Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Saturday, December 31, 2005
Happy New Year
Happy New Year picture by reddirtrose
Happy New Year
Originally uploaded by reddirtrose.
RedDirtRose has a few "Happy New Year" posts at Flickr. This one is my favorite.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes to All for 2006. May all of our leaders work towards peace and sustainability of the planet. tags:

Friday, December 30, 2005
Wanted: Easy posting with a specified date
I began using to track and categorize (tag) my blog posts in October. I want to add my earlier posts to my space in chronological order. The API allows for this but it's a chore to program manually.

Here's an example the basic programming, broken into three lines for easier reading:
tags="google rss aggregator g.reader tech"&dt=2005-10-09T08:15:31Z
I certainly don't want to write a url like this for each and every post. I want it automated.

There are a bunch of tools available for easy posting but none that I've found allow you to manipulate the date of the post in, which defaults to the current date and time.

I want something that will pick up my blog post (from the permalink) and give me some dialog boxes for entering a date and tags, then construct that URL and post to It would also be nice if it could grab the tags from the post itself, if they already exist. (I will have to tag all those posts too.)

Maybe someone can modify one of their posting tools to do this? Or maybe, when I find the time, I can try it with a current tool or try to whip something up in Greasemonkey.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, December 29, 2005
Performancing Firefox Extension for Blogging: Problems
Ouch. Tonight I got burned by Performancing. I was entering a post in the editing window. I wanted to change the URL for a link so I selected the same text and pasted a new URL. I clicked the 'source editing' button to make sure it worked and all my text disappeared. I clicked the 'rich editing' button but no text appeared. It was gone and so far it hasn't come back.

Luckily it wasn't much text but it could be next time.

I also experienced another bug of some kind. I saved a post-in-progress as a note. No problem. I saw it in the Note list and could access it. Later, when I went back to edit it, it was gone. This was a longer post and I was not very happy.

After clicking around a bit and accessing the other notes, my original note reappeared. Yay.

But I'm pretty nervous now about my new blogging toy. I copy the post text to the clipboard often. Tonight Performancing is having trouble connecting with my blog. I saved my post as a note but I also backed it up in MacJournal, just in case.

System Info. I'm on an Apple Powerbook, OS 10.4.3, Firefox 1.5.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Blog Tagging Update
For a sort of index of my blog, check

Unfortunately, the listing only goes back as far as October. I hope to get my other posts listed there soon. One problem is that I don't have a direct method of listing in chronological order. There is a way to do it using the API (application programmers interface, used to control a bit) but as of now, it's very tedious.

Geeky stuff ahead. Beware.

I've posted about adding tags to blog posts before but I wanted to provide an updated listing of tutorials since the old tagging system broke with the release of Firefox 1.5. Luckily, Johan at ecmanaut has provided a new (and better!) script.
  • Start here with John's FreshBlog Greasemonkey method. Check on the left navigation area for other interesting Blogger hacks that you might want to try.
  • Most of the links you need will be off John's page but here's a direct link to Johan's Greasemonkey script.
  • For further control of how the tags display on your blog, go here.
The new script works except for linking to directly after the blog posting. Something is wrong with the URL. I hope to have some time to try and fix it.

Of course I've complicated things now with the Performancing blog posting extension to Firefox. It's meeting and exceeding all my expectations. Basically, you have an editing window at your fingertips on any page you're visiting. You can hide it when you want. You can save a post as a note and then resurrect it. (It does not have a spell checker and I think I just misspelled 'resurrect'.) But it doesn't do tags; it does technorati tags.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Firefox In-Browser Blogging with Performancing Extension
I saw it here first (then a 'reminder' over here) and tried it last night and I am very impressed. It's easy to install, full of features, and seems to work as advertised. Scary.

It's a nice windowed area at the bottom of your browser window which you can adjust as to height. Has a rich-format editor (bold, ital, etc.) and you can view the source. It previews. It allows for multiple blogs. IT DOES TAGS at least for Technorati and John at FreshBlog says maybe a preference is coming that would allow tagging.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Dover PA Decision on Intelligent Design
Wikipedia has a good article on Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District. The decision issued on Dec. 20, 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III holds that
Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
The decision won't be appealed as the none of the school board members who voted for the intelligent Design policy were re-elected and the current board rejected the policy.

The Dec. 5 New Yorker ran an excellent piece on the trial by Margaret Talbot called "Letter from Pennsylvania: Darwin in the Dock." Unfortunately, it's not available online. They did make available a 1925 report about the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Testing the New Script
Update: There is a bit of funkiness with the script but I got it to finally work. I don't like the tag display (unordered list) and will attempt to fix that soon.

I'm finding some time to try and get my tags/categories working again with instructions from FreshBlog and this script by Johan Sundström. tags:

Monday, December 19, 2005
Broken Scripts
I had started tagging my blog posts and via a system recommended by FreshBlog, I was using those tags as a categorization method via The system was somewhat automated by a GreaseMonkey script.

Sadly, the new 1.5 version of Firefox breaks the script. FreshBlog lists an alternative system but I haven't had time to figure it out.

