Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sick Kid

So after staying up with my sick son until 4 AM, we took him into the emergency room just before 6 AM. Needless to say, I've got little sleep to go on. I figure its a good time to jump into that polyphasic sleep stuff. Obviously, I've gotten little done today in light of this.



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Promoting Feeds by Including Treats

I've been reading an eBook in my attempts at being a better blogger and reaching a wider audience, and although I recommend it to read by anyone with similar goals, its more how I got it than what I got that I wanted to bring up. Some might know that I recently looked into ways of capitolizing on my feeds. Nearly 70% of my traffic (maybe more) is via feed subscribers, who never see my advertising. That is quite a bit of lost revenue, not that it would add up to much if they all went straight to my front page. None the less, its a problem I want a solution to. Now, I really like feeds. I don't want to make you come to my website if you prefer feeds, because I know I don't even read websites these days unless they have a feed. Even if I find a particular article I like, I typically just subscribe to the feed and wait for the article to get to me through it. Still, others are not so open to the new medium, and often treat feeds marketing. Maybe they are. These people will give you just a few lines of preview, requiring you to following the link back to the original post. Maybe they'll strip media and links from the feeds, so you need to follow back to their site to read more on the topic. There are a host of ways of turning feeds into website traffic.



That is why I found it wonderfully refreshing to see Chris Garrett actually going out of his way to entice users to subscribe to his feed in order to receive extra content that was unavailable through his website. Will this lead to a larger subscriber base? Probably. Will some portion of those readers follow back to his site from time to time? Probably. Will enticing users into a medium that is traditionally a drain on revenue and a problem for content creators who even love it actually benefit this man for his efforts? I think so.



Now, what do I have to give?



Killer Flagship Content - Free Ebook To Download @ chrisg.com



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Do you fit my Visitor Grid?

I read two 101 Ways to Blog Better lists and found this nice article about mapping what your reader wants with a fun grid. I made my own via Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Do you fit my grid of you?



Check the article if you blog.



A Fool-Proof Method To Brainstorm Blogging Ideas



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Moving to FeedBurner

So I've been not using my Feedburner account for a while, largely because If I did people would still autodiscover the normal, Blogger-made feeds, so I would just segment my readers. Yes, I have readers. A little investigation lead to the forum post I link to below that shows how to solve this. I was motivated by two factors. First, that Google is buying FeedBurner. Two, that I want to move away from Blogger sometime, and this way I can keep the same Feed URL when I do.

Change your feeds to: http://feeds.feedburner.com/RavingTechnoRant

FeedBurner Support :: View topic - Modifying "Autodiscovery" in Both Blogger Versions



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DLR gains Lisp?



Vias the Vista Smalltalk Wiki, it looks like the DLR has gained a new language by a third party, implementing Lisp and Smalltalk. Correct me if I am wrong about that, but I am quite the Lisp-history Luddite and have no concept of the separation of Lisp, Scheme, and Smalltalk. Still, what I find most interesting about this is how the way the CLR and DLR works means we can put new languages into them and deploy with pretty much whatever we feel like so easily. Just think of all the purists out there that would love to put their half-a-century-old-baby into so many hands, although I suspect many of them aren't kind toward Redmond, so its another interesting pairing, for sure.



What's next? Subtext?





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Friday, May 25, 2007

Hiatus Week Over

I don't know why I needed to take a week break from blogging. Maybe I was getting creatively burnt out, or maybe I just forgot. Getting back into the swing of a habit after suspending it for a while is not easy. I'll ease into it over the next few days, I guess.

I started a silly little multiprocess module aimed at:
  • Very long running jobs
  • Minimal inter-process communication
  • Growth possible to multi-machine
  • Minimal dependancies. Works only with Python 2.5 standard library modules.
You can check out the attempt over at the cheeseshop.

