November 25th, 2005

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

Temporary Communities

Yet another note to remind me to write about temporary communities. In short there's advantages and disadvantages to Usenet, Mailing Lists, big ass Cc lists and yes, even blogs. Although I think they don't add enough value for the problems they cause.

But in the end they all do the same thing which is allow conversations to take place.

I like the idea of something (wave hands vigourously at this point) that allows me all the flexibility of a Cc list but all the permanence of a mailing list with the added ability to fetch all the archives so far.

Yoz showed me Quicktopic which isn't bad but isn't quite right either. Postings like this which links to this make me want to buy weapons and hunt people down.

I have vague thoughts about intercepting all ingoing and outgoing email and, of course, generating a Buscador site with it. But also each thread should generate a new unique resource (and could be part of any other unique resource since communities may have more than one thread) which would be recorded in the headers somehow and then exported some other how.

Must think more about it.

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

On Search

A note to myself to write some more on search engines. I've been having thoughts agin which basically revolve around the 3 or 4 ways people use search engines viz. - when they're looking for a specific something (say, a song lyric) which uses an inverted index, when they're researching a topic (such as "neuro linguistic programming") in which case a directory is a good tool, then there's a jumping point (searching for "hotmail", "the bbc", "weather", etc etc) and finally as a desktop shell or tool (like Google's calculator or the things which we used to call Inside Yahoo Matches and are now called shortcuts).

None of it's revolutionary I just need to serialise it from my own brain to help me organise it.

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

I feel heavy metal

Some games journo friends of mine needed a simple web based XML document publishing app to interface with Yahoo!'s syndication system. So I wrote one for them in return for an Xbox 360 and called it Woohoo.

I'm actually quite chuffed by it - it's quite slick (it uses judicious DHTML of which more later) and looks nice (by ripping off Mr Batistoni's site design egregiously) and, more importantly, works well. And The code is nice internally - I especially like the design of the media types.

Anyway, about that DHTML. I wanted some stuff to be very slick because the people using the app are not very tech savvy. I tried to use AJAX to do some things (is it even AJAX? was it just plain DHTML? shrug) because I'd been lead to believe that this was the Done Thing, so to speak. But found just a whole bunch of things annoying.

For a start I just don't get CSS and XHTML et al. Some stuff just seems completely illogical to me. This, I concede is probably my fault. But for stuff like, being able to add images from a list and have them be inserted seamlessy into the document - even when I managed to get a piece if AJAX to go fetch all the candidate images then I'd have to implement my own scroll bars and sort out where the window should go relative to the mosue and ... too much of an arse so I just popped open a new window and then fed the results back through window.parent.someFunction().

Which may be the canonical way of doing it I suppose but then I was doing that back in 1998 so i find it hard to get excited about.

Cynical? Me? A little?

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

I have become death ... destroyer of worlds^W computers

First I managed to kill Kanga, the box which hosts thegestalt as well as a few other sites. Then, when I went down with a replacement box that somehow managed to die in transit. Then a machine in America that I have connections with popped its clogs in a fairly spectacular manner. Then Penderel, London.pm's colo went tits up with a RAID problem. My laptop is looking increasingly flaky, as are at least two or three other friends'. Then Gan, the box which hosts twoshortplanks, and was my temporary home, died the day after I moved back to the new Kanga.

Keep all your machines away from me. I have a terrible power.