I could manually code the tags and keep the system going but I don't have time for that either.

Wikipedia Defense by danah boyd
danah boyd has a great piece on the value of Wikipedia as a "first source of information." As is usual with encyclopedias, it's not there to be cited but to be a beginning point for research, often pointing to citable articles. She was inspired by the Seigenthaler incident.

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Google and AOL Are Buddies
Google and AOL are going steady and poor Microsoft will have to find another girlfriend. Links at tech.memeorandum. ( SearchEngineWatch has a good post too.)This from the NY Times article :
The executive said negotiations between the three companies reached a fevered pitch on Thursday night when teams from Google and Microsoft were in separate rooms of the Time Warner Center in Manhattan and executives from the media company walked back and forth between them.
And Google will take AOL to the prom. The deal is $1B for a 5% stake in AOL.

AOL and Microsoft are dinosaurs, MS the T-Rex going for jugulars and AOL the Brontosaurus, chewing greens and looking kind of dumb. I'm old enough to remember the AOL invasion of the WWW. It wasn't pretty.

The predominant question is whether Google is evolving to the dinosaur stage. Nasdaq listings would indicate imminent D status.

But wait. Dinosaurs are extinct. Could Amazon (with Alexa and The Turk) be the bird that will fly over the millennium? Is Web 2.0 real or just another outfit for the emperor? Can we just move along here with some real Web services. tags:

Saturday, December 17, 2005
Tim Berners-Lee Blogs
The man who started this whole Web thing (that would be Sir Tim Berners-Lee) has launched a blog.

TimBL's Blog

via FreshBlog tags:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Mechanical Turk Update
David Strom has an interesting post on Amazon's Mechanical Turk (which I blogged here). The Turk supplies a way to do menial computer-related jobs (called HITs or Human Intelligence Tasks) that require some kind of human stewardship. Basic tasks can be performed quickly and net you $.02/task (that's two cents US).

What amazes Mr. Strom is the community that has sprung up around the Turk. He says:
What is really going on here is how Amazon has created this entire cottage industry overnight, with no mainstream media attention, using their lackluster internal PR, and with an assortment of casual developers and other hangers-on. It turns the whole notion of peddling influence on its head. It is an entire subculture, industry, partner program, and developer community that is roaring along, all with just a few devoted souls and a beta collection of tools. Think about that for a moment. What could really be accomplished if more resources were put in place, and people really were serious? What if a real software vendor with a bona-fide developer/partner network like Symantec or Microsoft or Adobe got behind something like this?
The lack of reporting on the Turk is odd. A balloon of excitement floated over the blogosphere for a weekend when I originally posted (November 5), then deflated. As Mr. Strom states, from good old MSM (mainstream media), we hardly heard a peep. A current search at Google News shows some tech site articles but not much more. Yet here's a startup looking to leverage the Turk as part of their business model.

(Check the Wikipedia article for background on the Turck and some links to the Turk community.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005
Best Show in Town Tonight
This is the best show in town (Minneapolis, MN USA) tonight (or maybe even in the whole US). (I can't go and won't be able to catch any of the shows this week. :-( )

Joe Chvala and The Flying Foot Forum with special guest Ruth MacKenzie : Between the Fire and Ice (Mjøllnir II) (World Premiere) : Dance: "

'Fierce, exhilarating dancemaking.' —Star Tribune

"The intricately layered percussive footwork of the Flying Foot Forum...
the driving industrial rhythms of music by Savage Aural Hotbed...
the unearthly vocals of Ruth MacKenzie..."

Thank you, Walker.

Geek Stuff: 24 ways
Via Web Standards Buzz, a kind of Advent calendar with web development tips instead of chocolate.

24 Ways to Impress Your Friends

Friday, December 09, 2005
Seigenthaler and Wikipedia
Wikipedia is once again in the news and even merited an editorial in USA Today.

John Seigenthaler Sr. wrote the editorial which begins thusly:
This is a highly personal story about Internet character assassination. It could be your story.
Siegenthaler has a long and interesting career which includes a stint serving for Robert Kennedy. In May of this year, someone edited his Wikipedia entry and stated that he was once suspected of having something to do with the assinations of John F. and Robert Kennedy. This was not true. In September, Siegenthaler discovered the Wikipedia article and was not happy. (Read editorial linked above.) (Here's the current and corrected Wikipedia article. Check the references section at the end for links to USA Today, CNN and others.)

I don't have time to get to the meat of all this. I think Wikipedia handled the situation very well and I don't think Mr. Siegenthaler was seriously injured. What if someone had stated that he was responsible for the death of the last Pope? Or that he was really an Alien sent from the planet Zarthura to enslave the Earth? Would he still be denouncing Wikipedia in USA Today?

Ross Mayfield got me to finally blog this and it's a good starting place for reading about the value of anonyminity(sp?).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Well Said
Jon Udell answers Abby's blogging warning.

A blog can be used to narrate the key events and accomplishments in your professional life, to establish your reputation as an authority on subjects in your areas of expertise, and to educate the world about your company's products and services.

