Archive for the 'tech wishes' Category

Too Many Boxes

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Electronic communication is a an awesome thing. It promises to make the world a smaller place by letting anyone talk to anyone, anywhere.

But, most of our electronic communication- IM, email, IRC blogging – forces us to channel our ideas, thoughts and feelings through tiny little boxes (curse you, TextArea, and your non-keybindings working self!!!).

Flickr Photo

I’m thinking about this because Eran and I got just got done with an experiment, the results of which you should be able to see to the right (and in some other flickr photos). The experiment was simple- we opened up every possible means of electronic communication we have available*.


The result- too many boxes.

Electronic communication promises to change the world by allowing people who would otherwise be unable to meet f2f to connect for work and entertainment, but it is and never will be a replacement for f2f communication. I, for one, would rather be down at the pub having a beer with someone than trying to channel myself through an IM window.

But even given electronic communication’s inherent limitations, it still sucks. Sucks bad. IM networks are fragmented, email and blogs are fragmented- though serving subtly different purposes and appealing to different writing styles, we’re forced to track conversations across mediums**, without much help from our tools (not even good search!).

I think Eran summed it up well in this photo, when he said:


I couldn’t have said it better myself.

* IANAB, but if I were I would call this performance art. (But, like I said, I’m not, so I didn’t and I won’t.)

** You wouldn’t believe how tough that was once Eran and I had all the windows open- I’d IM him on AIM, he’d reply on Skype. Sound familiar?

Posting to WordPress from NetNewsWire

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Earlier this evening, I found an Applescript to post links to my account from NNW here.

I like it, because it gets me one step closer to ditching Safari in favor of NNW (I have nothing against Safari, nor do I love NNW, but I really enjoy having he integrated feed reader and browser).

The things that keep me attached to Safari are:

  1. I really like being able to hit Cmd-# and launch a bookmark from the bookmark bar. I use this mostly for launching bookmarklets. I have bookmarklets for posting to, posting to this blog, doing a Technorati cosmos search, doing a Google related pages search, etc. In order for me to switch, I need to have the ability to do script these same tasks (the command shortcuts would just be wonderful).
  2. NNW is still a bit rough around the edges. This is mostly because I’m using the beta versions of NNW 2. I’m sure this will get better.
  3. NNW doesn’t have auto-complete and history
  4. There is no reason 4

So, in attempting to make this happen, I tried this evening to replace my WordPress bookmarklet (which I use in Javascript) with an Applescript one in NNW. I got everything except for a way to find the excerpt from the page. For various reasons I’m not sure how to do this (having the feed reader and browser complicates this). I’m open to suggestions. Here’s what I’ve got:

--adapted from:

set blogUrl to ""

tell application "NetNewsWire"
	set i to index of selected tab + 1
	set allurls to URLs of tabs
	set myurl to item i of allurls
	set alltitles to titles of tabs
	set temptitle to item i of alltitles
end tell
set mytitle to encode_text(temptitle, true, true)
tell application "NetNewsWire"
	--set toopen to "" & myurl & "&title=" & mytitle
	set excerpt to ""
	set toopen to blogUrl & "wp-admin/bookmarklet.php?text=" & excerpt & "&popupurl=" & myurl & "&popuptitle=" & mytitle
	open URL in new tab with toopen
end tell

--this function taken from:
on encode_text(this_text, encode_URL_A, encode_URL_B)
	set the standard_characters to "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789"
	set the URL_A_chars to "$+!'/?;&@=#%>< {}[]\"~`^\\|*"
	set the URL_B_chars to ".-_:<>"
	set the acceptable_characters to the standard_characters
	if encode_URL_A is false then set the acceptable_characters to the acceptable_characters & the URL_A_chars
	if encode_URL_B is false then set the acceptable_characters to the acceptable_characters & the URL_B_chars
	set the encoded_text to ""
	repeat with this_char in this_text
		if this_char is in the acceptable_characters then
			set the encoded_text to (the encoded_text & this_char)
			set the encoded_text to (the encoded_text & encode_char(this_char)) as string
		end if
	end repeat
	return the encoded_text
end encode_text

on encode_char(this_char)
	set the ASCII_num to (the ASCII number this_char)
	set the hex_list to {"0", "1", "2", "3", "4", "5", "6", "7", "8", "9", "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", "F"}
	set x to item ((ASCII_num div 16) + 1) of the hex_list
	set y to item ((ASCII_num mod 16) + 1) of the hex_list
	return ("%" & x & y) as string
end encode_char

Bluetooth virtual keyboard.

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

Via Scoble, I just found this.

It’s a review for a new device that projects a virtual keyboard onto any flat surface. And it connects to devices by Bluetooth.

OMG! This is way too cool. Of course, I’d now love to see Apple build a Tablet with one of these doo-hickies build in (and a stand build in). That way you can just be using your Tablet, then set it down on a desk and start typing away on the desk.

Unfortunately, this device is quite expensive, but I imagine the price will start dropping quickly once its been on the market and once it has competition.

PressThink: The Importance of Being Permanent

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

Over at PressThink, a guest-written article entitled The Importance of Being Permanent is very good.

I think this is one of the biggest failings in many online newspapers- they’re not permanent and as this article says, that makes them less valuable. Just remember cool uris never change.

As a sidenote, this reminds me of a gripe I have with the otherwise wonderful WordPress. You’ll notice that the URIs for my blog posts contain the date the piece was posted. If I edit the post, the new publish date is used, not the original. This breaks the idea of permalinks.

Maybe I’ll ask the Matt about this this afternoon at the unoffical WordPress meetup.

IT Conversations: Andy Ihnatko – Tales from the Crypt

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

I’m listening to an ITConversations talk from the O’Reilly Mac OSX Conference and he’s hitting on something I’m very interested in. He says that the next stage in the evolution of the iPod should be Bluetooth and I couldn’t agree more.

Bluetooth is very useful as a cable replacement. I use it to connect to my cell phone and sync my address book. This very handy, but would definitely doable with a cable instead.

What’s really cool- with a cool app called Salling Clicker, I can script different bluetooth events and use it as a peripheral for my computer. I can have it do certain things when I leave the proximity of my computer (like pause iTunes and log out). I can also set it up to pause iTunes when my cell phone rings. This ranks as a 10 on the Jobs Scale (like the Richter scale, but measures coolness).

Now, what I really want is a bluetooth iPod and a bluetooth car stereo. Imagine the possibilities.