I finally found myself a Javascript library I really like, so that I can move from doing so much back-end centric work to putting some of my interface ideas to work. I've been growing wary of the server-heavy AJAX libraries, like Athena. They are great, but I worry about scaling, long running use of pages holding up connections, user experience when connections are lost, and a whole host of other things. Besides the worries, I'm just plain interested in some other things. I came across some demos, looked at some code and documentation, and really fell in love with jQuery. Great work, jQuery people. Anyone who wants better experiences on the webside need to check it out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wanna-Be Chef: Cheap Cheese Bean Casserole

Not every geek hits it rich with just the right algorithm and moves to Miami when he (or she!) retires at 35. I am not among that group, or any group near it. Cutting budgets can mean crappy food while you work. Cheap and quick recipes can be useful. At the very least, some way to mix up the usual stuff with a minor twist can at least make the daily drudge a bit more acceptable, for the moment.

This is my recipe for what I call Cheap Cheese Bean Casserole.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Baked Beans (I prefer Bush's Maple Cured)
  • 1 Slice Chedder Cheese
  • 2 Beef Hotdogs (Cheese Dogs work well here)
  • 1/2 Cup Slightly Crushed Saltine Crackers
The instructions are dirt simple but the result is delicious, filling, and perfect on a cold day. Cut up the hotdogs and add to the beans. Cover with the chedder cheese and evenly cover the entire bowl with the crackers. Microwave on medium for 2:30. The cheese will melt into the beans, the crackers will be protected from the sauses and remain crisp. The result is great for five minutes and probably a collective $2 dollar price tag.

Later this week I'll post about the results and recipe for my attempt at flame grilled, beef stuffed bell peppers. Also, I'll talk about why on earth I'm writing about cooking and posting recipes on a tech blog, so stay tuned for that!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Python Coders Twitter Channel

I started a channel on Twitter to follow any python programmers who want to be a part of it. Call it a social experiment. If you haven't tried Twitter yet, and maybe have been curious, it is a good time to jump in, because you can start out with at least something of an audience.

Tell your friends.


EXIF Writing in Python - Take 2

Thanks to Michael Urman for pointing out PEXIF over at the CheeseShop. That's what's great about the open source world. Someone else always had your problem before you did.


SpaceCute

Awesome concept over at Lost Garden. Stock art for a game was provided, far above the level of programmer art, and the challenge called to programmers to turn them into game prototypes, based on the design. A wonderful way to encourage a few people to get creative for a weekend. Game writing sprints always have some interesting stuff. The only problem with SpaceCute is that it was a little too similar resulting in all the contestants. A little more flexibility would be welcome.


EXIF Writing in Python

How much does it suck to transfer a few hundred photos from your camera, only to afterwards notice the date on the camera was wrong? So, here I go looking for an EXIF batch updating program, and the pickings are much slimmer than I would expect. Of course, writing my own seems like a pretty viable option and the EXIF.py module would be grand to apply here, save for one problem: It was written in 2002 and it still doesn't write back to the image.

What's a dad with hundreds of family photos to do? Fix it. Talked with someone else interested in this and came up with three options to move forward.
  1. Replace the entire module with a ctypes wrapping over the libexif library.
  2. Jam EXIF writing into the existing module by invoking the exif command-line utility.
  3. Reverse engineer the EXIF format from the modules parsing functions and properly implement writing into the library.
Cross-platform support is great, but I'm having a crappy time trying to cross-compile the exif utility to windows, I can't find binaries for it, and that is some sand in my pants. Then again, I really wouldn't use it on Windows, so I can defer the search for the command line utility on Windows until later. For ease of implementation, this will probably be the route taken. I'll post the results here later, but I probably won't send patches to the maintainer, because the methods I'll use won't match well there. The current library isn't really designed well for this, so I think a redesign would be needed to do it in a really good way.

