bloglines/competition

Posted by anton
on Thursday, October 13, 2005

as expected, bloglines is stepping up to the competition - now they have keyboard shortcuts and number of "keep new" items in the feed headers

of course, that is hardly useful for me, since mouse wheel and pg up/down do the job just fine

brightcove / jeremy allaire

Posted by anton
on Saturday, October 08, 2005
brighcove is the new company of jeremy allaire - the founder of cold fusion, later gobbled up by macromedia/adobe. brighcove does internet telly.

reader.google.com

Posted by anton
on Saturday, October 08, 2005

still a little buggy (imports, navigation, dealing with large subscriptions), but full of ajaxian goodness

  • has labels (no more bloglines cludgy hierarchies)
  • search (will work at some point i hope)
  • stars to mark interesting content
  • filters
  • quick sorts by relevance/date
  • no mousewheel scrolling (keyboard paging is a bit unnatural); i find myself trying to take the list of feeds and drag it
  • shortcuts (they mimic vi - what a nice twist)
  • it would be nice if i could point to the opml link, as opposed to saving it to a file first and then importing it
  • i miss the social aspect of bloglines - the popularity of the feed by readers and the actual list of readers that subscribe to the feed (not to mention recommendations)
  • when google feedfetcher accesses the feed, it does not show the number of subscriptions in the user-agent string like bloglines does

in the end it will take a while to get used to it; there is a barrier for entry with the way everything is organized - it is a step up from simplicity of bloglines and others that had a simple model of entries under individual feeds that in turn could be grouped. most of my feeds are tied to personalities - it is not a uniform sea of posts. on the other hand there are some long overdue features that bloglines lacks.

the overall experience at this point could be nicely summarized by "clunky" - the interface and the responsiveness. i have no desire to switch from bloglines at least for a while. hopefully this will spark some healthy competition.

some links:

negative inspiration

Posted by anton
on Friday, October 07, 2005

this is an unfortunate quality of mine that I have noticed a while ago.

there is a number of pet projects that I always have around (conveniently summarized in the wiki) and complete on a loose timeline parallel to my direct work.

there is a person on the team that is a classic example of "hit and run" behavior - for a brief period of time he generates an insane amount of activity, climbs all the ladders, litters all mailboxes, calls meetings. then he loses interest, gets distracted, starts another project. this approach is also often called a "seagull syndrome" - fly in, crap all over the place, and fly out. he never completes anything fully, even his direct daily work, leaving things in half-assed state, which has earned him a well-deserved disrespect of his peers.

this person is also bent on climbing the political ladder, pissing off every single one of his teammates in the process. this has an effect of essentially making them sabotage any of his ideas, even if they are sound.

I strongly believe in joel's mantra of hiring people that are smart and get things done. it would make a great example if I could describe this guy as someone that is smart, but never gets things done, except that the former is not true at all.

whenever he turns to any of my pet tasks, I am forced to act, I scramble, motivated to get it done, because I do not want it to be ruined by his midas touch. it happened a number of times already, and made me pull together a few successful projects.

it is not that i never work on these projects by myself, but the danger of his intervention becomes an incentive.

ideally, one should be able to harness his energy and work together with him, but I simply cannot stand the sloppiness and his constant desire to rise above, and lead the way - "manage" - not together with people, but above them.

I am willing to give him a benefit of a doubt and attribute his managerial maneuvering behind our backs to simply a lack of understanding how to succeed in his ultimate goal of becoming a manager ("never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence").

of course, this is a very selfish motivation - it is disheartening to see him trying to hijack a project I wanted to complete myself. I want to get it done properly, see it being used and take credit for the effort. I fully realize this and view this competition as unhealthy, even though it does result in a completed project.

