RSS in more detail. Mark Pilgrim's brief reply: "I'm happy to read your words in their native environment, but a simple change notification system would be nice."
Somewhere in between my disappointment and the Zeldman-Mark Pilgrim mini-conversation, I noted that "I don't mind so much organizations like the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor, who at least go to the trouble of writing [...] a brief summary of the article" and that an excerpt-only feed is "better than having to visit the site in question every hour or so, clamouring for an update, when the aggregator clamours for you". Kalsey and Jim Ray provide short, informative blurbs about their posts as well.
So maybe Zeldman could meet us half-way by writing a brief blurb about a recent mini-essay, he would give us what we want (an update when and about what he posts) which would encourage us to visit the actual site and see his in the graphical context. (To be fair, he actually does touch on this, so he's well within his right of not meeting us at all.) But as for his assertion that "RSS feeds seem to have commodified the personal web space, turning every scribbler into a pundit or 'journalist,'", didn't weblogs already do that?
Via Anders, linked above: Battle of the blog builders by Ben Hammersley; I work for Six Apart by Anil Dash; Six Apart milestone (check the Trackbacks for that last link: sure to be commentary from around the web linked there).
April 22nd, 2003
Tim Bray has some problems with RSS. I was little confused myself by HTML escaping when writing an OPML template for Movable Type, and basically followed what Dave Winer did in his OPML file. I figure when in doubt, do what the inventor does. See? His OPML file escapes HTML.
The aforementioned OPML templates are forthcoming. Let me ask an actual XML expert or two what they think before proceeding.
April 21st, 2003
Our MSN Messenger conversation, just now:
pinder says: http://www.fuckhedz.com/xulchannels/
Richard says: *falls off of chair*
pinder says: now that's cool
[see also: more info at Blogzilla]
April 19th, 2003
Trackbacks are enabled only for the sidebar and individual entries that have to do with Movable Type. This site now uses the PHP code for including Trackback pings on individual entries, modified for formatting. That should eliminate all pop-up windows on this site. The method provided by Mark Pilgrim, using .htaccess and SSI didn't work for this site. That's not to say it won't work for you, because on my end, it was probably because of the .php extensions. Using the
virtual() function in PHP didn't work either, but that is evidently because of Content-type problems.
The MT support board remains the best resource for tips and tricks for Movable Type. Some examples (threads were updated in the last few days):
- MT Plugin for Microsoft Word [via this thread]
- hack MT to search the keywords field
- IM notifications of comments and trackbacks (there is no discussion after the first post, so there's no evidence of it being tested by others)
- Jump to last comment entered after POST: with instructions for when comments are on the individual archive page and for when comments are in a pop-up window
Dave Winer is taking a lot of heat for his comments on CSS: see here, here, here and here (for Dave's response, be sure to read the comments in that last link). In the
title attribute of Anil's link, he makes the case that it is in Dave's business interest to use CSS: "if you comply with standards, *every* web page becomes an XML-based outline."
April 18th, 2003
As some have already noticed, this site has a new domain, making it the third in its brief history (it's not called MovableBLOG for nothing folks; actuallly, it's called MovableBLOG because it started out as a blog about Movable Type, but then expanded in scope). movableblog.com now points to this weblog and all posts contained within. There is no real need to change your bookmarks if you have URLs starting with http://www.richarderiksson.com/movableblog/, as they will point to this blog (and its archived posts) as well. Also, there is no need to update any links to previous posts or the URL of the XML feeds either: they should also continue to work.
In the near future, there might be a URL scheme change, but again, the old permalinks would automatically redirect to the new one using
header("Location: link") PHP snippets. This because cool URI's don't change. (Okay, as a mea culpa, switching over the richarderiksson.com domain made for a lot of 404's. This time is different. Really.) It's not clear, however, what that URL scheme will be. That's a job for next weekend.
April 17th, 2003
- Intellidimension App Shows Power of RDF by Jim Rapoza: "RDF Gateway runs as an all-in-one Web server, application server and database, with the database designed to handle RDF content. This works well and makes the product easy to deploy, but we would prefer a more modular approach that would make it possible, for example, to use the database in conjunction with another Web server and application server." [via Anil]
- Search the blogs you read in Google: I couldn't get it working today, but it's a great idea, so I'll give it another shot some other time. [via Blogroots]
- Why do you tease me so?: Phil wants you to provide the full text of your blog entries with the HTML intact. I say something is better than nothing. Phil asks for help.
