A few people have started doing this, so just to be trendy I've decided to do it also. Frappr is a site that lets you map where people are. For instance, if you click on the button below, it will take you to the page for this blog (with one whole person on it as of this posting). And then you can add yourself to the map. I've always kind of been curious about the readership of this blog. I know it isn't huge, but there do seem to be a fair number of people who read it. So please, leave a marker for yourself (It only requires a name and a zip code, so no other personal information is required).
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November 10, 2005
Frappr and Me
November 07, 2005
How much is my blog worth?
Damn, not bad, but I could do better I bet. Find out how much your blog is worth.
[via Don Park (who is worth much more than I)]
September 29, 2005
A new beta of the OpenID plugin for Movable Type came out recently, so I thought I'd see if it would work better than the version I had been trying. After one try it was working just dandy. Even had someone else try commenting with it to make sure it worked (thanks again!).
For those of you who haven't heard of OpenID, it is something that was come up by the LJ folks at Six Apart. It lets people who have accounts on systems with OpenID post to remote blogs. I'd actually like to see the plugin I use have a list of trusted remote systems, since it really isn't an authentication system. I hope to post a bit more on this in the near future.
So just follow the instructions if you want to post here and not sign up for TypeKey. As usual, if it is abused, I'll just turn it off.
September 26, 2005
Ads on Flickr
AdRants has an post about people being upset about ads on Flickr. People seem to be blaming Yahoo! for this practice.
With Yahoo's purchase of Flickr, it didn't take too long for Yahoo text ads to begin appearing next to Flickr member's pictures. Unlike Google AdWords, Yahoo text ads, at least on Flickr, appear on personal Flickr pages whether or not the member wants them. Granted, Flickr provides the service for free which negates a non-paying Flickr member's ability to completely control what appears on their photo pages but one Flickr user, tanais, doesn't like the practice, commenting on an ad placement next to an image of, we assume, his dog, "I do not like my pictures being used to advertise a specific breeder (they may be excellent they may be terrible - that's not the point)... so I shall sit down and think about how best to AdBust this." [AdRants]
IMHO the people complaining are idiots. I've been a user for ages, and Flickr has always had ads for free accounts. It's been one of the big selling points for their Pro accounts. I'm not a fan of advertising, but you can't expect to get something for nothing.
Flickr is one of the few web sites that I think does get it right. And my Pro account has been a very good deal. If it's that much of a big deal pay for the service.
People have been pestering me to get crossposting working again so that my blog posts show up over on LJ. I finally got it working this morning after quite a bit of fiddling. I'm using the ljcrosspost plugin for Movable Type. It works fairly well, but took some fiddling to get it to work right. I should email the author and let him know the issues I was having.
Next step is to get OpenID working so that people over on LJ can log into my blog for comments using their LJ info.
One big gripe I have about MT plugins these days is that not enough of them work with dynamic pages. I've got 4000+ entries and rebuilding it all just for a new plugin really sucks (and takes forever).
September 13, 2005
Last night, in a fit of boredom, I deleted my wiki. Of course as soon as I had done it I wanted to find some new wiki software to run. I've played with tikiwiki and Moin Moin. Both were decent (and I'm leaning towards Moin Moin) but I figured I'd do the lazyweb thing and see if anyone out there had any recommendations. I think I'm looking for small and lightweight with access control, that has a fairly simple interface.
On another note, I was trying to edit something over on Wikipedia the other day and discovered that some control key commands were intercepted by the site. Kinda cool, but when editing a text field in Safari you can use emacs controls for moving around and editing. Works great till you do ^e and suddenly find yourself moved to another page because it's some wiki command. So the question is this. Anyone know how to turn it off? I tried searching around the Wikipedia site, but nothing jumped out at me.
March 19, 2005
More on Feedster (and why I love the web)
The other day I posted about issues with spam in the search results I was getting at Feedster. Within hours there was not only a post on Scott Johnson's blog, but I got a nice message from him about how to remove blogspot results from my NetNewsWire searches there. I love to see companies being this on the ball. Especially a place like Feedster. I wasn't really looking for a solution right that second. I more was commenting how spammers seem to be doing their best to devalue a lot of the usefulness of the web.
So here's a quick thanks for the help!
