Stephen's Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Programmer/Web Geek working in the defense industry

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Google Indexing

Google's indexing of this site at it's new location has been interesting. For a while, only the main page was indexed. Now it seems like only the next level deeper is indexed (you can see the indexed files by searching for '*' in the Google search bar on the side of the page). Since that gets this blog page indexed, I'm pretty happy. Hopefully in a couple of weeks Google will index the blog archives and my actual writings.

Speaking of Google, as an active Blogger user, I got into the Gmail beta. I don't really have a need for another web-based e-mail address, but it does have some nice features. Most of the focus of news reports on Gmail have been the 1 GB of storage for free. But the neat stuff is searchable mail, mentioned frequently in the privacy-complaint news pieces on Gmail :), and categorizable mail (you can label pieces of mail for easier finding, as well as 'star' important e-mails). To me, though, the really cool feature is the fact that it attempts to display your e-mails grouped as conversations, rather than just a series of individual e-mails. I find that feature very neat, and hope to see it in traditional e-mail clients for my standard e-mail account.

Beyond that, now that I'm really doing web application programming at work, I find the interface to be pretty interesting. I'm sure that will get tweaked as time goes by, so I look forward to checking up on it every once in while. If you want to help me play with it, you can e-mail stephen.duncan@gmail.com. (I guess that putting it up here will check it's spam filtering capabilities...)

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Home, Sweet Home

I want.

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Monday, April 19, 2004

Windows 98 vs. Linux

I reformatted and reinstalled Windows 98 on my little brother's computer, as I had no legal copies of anything to provide, and he connects to the internet via a Netgear Phone Adapter (PA101), which I wasn't able to find any Linux support for, a didn't want the hassle of figuring out anything difficult.

Unfortunately, Windows didn't have the display adapter, and I couldn't find the driver online for the life of me. So, I found the restore disk, which didn't seem to give me any way to restore just the drivers, so I reinstalled again from the restore disk this time. It installed a whole bunch of crap I had to uninstall again, but at least it worked.

Lesson learned: for the most part, Linux is a much easier install than Windows 98. I'd also consider it an upgrade in terms of usability and desktop environment. I'd not say the same thing comparing Linux to Windows XP, but it's certainly getting there.

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Dentistry

Went to the dentist today. Last time I went was the winter of 1999. Oops. Only two cavities, so, all things considered, that's not too bad, though I've never had a cavity before. Joy.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hindsight is Crap

An alternative history regarding the Bush administration, terrorism and Sept. 11th, 2001 (or the lack thereof).

As pointed out by CuteCuddlyKitten of xForums: "If Neville Chamberlain had declared war on Germany before Poland he'd be remembered as the guy who started WWII."

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Ideas on Syndication

Interesting read.

On the one hand, this article focuses on structure that is customized. On the other hand, I see some utility in doing things like consuming one's e-mail via an RSS-type feeder. It's not a coindidence that RSS feeders are also called aggregators. That's another thing they provide other than handling more structure files: a good way to get a condensed version of everything you're interested in all in one place.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Atom Problems - Resolved?

So, I gave all my posts real titles (titles in the Atom feed had been the first 20 characters of a post). Not sure if that's what did it, but Blog Lines now recognizes my blog just fine. The RSS portlet panel extension has bugs that someone has posted fixes for. The My Yahoo RSS portlet never claimed to support Atom feeds anyhow.

The strange thing is that the feed still doesn't validate. So I'll check on that. Maybe look for another site that attempts to validate an Atom feed. But I guess my problems are mostly resolved, for now.

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

Atom Issues

So, first I discover that Blogger supports Atom feeds (rather than RSS). Cool. Most readers support it, or so they say. However, I'm having trouble with various readers I want to use. SharpReader works fine, but I'm not always on Windows, and I don't really want another program. The Mozilla extension I mentioned earlier, however, only partially works. The My Yahoo RSS portlet doesn't seem to recognize it all. Nor does Bloglines, which I'd like to use for more extensive feed tracking.

As I'm trying to check into this problem, I found an Atom validator. My site doesn't validate. But the error message isn't very useful.

So, I'm a bit lost. I've got two hypotheses at the moment: the server's not sending the right MIME-type (I'll check with Ryan later), or the fact that my blog entries don't have titles is a problem. That one I'll check on now, I guess...

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Archive Done

Ok, so the Archive is done now too. I've deleted some old posts (just stupid ones with results from random internet quizzes: too much table hell to fix). You'd be surprised how much trouble ampersands in URL's can be when trying to validate your blog entries. All done now.

With all the trouble I've gone through to get this Blogger template working, I think I'll at least stick with it until Moveable Type releases their 3.0 version.

Until then, please send me feedback about the site via e-mail. I intend to do some work on the CSS for the blog, as well as work on some better alternate stylesheets in the future. Remember to use a more advanced browser (i.e. not IE) to get the intended view and full features of my site. :)

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Blog Fixed

Well, if you've visited before, you'll notice that my Blog is now integrated with the rest of my website. It's also valid XHTML (well, at least as valid as the rest of the site; Some disagree). Obviously, if I switch to a system allowing comments, maintaining validity will be harder...

The Archive still has to be done (it's using the old template, and I have to go over old posts to classify links, and to make sure no bad html is in them. But, for now, it's off to bed...

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Bookmarks

Another nice thing Yahoo provides is a place to store all your bookmarks. By itself, that's not that useful. But they have the Yahoo Companion Toolbar, which integrates into Internet Explorer . There's also some work to provide a version of this for Mozilla and Firefox. It's still a bit buggy, but it looks promising for those who want the Yahoo Companion in Mozilla or Firefox.

The nice thing about this is that you can load the toolbar on multiple computers, and have shared bookmarks between all your computers. However, it requires adding a toolbar to your browser, cluttering it up, plus it bypasses your browser's normal bookmark tools. Well, if you use Firefox (or possibly other Mozilla-based browsers), and you have some FTP space, you can get the Bookmark Synchronizer. One more way extensions in Firefox are improving the way we can browse the web.

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RSS

I've been using Yahoo's "My Yahoo" portal as my front page for a while. Chris Snapp, who I work with, is big on using Yahoo for all his e-mail, contacts, and bookmarks. As he's been exploring more of Yahoo's features, he's pointed them out to me.

So, this weekend I started to expand My Yahoo page. I set up multiple pages instead of just a front page, and explored the Portlets they have available. One that is in Beta now is an RSS portlet. Now, I'd seen this RSS stuff all around, but hadn't really found a use for it. I mean, I didn't want a separate program just to avoid checking on pages that hadn't updated yet. But with a way to have it on a webpage (which also helps make it portable between all my computers), I'm digging it now. I also like that Yahoo's example RSS feed url is for Slashdot. This discovery of RSS also led to get the RSS Reader Panel extension for Mozilla Firefox. One thing that makes Firefox such a useful browser (I'll expound on this more later...)

Anyhow, this RSS stuff, in addition to wanting to have comments available on my blog (in hopes of feeding my ego), is really pushing me now to look for a Blog replacement. Hopefully I'll get on that soon...

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Friday, April 02, 2004

Geek-Funny

For geek humor at it's best, read this comment from this article. It's the funniest thing I've read in weeks.

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