Archive for September, 2006

Archive for September, 2006

BETA Upgrades Progress

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Since the Blogger-released Widget Code Help and Johan’s Post, progress on BETA conversion has been much easier. Check my BETA Blog and you’ll find that I have most of the old post functionality and look done, with the following exceptions:

  • Feed information (often hidden) in template header. This is because Blogger BETA puts feed information for the whole blog in with the posts (that’s dumb) and basically expects you to have it in the footer of ever post (even dumber). Have yet to find a way around this (besides hard-coding the links).
  • Peek-a-boo comments… uh… Blogger? Little help? Comment data is only accessible on item pages…
  • Date no longer links to archive… that data is gone (and wasn’t terribly useful anyway)
  • I haven’t got it so the colour-changer works yet, but you can’t see that from my blog 😉
  • Minor XHTML breakage because the widget tags generate divs, and divs aren’t legal inside ul tags

Improvements due to BETA:

  • Tags look the same, but are now drawn from the new labels field
  • Peek-a-boo backlinks are no longer a hack
  • Comment author is now properly marked up as an hCard

The sidebar will come next (widitized! although I’ll leave the comments for full XOXO-compliant blogrolls for advanced users), then perhaps some new features (like next/prev links on item pages). Then work will start on comment forms, etc.


IM vs Telephone

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Why is it that while we all love IM systems (geeks especially loving our fair Jabber) we still use telephones? Is it that we like the voice aspect? Well, most IMs have that option. I don’t even like that option. So what is it then?

You don’t ‘turn on’ a telephone.

It’s just on. So if someone is home and you call them, you will reach them. No problem. With IM you have to wait for them to be online… what a pain.

Some systems have tried to overcome this with hardware, the Skype phone being a prime example. This works well as long as people can be made to understand that they must leave their computers on ALL the time for it to work. I can’t help wondering though, could this be similarly overcome directly from text-only IM software?

I think it can, but we will have to change the way many people think about IM. It seems that to many people, IM only works when a person is actively at their computer (which is mostly true at this point), so when someone is set to Away, etc, they do not initiate conversation, or even send a message. But what if the programs tried to ‘call’ a person the way a phone does when it rings? What if Jabber clients (or other IM programs) turned the volume up on your machine and played a really loud sound when someone initiated a chat while you were set to Away? They could then send an auto-message to the person telling them that the person they have started chatting with is away and it is trying to call them 1…2…3…4…up to a configurable number, then, please leave a message (easy to do in Jabber).

We would have to retrain ourselves to leave the computer on and signed in during all waking hours (or all hours period for Google Talk where offline messaging still doesn’t work). We would have to retrain ourselves to try talking to people set to away, we would have to be willing to ‘run to the computer’ when it ‘rang’ just as we do with our phone. We wouldn’t have the conveniance of cordless like we do for phones (not at first anyway), but we would save ourselves so much time and effort… and maybe finally kill ‘real’ telephony.