· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · May
· · · · 27 (3 entries)

anne 2.0 · I’ve had Anne Zelenka’s Content’s Divorce from Advertising open in a browser tab for days, thinking about it and trying to find something to expand on or disagree with. Nothing comes to mind, but I’m still thinking. Great-looking site, good writing on lots of lots of other important stuff too. Highly recommended.
Multicast · I’m polishing up Sigrid so I can write about it and (if anyone’s interested) release it; I switched the latest JXTA (2.3.7) in—it lives at the bottom level so that the grid nodes and clients can discover each other—and everything broke, don’t know why. I still think JXTA is the right answer down the road, but on impulse I cracked open Java in a Nutshell and Stevens’ Unix Network Programming, and poked around the online Java tutorials to read about datagrams and multicast. Damn, multicasting through the Java API sure seems easy. That same day I whacked together a couple hundred lines of code to do simple discovery, with aging even (so that you forget about things you haven’t heard from in a while) and tested it on a bunch of computers within easy reach; and it all seemed to Just Work. There are lots of useful-looking knobs on the side to deal with TTL and NIC selection and so, but the defaults seem well-chosen. As long as you’re prepared to deal with the fact that any given message might not get through, and to spend a couple of minutes here, it’s really not very taxing. I’m starting to wonder why you’d need any layers of abstraction at all. Question: Do Python/Ruby/Perl/Javascript have these coolio easy-to-use libraries too? [Update: Jason Briggs shows how to do it in Python (but it takes as much code as Java, that can’t be right.) Kevin Hamilton wrote to point out Spread, which seems to have multi-language support. Arkaitz Bitorika recommends zeroconf.]
Yes, I Can Keep Editing! · I have taken a serious interest in a fairly small number of Wikipedia entries, on subjects where I think I’m pretty expert, and for some time I tried to keep on top of them, nuke others’ edits when they were bogus, fix grammar and spelling problems, trying to achieve what Toyota calls kaizen, or continuous improvement. But I can’t any more. I don’t have time to go check back every day or even every week, and that’s what a conscientious article minder ought to do. I totally need, for each article, a feed I can subscribe to that will summarize changes. Give me that and I can probably stay on top of a handful of articles, because most edits are good. It can’t be that hard; every article already has a “history” page that has the information right there; all you’d have to do would be to create an alternate version wrapped in RSS or Atom tags. So, dear Wikipedians; you want me to invest time and attention in improving the commons? Give me tools. [Hah! And from within the bowels of Wikipedia, a voice emerges, saying: “Ask and you shall receive.” And, it’s valid Atom 1.0; how many more million Atom feeds is that? Put me in the Wikipedia fanboy column.]
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