Archive for December 2008
@stop Funny, that just happened to me last week but on a post written only an hour earlier. Yours is worse though. Or better. Hmmm.
@joshu If you don’t find a python one, feel free to jack the JS-based one we put in sIFR, if you don’t mind porting it.
Wow. If you click the red “close window” button in CS4 for Mac, the entire application quits, a la Windows. How appalling, Adobe.
@stop Ah, I was there last year. Now is when you stop in your tracks, bite the bullet, and move over to WP or EE. It’s quick and worth it.

What Should Go in a Default RSS Feed?

So after four or five years of not redesigning this site, I’m finally working up the energy to rearrange the furniture a little. Part of the motivation comes from realizing how much more I like the general design of my construction blog and the other part comes from the admission that a lot of the things I want to update my site with regularly are not articles about web design and development, and in some cases, not articles at all.

The first question to answer in this redesign is: what are the discrete types of content I will be posting once the redesign is complete. So far, this is what I’ve come up with –

  1. Web design and development articles
  2. Other articles
  3. Product Recommendations
  4. Random links of interest, a la what’s in my sidebar right now
  5. Newsvine seeds linking to interesting news stories I’ve read lately
  6. Photos
  7. Videos
  8. Links to latest entries on A House By The Park
  9. Latest Twitter posts

The items are more or less in order of what I think people would be interested in. The first three would be full text posts and the rest would be in some sort of compact form, either inline with the rest of the posts or more likely in a sidebar.

So far so good. I’m pretty confident I can pull all of that off with not too much work. The problem, however, is how that all manifests in an RSS feed. WordPress has a great feature where you can mix and match categories into different RSS feeds — which I fully plan to do — but what goes in the default feed? That is the $64,000 question. With somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 subscribers, I don’t want to piss anybody off by shoving a lot more updates in there to relatively meaningless things like Twitter entries. As a reader, I prefer to subscribe to RSS feeds that update once or twice a week max and if one of my favorite blogs shoved the whole kitchen sink into their feed suddenly, I might unsubscribe.

On the other hand, however, I’ve had plenty of people say things to me like “I used to always read your blog… back when you updated it!” — clearly implying that 2 or 3 updates a month isn’t cutting it.

Mike Industries Poll

What should go in the default existing Mike Industries RSS Feed?


So the first question to answer is “what should go in the default feed?” If you’re a current Mike Industries RSS subscriber, please vote in the poll to the right.

The second question is not really something I need votes on, but perhaps should be discussed in the comments below: when offering custom RSS feeds, is the best practice to create them by opting out of categories or opting in? Here are the two ways you can custom feeds in WordPress –

http://www.example.com/feed?cat=1,2,3

(Returns a feed with items from categories 1, 2, and 3)

or

http://www.example.com/feed?cat=-4,-5,-6

(Returns a feed with all items except from categories 4, 5, and 6)

The user interface for creating each style of feed can still be identical (a bunch of checkboxes), but the nature of the subscription is subtly different. Let’s say you’re subscribed to the first feed and I add a 7th category. Say category 7 is links to a third blog that is created at some time in the future. If you’re subscribed to the first feed, you won’t get the new stuff. If you’re subscribed to the second feed, however, you will, because you haven’t specifically excluded category 7. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. If you have any insight into this or any other related issue, I would love to hear your comments below.

The Straight Dope: How do martial artists break boards?

Sounds easy. I may have to try it.

Dirty snow is just as ugly as fresh snow is pretty.

HTTP Client for OS X

Great for debugging HTTP requests and responses.

@spiffie True. I actually like Fast Money though, for the entertainment value. Pretty funny characters. Ratigan reminds me of Jon Stewart.
This is the sort of thing that gives CNBC a bad name: A Fast Money “expert” just claimed that Google Docs came out today. How about 2007?
Shared
Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away:

A great essay about how toxic everyday distractions can be.

Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.