Way to go WP

I saw the announcements for the full release of WordPress 2.7 early, but didn’t get to check it out until a few minutes ago. The update kills some bugs, but also totally AJAXes the admin screen, adding a lot of flexibility and control, and updates the whole experience. I’m really excited with it so far. Check out the video that got me grabbing at my nearest shell session to get the update installed. If you have been blogging for a while with WP, you need this update. It’s the slickest 5-minute upgrade in WP’s fine history!

Shot in the foot

The IT shortage is going to hit very hard.

Once we’ve farmed everything out and can’t seem to get it back together, and use local talent, once nobody goes into the fields of study required, what’s going to happen?

I’m starting to see a lot of IT workers getting really burned out and leaving the field. These are guys(and women) who studied computer science, worked through the trenches of field technician hell, suffered the slings and arrows of first tier support, rode the wave of the dot-com boom, and crawled through the muck of the aftermath of the bust.

We worked at so many places, getting servers to do interesting things, take over tons of manual work, solved interesting problems, developed and implemented “best practices”…

Talking with a lot of cohorts lately, I keep hearing the refrain of the same song, one that says that it’s not understood by business even after all the educating, it’s thankless, the hours and demands are endless, you are always on-call, always coming to the rescue, the money never gets better, there’s never enough help, and there isn’t much of a career path anymore.

I’m seriously hoping that these are not steady trends. I’ve seen all of this in working in many places, but it’s scary to think that it’s so widespread.

–so the drama–

I got the girls into a drama camp at a community theater near my parents’ house over last week. My sister’s daughter and my older brother’s daughter were able to attend camp as well, which was really awesome. The camp was over one week, with two full performances on this past Saturday. The production of Robin Hood was really funny, and it was amazing to see how much all the kids had learned and prepared over the course of five days! I am trying to convert some of the video I took at the show into a youtube-friendly format, and even into a format I can use to create either a VCD or a full DVD for the parents/grandparents to keep. The camera I borrowed saved the clips as ASF files, which I can view just fine in Totem or Xine, but the cd/dvd authoring apps I’ve tried don’t see them as a “video source”. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them… (Sherri! help!)

two-dot-oh poetry

This is my first stab at web2.0 poetry, as a followup to the High ASCII post.

> dude, u there? che's 4me.
< y u say? ura n00b! > 1, che friended, drops invites.
< invites... sure. brb. > 2, alwys acc, no spam reply.
< still in bud zone there, n00b. > 3, phone: vm rb, no dnd nvr perma-hold.
< that's btr. ne w/w, follows, links? > Well, always avail/acc count?
I lightboxed and meta'd.

hrm. it’s a stab at any rate.

high ascii poetry

Just a little blast from the past here. Some of you were around back in the Hayes Volksmodem and BBS days, and will remember this as well as I do.

FYI – a “wahka” is the decidedly “proper” (by popular vote) name for
the characters “>” and “< ". This is in spite of INFOCUS readers of Denver who still refer to them as "Norkies". The Michigan crowd apparently has corrupted the spelling to "waka". To wit, it is - ------------------------------------------------------------ "...a poem we think is about the lowly wahka. Maybe. Well, perhaps---we're really not sure what the poem actually is about. Here it goes:" <>!*”#


Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret at back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat tick dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka number four,
Ampersand right-paren dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket tilde tilde CRASH.

original Leitner page
Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese

I have been thinking back on this recently and was thinking that some new possibilities are possible nowadays with widespread PC usage, the internet, and all of our new web lingo. I’ll be posting a couple of attempts soon. If any of you want to take a whack, feel free to share.

Social Network Outages, oh my!

We were talking earlier today on Pownce about a lot of the micro-blogging and social “heartbeat” networking sites having periods of downtime lately.

It’s probably just some growing pains as more people start to use them. And since they are all more of a “pulse” setup, they are using the networks differently than a page of information at a time.

I think it was Friday, Twitter was unresponsive, then yesterday, Pownce and then the early morning hours, the same thing happened with Jaiku. They all seem to working just fine now.

Does anyone remember a recent outage at Mahalo Follow? Anyone? Beuller?

There are a lot of different social networks out there, and I’m starting to see a lot of splintering. I hope that we start to see some integration tools soon to help us stay connected and also to not have a deluge of information. Everyone has their own personal limit for information dump, and these networks can certainly cause a flood. I’m supposing that with some open API’s, we would start to see a lot of cross-network functionality. updating your “status” in one place will update that status in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc etc at once, and people who are following you or on your friend list in more than one place would only get a single alert or, optionally, none at all. I’d like to see options for some of this integration, but not necessarily a snowballing effect on social networking as a whole. It’s important that the users are able to separate and maintain “public” and “private” identity as well.

