Blog Upgrade

The software that runs this blog has been letting me down. After some consideration, I decided that instead of switching or rolling my own, I'd be like the guy who soups up his Ford Pinto wagon (COREBlog in my case). New wheels, new paint, and tinted glass. Later, maybe, new seats and sound system.

On the programming side of the upgrade: new, permanent, hackable, readable, and indexable URLs. The old URLs, formed like:{id}

sucked. There's just no way around that. They were hackable in that you could increment or decrement the id to get subsequent or previous entries, but had no other virtues unless you count (and I did for a while) their extreme shortness as a virtue. Now, the URLs are changed to:{id}/{slug}/

Keeping the id guarantees uniqueness and preserves hackability. A slug derived from the entry title -- in this particular case "Blog Upgrade" -> "blog-upgrade" -- provides a tiny bit of context to aid web surfers and indexers. I changed not a thing in the ZODB. All I've done is reimplement __bobo_traverse__() for COREBlog.Entry so that the proper object gets published on a slug-ged request, and reimplement index_html() for the same class to redirect to the new canonical URL. If an agent comes for a deprecated URL, it gets a status 301 response with the new location:

sean@lenny:~$ curl -v
> GET /blog340 HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.15.4 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.15.4 ...
> Host:
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
< Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 20:29:47 GMT
< Server: Zope/(Zope 2.8.6-final, python 2.4.3, linux2) ZServer/1.1
< Content-Length: 0
< Location:
< Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

On the policy side: new, full-content feed of entries. I'm optimistic that this will increase the depth, if not the breadth, of my readership. Any any rate, I'm not selling ads on my blog pages, so there's nothing to lose.


Re: Blog Upgrade

Author: Allan

I noticed the new styling a while ago, it's looking good!

Google's Geo-Web

This is how it's going to grow? From KML in sitemap files? I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I'm very interested in seeing the Web we have now geo-enable itself. I'd love to be able to search Google (or Yahoo, or whatever) for coverages and features, and never again visit barely usable geodata portals. On the other hand, this particular approach is just another damned catalog, and one based on a single application's proprietary language.


Re: Google's Geo-Web

Author: Brian Timoney

Sean: I typed in <viewBoundScale> into Google yesterday looking for info on issues others have had with the tag, etc. And the results came back with page after page of KML files. Hmmm. BT

$200 Laptop?

Count me in. As far as I'm concerned, the OLPC story is a thousand times more interesting than the iPhone. Imagine the potential wave of new, young neogeographers when these things hit the streets of Recife, Tripoli, Abuja, and maybe even Fort Collins.

Update: or not here in the Fort.

Last year I helped add support for geo-referenced Atom feeds in OpenLayers (example here), and today committed a GeoRSS module for the Python Cartographic Library: Based on the Universal Feed Parser, it adapts simply geo-referenced entries of any RSS flavor to PCL's feature model. That done, the features flow right through the renderer.

Here's an example feed (used in the OpenLayers map above):

with its entries rendered into the very simple map below:

If You Like Proprietary, You'll Love the iPhone

Cingular only? 2 year contract? Bah, humbug. I'm not turning over any more of my digital life to Apple.

Update: great rant by Mark Pilgrim about Apple's sharecropping.


Re: If You Love Proprietary, You'll Love the iPhone

Author: James Fee

I've had to avoid my RSS Aggregator because of all this iPhone news. Now they are spamming PlanetGS with their "iPhone news".

Scrub a Dub Preview

I've got a pgscrubber 2 preview, pgscrubber-2.0a.user.js [MD5, SHA1] to go along with the new PlanetGS preview.

Mozilla XPath is brilliant. I'm now using the string function contains() to find posts to scrub, which simplifies the task of enumerating the blogs you want to screen out. These blogs are also now marked (in the sidebar) through with a line so you don't lose track of what's being scrubbed.

Downloads of the previous version were up quite a bit, indicating either that there are more and more Firefox users, or that there's more and more noise on PlanetGS.


Re: Scrub a Dub Preview

Author: Tom Kralidis

Nice. Perhaps I'm missing something, but the instructions in the comments state to select " Tools -> Install This User Script..." (I'm using Firefox 2). I can't find this under the Tools menu. Do I need to enable something else beforehand? Watch, and now, just as I post, I'll probably figure it out :)

Re: Scrub a Dub Preview

Author: Sean

Tom, all you have to do with FF2 is open the file. The Greasemonkey plugin takes it from there.

Re: Scrub a Dub Preview

Author: Tom Kralidis

Ah, ok. Maybe a small note in the .js that one requires Greasemonkey for the script to work. In addition, on FF2, the menu item is Tools -> Greasemonkey -> Install User Script (mind you, I was prompted when I opened this file by a Greasemonkey installation popup). Thanks much -- this is a valuable resource!!

Five Things

I don't want to let James down, so here are five things you probably don't know about me:

My paternal grandfather's great-aunt, Ann Gillies, was the mother of Robert Parker, also known as Butch Cassidy. That makes him my second cousin. My family is still firmly rooted in Beaver, Utah.

My first computer was an Atari 800.

In my senior year at the University of Utah, I attended the infamous Pons-Fleischmann "Cold Fusion" press conference.

I launched Fort Collins's Summer Ultimate Frisbee League in 1995, and met my (now) wife at a league game in 2001.

We almost moved from the Fort to Riverside, California, at the end of 2005. Each of us had excellent job offers that were painful to turn down -- my wife from UCR, and I from UCR/UCLA -- but decided in the end that the congestion, pollution, and politics of the Inland Empire were unbearable.

Howard, Allan, Paul, Tom, you're it.

Update: Well, that was fun, but one meme is enough for me. I don't think I'll spread any others.


Re: Five Things

Author: Allan

Not sure if you have trackbacks (mine are off/broken...) so here's a manual one -

Re: Five Things

Author: Tom Kralidis

And here's mine:

Sharpening the Wiki

I spent a bit of the holiday explaining the Pleiades project to my family, and how it compares to Wikipedia and Citizendium. Like Citizendium, we aim to expertly moderate openly contributed knowledge. On the other hand, we're not forking the entirety of Wikipedia, but instead are scoping down and building upon an unequaled scholarly work -- the Barrington Atlas. Ben Vershbow, in Scholarpedia: sharpening the wiki for expert results (via Peter Suber), says we're on the right track:

One problem of open source knowledge projects is that they're often too general in scope (Scholarpedia says it all). A federation of specialized encyclopedias, produced by focused communities of scholars both academic and independent -- and with some inter-disciplinary porousness -- would be a more valuable, if less radical, counterpart to Wikipedia, and more likely to succeed than the Citizendium chimera.

Expertise will continue to have value in our wiki future. I'm already convinced that Pleiades has a solid mission, but it's nice to find reinforcements.