If anyone knows that this is futile and a solution already exists, please let me know.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Green Web

My web host has gone green, and that means I can, as well! I'm working on some internal stuff I'll be launching Real Soon Now ™! Also, i'll be moving this blog at some point to my own host at ironfroggy.com, eventually.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Undefined Python

Will McGugan has a post about the smell of languages, using an example of code from C that is actually completely undefined: no one knows what it should do. The code in question is this:

int main() { int i = 5; i = ++i + ++i; printf ("%d", i); }
One of the commenters talks about how some constructs in Python can be undefined, but I disagree. My response is below.

There can certainly be some cases where you aren’t sure about things involved in Python, but nothing undefined in the sense that C can be. I can counter the examples given.

“While a list is being sorted, the effect of attempting to mutate, or even inspect, the list is undefined.”

- While the list is being sorted, any inspection or mutation could only be occuring in some other thread. Multiple threads are, by desogn, indeterminable.

“Formfeed characters occurring elsewhere in the leading whitespace have an undefined effect (for instance, they may reset the space count to zero).”

- This is caused by improper formatting of a text file. If the file is not formatted properly, you can’t expect magic its-OK-ness.

“super is undefined for implicit lookups using statements or operators such as “super(C, self)[name]””

- Undefined? I actually don’t agree. At least, not by the term “undefined” as used in this post. implicit lookups like this are looked up on the type of the object in question, which is the super builtin type, in this case. The methods are undefined in the sense that the type does not define them, so they don’t exist. You can’t look them up. This is not “undefined” as in not knowing the behavior.

“If the transformed name is extremely long (longer than 255 characters), implementation defined truncation may happen.”

- This is about private name mangling. The mangled names should be considered an implementation detail, you should never use or try to create the names manually, so any implementation specific differences are completely irrelevant.





Friday, May 11, 2007

News Sites No Link

I'm getting increasingly frustrated when reading anything on traditional news sites, or news sites trying to appear such, and having no damn links to the original stories, related sites, or anything at all. They all pretend to still be in print media. Even when they were never print media in the first place.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Announcement For Blogger.com Users: Make Those Profiles Public

We live in an open society. Make all of your profiles public, especially if you're commenting on other's posts. Otherwise, its impossible to respond. So, to someone named Patrick, I was in the middle of moving, so I missed your comment about the Harrisburg Python Meetup, which really stinks because I was really looking for one around that area. I'm in North Carolina now, and there is an Agile group I go to occasionally but I might need to make the moves to start a Python group near Charlotte, NC.


Microsoft Lovers versus Open Source Lovers versus The Battle Itself

The battle has gone on for a very long time. The Microsoft developers hate the open source hippies. The code huggers hate the corporate dogs. When does either side realize the dagger they're digging in is piercing themselves, because we're all the same.

We code because we like it. Software is our craft and development tools, languages, and software ecosystems are the spice racks for us chefs of bytes. Some chefs enjoy working on the grill, and others can't get enough from the stove. But if backyard grillers love a good lasagna and bakers enjoy a barbecue, why can't our camps live and let live? Joe likes GNU tools and Mary builds Silverlight apps in C#, so obviously they need to glare at one another with malice, right? Wrong.

Can't we all just get along?


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What's Your Web 2.0?

Disclaimer: I wasn't tagged, I just read this and liked it. I also copied it verbatim and made a few adjustments!

What is Web 2.0?

  • Web-based software
  • You can create and modify your own data
  • Some social-networking aspects (friends list, etc)

The Rules

  1. Link to this post and the post of whoever tagged you.
  2. Create a list of the web2.0 sites you use and categorize them from “daily use” to “weekly use” to “monthly use”. Include links to your accounts if you want so people can friend you.
  3. Tag a bunch of people you want to join in.

Even if you haven’t been tagged yet, feel free to participate in the comments or to join in on the meme with your own blog.

