07.21.05

Google News to RSS Feed Converter

Posted in General, Google, XML at 9:44 pm by matt

This afternoon, I was really frustrated. I found an article I liked while looking through some financial sites, and I realized, “hey, i want to SUBSCRIBE to this article”

Well, i went to google news, thinking, “of course, they probably already have rss feeds of news searches, just like technorati lets you have of blog space.” Well, I couldn’t find it, so I looked around and found a couple tools, including RSSgenr8 by XMLHub.com. Then, in an hour or so I cooked together a little tool for me to use to track some news stories via my bloglines account.

Anyway, if it’s useful to me, it’s probably useful to someone else. If others find it useful, I may make the code look nice and release it as GPL.

For now, you can try it out: rss-a-tron-o-matic

Edit: Removed Link, google news supports RSS now.

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07.18.05

I hate linksys

Posted in General at 11:15 pm by matt

I hate seeing those little blue boxes everywhere.

They’re friendly, but it’s deceiving. I’ve had SOOO many of them break on me or on family i keep networks for.

Let’s see.

My parents went though three dead HPNA routers, but that’s mostly because of phone lines and lightning (and the devices being sensitive). This weekend, i just upgraded them to 802.11g after their second 802.11b router died a slow bizarre death. Then, I’ve been having problems (suddenly) with my own wrt54g — (not to mention the d-link that it replaced).

I just got through reconfiguring my own wrt54g after doing a factory reset, and hopefully, that will fix things. The bad part of it all was that i had to go to tricia’s laptop and to the tivo to reconfigure their WEP settings.

I mean, it’s nice that the linksys box only costs 60 bucks, but come on, is it too much to ask that the device not just up and die?


07.16.05

All Powerful Playlist Generator of the Future

Posted in Apple, General, Programming at 1:28 pm by matt

I don’t know if this exists or not, but I certainly think it would be interesting.

I’d like a music playlist generator that does the following for me:

  1. Is random, but not entirely random. There should be a chance that the next song is similar to the current song.
  2. All probabilities should be adjustable
  3. There should be a probability that the next song is the next song on the album
  4. … that the next song is from the same album
  5. … that the next song is from the same artist.
  6. … that the next song is from the same genre.
  7. … that the next song is from a related genre.

Ideally, the probabilities would get higher as you went along — so that you’d likely stay in the same genre for a while, listening to a couple songs by a given artist before switching to the next artist.

Also, I think that the “smart playlists” in itunes are really just, “not retarded playlists” — I think they need a big upgrade.

I need to be able to groupings of unions and intersections (ands/ors), for one; and “subplaylists” would be good too. — Let me create a couple smaller playlists, and link them together into one larger playlist, possibly by having a, “where playlist = ‘x” option. That alone would let me do some ‘orring of ands’ that i want to do.

If anyone knows of something that does this, please reply to this post!

I wonder if it’s possible to write something like this using the itunes scripting interface?

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07.13.05

Where will the browser appear as a platform first? — The Enterprise

Posted in Ajax, ASP.NET, Firefox, General, Javascript, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Web, Web3.0, XML at 11:32 pm by matt

Here’s a thought from the future:

  • The browser is the platform.
  • Microsoft has embraced this and has released Office as an ASP.NET 2.0 Ajax application for enterprises.
  • Microsoft is continuing its push into ‘Software as a Service’
  • You can now rent Office XML Application Server for Windows Server 2007
  • All of your enterprise users, using IE7.0, Firefox 2.1, Opera 16, or Safari can now access all their office applications from their desktop. (No, IE8.0 still won’t be out, but Firefox will be at 25% marketshare, and I’m not even going to guess at what Firefox will be alled then — how about ‘Burning Rabbit’ ?)
  • Here’s the catch — When users click on that ‘Microsoft Word’ button (or any of the office apps), a local application doesnt load. It loads a rich web application that closely mimics what we now think of as word.
  • All of the users have their own document storage on your Windows Server
  • All of the users have access to their documents seamlessly through existing methods (the remote storage automatically shows up in a user’s ‘my documents’ subfolder, apple’s finder/searchlight, etc)
  • Users can specify permissions on these centrally stored files, and they are easily shared — people don’t have to navigate to a random person’s desktop to get a document they shared, and a person doesn’t have to email it to them. The documents on the server are all searchable by the user’s local desktop (depending on permissions).
  • When it’s time to upgrade to a new version of Office XML Application Server, the upgrade is done on the server, once, and all clients automatically have their update.
  • I know some of this isn’t new OR likely, but it’s fun to take an old idea that was once pure ‘out there’ thinking and bring it down into the realm of “I see how this is possible even if it’s not either soon or likely”

    Also, who knows if it will even be microsoft who does this? Maybe it’s SUN, maybe this will all play out on linux desktops first, with “OpenOffice Network Server” — who knows. I think the day of the browser as a platform IS coming, and I think we’re going to see REAL productivity applications created this way, and I think it’s going to come to the enterprise first.

    They’re the ones who can see the real cost savings and increased productivity — through ease of deployment and upgrades for the former and ease of collaboration in the latter.

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07.12.05

A new way of thinking about rich web applications — Lightweight Plugins

Posted in Ajax, Firefox, General, Javascript, Web, Web3.0 at 4:04 pm by matt

I’m not sure exactly where I got this idea, but I know it’s not my own, so I cede the creativity of the idea to someone else. Actually, I think it was Bill Scott with Sabre / OpenRico on his blog, but again, I’m not sure.

Anyway, to the idea. If you stop thinking of javascript as a way to enhance a webpage and start thinking of it as more of an actual language you can use to build a small application inside of a webpage, it sorta “changes everything.” With the popularity of ajax and the rise of advanced widget systems (like script.aculo.us/) and rich web application frameworks, it’s becoming more and more apparent that you *can* build very functional applications on the web. And, for that matter, you can do it all inside a single webpage.

So, you can build a mini application, so what? Well, how about building a “Lightweight Plugin.” Here’s the flow of things:

  1. Browser downloads page with little markup, but much javascript
  2. Javascript loads a data file from server
  3. Javascript parses data file and displays to user
  4. User can interact with the javascript display to edit data or view new data

See, it’s just like having an acrobat reader or flash, but you’ve got ZERO downloads, and you can have it do whatever you want, completely customized to your way of doing things.

But wait, the thing about plugins is that there are only a few of them that people have, so everyone has to stick to using the big ones — acrobat reader & flash. We don’t have to stick to that anymore, since there’s no installation of software to worry about. I keep coming back to “The browser is the platform” — Once you’ve got the idea of the lightweight plugin, it becomes apparent that anyone can just build whatever lightweight plugin they want, and the browser just becomes the platform for running and distributing the application.

The browser is the platform.
The browser is the platform.
The browser is the platform.

We’re not getting rid of regular apps anytime soon, but we’re going to start seeing the web become a very different place, full of big and small applications.

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