archive for June, 2004

Idea: Blog Collaborator-Aggregator

This morning I was thinking about how more people should blog (more on that later). Then I was thinking that maybe I should build something so that it’s even easier for people to create their own ApeJet powered blogging service. Then I realized that there’s really no point. Blogger (and others) does such a good job that there’s no point in me trying to do the same. Then for some reason, I was thinking that it would be cool to have a program that would read a bunch of blog feeds and turn them into one blog. There may be some aggregators out there already that do this, but all of the ones I’ve seen so separate the entries by author. I want something that results in a blog that looks like BoingBoing or Slashdot but that is created by different bloggers potentially posting in different systems (blogger, apejet, typepad, etc…). I’m going to do some research to see if I can find a web app that already works like this. If I can’t find one, I may just have to build it myself.

We've Got a World that Swings

I just called TMBG‘s Dial-A-Song service at (718)387-6962. It’s currently playing “We’ve got a world that swings“. What makes it extra cool is that we played that song at our wedding, and today is our anniversary (Brooklyn time). Thanks Johns!

21 Rules of Thumb — How Microsoft develops its software

David Gristwood posted his his 21 Rules of Thumb for software development. Slashdot covered this post too. I haven’t finished reading it (really, I’ve only just started), but I figured that it would be good to record this for future reference.

Gmail Invitation

I got my first Gmail invitation today. If anyone reading this wants a Gmail account or knows someone who does, let me know.

SpamAssassian

I just installed SpamAssassian on the work server. So far, it’s working like a charm. I went ahead and setup a procmail filter so that it’ll only forward mail to my blackberry if it thinks that it’s not junk. We also setup the office Outlook and Mozilla email clients to filter out messages marked as spam. Mozilla could really learn something from these SpamAssassian people about how to mix rule based filters with Bayesian filters.

Oh, while I was installing SpamAssassian, I had to upgrade Perl‘s modules using CPAN. That is a great tool! Redhat could learn a thing or two from the CPAN people and apply it to RPM.

Blog Search

I just added some basic search functionality to my blog. Try it out, let me know what you think. You should be able to search for single words, or phrases (enclosed in double quotes). It currently performs a boolean OR on your search terms. This is not what most people will expect, so I should change it so that it performs an AND operation. I can’t decided if I like how it prints the full text of all of the results. As Jer suggested, I should also figure out how to highlight your terms in the results. There’s more, but I won’t go into it now. Hopefully this little programming spree will be enough to put me to sleep. Good night.

Registration Required

I just went to read an article on theage‘s website and was notified that soon they’ll start to require registration to read articles. Here’s the note I sent them (no reply expected):

Regarding your soon to be required registration process: It’s a terrible idea. I know a lot of other online newspapers are doing it, but you shouldn’t (and neither should they).

I read hundreds of articles from different online sources every week. I refuse to register for any of them. I don’t want every newspaper in the world to know who I am. I don’t want to waste the time to fill out a survey just to read one article.

I could understand that if people want to read local news, they’ll want to get it from their one local paper, but for every other news type it is better that people are able to get information from a multitude of sources. It’s bad for society to limit people’s available news sources, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing by requiring registration.

I’d be ok with registering once or twice if that would cover thousands of news sites. Of course, this mythical single sign-on service would have to be 100% secure, and I’m really not sure that’s possible. A system like this is a natural monopoly , so there would need to be even more safe-gards to ensure that whoever is running the single-signon services doesn’t abuse their monopoly. We’ll probably be better off if someone can figure out a way to create a standardized decentralized authentication service. Maybe something like how Jabber‘s authentication works. Until then, I’ll stick with my day pass.

Homo interneticus

As I sit here waiting for Visual Studio to install, I’m also reading The mentality of Homo interneticus that Gordon mentioned.

So far, it’s pretty interesting. Definitely worth your time next time you’re installing some overly bloated software.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Today I wanted to try something new for lunch, so I ordered a monte cristo sandwich from a local deli/restaurant. Big mistake. I thought it sounded interesting on the menu. For those who haven’t tried it yet, it includes: ham, turkey, bread, eggs, swiss cheese, mayonnaise, powdered sugar, sour cream, and jelly. I was a little nervous about jelly on a sandwich, but I like cranberry sauce on turkey sandwiches, so why not?

The monte cristo looked “interesting” when it arrived. Apparently, they dip the whole sandwich in eggs and then deep fry it. Somehow this shredded the egg as it was cooking, so it looked more like a cocoon than a sandwich. It was also also doused with powdered sugar making it look a little like French toast. The raspberry jelly and sour cream were in little cups on the side.

After taking a slightly deeper than normal breath, I cut off a piece and took a byte. Yep, just as bas as I’d feared. The main flavors were eggy French toast, ham, and turkey. It was crispy on the outside and, warm and slightly soggy on the inside. According to Jesse, it’s just what a monte cristo should be. After getting the first bite down, I decided that I should give it a second chance, just in case the first bite didn’t have the right mix of flavors. Unfortunately, it didn’t improved. By this point I was actually a bit grossed out and was losing my appetite. Jesse was kind enough to swap lunches with me, so it didn’t turn out all bad. I hope this experience will be memorable enough that I don’t order another monte cristo for at least a decade.

Elijah

Last night Jesse and I went to a presentation of Mendelssohn‘s Elijah at Royce Hall. I don’t go to a lot of choral and orchestral concerts, so I’m still processing the experience.

Here’s what I liked about it: the music (some parts more than others), getting out of the house to do something new, walking around on the UCLA campus, watching one scene of a student film involving a man in a chicken suit and a pizza delivery being filmed, the lecture before the concert, and the discussion afterwards.

The singing was great (as far as I could tell), but the repetition of the lyrics really got on my nerves. Blame it on my short attention span if you want, but I really don’t see the point of the chorus repeating the sentence “He that shall endure to the end shall be saved.” for several minutes. I’ll save you from the full experience, but a lot of the lyrics went something like this:

He that shall endure
He that shall endure
He that shall endure to the end
that shall endure to the end
endure to the end
He that shall endure to the end shall be saved
He that shall endure to the end shall be saved
He that shall endure
He that shall endure to the end shall be saved
endure to the end shall be saved
shall be saved
shall be saved
shall be saved.

Trust me, that’s the abbreviated version. In the live version, many of the words are streatched out to several seconds each. In most modern music I’d guess about 50% of the lyrics are repeated, some songs more, some less. I’d guess that more than 90% of the lyrics in Elijah are repeats of something that was sung a few seconds before. I don’t know if this is typical of choral music, it’s not typical of the hymns that I sang as a kid in church (music from the same period). I probably should have figured out what was going on sooner, and just blocked out the words to focused on the music. If I had, I think I would have enjoyed the concert a lot more.

Overall it was a nice evening. I’m definitely open to going to a orchestral concert again, and I would probably enjoy going to another choral performance if the lyrics were a bit more interesting.

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