Archive for the 'blather' Category



Wednesday, June 19th, 2002

I’ve been having a look at Amphetadesk today.

In conjunction with Les Orchard’s collapsable-channels-and-items skin, I like it quite a bit.

I originally loaded it on Win2000 and browsed to it on the same machine as intended, but decided I wanted to set it up more like my usual configuration.

My current modus operandi for news aggregation is to have Radio always running on my home machine and then I connect to it from wherever I happen to be to get the news page. I can get it from the kitchen, from the office, from someone else’s desk, anywhere.

So, I loaded Amphetadesk up on my Linux box and ran it nohup (that is to say as a constant background service).

I imported the same 39 RSS feeds I use in Radio by simply taking the gems/mySubscriptions.opml file from the Radio directory and overwriting data/myChannels.opml in the Amphetadesk directory and restarting Amphetadesk.

Everything loaded up nicely – 39 feeds, each with multiple items, all nicely collapsed or expanded at my behest.

Worked fine from my Win box at home too – took a while to load the page, but not too bad.

I told Tim via IM to come take a look, and it took him AGES to load. I looked, and of course, since every RSS feed was being not only loaded but also rendered to verbose HTML, the page was over 1.1 Megabytes.

Even after dropping down to only 6 feeds, the page still loaded up at 100k. You can see this won’t scale well at this rate – if I were to load up Jenny’s feeds, I’d be clocking 2Meg of dload per page view. Ouch.

Another issue for me is that feeds are listed by latest downloaded. From what I can see, they’re downloaded every time there’s a scan though, so every feed always seems to have been downloaded at the last scan. I’d rather have their RSS content compared upon download to the existing content and then have the list sorted by last changed rather than last scanned – this would make the recent data percolate to the top, which it currently doesn’t do.

Then one could highlight the recently changed channels, populate them with content, and only load or view the content of unchanged channels on drilldown, either to another page or dynamically filling a div via xml-rpc or remote scripting. This would help the page to not be so big until needed.

Overall, it’s a great hunk o’ code – really nicely written and documented. In an interview , Amphetadesk’s creator says:

It’s not 1.0 yet because I don’t think it’s great enough for a 1.0 release

I have to agree that there are some yet-to-be-added features (e.g. last-changed-time, summary-with-detail-on-demand vs giant-monolithic-page) that I wouldn’t want to be missing in a 1.0 release, but the quality is great, so I expect it once feature-filled to be solid.


Spin Correction

Tuesday, June 18th, 2002

Scott mustn’t use his own IMSaver tool.

Today he quotes me with an opinion on

My buddy Craig Bosko, the guy behind, has his new site up. His previous site was very, very flash centric, so much so that Brent, when he saw it, commented to me that he didn’t think Craig could do HTML at all. That is just SO not true that I passed it on.

He attributes that quote to me from this conversation from May 1st (verbatim including typos):

thatbrentguy (09:15:12 PM): I like the look of IMsaver – very slick. that’s
something I’m not good at. at least yet
fuzzygroup (09:15:24 PM):
fuzzygroup (09:15:49 PM): Good guy. Great designer. Good friend. Tell him I sent you if you ever need anything. He’ll give you a break.
thatbrentguy (09:16:22 PM): good to know he can do good html design. the flash would have sent me running the other way.
fuzzygroup (09:16:54 PM): Yup. I’m going to copy that comment to him so he knows about that.
thatbrentguy (09:17:15 PM): heh heh. I’ll sltand behind it. the latest
macromedia push gives me the shivers.

It reads a little differently in context. I don’t mind at all being quoted, but when I’m quoted as saying disparaging things about others in their absense, it helps to be precise about what was said.


Healing Karma Broadcast for Dave W

Sunday, June 16th, 2002

Everybody focus your healing Karma towards Silicon Valley. John Robb reports that Dave Winer is in hospital till next weekend. No more detail than that, but he says Dave will supply detail himself when he is able.


Wanker Management

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

Dorothea really speaks my language about Wanker Management.


Reader to the rescue

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

Dorothea has a very complete and useful explanation of the HTML Entity in RSS rendering problem thing.

I’ll remember that for when I do the RSS translator, which will be on hold until I find a freely available machine-translation service that won’t mind my scripts bombarding it.


The New Economy

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

I’ve been reading John Robb’s discussions of The New Economy with interest.

Companies in the new economy will attract investment and be successful if they can convince the public that they truly embrace a holistic view of corporate health that includes profitablity but not at the expense of ethics and social conscience.

No longer can investors tolerate a decision by a huge conglomerate to ruin the entire local economy of a small city by shutting down a plant that’s making them $100 million a year because they can make $120 million taking the plant elsewhere. That’s NOT a plant that’s losing $20M, it’s a plant that’s making $100M.

No longer will the public willingly give their custom to companies who have been shown to compensate their executives with obscene forgivable loans.

Respect has been absent from corporate culture, as has commitment to long-term viability. Customer and employee loyalty has been ignored.

Employee loyalty has been decimated by the trend to move learning and apprenticeship out of companies and into schools and training centres – getting the employee and the government to supply the education that companies once did. Where once you would join a company and learn the ropes internally, they now require that you come equipped with a particular accreditation in your field, be it insurance, welding, travel agency, real estate.

Customer loyalty has been destroyed by a complete lack of attention to the needs of the consumer in pursuit of “operational efficiencies”.

Companies have to jump on the Cluetrain and start conversing with (as opposed to “at”) their customers.


Accent problem doesnt affect RSS

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

It seems the accent problem doesn’t affect RSS or the aggregator – the problem is that IE and Mozilla both choke on accented characters in the description element when trying to render the XML in the browser, even if I replace them with their equivalent html entities.


Just testing.

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

Here’s some text that the XML renderer is choking on:

[removed because it of course choked the damn rss feed]

I’ll look at it in my feed now.