Yahoo Pipes: RSS/Atom feed re-mixer

I can't get to (due to heavy web traffic I assume) so I haven't had a chance to check it out myself, but Pipes sounds pretty amazing. According to Yahoo's Jeremy Zawodny:

Pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line.

Jeremy also posted a list of the blogs that are covering Pipes and every one that I read is a rave review. Tim O'Reilly calls it a "milestone in the history of the internet." Apparently, I'm not the only one who wants to put feed creation, aggregation and filtering tools in the hands of ordinary folks and not just developers ;-) Everybody seems to think this is a great idea and Yahoo appears to have executed it very well, so it will be interesting to see how well it works and how it is put to use.

Niall Kennedy and Anil Dash both posted a screen-shots of the Pipes UI, here's one from Niall's blog:

Screenshot of Yahoo Pipes

Cool stuff.

A possibly related side-note: ROME co-founder Alejandro Abdelnur now works for Yahoo. 

Despotism at

And I mean that in the nicest way possible, i.e. the Codehaus way.

Bob McWhirter: Ultimately all open-source survives and grows based upon goodwill. Tending to the community is required, else you risk alienating your own users. I aim to use my experiences from a variety of open-source projects and communities to make sure the JBoss community is one of which I’m proud to be a member.

Congrats Bob. Sounds like a great new job. This mean you'll be coming to Raleigh more often?

More Lotus Connections screenshots w/Roller

IBM's Rob Yates blogged about Lotus Connections the other day and posted some screen-shots of the Roller-based blogging component.  The UI looks different but you can tell it's Roller under the covers. Notice that they've switched out the Xinha editor with the Dojo equivalent.

Eco theme

Aaron Cohen is looking for feedback on a simple and clean new Roller theme known as Eco.

Update: Linda says Eco is not really a "Roller theme" as it relies on some .Sun Engineering ad-server components to serve up the rotating eco-fact. She's got some instructions for BSC users interested in the theme on her blog.

Akismet works

Since I upgraded this site to Roller 3.2-dev, with pluggable comment validators and Akismet support, not a single spam has gotten through the system. Over the weekend I saw 20-30 email messages like this:

This comment failed validation for these reasons:

* Akismet service ( says comment is spam
* Trackback from site/page that does not link to your weblog entry

Brisa wrote: [Trackback] nothing here 

That's music to my ears. Die spammers die!

Voting for Roller graduation

The Roller team voted last week for graduation to top-level project status. The next step is to call for a vote on the Apache Incubator mailing list. I'm hopeful that the nearly two year journey that started when Danese Cooper sent me off to ApacheCon US 2004 in Vegas is nearly over. So far, life at Apache has been great for Roller and it can only get better with graduation. Wish us luck...

Windows security

Usually I find a couple of contradictory stories every time I read the feeds. Here's a pair from today's session. First via John Gruber.

Bll Gates in Newsweek: Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine.

And next, via  John Robb, I found:

Spencer Kelly, BBC: We set up a poor Windows XP machine with no firewall or anti-virus software. Connecting it to the internet would be like throwing it into a lion pen with raw meat strapped to its hard drive. How long would it be before we were hit by something nasty on the net? Hours, minutes? As it turned out - eight seconds!

Of course Bill may have been talking about Vista, even though he did not qualify. Maybe Vista is better, but I wouldn't count on it. Initial reports don't sound so good (Vista users: keep your speakers and microphones turned off).

Raible wants to know: what's it like to work at Sun?

Matt Raible has been talking to folks at Sun (including me) about working for Sun. Now he's using his blog as part of the interview process. He asks:

For those folks out there that have worked for Sun - what's it like? Is it a good place to work these days? Would you recommend it for a passionate open source developer like myself that likes to make contractor rates and take lots of vacation?

I've already talked to him and told him what I think. We didn't talk about vacation, which is a disappointing two weeks for a new employee, but other than that I think Sun is a great place to work for a passionate open source developer. If you work at Sun or worked at Sun, leave a comment on Matt's blog or send him an email and tell him about your Sun experience. 

