Monday, June 30, 2008

On another blog, I come out of the closet.
Gotta admit, this new Blogger blogroll sorted by freshness of update and showing the latest post headline is rather cool.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hat tip App. Engine Guy ... an App. Engine book.
I made an update to Mind Traffic Control today which should speed it up a little ... it's working for me in my queue ... but if anyone sees any error messages ... scream.

Oh, also, your deferred list in the overview should be sorted.

Friday, June 27, 2008

And, of course, I'm not forgetting about Chris Dent's TiddlyWeb either .... though it's harder to track progress without a blog, eh, Chris? :-)

Update: Doh! Chris reminds me there's a Tiddlyweb Twitterfeed
Meanwhile, as if goaded into action : a new WikidBase release.
Wow! Manuel Simoni is on fire! with BuckyBase development :

- Import into Google Spreadsheet

- Google Gadgets Visualization

- RDF triples (ah well ... if it makes him happy)

- and is this a TreeGrid???

This is seriously exciting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What is Flying Logic?
Amused by Galaxiki

Could there be an interstar mashup?
Here's something else that looks pretty cool. BuckyBase is a data-wiki where pages are like free-form records (dictionaries of key / value pairs) that can also be can be shown grouped into tabular form.

It's fairly simple at the moment (another just-launched GAE experiment), but I can't help thinking that in my "enterprisey" day-job I work with nothing but data which is structured like this : records that are less than normalized, sometimes viewed as separate pages, sometimes squashed into grids. Give it the ability to add a few extra-constraints, some kind of blank form definitions; hook it up to Google Visualization and let it embed Gadgets; add some more sophisticated querying ... and you've got the heart of a small-business data-base application : Filemaker-as-a-service.

And if Google can ensure that Application Engine really is fast, powerful and secure enough to host serious applications, then it looks very promising as the new standard substrate for a whole ecology of this kind of wiki-derived tool.
Processing. In Javascript. In Tiddlywiki.

Now, that, I am impressed by.

That is a whole new world. Gadjets written in Processing?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google's whole Gadget thing is becoming increasingly impressive. Look at the dynamic widgets which can hook up to and pull data out of online spreadsheets. You can also embed Gadgets in online spreadsheets etc.

Making your Gadget collaborative is pretty straightforward too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A while ago on Platform Wars I wrote :
99% of the world's "semi-structured" data is not in Microformats but in tables in spreadsheets.

Wildly inaccurate estimate I'm sure. But I'll bet it dwarfs XML formats including RSS. So where's the Yahoo Pipes for CSV and spreadsheet data? The mashing, pivot-tabling, cartesian joining of live grids?

Yahoo Pipes does have a CSV reader ... but I'd like to see more. Particularly pivoting and SQL-like selects, projects and joins.
Anyone not worked out how to use #tags in Mind Traffic Control?

All you do is write your tag words with a # as in #work or #food and these items get tagged. Once you have tagged items in your current queue, a select box appears at the right of the "next action" box, allowing you to filter next actions by a tag.

Once you select a filter, only items with the selected tag will be shown. To see all queued items again, simply remove the filter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm eavesdropping on a fascinating email exchange between Chris Dent (of Blue Oxen and Socialtext fame) now working on TiddlyWeb and Frank McIngvale who's project is WikklyText.

I haven't had time to take it all in yet. But it looks like Chris has got TiddlyWeb working on the Google App. Engine. And Frank has got a stand-alone TiddlyWiki markup language working.

The main idea of TiddlyWeb continues Chris's focus (since Blue Oxen days with EEKim, I'd guess) on sub-page level elements on wiki. Remember Blue Oxen's thing was Purple Numbers, individual paragraph Ids. Here, he's using "Tiddlers", the individually named, sub-page elements that TiddlyWiki would show or hide, and assembling them in a new, looser collections called "bags".

From what I understand so far, having named tiddlers rather than arbitrary purple numbers is definitely a move in the right direction. (In the sense that it makes the small pieces human-addressable as well as machine-addressable.) In fact each item is addressed by a combination of Tiddler name + bag name (where bag is more a kind of policy or query)

There's long discussion going on right now about URIs (which seem to become almost queries or operations on the bags) to access the tiddlers in a ReSTful way that I'm still absorbing.