San Diego Beckons
I'm going to San Diego on Sunday for ApacheCon. Work is picking up the tab for the flights and conference. M. is tagging along for some vacationing after the conference. The conference (for me) runs Monday thru Wednesday and we will stay on until Sunday.

The only tech conferences I've attended are a couple of Macworlds (one in San Francisco and one in Boston). This will be my first truly geeky conference. Keynotes are by Tim Bray, Cory Doctorow, Jaron Lanier, and Simon Phipps. There's a whole track about open source. There's an XSLT intro. I mean, what more could I want?

I'm subscribing to the San Diego Blog for some news about the city that's not so mainstream. It looks like San Diego has a very vibrant blogging community, at least judging from this page which includes the San Diego Fire blog (latest entry 2004), kind of a precursor to some of the Katrina blogging.

I'm sure Minneapolis has a vibrant group of bloggers too. I need to pay more attention locally.

I'm looking for fun things to do in San Diego. I'd love to find a day trip to Mexico via public transportation that maybe avoids Tijuana and is relatively safe. Or some cool beaches to visit. Or some great coffee shops (strooong coffee and free wireless).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The Minnewiki: Minnesota Music Encyclopedia
Minnesota Public Radio is publishing the Minnewiki which is "an online reference about music-related artists, groups, and venues with a Minnesota connection."

There's a 'Random Page' link on the left which is a good way to explore the site. There's lots of interesting tidbits. Bob Dylan has one of the lengthier writeups. I found out that Peter Himmelman, Sussman Lawrence's lead singer, is married to Bob Dylan's daughter, Maria. This page was odd but eventually linked to the Fort Wilson Riot page (a band).

There is a timeline within the Wiki with links to individual years. I found a year with a random page link but there doesn't seem to be a link from the home page. I searched on 1965 and came up with this List of Years but they need a home page link.

The home page only has a few links to content. The Categories page has more including a Jazz category. All typical wiki world -- a dash of chaos mixed with wonderful surprise and a teaspoon of befuddlement.

I hope this catches on and people begin adding to it and reading it. I see some self-promotion among the articles but for many smaller bands, it's probably the only way they will get in the wiki whether they are currently making music or made it back in their day. No problem as long as we are honest.

Omigod. Judy Garland isn't there. I hope that's corrected soon. Hmm. I could add her and provide a link to Wikipedia's article.

Searching around for any Iron Range rockers with very little luck. Of course, Paul Metsa is mentioned along with his original Minneapolis band, Cats Under the Stars but no other content on his page and the band link goes to an empty page where you can add the content. The Range had a very vibrant rock-and-roll scene in the early seventies.

Wiki software is Mediawiki.

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MPR Podcasts
Minnesota Public Radio now has some Podcasts available. The link to the podcast page might take you through a rather irritating and mandatory survey. At least that's where I went when I chose 'podcasts' from the shortcuts menu.

Once the survey was completed (every field mandatory), I was at the podcast page where you cannot download the files nor can you easily subscribe to the feeds. The feed link is plain text. So you can't even use something like the bloglines bookmarklet to subscribe to the link. There is an XML button but it's just a dead graphic.

I did discover that if you go to the XML link, it's a nicely formatted page where you can download the MP3 podcast files whether you subscribe to the feed or not.

There's not much available. They do have Kerri Miller's Midmorning show and an option to subscribe to that as a 'speedcast' which reduces the listening time from 53 minutes to 29 minutes. (This concept was pioneered by Alvin and the Chipmunks in 1958.)

Here's a list of the podcasts along with active links to the xml files.

Skits from The Morning Show


New Classical Tracks™

Midmorning with Kerri Miller
Hour 1
Hour 2

Midmorning Speedcasts
Our experimental speedcasts reduce listening time for Midmorning podcasts from 53 minutes to 29 minutes. Audio technology speeds up the sound without raising the pitch—be sure to allow a few minutes for your ears to adjust to the rapid delivery. Do you like this option? Let us know in a message to

Midmorning Speedcast hours 1 and 2

Podcasting at Top Ten Sources
Dan Bricklin provides a nice introduction to podcasting at the Top Ten Sources site.

He covers technical aspects including RSS feeds. That part is still a bit geeky, I think, for beginners but darn, I'm not sure how to clarify it. I think it has to move to a discussion/conversation mode where questions can be asked and answered. Plus some way of demonstrating RSS and its potential.

The other sections of the essay really shine. He talks about the low price of admission to the world of podcasting. If you're dream is to be a broadcast personality on the audio waves, podcasting can give you that chance. He gives a nice history of the medium and then he gives a list of sample podcasts that's really good. I had listened to most of the 'casters listed but not to many of the specific episodes (and I haven't tuned in the Dawn and Drew Show yet). (The Dawn and Drew Show is listed as ADULT material and like I said, I haven't listened yet so I don't know if you might find it offensive or not.)

The Top Ten Sources site is pretty interesting too. They pick a news topic each day and then compile a list of ten sites that they consider the best sources for that particular topic. The sites must have an RSS feed. Topic lists are saved at Top Ten so you can browse them and it says they are periodically updated. I found the Astronomy one interesting and note that Tom Cruise was the topic one day.

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