- The real West Wing, coming to a modem near you
by Linda Feldmann: "Compared with the Clinton White House, which made only limited use of the Web as a way to reach the public, the Bush team is taking full advantage of the Internet-use explosion." That's because, as the article fails to point out, Clinton doesn't know how to type, and has literally has no experience with the Internet. And oh, the Christian Science monitor is really great. They even have an RSS feed, with an appropriate (although not XHTML)
linktag on the main page no less.
- The 'much ado' about Trackback, mentioned earlier: Trackback for Live Events; More on Trackback for Meetings; Really Easy Group Forming [via Sam Ruby]; more when I find them again.
- Thinking about linking: linking defined as "the identification of related information using an addressing system that lets the reader locate the information".
- Some more reaction to the Hundred Year Language essay, from various writers: The Other Side of the Hundred-Year Language; More (Tangential) Thoughts on Programming Language Design; Parallelism Done Right
Necessarily there are dozens more articles that I still have to read, much less link to. Stupid Internet.
April 14th, 2003
So the browser formerly-known-as Phoenix is now known as Firebird. Fine. I was hoping they'd use a name of a neighbourhood in Phoenix, AZ (any name would have done, and shut up, I didn't think hard about that one) or something Spanish (ditto).
But Firebird will do.
How (and why) to include an xhtml:body in a Radio Userland RSS feed. This, LazyWeb, is your mission, should you choose to accept it: "I hope users of Movable Type and other platforms will offer similar tutorials."
April 13th, 2003
It's been blogged plenty elsewhere, and, necessarily, here too: The Hundred-Year Language are ruminations on what will make a programming that will last into the next century. Tim Bray follows up with thoughts on strings.
April 12th, 2003
So it appears this idea of mine lasted at least a year, even though the subject matter expanded from simply Movable Type in February of this year.
- Ten taxonomy myths and A guide to key user experience differences between Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X: the latter makes a pretty convincing case for consistency in Mac OS X apps, as well as the benefits of the Mac OS X interface of that of Windows. [both via Kottke's remains]
- High-tech PR in the age of blogs, part 3 by Jon Udell: "our information monopoly is weakening. The value of our work never should have depended, and now increasingly will not depend, on privileged access to people and to information. It will, instead, depend on our ability to perform the highest and best functions of publishing: selection, analysis, coherent narrative. If I do that consistently, you'll read me. If I don't, you won't."
- CSS Support Charts: "There are efforts underway to update the charts to cover more recent browsers, but this will take some time." So in other words, as useful as this site is now, it will be even more useful in the future. [via Simon]
- Redesiging PGA.com: comments from the designer himself. Also comments from another participant.
- CSS column layout builder: designing CSS columns is still a challenge for me, even though this site's columns are done in CSS...
April 11th, 2003
It's been busy with a lot of things happening this week. Here's are just someof the things that caught my eye in the RSS aggregator. There are still dozens of good-looking items left in the aggregator to read.
- The public record: "My own weblog is a palimpsest too, a fact which RSS readers plainly reveal when they redisplay edited items. In the case of a substantial update, I'll mark it as such. If I only correct a typo or misspelling, I won't -- but the infrastructure (RSS, Internet Archive) is increasingly likely to notice and version the change."
- Hide CSS from browsers [via Jeffrey Veen]
- Typo Popularity Tracking with Google [via Kottke's remains]: oh yeah? Well, I spell check my site with Google!
- Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-011: Security Update for Microsoft Virtual Machine - yet another security update
- W3C Work On Semantic Web Sparks Debate by Antone Gonsalves: "In taking the role of inventor, the W3C could eventually alienate companies looking for technology to solve today's integration problems. Emerging Web services standards, for example, are being deployed and are tying systems using modern technology based on extensible markup language (XML)." I've been looking for counterpoints to the W3C in general/principle, and this is the first. There's a general consensus that Standards Are Good, but what happens when the standards process runs amok? [via Semantic World]
- halfHourRedesign: ahhh, orange.
- Trackback to the source: there's been much ado about Trackback lately. I have my own not-fully-thought-out ideas for implementation of Trackback, like a centralized system for notification (notification of "events", defined very generally, and incorporating the so-called "real world") and an application of XML for notifications (PingML? NotifyML?). Feasible or no, it's something that popped into my mind when a pen and paper weren't handy.
- Brad Choate's Mozilla resource page: the only thing I'd consider missing from Blogzilla (the sidebar links are pretty paltry, but that may be a consideration for the redesign).
- On Semantics and Markup by Tim Bray: a rather excellent introduction to the subject.
April 9th, 2003
Mark Pilgrim has provided various syndication format templates for MT, as well as the templates to diveintomark.org (under a Creative Commons license). Note that many of his templates require MT plugins
, which he seems to have not yet listed.
