Category: Musings

May 03, 2006 : Idea: feed feeds?

It would be nice to have feeds of feeds. Two good examples: a comment feed branching off of each item in a blog feed. Or a feed of your assigned issues/bugs with a feed of status changes branching off of each issue. (let's not start thinking about "threaded" feeds)

I'm not too familiar with OPML, but you could probably have a dynamic OPML of all the comment feeds of a blog. But you'd need a feedreader that would watch for changes to the OPML file. I'm not too familiar with OPML, but I don't think there's any way for it to changes over time well, like an rss/atom feed. Moreover, with OPML you wouldn't have a direct relationship between an item in the parent feed and the item's own child feed.

Is this possible at all, or would it require the next generation of specs & clients?

Mar 07, 2006 : Wikis: tagging releases and building distributable docs

I want to create project documentation on a wiki, and be able to build well-versioned, distributable releases. I've yet to find a wiki that can do this.

First, you have to be able to generate stand-alone documents (preferably HTML or PDF) that are still navigable and usable (i.e. not just a big dump of the wiki). Some wikis do this.

Second, you have need to store the documents in a versioned repository. One like subversion, that will support tags. You should be able to tag the whole wiki as "release-0.3" and then be able to browse the whole wiki as it was at that release and be able to rebuild that release's PDF/HTML docs. Subwiki seems to be dead; Kwiki has a SVK (distributed SVN) plugin, but I haven't tested it yet and I doubt you can browse "at" a tagged release.

Feb 25, 2006 : Gmail chat thoughts

I haven't heard much buzz about gmail's web interface to chat. Only a few people complaining about a extra icons on the sidebar.

First, IM on the web means no software to install. Very nice. But in the big picture, I see this as only one small step towards making all networked applications be web-based. The internet is pervasive and browsers are everywhere, but software apps are not. For maximum accessibility, nearly everything will go to the web. SMTP and POP3/IMAP have been accessible by webmail for a long time; IM is moving there (applets have been around, but plugins don't count); FTP is fading in favor of web CMSs; telnet for hardware device configuration has been replaced with web interfaces; SSH will become AJAX consoles on secured sites; networked PIMs will be web based; CVS has been pushed aside by Subversion; SMB/CIFS (windows file shares) will move to HTTP DAV filestores; . The only networked apps that will not move to HTTPS are specialized client/server configurations like rsync, gaming and probably VNC.

And Gmail is removing the diffences between IM and Email:

  1. Email address are used for screennames
  2. Same website for both
  3. History is saved for both
  4. When replying in either, previous messages are available directly above your composition
  5. One-click to reply to an email; zero for chat
  6. By default, email replies show an input field only for new body content. No subject, recipients, or previous body content
  7. You can email a reply to a chat log

Feb 20, 2006 : "planet" sites are bad

First, they're not all bad. I love using as a way to read a wide variety of (growing) blogs on interesting topics. And I get to use it to widen my blog exposure too.

But planet sites are closed. There's no way to join the community or post a single message to the group. The best you get is a contact link to the maintainer, sometimes nothing at all.

For and like-planets, that's probably okay. It's one face of an existing community. After you join the community through published methods, you can communicate on the planet site's forum. However, many planets to a large degree are communities unto themselves, like They have their own unique nature and in that blogosphere only a select few may participate.

Feb 18, 2006 : RE & FW icons

In MUAs in locales that read right-to-left, do the icons (and overlays on each message's icon) that represent replies and forwards face the other way?
Forward Reply

Googling for localization of icons indicates this isn't a popular concept in general.

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