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Posted 2004 Dec 11

I’m a long-time Firefox user (heck, since it was Phoenix). I even wrote some extensions [Looks like both of these are woefully out-of-date and incompatible. I’ve added them to my TODO – Ed.] So, with the 1.0 release of Thunderbird (the Mozilla family email client), my interest was piqued. For the longest time, I used webmail (Yahoo! and GMail) for my personal mail and Evolution at work (which, by the way, has excellent Exchange integration). But, recently I’ve been using and found it perfectly usable. Like most, if not all, of Apple’s applications, it is very well integrated! Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Thunderbird. Version 1.0 lacks Address Book integration, automatic spell-checking, etc. Thunderbird’s bells-and-whistles just won’t do it for me… I already have an RSS Reader. I was going to commit to trying Thunderbird exclusively for a week, but, I’m afraid I may hold off until a later version. By the way, I do these switches all the time: KDE to Gnome, Firefox to Safari to Camino. So, maybe next time, Thunderbird.

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Posted 2004 Dec 11

Argh. I’ve applied this fix, but I’m still not sure if Trackbacks are working.

Updated: it seems to work on some sites, but not all?

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Quicksilver Weather Plugin, version 0.3

Posted 2004 Dec 10

OK. I have made lots of internal changes and fixes in my Quicksilver Weather Plugin. And, barring any major bugs, I hope that this will be it for awhile…

The main difference is that I’ve re-enabled and expanded support for METAR data. So, if your weather station has XML, great. If not, the plugin will automatically fall back to METAR, parsing as much as is available. Still, the XML is going to have more. METAR is pretty fragile and there are tons of exception cases. I also removed the option to set a cache expiry. The NOAA says one hour, so that is what it will be.

You will definitely have to relaunch QS to get the changes to take effect. You will likely have to rescan the catalog entry for “Modules” -> “Current Conditions and Forecast”. To verify, select the plugin in the Catalog page and hit the little “(i)” at the bottom. When the drawer expands, you should see checked entries for: Dew Point, Humidity, Temperature, Visibility, Weather and Winds.

Comments and suggestions are welcome. I’m going to focus on some other projects (namely my blog’s UI and layout), then I will tackle the SOAP forecast interface. Now, without further ado:


comments (0) Thoughts

Posted 2004 Dec 09

I have grown to enjoy and become dependent on It fits into my daily regimen quite seamlessly. I already use my MyYahoo! front page as a sort of real-time, cultural zeitgeist with top stories, most popular pictures, Buzz Indexes and more. Now, the Popular feed from is a perfect addition to this. Though, currently, it tends to be pretty focused—probably because it most heavily used by a relatively homogeneous early-adopter crowd.

Anyway, I really see’s strengths in two main areas: community and personal information management. I think that these facets could be expanded or enhanced with the following additions:

  1. Send a link: Just about every site with content has some form of “Email this Article” functionality. Similarly, it’s very common to send someone a link in IM or via email—it’s how we share our interests, pass on useful information, etc. Since I started using, I have always wanted to be able to send someone a link to a entry for link, rather than just the link itself. On one hand, it would certainly increase the visibility and popularity of (for better or worse). But, more importantly, it has the potential to decorate a link with meta data. For example, the meta data can indicate how popular a link is or group related content (i.e. by “tag”). Also, it will show who else is interested in the link and, more importantly, what additional meta data other users add to the link. It is somewhat like’s recommendation system. As far as implementation, I think some kind of “send this link” functionality could be added to both a user’s personal page and to the “Post to” page. The latter, so that one could add the link while simultaneously emailing it to a friend.
  2. “Personal”:’s second big strength is its role as a personal information management system. Countless times, I will add something to at work for the sole purpose of reading it at home later. Likewise, I use to save important links that need to be available to me no matter where I am. Basically, it’s like a distributed, synchronized bookmarks folder. Nothing revolutionary there, these have been around for a long time. But, sometimes, this capability interferes with (or at least dilutes) the community experience of do any other users really care about some esoteric or mindless link I’ve posted? Perhaps, but not always. Or, probably more importantly, what if I’m a well known Microsoft employee, do I really want the world to see all of my links to various competitor sites? What I’m proposing is a “Personal” that you could add to your own site (like Google Free WebSearch). You could protect it with a password or simply run it on your local webserver—it would be for your eyes (and use) only. Of course, this would require the release of the code. Though this sounds like an overblown bookmark manager, I think it has some applicability. One reason is that, for many, there is a synergy in using the same tool for different purposes: just look at the the popularity of products leveraging Wiki technology for personal use.
Lastly, another thought I had was whether or not one could use to self-promote one’s own content (albeit shamelessly). By tagging your own blog post, for example, in,it will show up on the front page. It may only be there for a short while, but it while have been on the radar nonetheless. I’m almost tempted to experiment, but it seems pretty close to clicking your own link. I wonder, though, if the creators have considered this.