March 17, 2005
Blogger + Feedster + Spammers = Useless
I use NetNewsWire for reading RSS feeds. One of the great features up till recently has been the ability to have it search places like Feedster and have the results show up as a feed. In the recent past my regular search for anything to do with Pulmonary Fibrosis has achieved nothing more than hugely long posts of spam (click and see). Since the 15th there have been around 27 hits on that search, only ONE of them being an actual post by someone. And all the offending posts have been at blogger.
I think Blogger needs to do something about this. Have a better way of detecting automated blog signups or something. Currently it has drastically reduced the usefulness of things like Feedster for me. At least Feedster does have the ability to filter out responses from some urls. I just need to see if I can get NNW to support doing that.
November 29, 2004
When the whole podcasting thing started to take off I found I was quite into it, but then RL got in the way a bit and it kind of fell off my radar. Interestingly enough, this happened when I stopped being good about using the treadmill three times a week. Today as I was getting ready to walk I realized I needed something to listen to and decided I needed to upgrade iPodderX and start listening again.
iPodderX looks like it is really progressing nicely, even if I'm going to end up having to shell out some $$ for it soon. It's got some really slick features, and I've already found one feature that I want in it. It lets you set the genre of what you download, which is cool, but I want to be able to access other tags also. iTunes has one called 'grouping' which I use for any extra data/keywords to describe the track. For instance, anime soundtracks are in genre soundtracks with anime in the grouping tag. So I'd love to be able to put 'podcast' into the grouping (as well as any other info).
Now I need to get off my ass and figure out where to set up my turntables so I can start doing a mix of the week podcast.
November 18, 2004
projÂ·ect Â· d. u.
(noun) 1. a reader populated with headlines pulled from across the web.
2. relater of news and rumors
3. hiding place for next month's topic of conversation.
4. the center of your Digital Universe. Synonyms: middleman, informant, eavesdropper.
First off, the site. It feels like it is trying way too hard to be 'Hip'. Almost all the buttons you can click are animated in some way. Luckily none of them burst into flames. Next, the Project D.U. Reader. I personally found it to be pretty lame in a bunch of ways.
- The interface leaves much to be desired. It just feels clunky.
- When you look at the lists of posts for a blog it only shows you excerpts, even if the blog provides full posts. Clicking on their 'read more' link opens up the actual post .
- No way to export your subscriptions.
- No support for enclosures.
- Kinda slow and clunky.
- When it couldn't resolve a hostname right away it told me that the feed was bad.
- Project D.U. is a stupid name.
And as I was about to close my browser window on the site, I noticed this on their about page:
One of the best features of this site, not unlike the advent of color television, is the Project D.U. Reader. Itâ€™s filled with headlines from some of the best blogs youâ€™ve never heard of. In fact, weâ€™ve spent hundreds, maybe thousands of hours scouring the web, trying to find the most intriguing sites the world has to offer. To be fair, we pay the favored blogs a bit each month for the right to use their stuff. But we donâ€™t edit what they say, that would be a very un-fun read.
Wait, they are paying the blogs they list money?? How can I get in on that racket.
November 14, 2004
Just What *IS* flickr Anyways?
About 2 weeks ago I received a Nikon D70 Digital SLR camera in trade for some computer work I've been doing for a neighbor. I've long wanted an SLR of any type and this has helped energize the creative side of me a bit. It also means I've been putting pictures online more and making much more use of Flickr. Which has also led to many of my friends asking "so what's so great about this Flickr thing anyways?"
Flickr is a photo hosting/sharing service from ludicorp that's been in beta for a while now. I think I first started using it around 8 months ago, but didn't really get into it until the new camera. I'd fiddled around with running my own photo gallery software a few times, tried a few other services, but nothing really jumped out at me until Flickr. Flickr is all about finding ways to organize and ways to share your photos. Like most other photo hosting services you can upload pictures, create photosets (albums), etc. It also has a bit of social networking type stuff built in so that you can choose to only share photos with your friends or family.
But where Flickr has really hooked me is with some of the other features. The biggest of which are tags. Tags are keywords you can add to a photo to provide more data about it. For instance, in this photo that I uploaded there are a bunch of tags. I can then choose to look at only pictures of mine with the tag 'squirrel', or I could see all the public photos on Flickr that have the tag 'squirrel'. You can also put notes onto a picture that show up when you mouse over a certain area. Oh yes, and they also have it set up so that you can post your pictures to your blog or LiveJournal from within Flickr and they accept photocam posts too.