IBM Roller development update and iBatis vs. JPA

Elias posted some good news about some upcoming IBM contributions to Roller. We're discussing how best to get them into Roller now.

Note that we now have two possible replacements for our old Hibernate back-end. We've got a Java Persistence Architecture (JPA) based back-end developed by Sun's Craig Russell and Mitesh Meswani and IBM is getting ready to contribute an iBatis based back-end. How do we choose which one to use in Roller? Consensus seems to be that we'll have a bake-off. We'll compare the programming models, test performance and discuss the pros and cons -- and let the best framework win.

Pixyblog is a photoblogging site, powered by Roller. Looks slick.

Update: Raible blogged about Pixyblog too and some Sun-related news about his job search. 

APP interop at E-Tech

James Snell brings news of an Atom Publishing Protocol (APP) interop event to occur in March at the O'Reilly E-Tech conference. I'd love to use that as an excuse to go to to E-Tech, since my current work involves APP in ROME and Roller, but it sounds like I can participate remotely.

So Dad wants a blog...

Over the weekend I convinced my Dad to start a blog and I offered to host it on my site with Roller (of course). We've already started to set the site up. Dad picked up a nice short domain name, I added it to the name servers (Kattare is my ISP) and I added support for the new domains to my Apache/Tomcat setup there.

Now I have to to figure out how to host multiple domains with Roller. That's a topic that has come up before.

A while back LinPro Norway developed a multi-site capability for Roller. I called it multi-domain at the time, but now I think that was wrong. As I understand it, multi-site allows one Roller database to serve multiple Roller sites. Each site having it's own Server Admin settings and serving one or more domains. Mutli-site requires significant changes because the each table must have an additional field that indicate which site it belongs to. Unfortunately, the patches were too extensive for us to incorporate into Roller.

What I'm doing now is multi-domain, which appears to be much easier. I'm not sure multi-site and multi-domain are accepted terminology, so I'll explain. I want one Roller database to serve multiple domains, but with all domains sharing the same Server Admin settings. It's definitely going to require some code changes, but with the new 3.0 rendering system, I'm finding that those are pretty easy to do. In fact, I've already got some working code ready to deploy. Once I get it deployed and working, I'll write up a proposal and see if I can get simple multi-domain support into the Roller codebase.

Good news

Lots of good news and stuff to blog this past week including the Sun makes a profit story, the Sun-Intel deal and more. I really like reading news like this Amid Profit, Brighter Days for Sun and this Sun turns profit after five quarters in red.

And how could I fail to mention the announcement of Lotus Connections, the product formerly known as Ventura. Connections is IBM's new Web 2.0 social networking suite and it includes Roller. IBM's James Snell posted some background info about IBM's internal use of social networking tools and how that led to Lotus Connections. Elias Torres blogged about it too and included a screen-shot of the new Connections based BlogCentral (IBM's internal blogging site).

And in other news...

My ApacheCon EU talk on 'Roller and Blogs as a Web Development Platform' was accepted. Looks like I'll have a busy May, Amsterdam for ApacheCon and (hopefully) San Francisco for JavaOne all in the space of two weeks.

Wordpress is finally gonna get Atom format support and apparently Atom protocol support is going to happen too.

The ROME project is just about ready for ROME 1.0 and there's a new subproject in the works: ROME Propono. co-worker Ramesh Mandava and I are putting together a Blog Client library (based on code from Blogapps) and an Atom client/server library (based on code from Roller). Hopefully, we'll have it ready by the time that ROME 1.0 comes out.

Science blogger without a blog

Speaking of science writing and making more science accessible to lay people, check out my Dad's article at Luminous Landscape where he explains Why Is My 50mm Lens Equivalent to 80mm on a 35mm Camera and Why Is There More Depth-of-Field? And check out the comment he received:

Nathan Myhrvold: I think that Charles Johnson’s article on DOF and sensor issues is excellent and will inform the discussion of the relative merits of various sensors and cameras. It covers the basic optical facts very well. However, I think that there are some additional points that can help clarify the issue...