My Web 2.0

Daily Use

  • Blogger.com for blogging (does it count?)
  • Del.icio.us for pretty much recording my entire history
  • Google Reader for tracking other blogs
  • Twitter for keeping on track with the world
Now, I want to jump into this for some commentary. I happen to notice the Daily Use list is probably pretty static, give or take just a few and any variances are just in which, not what. That is, a blog writer, blog reader, and a bookmark tool. If we use all three, why doesn't anyone do all three?

Weekly Use

If I don't use it a lot, I tend to not use it at all. Hence the smaller list.

Monthly Use

  • Amazon.com for ranking books
  • Yahoo Pipes for creating RSS feed filters
  • MySpace, because my friends refuse to communicate elsewhere

I think I use way more than the average person, mostly because I’m a blogger.

Tag, You’re It!

What is Web 2.0?

  • Web-based software
  • You can create and modify your own data
  • Some social-networking aspects (friends list, etc)

The Rules

  1. Link to this post and the post of whoever tagged you.
  2. Create a list of the web2.0 sites you use and categorize them from “daily use” to “weekly use” to “monthly use”. Include links to your accounts if you want so people can friend you.
  3. Tag a bunch of people you want to join in.

Even if you haven’t been tagged yet, feel free to participate in the comments or to join in on the meme with your own blog.

My Web 2.0

Daily Use

  • Wordpress.com multi-user blog
  • Del.icio.us for creating my linkblog
  • Google Reader for tracking other blogs

Weekly Use

  • Facebook for real life friends
  • Wikipedia for looking stuff up quickly
  • Digg for submitting/voting on sites
  • Reddit for submitting/voting on sites
  • StumbleUpon for submitting/voting on sites
  • Twitter for creating my linkblog

Monthly Use

  • LinkedIn for keep in touch with business contacts
  • Flickr for photos, and friends’ photos
  • RottenTomatoes for ranking movies
  • Amazon.com for ranking books
  • Yahoo Pipes for creating RSS feed filters
  • Tumblr for aggregating my online presence
  • MyBlogLog … admittedly I don’t do much with it anymore

I think I use way more than the average person, mostly because I’m a blogger.

Tag, You’re It!




The Point of No Back Button

My endless trek across the once-barren, now-lush lands of the interwebs have brought me to this point. I realized it just this moment. The feeling sank in my gut, chewed holes at every web usability study I've read, and screamed at my very world view: I don't use the back button. Ever.

Does it surprise you? It surprised me, for a moment.

What does your browsing experience look like? If you're like myself and a growing number of the web surfing public, you've probably hung up your surf board by now. Actually manually browsing around websites is boring, time consuming, and just gosh-darn unproductive in todays where-the-hell-is-Noah flood of information. The ark hasn't been built yet, but we make do, for now, with our dingy-scale feed readers. Heck, Google Reader even comes with an oar!

So as I browse down a single, long list of new gumdrops to read this day, a lot comes up I might want to look into further. Maybe I want to comment, follow up on some links, or just abuse the Firefox browser's tab functionality as a reading queue. A huge heaping majority (I'll guesstimate 95%) of the actual web pages I open actually have their back buttons disabled, because they have nowhere to go back to.

Now, exceptions are abound in the world of software (the monkeys in the audience will laugh in a muttered way and get a depressed feeling of omg-im-a-geek). Yes, I do use the back button. I use it quite rarely and I think the majority of the cases where I actually use it can be attributed to poor and annoying website design. A recent example case would be download links for GIMP for Windows taking me to the annoying SourceForge download pages, and not the file itself. I only used the back button to return to the Win-GIMP website to download the next file. So, if we attribute all the cases where I do but shouldn't have to use the back button, I might guesstimate even 99% of the tabs I have open never get their back buttons exercised.

I understand this is not the norm, but neither are the blog and feed devouring web lovers of the world, yet. Most of the information digesting public do tend to remain on the roaming plains of the network. Their numbers are dwindling, I suspect, in ratio to our own numbers. (Does anyone have numbers about this?)


