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Noisybox blog, software updated
Friday, November 23rd 2007 11:23pm
Tags: blogging url rss tagging web

After some digging, I determined that it's been just about 3 years since I really updated the blog software on noisybox.net. I've long been kicking around the idea of making things better by replacing the cryptic ampersand-get-query-parameter syntax with something a little easier on the eyes (and fingers)...but I kept pushing it back and calling that effort worthless or kinda silly and unnecessary. But a few weeks ago at a Dorkbot meeting, my friend David enthusiastically asserted the opposite: This wasn't an unimportant undertaking. By his assertion, constructing meaningful URLs is fundamental to how the web works.

The more I started looking around, the more I discovered that damn near every modern, frequently-updated site was using URL path syntax for permalinks. There was certainly a trend afoot, and it seemed that only the aging and decrepit sites (like mine!?) still used the kooky HTTP GET syntax. I needed to bring the site up to snuff...something had to be done.

So I put in the time, made the code more modular, made it better, and after fighting PHP and Apache...viola...we now have nicely scoped and well defined URLs that correspond to blog entries.

I've also implemented a first pass at tagging my (new) entries with categories. This also includes having categories in the RSS feed that get populated with the tags. You see, once again, I'm late jump on the bandwagon, but I've been thoroughly convinced now that tagging is a workable, useful, and important (if not critical) way to help define a taxonomy for the web.

Maybe now I'll be more inclined to post more often and provide better content!? Hah...we've heard that before.

I've concluded that although my approach to blogging (yes, I've finally allowed myself to *say* the word) has changed over the years, it hasn't changed enough. Part of my lack of posting can be attributed to some weird sense of pressure, or a need to "get caught back up" and to somehow capture all that's been going on. Although it was my intention at the time, far too many of my past entries have been imprecise and just jump around two or three recent happenings. That's fine -- but I'm now making a clear attempt to focus. I'm starting to understand the value in having 3 separate posts about 3 topics rather than lumping them all into one single, often hurried whammy.

Gone are the days of non sequitur irrelevant subjects. Long live the new order. The theme is now this: More frequent, more relevant.

There are two key nice-to-have features that I haven't yet built. The first is tag-based filtering, or the ability to filter by one or more tags. This also implies the ability to create dynamic RSS feeds for any tags that exist on the site. Powerful powerful stuff. The second is date-based selection, so that blog entries can be viewed based on their year, month, day. I'm saving those for another day, likely after I rework the photo gallery sections.

Lily is pretty sweet.
Sunday, March 4th 2007 11:40pm
Tags: dataflow programming web

I lurk on various PureData lists and get quite a bit of mail in digest format. It's often enough to skip over or skim very quickly, but recently the author of Lily posted OT about web patching via javascript...and wow. What cool stuff.

Now don't misunderstand....I've gone on record bagging on this whole AJAX thing and how the web browser is a terrible "platform" for all this software we like to run (a windowing environment or even OS in a browser is totally redundant, no?)...but this looks damn fine. I haven't tried a demo or anything, but the movies look quite nice.

Although maybe a bit simple and cryptic, the few examples of full "applications" (if dataflow languages create apps anyway?) being whipped out in a few mere minutes is, to me, pretty impressive. I suspect that [parts of?] it may be Firefox specific, which is probably less than ideal, but again, it looks to work really well!

When I first read about this project, it immediately reminded me of Yahoo Pipes, which has been making the 'rounds. This is like a streamlined, less AOL version of the same...one that (to be fair, without a demo!) seems to actually work well, in an efficient and more intuitive (at least to us patchers) way.