Last time I wrote about how I switched from Delicious to Google Reader's shared links feature only to find out that week that Google was removing the Google Reader shared links feature in favor of Google Plus social features (I'll save my Google Plus rant for another day).
Forced to find something new again, I'm now very pleased with Tumblr. Google Reader has Tumblr in its preset list of Send To sites which makes it relatively easy to add articles. And Tumblr's UX for adding things lets me easily pick a photo or video to display from the article - something which I had put together with a less convenient UX on my bespoke blogging system. For adding things outside of Google Reader I made a Tumblr accelerator to hookup to the Tumblr Add UX.
Of course they have an RSS feed which I hooked up to my blog. The only issue I had there is that when you add a link (and not a video or photo) to Tumblr, the RSS feed entry title for that link is repeated in the entry description as a link followed by a colon and then the actual description entered into Tumblr. I want my title separate so I can apply my own markup so I did a bit of parsing of the description to remove the repeated title from the description.
I had previously replaced my use of Delicious with Google Reader. Delicious had a number of issues during their switch over from Yahoo to the new owners and I was eventually fed up enough to remove it from daily use. I used Delicious to do the following things:
Of course I wrote this and switched over about 1 week before Google removed the sharing feature from Google Reader. I'm irritated but in practice it forced me to find a different option which has worked out mostly better. New blog post coming soon about that...
Inspired by one of Penn's (of Penn & Teller) articles in which he mentions he has his computer tell him what he wrote in his journal that day the previous year, I've wanted to implement a similar thing with my blog. Now that, as I mentioned previously, I've updated my blog such that its much easier to implement search and such, I've added date range filtering to my site's search. So now I can easily see what on Delicious and my blog I was doing last year.
I've also otherwise updated search on this site. You can now quote terms to match an entire string, stick 'tag:' in front of a term to only match that term against tags as opposed to the title and body of the entry as well, and you can stick '-' in front of a term to indicate that it must not be found in the entry.
I've redone my blog's layout to remind myself how terrible CSS is -- err I mean to play with the more advanced features of CSS 2.1 which are all now available in IE8. As part of the new layout I've included my Delicious links by default but at a smaller size and I've replaced the navigation list options with Technical, Personal and Everything as I've heard from folks that that would actually be useful. Besides the layout I've also updated the back-end, switching from my handmade PHP+XSLT+RSS/Atom monster to a slightly less horrible PHP+DB solution. As a result everything should be much much faster including search which, incidentally, is so much easier to implement outside of XSLT.
Last Thursday I saw a bunch of college friends that I hadn't seen in a while, despite all of us working at Microsoft, and Saul and Ciera who were visiting. We had dinner at Typhoon! which I haven't been to in quite a while. Daniil and Val brought their cute child. I got to see Charlie and Matt who I'm not sure I've seen since my 25th birthday. There was much nerdiness. I need to remember to organize such a night myself sometime in near future so I don't have to wait another year to see them.
On the weekend Sarah and I went out to dinner at Carnegie's, a former public library in Ballard, Seattle that's now a restaurant. I saw the restaurant's website in Matt's delicious links and thought it looked interesting. The exterior and entryway look like a public library, but just inside its redone as a sort of modern version of french classical with a bar and two dining rooms. No pictures since my replacement camera only arrived today, but there are photos available. They serve french cuisine which was good and not as expensive as I would have expected. An interesting place, although its a bit of a drive and I'm not sure if we'll be going back soon.
I just upgraded to the Zune 3.0 software which includes games and purchasing music on the Zune via WiFi and once again I'm thrilled that the new firmware is available for old Zunes like mine. Rooting around looking at the new features I noticed Zune Badges for the first time. They're like Xbox Achievements, for example I have a Pixies Silver Artist Power Listener award for listening to the Pixies over 1000 times. I know its ridiculous but I like it, and now I want achievements for everything.
Achievements everywhere would require more developments in self-tracking. Self-trackers, folks who keep statistics on exactly when and what they eat, when and how much they exercise, anything one may track about one's self, were the topic of a Kevin Kelly Quantified Self blog post (also check out Cory Doctorow's SF short story The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away featuring a colony of self-trackers). For someone like me with a medium length attention span the data collection needs to be completely automatic or I will lose interest and stop collecting within a week. For instance, Nike iPod shoes that keep track of how many steps the wearer takes. I'll also need software to analyze, display, and share this data on a website like Mycrocosm. I don't want to have to spend extreme amounts of time to create something as wonderful as the Feltron Report (check out his statistic on how many daily measurements he takes for the report). Once we have the data we can give out achievements for everything!
Eat at least ten different kinds of animals.
Meet at least 10% of the residents in your home town.
Visit a city in every country.
Survive at least 80 years of life.
Of course none of the above is practical yet, but how about Delicious achievements based on the public Delicious feeds? That should be doable...
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is now available! Some of the new features from this release that I really enjoy are Tab Grouping, the new address-bar, and InPrivate Subscriptions.
Tab Grouping groups tabs that are opened from the same page. For example, on a Google search results page if you open the first two links the two new tabs will be grouped with the Google search results page. If you close one of the tabs in that group focus goes to another tab in that group. Its small, but I really enjoy this feature and without knowing exactly what I wanted while using IE7 and FF2 I knew I wanted something like this. Plus the colors for the tab groups are pretty!
The new address bar and search box makes life much easier by searching through my browsing history for whatever I'm typing in. Other things are searched besides history but since I ignore favorites and use Delicious I mostly care about history. At any rate its one of the things that makes it impossible for me to go machines running IE7.
InPrivate Subscriptions allows you to subscribe to a feed of URLs from which IE should not download content. This is intended for avoiding sites that track you across websites and could sell or share your personal information, but this feature could be used for anything where the goal is to avoid a set of URLs. For example, phishing, malware sites, ad blocking, etc. etc. I think there's some interesting uses for this feature that we have yet to see.
Anyway, we're another release closer to the final IE8 and I can relax a little more.