Tag Archives: miscellany

Fragile Tools

Not as much fun as Fraggle Rock.

I'm currently dependent on the following fragile tools:

  1. Twitter
  2. Google Reader
  3. To a lesser extent, Firefox and Chrome

What do I mean by "fragile tools"? Consider Twitter: It started as a fun ecosystem for development, where anyone could whip up an interesting alternative way to interact with the service. Now? Not so much. Remember "track"? Yeah.

And Google Reader seems to have only one developer -- just babysitting it. The API is not documented and can change at any moment, without notice. Plus, Google has been sunsetting services left and right. Having killed off virtually all competitors, when will Google shut down Reader?

Firefox and Chrome are both moving to narrow their feature sets. Both seem incredulous that I might want to enter the URL of an XML file and view that file in my browser window. On the plus side, both are light-years ahead of Internet Explorer or Safari in usability and reliability.

Any of these tools could very quickly stop offering key features or go away entirely. The precariousness of my position as a user of those tools leaves me in a constant state of anxiety.

P.S. This post primarily is intended to test a one of the plugins I'm using. So, it's really just a bunch of conclusory statements without any references or argument.

My Link Blogs

Finally have a bunch of my link blogs posted. A little explanation, though.

First, this is an OPML file, generated by NewsGator, filtered through sed, and displayed by Optimal.

Second, I maintain these link blogs in FeedDemon and my own aggregator built on the NewsGator API.

As of the latest version (ver. 2.5), FeedDemon automatically syncs your "News Bins" with your NewsGator "Clippings Folders" -- two terminologies for the same thing. They really ought to pick a name. In any event, now that I've set it up, these should self-maintain without any additional work on my part. That's what programming is all about!

Quick WordPress Upgrading

Note to self:

Grab a unified diff of the new version versus the old version:
svn diff -r HEAD --old http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/tags/<old_version> \
--new http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/tags/<new_version>

Apply the changes to the current installation:
patch -d <path_to_wp_install> -u -i <patchfile>

Rhapsody Rabbit Realization

Rhapsody RabbitI've always loved the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rhapsody Rabbit and wished I had a recording of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 performed by the pianist who performed it for that cartoon. Well, today I went down the rabbit hole searching for an answer.... And I found it. The pianist was Jakob Gimpel. I also found this fascinating story by Gimpel's son in which he hypothesizes that the pianist in "The Cat Concerto" (the Tom and Jerry version of Rhapsody Rabbit that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for 1946) was Shura Cherkassky. (See: The Cat Concerto Controversy (Mystery Solved?).) Now, to find a recording....

Superhero Meme

As seen on Scripting News and TechCrunch (among other places)...

Your results:
You are Hulk

Hulk
80%
Superman
65%
Spider-Man
60%
Green Lantern
60%
The Flash
55%
Iron Man
50%
Robin
45%
Catwoman
45%
Supergirl
35%
Wonder Woman
30%
Batman
25%
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.
Hulk

Click here to take the Superhero Personality
Test

Without an analysis of why I was characterized as Hulk, I think this gimmick lacks social punch. Of course, I know what the questions were and what my answers were. So, I can understand being Hulk, but unless you take the Superhero Personality Test yourself, you'll have no idea why this post is at all interesting.

Shame on you, Washington Post

At some point today, the Washington Post broke its website for Blackberry users (and perhaps other mobile device users).

Now, any time I try to access an article by clicking on a link in my RSS aggregator on my Blackberry, I get redirected to some lame "mobile site," and I can't see the story I'm trying to read.

Shame on you, Washington Post!

UPDATE: Emails went unanswered, so I called them at 703.469.2500. Me: "Your website is broken to Blackberry users." WaPo (with a level of disinterest I thought only possible when talking to an accountant at a cocktail party): "It is?" We'll see what happens...