April 2003 - Jan 2003 Radio Userland blog

This an archive of my blog from Jan 2002 - April 2003, which used Radio, a blogging tool by Userland. Here is a screenshot of the blog.

Friday, April 25, 2003
A nice toolbar for Mozilla contains a collection of tools that web developers might find useful. Nice debugging tolls in case you are having problems with your layout. Created as an experiment in XUL+JX, /pnhtoolbar/ is a good example of the useful extensibility of Mozilla.

10:31:16 AM   Content Management Systems Open Source        
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Lachko has posted a page about the Bulgarian Easter. And yes, we are planning on participating in the midnight egg stroll.

2:53:30 PM &nbspBulgaria News        
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

No entry found for civilisation.

7:45:21 PM          
This description of the charred remains of the National Library and Archives in Bagdhad is touching - such loss for civilization:

There was a request to protect a camel convoy of tea, rice and sugar, signed by Husni Attiya al-Hijazi (recommending Abdul Ghani-Naim and Ahmed Kindi as honest merchants), a request for perfume and advice from Jaber al-Ayashi of the royal court of Sharif Hussein to Baghdad to warn of robbers in the desert. "This is just to give you our advice for which you will be highly rewarded," Ayashi says. "If you don't take our advice, then we have warned you." A touch of Saddam there, I thought. The date was 1912.

7:28:25 PM  Iraq        
OK - I'm too slammed to test this Content Management System out, but so far it looks realy nice. Page templates use CSS from the git-go, there is a nice page layout process, and it looks like it has some sort of form-builder. And spigots too! If Postnuke is like going to your first concert (Cheap Trick) and smoking for the first time, then Textpattern is like having coffee with Nina Simone in heaven. (Wow - a terrible turn of words...sorry about that...)

7:16:07 PM   Content Management Systems        
Saturday, April 19, 2003
CMS testing: Geeklog
Impressions of Geeklog: Geeklog sure is fast! It really makes my Postnuke installation feel really tubby. It's a great CMS for someone who wants an instant portal - it features a nice calendar, 6 skins out of the box, some simple customisation, and clean user interface. If it had better multi-lingual support, I would seriously consider it. They seem to have pretty good docs, so I could probably bake in the multi-linual suppport I am seeking.

11:41:50 AM   Content Management Systems        
Testing Content Management Systems
I am currently testing a few open-source content managment systems. Some requirements:
  • Good developer documentation
  • Multi-lingual support:
    • ability to target a post to different language versions of a site
    • User may select preferred language from home page
  • Simple template editing - does not necessarily need to be forms-based
  • Developer can easily add fields to user database, as well as to article/file submissions
  • html or php files created outside the system can be easily integrated into the CMS's permissions system
  • Flexible permissions system
  • New posts e-mailed to subscribers
  • Database abstraction layer, with ability to work with mysql or others
  • xml-rpc or SOAP interface to CMS internals (or at least suppport for Blogger API)
  • Ability to implement user blogs
  • News aggregator

11:33:46 AM   Content Management Systems        
Bulgarian lesson: the Pastry shop
This morning, I had what must be the best strudel of my life. Fresh out of the oven, melting in my mouth. Simple pleasures. Since I am really embarrassed about my poor Bulgarian language skills, I decided to ask Lachko to tell me how to thank the pastry shop ladies during my next visit. So here it is:

Saturday's strudel was very tasty: ????????? ?????? ???? ????? ??????.
"Subutnyat shtrudel beshe mnogo vkussen"

Try saying that to a $tarBuck$ barista next time you purchase a $5 latte and $3 muffin! By the way, the cost for a pitka (small round loaf of bread), the strudel, and a "??????? ????" (Frenchka Roulo - what we call a sticky bun) was $0.85.

10:39:44 AM   Bulgaria News        
Friday, April 18, 2003
i'm in lower-case today.

have you ever seen this movie? when i was about eight years old, my big brother, who is eight years older than me, was a big fan of the new wave cinema. i could not fathom the topics of those books but i loved the pictures. while checking out jonno's blog, i noticed a link to avventura. something i might be able to rent at the video store around the corner that isn't the latest hollywood action flick, which is the main genre here in bulgaria..i am at times pretty starved for english-language entertainment. i do get hbo here - w/ bulgarian subtitles - and i'll watch "6 feet under" or a movie when i can pull myself from my CNN/BBC news channel addiction. i bought a dvd box set of the x-file's first season, which i really enjoy, and i just found the first two season of "friends" on my ISP's pirate file server. but soon enough, i'll finish the x-files disks, and watching "friends" is an appetiser, not the main course. perhaps i should start another band ;-)

still cold here - 41 degrees. heard the birds chirping up a storm this morning, so it must be spring. but i wish the weather would behave! i travelled back to the States a few weeks ago, and the weather was beautiful in Nashville - daffodils already lining my brother's driveway, bradform pears blooming away (and stinking up the joint).
10:59:26 AM          
Thursday, April 10, 2003
I can't believe I missed the First Annual Sofia International Blog Conference!
My first excuse would be that I was in the States when the event happened. (true) My second excuse would be that I had no idea that it was scheduled to happen (sadly, also true). But the only real reason for missing it is that I've really had my head up my ass, and have not used the miracle of Blogshares or other blog data integration website to seek other bloging-Americans-living-in-Sofia. Until now. So, a big howdy to Rich W and jkrank. Perhaps I should be spending less time at Toba&co and more at Murphy's?
3:23:36 PM   Bulgaria News        
Friday, April 04, 2003
Checking server status with your aggregator
I've been looking for a good way to serve an rss feed of server data. Here is a nice rdf format: RDF Site Summary 1.0 Modules: Service Status
12:53:03 PM   Content Management Systems        
 Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Update: WYSIWYG Editing for Mozilla and Radio Userland using Midas
RUMidas.zip with the correct info.

