Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coming out: I love e-mail!

There are times when you realise you're not quite as socially connected as Scott Beale, and there are times when... no, wait, I will never be as socially connected as Scott Beale. But I can still identify with him when he says "I hate social network messaging systems." The messaging systems, mind. So, interesting to see he's come up with a manual autoresponder (same link, but I love the oxymoron) to redirect people to his e-mail to get in touch with him.

Some people seem to enjoy proclaiming the death of e-mail. Personally, it's probably still my favourite channel - maybe that's the nostalgia juice kicking in ("Geez, is it internet twilight time already? I ain't even 30 yet."), but with age and legacy, it's also kept alive the spirit of the Hack.

Not in a phlegmy way, or a journalistic way, or indeed some nose-curling combination. I mean, one: e-mail is decentralised - register a domain, set up your own server, or buy up an ISP, use your client to connect. No relying-on-some-free-wheeling-company to throw interpersonal messages in on top of their service - either pay for it, or DIY.

two is that it's an endpoint. Things go to an e-mail address like your first-born son heading into a cave to fight a dragon. You don't expect anything to come back, but it'd be nice. And despite inherent biases in character sets, generally the more basic the e-mail is, the more chance it has of getting through. There's a lovely filtering process going on there, especially when combined with modern information overload - stick to the basics, and you might make it. All you need is a tin pot for a helmet, and a stick for a sword!

three: I can play with it once it gets here. For me, playing takes the form of a giant procmail script and a gamut of Perl weapons. Does it always work? No, not after a few whiskies and an upside-down vim cheatsheet. Is it fun? Well, what else is the Internet for?

Are there better ways of storing and looking after our conversations? Definitely. I know GMail has upped the ante a bit, but there's always a trade-off for server-side solutions, including web-based ones - in this case, my procmail scripts. Getting a good e-mail client is harrrrd - Tristan heading off to find a falling star has nothing in comparison. Searching and threading are good yay. I'm surprised I haven't seen GMail-style conversation threading in a client though (is it patented?) Still, I'm sure a whole bunch more could be done - intelligent handling of crappy quoting, for instance? (Curse you, mailing-list-digests-of-repetition.) Finding a client with decent IMAP integration on top is like discovering the perfect noodle.

But I'm looking forward to being able to use e-mail in 10 years' time as all these younger whippersnappers ("Oi, get out of our way, e-grandad!") realise they're there to fill a very temporary niche...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Zippy Economy, x.0-style.

This blog is worth exactly £0.00.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

exmosis.net 3.0

Exmosis.net has had something of a zen makeover - the old site is now archived, and will still be maintained if I get any random thoughts (fat chance?). Generally, it's now just more "personal", less "chaotic", and with more integration with my other stuffs on the internets. Entropy is fun for a while...

CSS seems to work relatively well in IE6 (except for some not-too-disturbing bullet points down to ignorance of ">" selectors). Maybe the KISS approach works for MS browsers (and thus my sanity) too. I'm looking forward to the day that browser development and cognitive psychology merge into one mecha-psycho-browse-experience.

This is the third incarnation of exmosis.net. I seem to have a lot of old stuff lying about (looking in my directory structure is akin to seeing Hell), so thinking about a site gallery. NostalgiaWhizz!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pointy Post, sans grammar.

I know it's a little passe to point these things out, but best (and, perhaps, geekiest). xkcd. like, ever.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Photography: Indulge your Lo-Fi Side

Couple of photography snips...
  1. I decided to do a small bit of writing, and put up an article on using custom tone curves with a Nikon Digital SLR: Put some Punk back in your DSLR. It was most fun spending a few hours wandering around Brighton beach with some ramped-up colour scheme.


  2. News comes via squarefrog that October 20th is World Toy Camera Day. As some probably know, I'm an avid Holga user, an often choose it as my party-accompaniment instead of a bulky SLR. It takes photos for me. So a day to celebrate the glory of all things toy photo sounds like a good idea to do.. something. If you want to know more about such things, head over to toycamera.com, and check out the WTCD flickr group.

    Waiting for a Pick-up

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Control-Z, Dammit. Scribefeed v2.

Ah, forget that last post - Feed Digest does exactly what I want, perfectly, so the Feedburner feed now uses that instead. You can even output the merged feed as HTML, Javascript and WML, plus get an OPML list of the subfeed*. Case closed, booyakarashapa!

* Has anyone else noticed that "OPML" sounds quite like "Opium Hell"?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Testing New Merged Feed

Seeing as Feedshake is being non co-operative, I've been messing with piping Atom feeds all over the place. If you want a shaky way to slurp all my blogs on the right-hand side, try: http://feeds.feedburner.com/inscribed.

Feedshake was nice, until it broke. I tried out FeedMePlz, but it doesn't seem to do an outgoing feed yet. Also trying out Feedbite - see my feed here - but it has random photos popping up on my feed, so maybe it's not doing what I think it is...

Under Google Reader you can make certain tags public. As my own feeds aren't changing much, I set up a new account and added them all under a single tag, then made that tag public and fed the public feed URL into Feedburner. The advantage to FB is I can switch in a different feed if I find something better, so that URL should stay now.

It's a little problematic, mostly due to Google Reader doing some funny things:
  1. Doesn't seem to understand dates from my Flickr feed, so currently all the recent photos are lumped together at the top. Might work itself out over time.

  2. My twitter feed suffers the same problem, so I'll keep an eye on the photos and add twitter if they do sort themselves out.

  3. GR can't seem to find my del.icio.us feed at the moment. I'll see if it works later.

Will see how it goes, whether Feedshake comes back, or if anyone has any better ideas... In the meantime, feel free to try it out.

Global Playground Friendships

Perhaps one of the better news stories: UK no longer USA's love interest? Of course, some of that could be the opposite, due to the dispersal of some of the PNAC crowd and the drop in the $$$: maybe it's just not worth cosying up across the Atlantic any more. The Euro's the new Dollar, and Camp Song Contests are the new Camp David.

Monday, October 01, 2007

"Coop! What happened to Feedshake?!"

Did it get sucked into the hotel wall, or has Feedshake just gone belly-up, support-wise? My feed is broke, and others I've googled for don't seem to work either. Mails to their contact address don't seem to have been answered.

Where's Anne Robinson and Alice Beer when you need them? "This RSS feed could be a potential deathtrap!" Any recommendations for other feed aggregators (e.g. combine 10 feeds into 1 public feed)? Does Feedburner swing that kind of way?

Damn fine coffee, though.