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blogging for Dollars

I've been toying with the idea of increasing how much I might get back from this little place. At times it gets down right exciting to watch my hits rise day after day, until I get writers block again and drop back to double digits for a month or so. I can't help but listen to the entrepenourial spirit in me that suggests a little more devotion and disipline on my part would push the pocket pennies to a threshold the likes of my ramen-eating self would just drool over. Hell, I could even buy two flavors of ramen.

So, I played with a few things. I naively made an attempt to jury-rig my Google Adsense snippets into my actual posts, to test what would come up in my reader. Squat, that's what. I looked around for feed-specific advertising services, and I found nothing but closed betas. I was seriously surprised at the lack of services in this area. Anyone who gets there first is going to have a serious advantage. Now, many someone is there first, so let me rephrase it as "someone who gets there first, in a noticeable way". It's enough to make a guy want a startup.

The dead-ends I've crawled back from in this pursuit must have been littered with the sweat of others out there, looking for just this sort of thing. Some places are doing in-feed advertising in-house, such as Slashdot, but the rest of us are really left hanging. Every day I look at my hits through Adsense and I really have to wonder what I'm missing. If I'm getting so many people actually making their way to my page, how many aren't even doing that much and just read it through the aggregators and never browse to the site proper?

One might suppose that the "real" hits are more important anyway. Those are the ones that really measure interest, not passive consumption. That isn't what this is about, anyway. I need some cold, hard cash.

What is everyone's opinion on the different routes? I'd like to know both what anyone thinks personally and/or what experiences you've had with the options available.
  1. What is to be done about the feeds (which are great) taking users away from our sites? Does this change the perspective of the entire web?
  2. What about our feeds being interlaced with advertising, text and banner?
  3. What reaction, if any, should the public have to paid advertising posts by bloggers and are they worth it?

A More Complete PyLint on Windows Walkthrough

Others have posted about getting pylint installed on Windows, but I always fell short getting the steps to lead to the destination. Some tinkering and I got it right. This also includes the instructions to get it integrated into Komodo.
  1. Grabbing the Goods
    First off the bat we need to grab all the packages we need. pylint depends on two other packages from Logilabs, who write pylint for us. We need to grab the latest releases of pylint, logilab-astng, and logilab-common.
  2. Extract all of these somewhere to install from.
  3. Open a command shell and move to each of the directories, executing the install command in each:
    python setup.py install
  4. Feel free to remove the extracted files now that everything has been installed. You can use pylint now. On to Komodo integration.
  5. In Komodo, open the toolbox from the View menu with View->Tabs->Toolbox. Now, click your "Add Item to Toolbox" button in the new tab, and select "New Command..." to add a command to Komodo that will analyze your current file with pylint.
  6. For the command enter the line 'python -c "import sys,pylint.lint;pylint.lint.Run(sys.argv[1:])" "%F"'. This will import pylint, handle spaces in Windows filenames, and run the processing on your file.
  7. Check the "Parse output with:" box and enter this regular expression to parse the lines from pylint, '.*?:(?P<line>\d+):\s*(?P<content>.*?)$'. Also, check the "Show parsed output as list" box.
  8. Optionally, bind a key shortcut from the Key Binding tab. I use ctrl+alt+L.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Two Hex and a User

I wanted to post two related hex graphs that give us some good mind food to munch on while we work. The first is more general and tells us seven points of User Experience Design. Take a step back and ask yourself:
  • Useful - Is the software even useful?
  • Usable - What it does is useful, but is it usable?
  • Findable - Can the user find what they need to use?
  • Accessible - Can all the users access it?
  • Desirable - Do the users want your 1 software?
  • Valuable - Is your software valuable enough for the user to retain?
  • Credible - Does the software look fake or are you trusted?