8:21:49 AM          
 Tuesday, March 11, 2003
How-to: WYSIWYG Editing for Mozilla and Radio Userland using Midas
Composite several times, but it went through a period when it was pretty broken, and I lost interest in it. The Midas project got my attention, and when I read recently that it worked in recent builds of Mozilla, I figured it was time to give it a try. In my implementation, I am transferring the contents of the Midas iframe to and from the server using a hidden textarea and some javascript.  I just posted some files to the gems folder that explain how I got Midas working with Radio Userland. You should use a recent Mozilla build - I'm using 1.3b 20030204. Here are the files:
I wish I knew of an easier way to package them for Radio Userland consumption... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

7:40:31 PM   Content Management Systems        
How to diet poorly
  • Nothing starchy at all. No bread, no cerial, no potatoes, no pizza, no sandwiches: the staple of my (bad) diet.
  • No fruit. No orange juice in the morning.
  • Nothing milk-related. No yoghurt.
  • No beer. No Vodka. No fun.
So, for the past three days I have eaten only the follow:
  • Eggs *scambled* for breakfast. Eggs *mexicana* for lunch
  • Chicken for dinner. Smoked, baked, and/or broiled.
  • A can of tuna fish
  • Water
  • A watery juice called from a native plant called a "Chokeberry" which I found at the healthfood store which is "dietetic." I think it is a fruit (*berry) but since I bought it at a health food store, it's OK.
Unfortunately my productivity has gotten worse and worse. Constant headache. Constant hunger pangs. A strange whiny sound passing from my lips. So, at 6:30 pm tonight I did the logical thing. I put on my coat, walked to the corner market, and bought a Snickers Bar and a loaf of bread. I am in heaven. But tomorrow I'll be in the gym...

6:59:31 PM   Interests        
 Monday, March 10, 2003
Using Midas in Radio Userland: It Works!
Midas Specification
  • Midas example
  • If you are seeing this post, then it works! I'll have a how-to available soon.

    12:17:32 PM   Content Management Systems        
    Testing Midas
    this will work in Radio Userland.

    It seems to deal with editing just fine! WYSIWYG madness...

    12:12:29 PM          
     Sunday, March 09, 2003
    Skinny legs and all: Impressions of NewsMonster
    NewsMonster for a couple of weeks. Since I have been a Radio Userland user for at least a year now for reading news feeds, I had to change some of my habits to get used to NewsMonster. Change is good.
    • I really like having the feeds display its own sidebar - if I am rushed for time, I can easily select the feeds I *need* to read. FM RadioStation  has a similar feature; however, they do it MS Outlook-style, offering a 3-pane view of news feeds, which is pretty darn nice.
    • The java-based aggregator is buggy - sometimes it chokes while it is processing the subscriptions.rdf file, which is the xml list of feeds to which the user is subscribed. This morning it had a problem processing the sitefilters listed in subscriptions.rdf - no big deal (I don't really need them) - I used a text editor and took them out. There probably needs to be a little more validation when news feeds are added to the subscription list.
    • I have to explicitly start the aggregator when I want it to collect the feeds or update the current list. This process should be automatic, upon browser start-up (perhaps configurable in prefs) and per the specs in each site's RSS file.
    • There needs to be a way to post to your blog from NewsMonster.

    I drinking the koolaid - I support what Kevin Burton, developer of Newsmonster is doing - and I've hit the Paypal button on his website to encourage development of NewsMonster. His moves echo some of the things that Dave Winer, progenitor of Radio Userland, did to capture my attention (and to earn some of my money):

    • Discusses issues that I find interesting in his blog
    • Passionate about his work
    • Supports many of the ideas behind the open source movement, while still acknowledging the need to make a living.

    1:37:38 PM   Content Management Systems        
    Initial Impressions of FM RadioStation
    FM RadioStation is a pretty impressive front-end for Radio Userland, which is a blogging newsreader. I am especially impressed that they offer tabs for the Browsing component. And there's a spellchecker for the blogging app! A couple of kinks:
    • Tabs should load in the background.
    • Not all of my categories (17) show in the Publish section

    I'm committed to using Mozilla as my main web platform; therefore, I'm using the standard browser-based Radio Userland for blogging and NewsMonster for reading RSS feeds.