April 7th, 2003
Well, the new Yahoo! Search passed the first test: I didn't go blind. Okay, Simpsons references aside, the first test was "Does it look good in Phoenix?" Almost (see below). Second test: "Does my name come up first?" Yes.
Here's what I mean by almost looks good in Phoenix: when searching for my name (to see if there are photos of me floating around there on the net), then clicking Images, the bottom Images tab is broken by 1 pixel too many:
I like the little tab indicator telling you which part of Y! Search you're in (despite the above), and I also liked that the search box was available at the bottom of the results (with an extra option to exclude words). I also like that it's relying on CSS positioning (and, to be fair, still with tables) as well as CSS for the formatting, unlike the main Y! pages, which uses ungodly
To be quite honest though, I wouldn't use it unless it was on the front page. The Y! main page is still way too cluttered, and I use it only for news headlines. Typing "search.yahoo.com" is not as muscle-memory-friendly as "www.yahoo.com". (Why not just set it my 'home' page, you ask? Well, what the times when I use someone else's computer?)
The tabbed interface of the 'index' page is kinda neat though, and including words in the URL while excluding words in the page one-ups Google, but Google still beats Y! in terms of number of elements of the page you can search.
Anyway, just first impressions. Surely there will be more detailed analyses elsewhere, as well as remixes of the site by various designers.
April 6th, 2003
I have come to the viewpoint that if you don't have an RSS feed, you shouldn't have a blog. Maybe thats harsh and there is a whole another model but I can't spend the time to surf a 150 sites a day. If its not on an RSS feed, I won't see your site or read it, and you know what? Most other people won't see it or read it either.
I disagree with that sentiment, which appears here. Odds are that the people who don't read Talking Points Memo have reasons other than the lack of RSS feed for not reading it, despite it being an excellent weblog. The above sentiment is echoed in this post elsewhere: "But if anyone wants to blog without an RSS feed... more power to them - just don't expect too many readers." Again, Talking Points Memo disproves that: it has quite a few readers despite not having an RSS feed (to my knowledge). Maybe if they qualified it with "if anyone is considering starting blogging, but without an RSS feed", then maybe I might be inclined to agree with their sentiments.
From that last-linked post: "And feeds that don't contain the entire post content aren't much better in my view". Fair enough. But at least they give us weblog-readers with news aggregators the ability to tell if a site has been updated or not, saving us from having to visit the site in question hour after hour (instead, we press Refresh on our aggregator hour after hour).
RSS is changing the way weblogs are published and read, but just because a site doesn't have an RSS feed, doesn't mean it isn't worth reading.
I may just have to switch news aggregators to SharpReader. The 'plus' icon is cool: it shows you what other feed linked to a link in the feed item your reading. There's less features than Syndirella (like no Feed Properties option), but SharpReader looks nicer. What I like about it most (as compared to Syndirella) is the ability to sort feeds. mm.
[via Phil Ringnalda]
April 5th, 2003
Time to clear Bookmarks and Favorites again.
- XML isn't so hard for programmers, says Kendall Grant Clark
a:active. See the Animated Button near the bottom for what I'm talking about. I'll leave creating buttons in pure CSS to the experts.
- Styling the abbr tag: one day I'll figure out where I've misused the
acronymtag in this weblog and correct it. [via Roland] Related: acronym vs. abbr
- Blazing Trails with RSS: "The number of days in the feed is configurable in my weblogging software so if I wanted more days in the feed I can have them." The number of past entries that aggregator software holds onto is also configurable. Minor quibble though: he comes up with the idea of RSS trails. The web is a non-linear trail, and it's always interesting to see the paths people take to find information.
- Design for Small Screens by Marc Rettig [PDF: "What would a student want his personal device to do, and how, if it was going to be a valuable part of campus life? To find out, give him a block of wood, tell him it's his dream device, and follow him around for a day."
- Improving Web Page Revisitation: Analysis, Design and Evaluation by Andy Cockburn et. al: "The behaviour characterisation shows that revisitation is a dominant activity, with an average of four out of five page visits being to previously seen pages. It also shows that the Back button is heavily used, but poorly understood."
- Netscape DevEdge Redesigns As Standards Showcase by Eric Meyer and Susie Wyshak: "In some ways, what we're doing here is an attempt to have our developer site be a cutting-edge example of what can (and can't) be done with clean markup and CSS-driven layout."
- Beyond HTML: Web Accessibility for the 20th Century by Kynn Bartlett: "Rather than being afraid of future advances and their potential to shut out audiences with special needs, we should embrace the concepts of the 21st Century Web, employing them to their fullest to ensure accessibility for everyone."
