Feed organization and entropy

I use Google Reader to read feeds. I have a “daily” folder for feeds that I really need to keep up on, and everything else is filed away into about 20 other content-specific folders.

However, I realized that I only read the “daily” folder, and never look in any of the other folders. Ever. And I’m continually paring down the contents of the “daily” folder, as I don’t have time to keep up with those either.

In fact, I’d stopped reading about music, food, art, design, inventions, gadgets, free mobile games, travel.

In the end, I was basically reading Planet Mozilla and the Mozilla wiki’s “recent changes”. And while I love Moz, that’s a far too singular lens through which to vicariously experience life.

So, I’m going for the “river of news” strategy: I’ve moved all feeds into the root folder, and will prune from there. I’ve hidden the folder tree (which I wasn’t using anyway), which leaves more real estate for content. I’ve interspersed my work with my play feeds, which will hopefully bring some variety into my digital walkabouts.

I have a followup task: to step away from the computer altogether at some point.

Ack, almost forgot about the “entropy” part of this post! While pruning feeds, I noticed that a bunch hadn’t had any posts in a while. I checked out a few, and found that the feed URL had changed, but the author hadn’t set up redirects, or published any notice at all on the feed. Lame.


Thermals @ Crystal Ballroom

We went to see The Thermals last night. First time at the Crystal Ballroom, in downtown Portland. It’s a McMenamins joint, and as to be expected it was a beautiful old space, renovated and covered with faux-hippie murals. The floor of the place is springy, kinda like gymnastics flooring, brilliant idea.


Tea for Julie
was on we got there. Hey guys, get a new band name.

Stars of Track and Field were next. Wow I had no idea that you could have so many crescendos in a single song! Hey guys, it kinda detracts from the suspense WHEN THERE IS NONE. I believe this kind of music is known as “anthemo” (a-nth-ee-mo). They were interestingly derivative: The guitar had shades of 70s rock, U2, The Church. The vocals had a bit of Galaxy 500, and someone else that I haven’t quite pinpointed yet. Sometimes they’d bust out the cheesy drum machine and keyboard for some serious Postal Service rip-off action. Ok, I know it sounds like I hated them, but I actually really enjoyed some of the songs (especially those without the keyboard). Definitely talented guys… just haven’t figured out who they want to sound like yet.

After an awesomely short wait (no pretension here!) The Thermals came on. Great show, as to be expected. However, the sound was not so hot, bad acoustics seemed to eat up the guitar punch. We saw them at the Wonder Ballroom (Portland’s got lots of ballrooms it seems) last fall, and the sound there was much better.

The best part of the show though, was watching my daughter totally lose it when the Thermals played; she was head-banging throughout their set. Afterwards she was disappointed that “it was so boring where we were”. We were about 10 feet from the stage, the mosh pit was a few feet to the right, and some guy next to us was carried off basically unconscious from a blow to the head (due to a falling crowd-surfer). An explanation of basic mosh pit arithmetic ensued: falling 250 pound punker + 70 pound 11 year-old = emergency-room trip.

Maybe when you grow another few inches :)


Happy Moz-o-ween!

moz-o-lantern @ daytime

moz-o-lantern @ nighttime


Foxylicious 0.7

I updated Foxylicious for Firefox 2. It’s home at AMO is not yet updated, as it’s still awaiting approval. For those who can’t wait, I’ve made it available here.

  • Updated to work with Firefox 2
  • Uses the new secure del.icio.us API endpoint (fixes the auth prompt issue)
  • Fixed some pref handling errors
  • Added configurable post URLs. To load a different posting page, set the foxylicious.postURL to a URL that has %user%, %location% and %title%, for example, the default is: http://del.icio.us/%user%?v=2&noui=yes&jump=close&url=%location%&title=%title
  • Properly localize-able

INSTALL Foxylicious 0.7

Please let me know if you have any problems, regressions, etc.

XOXO,

-d


Firefox 2 and the Northwest Pressure-washing Gutter-cleaners

Here in the Northwest the rainy season is upon us. So, the other day I searched Craigslist and hired someone to clean out the gutters and pressure-wash the roof of our house. They showed up today, and while chatting with them I mentioned that I work on Firefox. Not only had both of these guys heard of Firefox, but they got excited and said that it’s their default browser.

Of course, I immediately used the opportunity to do that which is the point of this blog post: Plug Firefox 2.0 :)

  • New theme
  • Anti-phishing
  • Microsummaries
  • Spell-check
  • Session-restore
  • Undo-close-tab
  • Search suggestions
  • Feed handling
  • And 23 other enhancements and bug-fixes (give or take a few thousand)

Download Firefox 2.0

Enjoy :)


You are under surveillance.

Last night we went to a panel discussion on the Bush administration’s warrant-less wiretapping program, at PSU in downtown Portland. It was put on by the NWCRC and PFAW, and featured a professor/lawyer, a lawyer handling a case against the government over warrant-less wiretapping, and an activist.

It was f*ckin’ scary.

But it was also extremely interesting, and at times even funny. It’s inspiring and humbling to see these smart and talented people out there fighting our government’s encroachments on our rights, on a daily basis. And it’s uplifting to see that it’s possible to keep a sense of humor while doing it… because if we can no longer laugh, then the fascists have truly won.

Yes, you are under surveillance.

DANCE!


Cool it, baby.

This software cocktail cooled my MacBook Pro by more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit:

  1. Install the MiniStat2 Dashboard widget. It shows CPU temperature as well as fan speed. This allows you to do easy before/after verification.
  2. Install SleepWatcher, which executes commands at wake/sleep events.
  3. Finally, install FanSpeed, which increases the minimum fan speed.

Before: 132F
After: 84F

There are downsides (noticeable fan sound, uses more power), but having a laptop that I can have in my lap is well worth it.


Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!


Tinderbox Microsummary Update: Tree Closures

I updated the Tinderbox microsummary generator to show whether the tree is open or closed, and to properly display the tree name.

You can install it here.

The information shown:

  • Tree Name
  • Open/closed
  • Ok/burning (and then lists the names of the burning tinderboxes)

Programming the Masses with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

Some notes I took while watching Jeff Barr’s presentation at XTech:

  • Mass social-engineering: Hacking people by assigning them tasks.
  • You can request certain skills/knowledge. Can you request geographical location? religious/political affiliation?
  • Limited by cost? Might be able to buy large amounts of people/tasks by the stay-at-home workers, etc.
  • Amazon only requires that users agree to abide by their license, and hands off responsibility for obeying local and international laws to the users.

Two classes of people likely do Turk-tasks:

  1. The minority will be those with very specialized knowledge, doing analysis for high pay.
  2. The majority will be poor and uneducated, doing tasks that require little or no skills, for low pay.

The key is finding axes of maximum paradigmatic effectiveness: Images or documents that elicit a gut-level reaction in the receiver, thereby planting a seed for consciousness change.

  • Read and analyze negative/positive materials
  • View images that contain embedded or subliminal messaging

Could do this for whatever your particular cause or goal: political, religious, lifestyle (eg: vegan-ism) and marketing.

Also, it might be an interesting platform for doing market-research.


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