Monthly Archives: August 2007

Airport Security?

I just found a pocketknife in my laptop bag. This is not unusual, except I remembered that I must have taken it with me both to and from Houston earlier in the week, passing through security both times with a 2 inch blade in my bag. This happened once before, but was caught on the return flight. Total I have passed through airport security at least 4 times with a forgotten pocketknife, and only once did they stop me. A 25% hit rate? That’s just going to frustrate me more next time I’m standing in a security line for an hour.

Blocked in Turkey

People trying to visit from Turkey are seeing this message: “Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance.” I didn’t realize Turkey had a great firewall like China. This is really unfortunate because we have a really passionate Turkish community that gets about 12 million pageviews a month. Any good tips for people to get around the block? Update: This comment has the story and resolution. We’re back Update 2: It appears we’re still blocked, here is more info.

MovableType 4 vs. WordPress 2.2

Mashable compared MovableType 4 and WordPress 2.2. I wouldn’t agree with Byrne that “Movable Type 4.0 is light years ahead of its predecessor not to mention any other blogging tool on the market” but they have caught up to a lot of basic features — pages, WYSIWYG, pagination, user registration — that have been lacking in the platform for a while. That, plus the fact that they support WordPress imports and cloned our pages API does show that they’re gunning for some switchers regardless of what they may say in public. (I’m cool with both of those by the way, it was good of them to adopt existing standards instead of invent new ones. In fact it’d be nice if they could export to WXR as well as it’s pretty semantically rich and the current MT export format leaves a lot of important stuff out, like slugs.)

Switching to Google Reader

I held out on using a RSS reader for more than two years. I had a little thingy built so Ping-O-Matic would use its own results and to store the last updated time of every blog it saw, and then I reordered my blogroll based on that. (The original version in WordPress parsed the whole changes.xml from a few times an hour. Remember when that was feasible?) Then I would go from the top of the list to the last one I remember reading, opening each in tabs, and closing as I finished. Incidentally, this kept my blogroll from withering as many do.

At some point I started begrudgingly using Bloglines in 2004, and fell in love shortly thereafter. Where I used to follow a few dozen blogs, now I could consume hundreds and its UI just made sense to me, and just got better over time. I sang its praises often in interviews, mentioning it as one of the handful of websites I used daily. Any outages or performance problems it had seemed minor to me, only reminding me of how much I appreciated the service when it was up. Bloglines search was and continues to be the cleanest in the space.

I don’t recall exactly when many of my friends started switching to Google Reader. I had tried it at its first release and was pretty unimpressed. I saw the hubabub around Gears and how Reader was the first to embrace that. I watched with envy as friends used their trends feature to see nifty data about how and when they read feeds, and use it to cull out the non-essentials, much like I used to with my blogroll.

A week ago, frustrated to no end by a bug in Bloglines telling me to reread things I already had, I decided to make the switch cold turkey. I packed my OPML file and went along to Google Reader full-time. It hasn’t been painless — the keyboard shortcuts are a little funky on dvorak — but it feels better to be on a platform that whether real or perceived feels like it has momentum. That self-fufilling X-factor in apps is one of the magic elements for me. Also as I’m adapting to the UI I feel a lot more efficient than I used to in going through things.

Finally I’ve started reducing my subscriptions, down to 346 now, and I hope to be under 200 within a month or so. I’m thinking of adopted a fixed-number, say 150, and if I want to add one I need to remove another one first so the total is always the same. (I’ve considered this for social networking sites, too.) However it’s probably focusing on the wrong metrics, unread items is more important than total feeds.

Standard Argument

This post from Molly about HTML5 and the W3C, and the resulting comments, illustrate very well why the process of making or improving standards is so ugly, and why I don’t participate anymore. Discussions are dominated chiefly by people who have time to dominate discussions, which over time includes fewer and fewer of the people who actually should.

Open Source has the same problem and can usually survive it through things like rapid iteration, plugin systems, benevolent dictators, and easy forking. However I don’t know if those concepts could be successfully applied to a standards process, almost by definition.