One thing the tagging system has done is that some tags have a following. People will take pictures that can be tagged with a certain keyword. One of my favorites is squaredcircle, where people post pictures of circular things in a squared image. This one has enough of a following that someone has created a group for pictures like this (groups are things you can join which have their own photo collections).
The other thing that made Flickr my choice for a photo hosting service was that someone wrote a plugin for iPhoto so that you can export your pictures straight from iPhoto (instead of saving them and uploading with the web site or one of their uploading tools). When it's this easy I can't help but want to post stuff all the time.
Flickr is currently free, also also has a Pro option. With a free account you can upload 10MB of pictures a month, have 3 photosets, and people can view the 100 most recent images you have uploaded. The Pro account offers quite a bit more, you can upload 1GB per month, there's unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth use, unlimited photosets, and permanent archiving of high-res images. In the future Ad-free browsing will be added to that. You can check out their FAQ for more info.
The last thing I have to say about Flickr is that it has really inspired me to really learn more about taking pictures and to actually get out there and take them. The other day someone invited me to a group called 'sky'. For the next few days I was on the road and everywhere I went I kept looking for good shots of the sky (and I finally got one I really liked). It really ends up being quite addicting after a bit.
Oh, and no, Flickr isn't paying me to rave on and on about how I like them. I just think it's one of the cooler sites out there and want more of my friends to use it.
I've Been Noticed?
A few friends of mine have been getting trackback spam for a while now and I still didn't quite believe it really existed. Until today. The spammers have finally discovered that I can be pinged. Luckily mt-blacklist seems to be catching at least a bit of it. It still annoys me though.
October 14, 2004
Blog + Wiki = ?
The folks over at Everything Sysadmin have started a wiki to go with the book (along with their blog). They're also talking about integrating wiki and blog, something that I think could be a really cool thing. I've thought about trying to find easy ways to do that myself (especially when I'm posting about some nifty OS X tip).
October 01, 2004
Posting from Flickr
So that last post was from Flickr, and I'm not sure if I like how it posts. I may have to fiddle around with their template for posting. Overall though it was pretty painless. The only issue is that there aren't any categories for that post.
September 29, 2004
One of the things I've been watching lately is the growth of Podcasting. The idea is that various audio broadcasts online would be available for download, with RSS feeds being used to announce when new broadcasts are available. Adam Curry is the one who really gave this a kick-start with his Daily Source Code.
The other part of this is the iPod. There are a number of programs out there for watching the RSS feeds for these broadcasts. When a new show is posted, they automaticly download it and put it into a playlist in iTunes so that you can sync it to your iPod. It's all pretty slick.
My idea is kind of an expansion of an idea I've been playing with for a bit: Audiobooks. I could record an chapter at a time, and as I finish post it so that people can download. In the end I'd love to expand this to having a resource for various kinds of storytelling. Maybe do a book reading with a few people, each taking various parts. Or provide a directory for other people doing the same thing. As usual, the big issue is resources. I'll think about this a bit more after I get a bit more sleep.
September 28, 2004
Well, at least I have some pictures I could post for this occasion, even if I don't have cats of my own.
It may be only a one-year-old tradition, but it's still a tradition! Last year, Boss Ross and I declared that the first Friday in October shall be "Post a Cat on Your Blog Day", or more simply, BlogACatMas. Yeah, posting a picture of a cat is nearly as old as blogging itself, but we figured why not have a designated special day for that most bloggy of blog practices?
Here's some inspiration:
So gather your kitty pictures, because Friday's the day! [via The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century :: Joey deVilla's Weblog]
September 21, 2004
After not being able to talk about this for ages I can finally say NetNewsWire 2.0 rocks. Tonight Brent released the beta of NetNewsWire 2.0. I've been using betas for the past few months and he's been doing a pretty kickass job. You can check out the What's New page, read the Change Notes, or just go and Download it.
September 18, 2004
Jon Udell has a great post on Medbloggers, something that I didn't really realize existed until he wrote about it. Though we've got political bloggers, library bloggers, law bloggers, so it makes sense there would be medical bloggers.