Anyway, they're definitely "banging the rocks together" in wiki and breaking pages up into a finer granularity. And, after Twitter's discovery of the virtues of 140 character status updates, now generalized to a theory of micro-blogging, the world is definitely ready for a wiki micro-chunking experiment. Who knows where it will lead?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I use Subversion source-control (I have one web-hosted repository, one on my pendrive, and I just started using Google Code.)

But I'm tempted by distibuted source-management. The arbitrary decision as to whether I host a project online or on my pen-drive is ... well ... arbitrary, and sometimes needs to be revised. Distributed would be better. And I'm increasingly tempted by Bazaar (bzr).

The other thing that attracts : it's in Python and easily incorporated into an existing python program. I haven't given up on the whole SdiDesk / wiki-like notebook / developing in wiki thing. Perhaps there'll be a bazaar-as-PageStore one of these days.

Meanwhile ... watching the proliferation of repositories (I'd like to check out Folknology's GitHub hosted Reactores) I'm starting to think there's a need for an access-standard. Some kind of lowest common denominator ways of checking out checking in and merging codebases from all these repositories.

Anyone know of anything like this?
Ouch! Major down for Mind Traffic Control today.

Must be something to do with the fix I posted this morning which I thought was pretty harmless (and worked for me at that moment, honest!)

Anyway, I'm not in front of a machine where I can work on it, this second. But I'll roll back to the previous the moment I am. Probably in an hour or two.
I fixed a subtlish bug in Mind Traffic Control today.

I was trying to pull the email address out of user objects using ... however it seemed that you might be able to have users who don't have an email address and for who fails or returns None. Not common, I guess because user id's are based on Google accounts (which is mainly Gmail accounts I'd assume.)

Anyway I've now wrapped all attempts to get in a try. But next question, what should I do instead? When I find a user without an email, what should I use to identify him or her?
Ohloh is a YASN for free-software writers?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tim Burks talks about his language Nu (seems to be kind of Ruby-like behaviour with a Lisplike appearance (lack of syntax?)

Good references to Brad Cox's Planning the Software Industrial Revolution.

Cool. Didn't know this stuff before.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dan Bricklin :
Socialtext is announcing today that they are adding integrated spreadsheet capability to their enterprise-level wiki, making use of the new SocialCalc code I've been developing with them. This isn't just a repository of separate spreadsheets, nor a separate standalone system like wikiCalc, but rather a full wiki where a page can be either the traditional paragraphs of text or a spreadsheet grid.

Cool ... now, if they could just *also* add network diagramming as another page-type that would really be getting somewhere. (Not, of course, that the grid pages in SdiDesk really achieved "spreadsheet" status ... but that was always a long term hope.)

Ah ... well ...

Actually, there may be some SdiDesk news soon ... you never know.

Update : Bricklin has longer background piece.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mind Traffic Control is ruthelessly useful. Indeed, it kind of strips out everything else *execept* usefulness.

Which is why, if you're thinking of trying it out, here's a hint. Don't try by putting in some random fake items like "test 1", "test 2" etc.

All they do is sit there and remind you to do them. You can't fiddle around organizing and prioritizing them, dragging and dropping or attaching little icons to them etc. (Which is the point.) So MTC looks inert.

In fact it *is* inert, because you don't really need it. MTC does nothing, because you want nothing from it. You don't really have a task of doing "test 1" or "try out mind traffic control" so the computer can't help.

It's as if Mind Traffic Control magically knows when it's being useful and when you don't really care.

So, to get the real MTC experience, put some real tasks in. Just 3 or 4 of the things you actually have to do over the next couple of days, and leave it open in a browser-tab on your machine.

Then MTC feels wanted. And the magic kicks in. ;-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Aza Raskin dreams of easier Firefox extensions.

Let's hope that he's working on it.

Also, interesting to compare Steve Yegge on the Firefox vs. Emacs war.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Loads of nice stuff going on in Squeakland.

Showing Seaside demos to a colleague this week made me wonder whether I need to dive back in. It's been a long time (15 years) since I wrote any Smalltalk. And what with Python, Erlang, GeekWeaver + some C, PHP, Javascript; and Cache ObjectScript (don't ask!) in day-job, do I have room for Squeak?

But PyPy Goes Squeak looks fascinating.

As does this conference.

Monday, June 02, 2008