Saturday, August 10, 2002

Kudos to Sleepycat

Reading the Berkeley DB Reference Guide is a refreshing experience: a manual for a product the company has built its business around, and they actually say in many places that the system is not ideal for every need. This is something you don't see every day: usually even the technical documentation for various products is so hype-filled — or at least totally silent on the downsides — that you'd think the thing was written by God himself.

HTML tricks: forms

HTML is a wonderful thing. Well, no, it isn't, really. But still, sometimes it can be pretty nice, if you put in the effort and embrace new standards. Dan Loda's Doing forms justice does a nice job of showing how to do more accessible forms with CSS.

Two things about this, though: I'm not convinced shortcuts in forms are really relevant. How often do you find yourself filling the same forms many times, anyway, and not doing in linearly? Shortcuts become useful when you learn them, and that requires practice. But I suppose there might be situations where that could be more than just markupbation.

The other thing is that all that markup looks rather painful to type without some serious help from the editor. I'm no big fan of PSGML mode in Emacs (even if it does mostly behave after some fighting) and I'm not convinced I'd enjoy using it to do that form.

Things you notice

When creating and using a RSS aggregation tool, you notice some things.

You are able to follow a whole lot more blogs than before.

Because of that, you start to look for more interesting blogs.

And notice there aren't too many of those, after all.

Could be I'm just lousy at using Google, too.

Blogs without RSS feeds, like this one, start to annoy you.

Blog/diary hosters without automatic RSS feeds, such as Blogger and Advogato, start to really annoy you.

Free software is nice, Raph Levien of Advogato told he would be happy to integrate a patch to mod_virgule which would allow RSS feeds from diaries. I'll be looking into this.

Movable type with its default of putting only n first words of each post in the RSS feeds starts to annoy too. I'd like to read the complete posts, thanks.

Places such as Footnotes and No Logo which only supply titles in RSS feeds get on your nerves too. I wonder if this is good for my blood pressure.

People don't really respect XML standards all that much. Neither does certain software, such as Radio, which is apparently happy to include ISO 8859-1 and Windows characters in nominally UTF-8 encoded feeds, as well as HTML entities. Interop, yeah. Remember the browser wars? Remember the way HTML is? Sometimes sticking to standards, even if they are silly, is a good idea.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Fresh Straw

Straw just reached version 0.6. This version reduces breakage quite a bit and adds a couple of new features: show and subscribe to an item's source easily and poll optionally only the selected feed.

Greetings from the bottom

Washington Post's story about Argentina's current state is a depressing read. Sometimes things can change fast, and suddenly cheering the collapse of capitalism seems awfully shallow.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002


So it seems everybody is linking to BlogTree. Dave thinks it's taking off. The question is, how far is it going to go? I'm a bit sceptical about it's longetivity. Things like SixDegrees, IRC galleries, etc, seem to sweep through my circle of acquaintances every now and then: people hear about them, register, make the links, play with the system for a while, then forget it (although in its current incarnation, the finnish IRC gallery seems to be surprisingly successful.)

BlogTree as an idea seems to be kind of interesting, but in the long run, I'm not sure it'll not end up as a warehouse of dead links and irrelevant information, the way these things tend to do. Besides, I have no idea which blogs "inspired" my blog's creation, so I haven't registered it there.