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Blogs, Wikis and Feeds in Action: status

Status is: almost complete. I'm wrapping up the last of the new writing and getting ready to revise the chapter on feed parsing to include some things I learned writing the blog apps. We're still waiting on Atom Protocol. Competing books have already gone to print without Atom Protocol, so that will be a good differentiator for us. We've also decided to make some last minute changes in the book. I'll sum them up for you.

First, the biggest change: the title. We found that "Blogs, Wikis and Feeds" is a little confusing and leads folks to believe that the book is about using blogs, wikis and feeds when in reality the book is about developing applications using RSS, Atom and other blog technologies. The leading candidate for the new title is "RSS and Atom in Action" subtitled "building applications with blog technologies."

Next, some chopping. We're going to cut two chapters: the log to your blog with Log4X chapter, which was to show how to use Java/Log4J and/or C#/Log4N to log to a blog, and the BlogClient chapter which was going to show how to build a simple BlogClient GUI with C# and/or Java. I'm happy with this decision becuase the Log4X chapter just wasn't compelling, plus it's dead-simple to implement. And, the BlogClient chapter wasn't that interesting either, considering that there are already plenty of blog clients out there (and I've already posted the code for mine).

And finally, the bookends: new chapters at the beginning and end of the book. We're introducing a Chapter Zero to lead folks into the book, introduce the pre-requisites and the organization of the book. A new end-chapter will cover all of the cool ideas and applications that we couldn't fit in as complete blog apps.

Raleigh Blog Meetup, Today Cafe Cyclo

Join us tomorrow (Tuesday, May 3rd) for the first
Raleigh/Cary Bloggers meetup of the month.

What: An open meeting to talk about blogging, 
      podcasting & whatever's on your mind
When: Tues @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cafe Cyclo, in Cameron Village

2020 Cameron St
Raleigh, NC 27605 (map)
(919) 829-3773

Who: Bloggers & people who want to blog (Podcasters welcome!)

Hope to see you there!
Via Josh

Advertisers: don't break the feeds!

Bob Wyman: "If we are to have advertising in RSS and Atom feeds, advertisers must provide those ads in such a way that they don't break the existing blogging and syndication infrastructure. In particular, once an ad is inserted into a feed, it must not be changed unless the content in which it is embedded is also changed. "

Podshow

Transmitters? Well, it turns out we do need some stinkin' transmitters. NY Times reports that "podfather" Adam Curry is to host a radio show about Podcasts.


Welcome to May

Time to test the power of positive thinking: this is the month that Atom Protocol settles down and becomes stable enough for me to finish up the book.


Tiger for Tiger

Java 2 Platform Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0 Release 1 for Tiger

I want it, but when can we ditch JDK 1.4 support in Roller?


AdSense in newsfeeds

Adrian Sutton: Issues With Ads In RSS: "So now there’s adsense for RSS feeds (or at least an early beta of such). It raises some interesting issues. I hate ads so I’ll quite happily unsubscribe from any feed that has ads in it, but what about the various planets that I subscribe to? What if one person who’s syndicated through those planets adds advertising to their RSS feeds, would I unsubscribe from the whole planet? Possibly. What if a few people did? Probably.

What is a fair policy for planet administrators to take on this? Is it okay for them to remove the ads from the feeds so as not to annoy their readers? Should they drop feeds that contain ads? Should they offer two feeds, one that includes the people with ads and one that doesn’t?"

That's a good point. What is a planet adminstrator to do when the blogs he aggregates start including advertisements in the body of their feeds? The PlanetRoller sites I've set up show only short excerpts of each blog entry and HTML is stripped, so this should not be a problem. When the ads start showing up as separate entries, then I'll be looking for ways to filter them out.

Blogs just the tip of the iceberg

Dare Obasanjo: What I find very interesting is using RSS is the data access format for the Web. RSS gained popularity as a way to syndicate blog posts and news sites but its turned out to be a lot more versatile than that. Sites like Feedster and Amazon's OpenSearch technology show you can use RSS as a mechanism for providing search results and integrating search engines respectively. Podcasting shows you can use RSS to syndicate digital media content instead of just plain old text or HTML. With Amazon's syndicated feeds one can keep abreast of when new CDs, books and more are released.
As Pat likes to say: blogs are just the tip of the syndication iceberg.