- PHP and XML in the same page: this came in handy when I created an RSS feed which is dynamically generated from the latest post of three of my weblogs, each with their own installation of MT. More on that later.
- RSS New W3C Patents Policy DotGNU Project: " DotGNU will use a decentralized paradigm: No single company, server or entity will control authorization."
The month without MP3s is over (see here for the background). About 3/4 the way though, I discovered the Legal MP3 Download weblog, through which I found Zach De La Rocha ft DJ Shadow "March of Death". There was also Beastie Boys' "In A World Gone Mad" (both songs are anti-war songs, and I was more interested in the artists than the message). Here are the CDs of mine that I rediscovered, which would give you an idea of the type of music I listen to:
- Aaliyah's Aaliyah
- Basement Jaxx's Rooty
- Basement Jaxx's Remedy
- Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty
- The Beta Band's The 3 E.P.s
- Blackalicious' NIA
- Blackalicious' Blazing Arrow
- Coldplay's Parachutes
- Cornershop's When I Was Born for the 7th Time
- DJ Spooky's Riddim Warfare
- Outkast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
- Radiohead's Amnesiac
- Radiohead's Kid A
- Zero7's Simple Things
I also did a lot of listening to WOXY Cincinnati despite living thousands of miles away (thank you streaming audio!). I'm really digging the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" and may have to
download the MP3 buy the CD. That above list of CD's may not seem like a lot, but that can be explained away by the fact that got cable TV about halfway into the month.
In other news, I just recently quit instant messaging cold turkey. Wish me luck.
April 4th, 2003
Easy Amazon Links in MT: this could come in handy, since I always edit Amazon.com URL's by hand (cutting & pasting the ASIN, then going to the Amazon Associates home page, loging in, and pasting in the ASIN is too much work), and especially for days like tomorrow, when there will be a post with lots of Amazon.com links.
Advertisers can get around Mozilla's pop-up blocking using Flash: "I was tempted not to link to that site or to discuss this hole in Mozilla's armor, because I'm sure all the advertisers out there are going to quickly adopt this technique. Here's hoping the white hats find a way to block these too."
Microdoc News is rather good website, mostly focussing on Google but also on microcontent and blogging. I tend to only have time to read the summaries in their RSS feed—okay, so I have enough time to read the full entries, but the summaries are actually pretty informative in and of themselves.
I haven't talked much about the blogging phenomenon much, or about the broader implications of other technology, and this is not a reflection on how much I have to say about them. Having a lot to say about something does not necessarily mean having anything of quality to say, however. But maybe in the future there will be an 'essays' or 'longer thoughts' section of this site, since, because of my Political Science degree with an informal background in computers, I do at least feel qualified to speak on the political implications of technology. That may mean breaking down and creating a sidebar of quick links à la Anil & Kottke. As if the sidebar weren't crowded enough.
April 3rd, 2003
Joshua @ Better Living Through Software: "All of the nabobs talking about how "closed" IE is had me fooled; in actuality it looks like there are far more innovative extensions available for IE than for Mozilla (or Phoenix or whatever)."
Thems fightin' words!
(He makes a fair enough point, actually, since my news aggregator of choice, Syndirella, uses IE as its browser when clicking on links inside RSS feeds, which I don't find too problematic, since shift-clicking loads a link in one's default browser.)
Are you worried that you'll press "Replace" by accident in MT? Well, Mena has posted a usability fix.
The redesign of my 'home page' can be seen in progress. It's not that much different from the current site, but it is tables-less and uses absolute positioning with a floating sidebar (there is an RSS feed, generated by PHP with a dash of .htaccess magic, for the sidebar forthcoming). Okay, the colours are different too.
Phil Ringnalda: Blogger's Still an Ignorant Slut. I had the same problem working on a Blogger-based weblog design for a friend while in Mozilla. Now I know why.
April 2nd, 2003
Interesting (if brief) discussion on MetaTalk about open-source MetaFilter clones. Last night I briefly considered converting Vancouver Webloggers to a filter site—largely due to the fact that I'd like a user signup page, so I can reject or accept people based on criteria rather than have them email me, and then set up their user accounts for them in MT. Luckily I slept on that idea. [via MetaPhilter; I still think the name is too similar to MetaFilter]
Good gravy! Check out the new Mozilla Roadmap! See the highlights at Blogzilla. I'm definitely using Phoenix near-full-time from now on (see below), now that Minotaur has arrived, and now that the project has some official sanction. There are a few annoyances with the latter, but I'll go into that later.
Also, am I the only one who gets "DNS not found"-type errors (or "document contains no data"-type errors) on Phoenix on sites that are accessible from IE?