Up second, adapted from the original for social software purposes. We're beginning to see more and more social software, and the seven elements given here fit nicely into all the services I use.
  • Twitter - Presence and sharing (of presence) and conversations (about presence).
  • Blogger - Conversations, reputation (comment count), sharing (ideas), groups and relationships (informal; by linking).
  • MySpace - I hate MySpace, but I use it anyway. Relationships and groups are obviously the focus.
I take this in and consider how we break up these elements into different services, and the focus of each service on one or a few elements benefits us. Twitter does great at what it does, etc. But the separation also harms us. The little widgets we can put on different places to connect the services together only go so far. I have too many feeds, but obviously I can't send all my "tweets" through this feed, as is. So we're getting good at breaking things up, but I'm really waiting for how we'll bring it all back together.



1: Two separate emphasis given.


Keeping With The Current

I've been really trying to keep up with the feeds I read better and I found a change in my usage pattern that has helped a good bit. I stopped sorting or looking for specific feeds. No longer do I jump to the latests posts from xkcd.com or thedailywtf.com. I save time from sorting and get a broader range of posts at any one time. There is less topic burnout, also.

(Topic Burnout is when you just can't read another word of some specific topic because you've absorbed so much of it too recently. Kind of like when you eat ramen for too many days in a row.)


(Insert Your Encryption Key Here)

I'm not going to post The Number, but I'm going to talk about it.

What another big shouting match the interwebs have found themselves in. Is it wrong to post The Number on public sites? I don't think so. Anyone who can use it already has to write software that the regular Joe will grab. The Number is just a political/social status symbol now. Publishing is the The Number is the anti-crypto1 parallel to the eye-liner high schooler shopping at Hot Topic. The point is making the point, more than what point exactly is being made.

So did the lawyers overreact? Of course they did, and consulting their clients before making moves on their behalf might be a decent idea. Maybe someone at the companies would actually realize the PR mess they might be stepping into. Maybe someone would say "Is the new technology stable enough to shake up our customers, yet?" Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are a techy's toy at this point, alongside wealthy status symbol usage. So, the large portion of the consumers who even use the technology are precisely those who know of and care about this story. When your ratio of Geek to Joe is that high on the Geek side, you need to act a little differently. Joe didn't even notice.

We sure noticed. Some of us noticed too much. I wish Joe noticed more.

Does anyone else mentally picture the AACSLA as Gollum and the The Number has their precious?

iGoogle versus Netvibes (versus Yahoo! versus MSN versus A Billion Others...)

The gloves are on, the bookies are taking bets, and everyone is gathering around for... wait, wait... does anyone care? I don't. Here's why.

Seriously who uses these things? Do you have such a light inflow of email and feeds that you can afford the time to keep these Yahoo-loving pages up to see and barely do a damn thing? If you aren't keeping this page as your top window, there is little point. The whole thing is about passive information. Oh, look at that quote. Hmm, its 7 AM.

If we're going to build web services that collect a lot of tools around a single page, then personalized home pages are entirely the wrong direction to take. We're an always on kind of computer using society, so how often do you see a homepage? Hell, I don't even set my homepage anymore, because I only see it once every month or so.

However, I do have my feed reader open and look at it at least once per hour that I'm actually at my computer. I can't think of anything that couldn't or shouldn't be pushed right through there. My GMail inbox, event notifications, quote of the days, and everything else would be far better pushed through one hole: my reader. The fun little widgets are interesting distractions, but they don't have a place in a reader, and there really is no love loss there. They serve no purpose and even as entertainment are barely on anyone's radar.

Again, however, there are some cases where the things we're doing in widgets could easily be adapted to a feed environment. Take, for example, the common widget/gadget in all widget/gadget families, which might be a simple 15 Pieces game. It would make no sense to have such a widget (and many widgets are equally insensible), which takes up space to be so sparsely used. Sparse used doesn't diminish the actual use, so how can it fit? Let it come up in my feed reader every now and then. I can play a bit and then continue reading, knowing that it will come around again to continue later. Information is nice when its in tiny chunks.