Rise of the blog

Nice overview of business blogging by NC blogger Ed Cone in CIO Insight.


Switch from Mail.app to Thunderbird

What's the downside of switching to Thunderbird on Mac OS X? Am I going to miss out on some "to die for" feature in Tiger's new Mail.app? I sure would like to be using the same mail client on all four platforms in the house.

Scott McNealy with the blogs.sun.com team

Nice photo! And a nice comment from Scoble too ;-)

Whoa! and an even better picture from Pat.


Amoral entities

Dare Obasanjo: Corporations should not be amoral entities that only exist to generate money. They employ members of a community, they exist as part of community and their actions affect both local and global communities.

Java: Free as in FSF

Weiqi Gao posted an informative and insightful article about the recent GCC 4.0.0 release, which features a much improved version of the GCJ Java compiler and GNU classpath, a free as in FSF implementation of the Java class libraries. I don't agree with his predictions, but he's done his homework and put together bunch interesting links.


Test post with Ecto

I've used Ecto before with Roller (I bought a license), so I was a little surprised that Tim found a problem with it. He said that it was able to post, but it issues an error message RPC handler object "mt" not found, which indicates that perhaps Tim's Ecto is configured for Movable Type instead of plain old MetaWeblog API access.

Let's see if I can edit a post in place.

I'll post this now and then open it for editing... back in a sec.

Yep, that worked. However, something odd happened. When I opened up the post, my <p> tags were stripped out. I had to add them back in by hand. Hmmm.... an Ecto bug? But the re-post did work, in fact, when I clicked the Publish button Ecto popped up a dialog that asked "Old or New? This entry has been posted before. Should I submit a modification or create a new entry?"

Update: I was able to get Ecto to stop stripping my <p> tags by setting the "Convert line breaks in rich text mode" option.

Try Roller 1.1, it's easy!

To make it easier for folks to try Roller 1.1 and the new experimental Planet aggregator, I've created a standalone Roller demo by bundling Roller with JSPWiki, Tomcat, and the tiny pure-Java HSQLDB database. Everything is preconfigured and ready to run. All you need to do to try Roller is the following:

1. Download roller-demo-1.1.tar.gz from Java.Net (a 22MB download)

2. Unzip the file into a directory on your hard-drive 
   (directory name should have no spaces)

3. Ensure that the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set to point to your JDK

4. Ensure that CATALINA_HOME is NOT set in your environment

5. To start Roller, either:
   - on Windows: open the Roller bin directory and double-click on startup.bat 
   - on UNIX: cd to the Roller bin directory, chmod +x on all files, run ./startup.sh

6. Point your browser at http://localhost:8080/roller

7. Login as nina/nina, admin/admin, or register as a new user

8. Get rollin'

Roller 1.1 has been released

Read all about it on the Roller project blog: http://rollerweblogger.org.

I'll have a new build of the standalone demo version of Roller ready today so you can check out the Planet Roller aggregator (which is not included in the standard build).


Safari upgrade for Panther

Dave Hyatt: Safari 1.3 supports HTML editing, both at the Objective-C WebKit API level and using contenteditable and designMode in a Web page.

And you don't even need to upgrade to Tiger to get it. Cool. I hope that means the RTE Editor will now work in Safari. Update: nope, RTE still does not work on Safari.

Overcoming fiefdoms

I just heard from one of the many blog advocates within SAS Institute about an interesting webcast called Overcoming "The Fiefdom Syndrome" scheduled for Tuesday April 19 at 11AM ET. From the looks of it, the presentation focuses on data management, but overcoming corporate fiefdoms sounds to me like a job for blogs and wikis.


Advice for those seeking capital

VentureBlog: it is best not to clip your fingernails while pitching your company

I knew there was a reason I subscribed to VentureBlog.

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