Updated: If you’re not familiar with, here’s a good Beginner’s Guide and the official About page.

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defective yeti: The 2004 Good Gift Game Guide

Posted 2004 Dec 07

Are you or do you know a gamer? If so, check out this great 2004 Good Gift Game Guide (also featured at (my favorite) The Morning News). It has some really good suggestions. Though the games listed here aren’t your standards like Monopoly and Life. However, they are a welcome change, not to mention great fun and easy to learn. An excellent way to wile away a rainy weekend or Winter’s day. I especially recommend Ticket to Ride.

Here are my additional suggestions:
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Note to users of technology called Electronic Mail

Posted 2004 Dec 07
I love this rant. But, Jeremy forgot (perhaps in the heat of passion) these two other fantastic annoyances:
  1. Users who send all their messages with High Importance! That designates every email as having equally high importance, thus diluting the import of all of them. Regardless, they are usually meant to nag about something. That is High Annoyance, not High Importance.
  2. Email where the body is in the Subject, e.g. Subject: Please have all of your time entered by the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 3. You know you’ve received one of those before.

But Jeremy did mention what I think is the biggest problem with email: the compulsion to respond quickly and unthinkingly. I’ve found that the best remedy for this is to just turn off your email client and set aside a particular time of day to read your mail, say once in the morning and once at the end of the day. Hey, if it’s that important—they can use a phone.

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Vim, Part Deux

Posted 2004 Dec 07

I spent the better part of Monday chest deep in the debugger trying to figure out why PAM was seg faulting on one server, but not on another. Was it a difference between RedHat ES and Gentoo? Perhaps a subtle difference in PAM versions? Thank vim for :se invlist. Thus, it was revealed:

vim on PAM

There are two lessons to be learned. First, the obvious, vim is awesome. Two, PAM ought to be more tolerant of tabs. Extra credit :se expandtab. In actuality, the real lesson is Occam’s Razor.

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Quicksilver Weather Plugin Update

Posted 2004 Dec 06
In the wake of news regarding the NOAA’s new XML feeds, I’ve updated my Quicksilver plugin. It now uses XML, instead of the clunky, but adorable, METAR format. Since the data is SO easy to parse (thanks, Cocoa!), I was able to quickly add support for all of the data. Currently, I have Quicksilver commands to display the following:
  • Weather – provides a summary of current conditions, including Last Updated time
  • Temperature
  • Dew Point
  • Humidity
  • Winds
  • Visibility
There’s plenty more data, but I’m not sure of how much interest it would be. Easy to add, though. Up next: forecasts via SOAP!

Download: [MYWeatherPlugin.qspkg]

Updated: Note that the new XML data is only for the US. So, I’m going to re-enable the METAR data and include a “Revert to METAR” option.

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Posted 2004 Dec 06
I use vim. With all of its builtin functionality (syntax highlighting, code folding, code completion, compiler/debugger/shell integration, multiple buffers, window splitting, and my favorite: recordable macros) plus tons of plugins, there’s little that vim can’t do. Plus, it’s available for just about every conceivable platform. I find that vim is far-and-away more powerful than most IDEs. For me. I understand that it’s not for everybody. Though, one can certainly try to impress people with one’s l33t vim skills… Hint: show them code-folding and window splitting (they’ll want to know “Which IDE is that?” ).
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Back Online

Posted 2004 Dec 06

I’ve been offline due to ISP problems since yesterday evening. That’s alright, though, because being offline gave me a chance to work on my novel… The novel I’m reading, that is.

I’m almost finished updating my Quicksilver Weather Plugin to handle the newly available XML Weather data. I’ll upload soon. I’ve also been thinking that this new XML data might make for a pretty slick little J2ME app…

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