A good example would be to never automatically update linkedin from anything added at facebook or myspace. At least until companies stop cyberstalking, and hire people based on their skills and experience. This might take another few years, and two or three more Petite Anglaise stories, but I definitely hope it comes soon. Not that I have anything to hide: I link everything together. I just know a lot of people who have the need to hide their personal lives from their employers, and I find that incomprehensible.

Then there’s another whole ball of wax when you start to think of integrating dating sites.

I found an article at LLRX that gives an intro to social networking sites and tiny bit of history, just in case you are one of my “less-than-technical” readers.

Devil’s in the Details

I have noticed a lot of the “easter eggs” in the Pixar films, but if I were looking for all of the obscure self-references in Pixar films, I’d likely need a guide like this one. Some of them are so obscure, only the makers would know them, but they do add some reference points, as well as a congruent detail to the landscape of the movies. I also bet that it’s rather an easy task for the animators, as they would already have the art and sprites for the recurring images, like the Pizza Planet truck. “Yo!”

Sometimes it makes more sense if you ignore a specific detail, like the name of a disease. I can see why Huckabee is standing by past statements. The whole argument is getting taken out of context. If you think about what was known at the time, the statement wasn’t really so awful. It’s standard procedure if there is an outbreak of something and little or no research. If you replace the word AIDS in that story with “Zano-Bilrag-XJ285I” and read it again, you’ll see.

Sometimes the details can inspire change. Jack Black is hitting the gym after seeing his own bare behind on the B-I-G screen. There’s nothing quite as inspiring to keep you at the gym like the prospect of being partially nude in front of people from time to time. I’m sure it wasn’t a big deal, but they did kind of trick him. Just imagine after seeing Jack’s reaction what the reaction is of other people, like supermodels, tv news reporters, and porn stars with the advent and mass distribution of High Definition TV’s!

Social Bookmarks Hurricane

I was explaining the concept of blogs to someone today, and before I had asked enough questions, I found myself diving into the area of social bookmarks.

Those of us who use them all the time or are heavy internet users from way back don’t really stop to think of things like this from the point of view of one of the new kids on the ‘net.

First, we will need to define a few things. It should come together easily after some background information:

Bookmarks in your internet browser are just an indexed collection of places you have been online that you have at some point told it to remember, so that you can find that one site or page again. Internet users at one point would pride themselves on a well-organized bookmarks scheme that put everything at their fingertips easily. (yes, the internet existed before “google” became a verb). If you have never poked as much as a toe from “the Microsoft Way”, you would likely refer to these as “favorites”.

Browser features were a hot topic back at the early risings of the browser wars, which led to the highly similar look and feel that most browsers have. Most internet browsers as of the “Verson 4” era, and some even before that, had nifty and highly underused export functions for bookmarks and other info. These were originally put there by developers to make it easier for you to make backups or to move to another computer. During the aforementioned wars, the browsers started writing these backup files for bookmarks in HTML (and then XML) format. This was a huge development because Bob had a really awesome link collection that was easy to navigate and had all the good sites for researching the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All he had to do was hit “export bookmarks” and “viola!,” It created a file that he could give to me on 5.25″ floppy, or by cc:Mail. When I got the file, I had the option of importing it the old way, or even just opening it with one of my browsers. If I chose the latter, I got a nicely indented, formatted page of clickable links, including the helpful notes he had made about each link.

Fast forward a hundred years. Or, in non-infotech terms, six or seven years. Today’s users have bandwidth to burn, the power of Google in their right holster, and the twitchiest mouse fingers this side of the Pecos. Sharing links is simple, because it’s a built-in feature of everything.

People find it easy to shoot a link over to their friends by email or by IM. During the dawn of web 2.0 (which you don’t really hear that much anymore, oddly), some sites hit the public by storm whose primary function was to keep a live page of links (bookmarks) relevant to the people who visit the site. Shortly after, they added message board functionality to the site. This allowed you as a member of TheBobSite to see the latest link, as well as an ongoing discussion between the other people visiting the site, and also to post your reactions and feelings regarding the link.

The killer part was when the live voting came into play. Next to the links now, there is a vote counter, allowing you as a user to vote “yay or nay” on the relevancy or value of the link at hand. The more people like a link, the closer to the top it goes. As new links become more popular, they churn their way to the top.

I hope this didn’t meander too much. Here are a few “favorites” to click if you are still confused. Sometimes seeing it makes it all come together.

These aren’t in any particular order and are far, far, far from being an exhaustive list.