I think it comes down to being open and trusting - with other people in similar situations I am able to surrender this possessiveness and try to carve out pieces we can individually work on. with him it is impossible, since one always fears that he would do things incorrectly, as well as try to suck the life out of the project by trying to "lead" it.

web 2.0 / communities

Posted by anton
on Friday, October 07, 2005

an acquiantance i used to share music with a few years ago recently asked me to recommend something along the lines of gridlock and bad sector that he really enjoyed back in the day.

anyone that knows these bands, would understand why it was not an easy question to answer - the genres represented by the two are too broad, there are hundreds of names that could fit.

i briefly considered rattling off a dozen or so names off the top of my head, but then i remebered that we live in the time of web 2.0 (literally, as the conference is taking place right now), and we have last.fm (formerly known as audioscrobbler).

i can attest to the fact that the resulting "listening clouds" are a good place to start exploring similar names (here and here).

svn backups 0

Posted by anton
on Thursday, October 06, 2005

when backing up svn repos using svnadmin dump -r, first i figure out which revision will be dumped, write a log entry and then dump everything up to that specific revision to avoid changes that could have been committed to the repo during that time. it turns out that if one does not specify the range (0:$rev), the dump is created from that revision up to the youngest, not down to rev 0 (docs explicitly say that, but i simply missed that part). which means that with half a dozen branches and a dozen tags a 100M repository produced a 2G dump. loading the dump back into the repo took hours, and it was just one revision and one transaction. half of the time loading would fail quietly altogether, trying to commit that single 2G transaction.

once the bug in the backup scripts has been spotted, the dump is down to 200M (100M compressed) and load time is just a minute or two.

powered by

Posted by anton
on Monday, October 03, 2005

perhaps it is my vanity to blame for having chosen to run the blog software myself; of course this is an opportunity to waste an enormous amount of time tweaking the blog engine and themes, instituting a backup schedule, installing updates, fighting bugs - precisely what I have been doing with typo.

I've chosen typo over wordpress and mt, since I wanted to play with rails (and what blog-aware netizen is not guilty of drinking the kool-aid these days?). obviously it is still very much a beta software - I've spent a few hours trying to install it under www.domainname.com/blog, finally throwing in the towel and resorting to blog.domainname.com setup; the sidebar admin interface is buggy, not remembering the values, or populating them with defaults like "feed" and "null"; same goes for the comment posting interface under IE; not to mention that it is crazy resource pig - fcgi and all, it takes a few seconds to generate a non-cached page (I bet it is something to do with restarting processes and cgi and rails startup slowness in general - but I have not looked at it in details yet). oh and despite their oh-so-smug note, do not use trunk - a flurry of migration commits this weekend was a good lesson.

so now it is just a matter of time - either the newness wears off, pragmatism takes over and I switch to a proven platform, or typo matures enough to be usable.

it is a cute toy, buzzword-compliant, and still shiny and new to justify spending the time playing with it. I should try and track down a bug or two, to make up for all the bile in the paragraphs above.

i am yet to find out what kind of syntax it supports for the posts (it better not be a subset of straight html), useful wiki-like macros, uploading images, etc.

hello world / readme

Posted by anton
on Sunday, October 02, 2005

after about 4+ years of personal blogging, and 3 years of blog-like posts about music, i feel that it is necessary to create a medium for my tech posts, disconnected from my other online personalities.

a lot of the stuff that I want to place here would be notes to myself, resources, quick memory crutches, as well as rants and raves about the stuff I work on at the moment. hopefully this will not deteriorate into the incessant stream of faceless links or obscure one-off notes.

this is the stuff I like, this is the stuff I do as a hobby and for living. this blog is primarily for my own benefit, since writing for me is the best way of exploring a topic; at the same time over the years I realized that others' attention is the strongest motivator for continuing to write. unfortunately this very attention becomes a stifling force over time (at least with personal blogging) - one becomes cautious, aware of the readers' watchful gaze.

job hunting is another selfish motivation - it is so hard to judge someone based on a resume, and hopefully I can be open and confident enough to have this blog serve as a professional representation.

all the usual disclaimers apply - everything here is my opinion only and does not in any way reflect the opinions of any of my employers (past and present).