    1:04:41 PM   Content Management Systems        
     Monday, February 10, 2003
    Content Management Systems Open Source        
     Thursday, January 30, 2003
    Gov't IT        
     Monday, January 27, 2003
    Open Spectrum FAQ: Why Open Spectrum Matters: The End of the Broadcast Nation.
    4:29:21 PM   Open Public Networks Wireless        
    Building wireless communities in the UK
    Become a wireless ISP: for £300 discusses using the Locustworld MeshBox to build mesh networks.

    Its simplest form is with a single antenna, which works on WiFi (802.11b) standards anywhere in the world, and provides shared access to the PC, but also looks for other Meshbox installations in the neighbourhood. There's a second option; an additional, long-range antenna, which you can mount on the roof of your house, to pick up signals from other Meshboxes further away - across the village, perhaps.

    What is really neat this that you can combine several broadband feeds (albeit at a 10% increase in wireless load).

    There's a pioneer network at Kingsbridge in Devon, and there are trial sites in Macedonia, India, USA, the Netherlands, and of course, in several UK counties.

    And the software is open source!
    4:19:10 PM   Internet Connectivity Open Public Networks        

     Monday, January 20, 2003
    StupidNet idea.

    Open Access to Networks

    Links relating to Open Access to Networks:
    • Stupidnet in my backyard - "...stupidnets may be woven by do-it-yourself (DYI) networks, be it by innovative local governments, businesses, or tech citizens..."
    • More on the StupidNet - ".. .An example (Personal Telco, a grassroots effort in Portland Oregon, USA) of how the StupidNet may be built...
    • Artlington Wireless: growing the StupidNet - Description of a wireless network in Arlington, Mass., USA "...The issues page lists problems as we progress down the road to the StupidNet..."
    • Open Spectrum FAQ - "...There seems to be no technical reason for the strict regulation of radio spectrum that we currently have..."
    10:57:53 AM   Gov't IT Internet Connectivity Open Public Networks        
     Saturday, January 11, 2003
    And we though Apple would be the first...
    RCA LYRA Audio Video Jukebox *update* Linkrot (404 File not found error) - looks like they are making some architectural changes to their website... perhaps this product is vaporware???
    11:38:07 AM        
    We are becoming robots
    For Those Long Coding Sessions: The Food Patch
    11:32:00 AM  
     Friday, January 10, 2003
    Open Source software in Libraries
    success stories using the Koha Project for library automation (catalogue and more).
    10:11:33 AM   Gov't IT Open Source        
     Wednesday, January 08, 2003
    Municipal websites should offer an RSS feed for employment opportunities
    Jobs as RSS. There is no reason why city/municipal websites can't offer an RSS feed for employment opportunities.
    11:31:33 PM   Gov't IT        
    More xml-rpc goodness
    an xml-rpc request builder that is currently called Konstructor (name change pending). It did a fine job of building the message; unfortunately, it choked on the flood of data from my server. It delivers a biiiiig struct.

    Next I checked out Scott Andrew's xmlrpc-socket-based test script. Again, this implementation bailed, but in a different manner. Hmmmm - is there a problem in what my Cold Fusion-based xml-rpc server is delivering?

    Finally, I gave a nice Java Web Start-based application a spin. Aloha's Inspector relies on system.listMethods to prompt the user with a dropdown of mothods to use. Very nice; unfortunately, I was not using this method. Back to the drawing board. Once I whipped up that method, it worked fine! I really do like where Aloha is going on this Java application. And the source code is available!
    10:52:29 AM   Content Management Systems Open Source        

     Tuesday, January 07, 2003
    How do we make Linux ready for the desktop?
    Linux isn't ready for the desktop yet and seriously consider their suggestions! Perhaps there is a bit too much choice in distro's at the moment - in RedHat 8, you can work in either Gnome or KDE. Hmmmm - which one should I choose? (Gnome is their default environment, and looks really slick. KDE, especially Konquerer, the KDE file browser, seems to be a bit more robust, IMHO.) It is very annoying that XMMS does not play MP3's by default. Trying to play video's is quite a task or trial and error. And Mozilla Mail does not have a spell checker! (But it is very easy to install...)

    I believe that Linux on the Desktop works. It just needs to be properly implemented. Decide what applications your workgroup needs (word processing? e-mail? presentations? drawing?) and test it out on a workstation before implementing it for everyone else. Have clear goals as to what staff really need to be doing on their pc's during their 8-9 hours in the office. The fact that Linux does not handle *all* types of mpeg video may not be such a big deal. I've been using Red Hat 8 for a couple of months now, but perhaps I should re-visit my perennial favorite, Mandrake. a nice, short review of Mandrake 9.
    6:28:58 PM   Gov't IT Open Source        

     Saturday, January 04, 2003
    Content Management Systems Open Source        
    Holiday in Constantinople
    Tensions over Eastern Rite practices and other issues in Bulgaria reminds me of the religious aspect of the trip, visiting Hagia Sofia, which was once the center of the Christian Church, the site where Kings, such as Richard the Lion-Hearted, where crowned.
    3:38:19 PM   Bulgaria News Travels        
     Friday, January 03, 2003
    10:53:08 PM   Internet Connectivity Wireless       

    More: 2002 blog
    Chris E. Kelley,
    Apr 30, 2011, 8:57 AM