The numbers are small. Starting with Pho's blogroll, I began assembling a list of the medical bloggers who cross-reference one another. What I found confirmed Pho's estimate that there are no more than 100 of these medbloggers, many of whom are aggregated at medlogs.com. Nor are these medblogs yet widely subscribed. Pho today has 14 Bloglines subscribers. One of the founders of the movement, medpundit, today has 58. Those numbers are one or two orders of magnitude shy of the readerships of many of the tech blogs I follow. But unless fear of malpractice strangles this baby in the cradle, that will be a temporary phenomenon. In the long run there will be many more people hungry for informed analysis of medical issues than for informed analysis of tech issues.
This looks like a great opportunity to watch the blogging meme replicate throughout another community of practice. I'll be fascinated to see how it changes, but also is changed by, that community. Corporate techbloggers, for example, are learning to walk a fine line between acceptable sharing of information and punishable transgression. Medbloggers face a different set of issues: libel, privacy, and of course malpractice. See this American Medical News article for a useful overview. [Jon Udell's Weblog]
As you can tell from some recent posts I've started following medical information on Pulmonary Fibrosis online, mostly inspired by this article. I even found a blog called Bronch Blog to subscribe to.
September 14, 2004
My New Fangled Blogroll
August 31, 2004
MT 3.1 Subcategories
Movable Type 3.1 lets you now have subcategories, something that I'd kind of been wanting for a while. I'm currently using them and you can see some of the groupings of categories I have to the right. The code is after the 'more' link.
<MTSubCatIsFirst><ul <MTHasNoParentCategory>class="open parent"</MTHasNoParentCategory> <MTHasParentCategory>id="ul_item<MTParentCategory>
<$MTCategoryID$></MTParentCategory>" class="closed"</MTHasParentCategory>> </MTSubCatIsFirst>
<a href="<MTCategoryArchiveLink>"><MTCategoryLabel> (<MTCategoryCount>)</a>
Movable Type 3.1 Released
The fine folks at Six Apart have officially released Movable Type 3.1. I've been beta testing this for a bit over a week and it's pretty nice. They also released a pack of plugins for it that includes MT-Blacklist.
Movable Type 3.1: Dynamic Templates
One of the cool new things in Movable Type 3.1 (which should be out pretty damn soon now) is the dynamic PHP publishing. Why is this a big thing? Because up till now if you'd changed a something like your individual archive page template you'd have to go back and rebuild your whole site. If you've got a large number of posts this tends to take a while. Now, it can just render the page when requested, which means doing a pushlish all will go much faster.
After a few rough starts, I got the whole thing running on this blog. The index page and the feeds are all static, but any archive page is built up on the fly. And you can even turn on a caching if you so desire. When you do this, a copy of the dynamic page is kept around for an hour so that if someone else visits that page again within the hour it doesn't have to rebuild it again from the database.
Setup for this feature was actually much easier than I thought, once you know a few things. One, it doesn't work if you are using Berkeley DB as your database. Which required me to convert to using mySQL. Which worked out okay overall, but I had to do a bit of tweaking since I seemed to have some odd corruption in my database. Once that was done I just had to turn on the dynamic publishing for the templates I wanted and create a templates_c directory in my blog's home directory. One republish later and everything was working just fine. It's pretty much transparent to the person browsing the site (which means your existing permalinks won't change at all.
It also lets you do caching of the dynamicly generated pages via the Smarty template engine. If you turn it on, dynamicly generated pages are cached for an hour by default (though you can tweak that if you need to). Pretty slick. While my site doesn't generate a ton of traffic, this is the kind of thing that could really be useful for a site that gets tons of hits a day.
One or two other gotchas. If you are using PHP you can't use opening tags in the format <?, you need to have them in the format <?php. As long as you do that you shouldn't have any issues. Also, this is supposedly not compatible with any other plugins (not an issue for me as I don't use any other plugins).
Another issue is how dynamic pages are built. I tend to do my template editing locally using cyberduck+subethaedit and I have my templates linked to a local file on my web server. I find it is much easier to edit them that way. The problem with this is that if you make a change to the local file, you need to go back into MT and save it there also for it to take affect. I personally think it should make a check to see if the file version has changed and load that one in if so.
Next thing to try: doing more with categories and sub-categories (You can see a bit of a preview to the right).