Feed Readers Should Marry Music Players

I always have one tab to the same page: http://www.google.com/reader/view/

So, the more it does, without stepping outside its boundries, the better. I have it there already. One fallacy I've seen already is the Google Reader handling of podcasts. The embedding flash app to play the MP3 for me is nice, until I want to read more while I listen.

Google Reader Team: Add a feature that lets me queue these tracks to be played in a player outside the reading area, so it sticks around while I do other things. Even better, expose its playlist as an RSS feed so my other online music players can knock them into the playlists between their own tracks!


Dear God

Today's XKCD has a great long-lasting potential as a geek joke mainstay.

Dear God,

Yes, my child?

I'd like to file a bug report.




De Vinci's Decendants Must Love Residual Copyright Income


How much are the descendants of Leonardo De Vinci making on the copyright income for his work, these days? Must be pretty well off, as much as his work is admired. And thank god for the lore of spoiled rich great grandchildren to drive that fantastic man to create the works of art and science he has given this world. Why, if left to his own self motivation, he may have just been a (Venice boat person).

Thank god for the copyright on De Vinci's work!

And, thank god for good people who turn in the thieves and pirates, who steal and mock such artists' works! Thank god for people who shut down monsters that violate the rights of those artists.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tip: Social Bookmarks, Things to Read, Feed Readers

I've been building up a large collection of del.icio.us bookmarks tagged 'toread'. I have not been reading them. When information isn't on your radar, it might as well not exist, so I decided to bring this stuff back to my radar.

All I did was add my feed of 'toread' tagged bookmarks to my Google Reader, and now everything I tag to read later, I'll see come up in my feeds. If I decide to defer reading for even later, I can just not mark the item read.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Power Pads, Cut My Loose Ends!

The idea has been floating around before, but finally seems to be coming into the light with efficiency and cost. The day will come soon when we can drop any of wireless devices onto a table and let them charge. When our desks will run power to everything sitting on them, without any connections or wires. Awesome.

They do say it could be many years before we get anything reaching wide support. The problem is that the devices need to support these new sources of power, and the devices won't support them until everyone has the new sources of power. You know how those great cyclic dependencies go. Now, we'll probably see them first in devices that are high end enough to warrant including stand alone power pads with them. I'll peg Apple's iPod as an early adopter.

However, I do have an idea to push these power pads more quickly: receives compatible with standard batteries. AA, AAA, and C are the most common batteries used today, so packing a receiver coil into the right shape unit would be just the ticket. That means any device taking a standard battery is automatically compatible with super convenient charging. The second step is for large deployments of non-standard batteries to migrate into receiver coils, allowing lots of existing devices like laptops and cellphones to suddenly gain the ability to charge wirelessly. As a bonus, putting the receiver coils in the batteries themselves allows you to toss extra batteries onto the surfaces for pre-charging.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Drop of Thought

My adsense experiment didn't pan out. I shouldn't be surprised. I forgot about the Adsense for Feeds Beta. If that exists, then obviously the normal adsense doesn't work for feeds. I'll leave them in, anyway, just to see what happens with the channels on the front page.

Took a look at web.py to see if it could be useful for our needs, but I really can't tell entirely. I don't think so, however. The documentation is just way too sparse.


On-Demand, TV Subscription Tiers, and Outdated Censorship

There is a good story, over at NextBlitz, about how the move from subscription tiers to on-demand media consumption can invalidate our entire traditional model of censorship and nearly eliminate much of the reason the FCC exists.

It makes sense, and I've given it some thought before. We've always needed to regulate what was broadcast over the airwaves, despite the rights of free speech. Children and fragile people could be watching any channel. The same equations just don't pan out anymore and they continue to diminish in relevancy every day. For each family that acquires on-demand media services, there is one less family that has to wonder what might passively play on the screen when the kids are around.


I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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