Yes, that Nathan Myhrvold. Apparently, he shares both Dad's love of nature photography and of physics. Dad was pretty happy to see such detailed and well-informed feedback. See what happens when you post interesting writing on-line? Cool things! and you might make an interesting new friend or two. Get a blog Dad.

Science blogging

When I'm under deadline pressure of any sort, I tend to stop blogging. That's the case this week. It's already Thursday and haven't written about the NC Science Blogging conference that I attended in Chapel Hill last weekend. Gotta fix that.

The NC Science Blogging conference was put together by the BlogTogether crew, the same group of Chapel Hill bloggers that organized PodcasterCon last year and BloggerCon the year before - Bora Zivkovic, Anton Zuiker, Brian Russell and others. Again they put together a wonderful un-conference and drew a crowd from up and down the east coast and beyond.

The days started with a Science Blogging 101 session by Bora himself. Next up was Hunt Willard, director of the Duke's Genome Sciences & Policy institute. He's not a blogger but he had good advice for science bloggers and stressed the importance of science writing, engaging the public and making science more accessible to lay people. Brian Russell posted audio of Hunt's entire talk. Popular science blogger Janet Stemwedel was up next. She talked about her personal experiences as a science blogger and also stressed the importance of engaging the public and making science more accessible. Here are her slides (PPT).

In the afternoon, I went to a session on blog illustration, which focused mostly on copyright issues. I was a little surprised to hear no mention of SVG and MathML. The last session I attended was devoted to helping the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC) figure out how to use blogs to engage and educate the public about nano-technologies (they've got an NSF grant to do things like that).

After the talks wrapped up a big crowd headed over to Carolina Brewery and Penang for dinner and I got a chance to hang out with the Chapel Hill blog mafia. That's something I always enjoy, plus I got to meet congressman Brad Miller again. All and all a great day. Thanks to the BlogTogether folks for putting it all together.

Update: I forgot to mention the blogs. If you'd like to read more about the conference, there's a big list of blogs and news stories about the Science Blogging conference on the BlogTogether site. links for Jan. 22, 2007

JRuby on the JavaPosse

Interested in the JRuby project? Then you should check out the JavaPosse podcast interview with JRuby developers Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo. They cover project status, JRuby vs. CRuby, Ruby on Rails on the JVM and their new jobs at Sun.

IBM listened

Don "father of WebSphere" Ferguson left IBM for Microsoft, IBM deleted his developerWorks blog and bloggers started to sound the alarm (see below). IBM listened and quickly restored Don's old blog. And so we've learned another rule of business blogging: when one of your valued employee bloggers leaves the company -- leave their blog in place. Or better yet, do what Sun does and provide a planet-style blog aggregator to keep in touch with your former employees (see

Roller, JSON and Dojo via JMaki

Alexis Moussine-Pouchkine has taken my Generating JSON for your Roller blog post a few steps further down the road. He created a screen-cast to show how easy it is to use Netbeans 5.5 and the JMaki widget wrappers to serve up Roller data in a a Dojo table. Cool stuff. I really need to find the time to take JMaki for a spin.

And BTW, I'm still working on my Dojo table example, which will be similar to what Alexis has done but it will use Dojo directly within a Roller blog -- no IDEs or JSPs required.

Raleigh blogger meetup -Tuesday at Helios, 6:30pm

It's time for the first Raleigh Bloggers meetup of the new year.

About Us. We are a group of bloggers who live in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. We meet twice a month at a local coffee shop just to chat. We have no formal agenda. Sometimes we talk about blogging, sometimes podcasting, sometimes technology, sometimes politics, ... mostly whatever's on our minds. We've been meeting regularly since March of 2005.

Join Us! New faces are always welcome, whether you're a professional blogger, a newbie looking for help starting a blog, or someone who just likes to talk about nerdy things. All you have to do is show up and look for a group of guys with laptops (invariably it's always guys, but women are certainly welcome!).

Meetup details are on the wiki.

Helios Coffee  Helios Coffee
(Helios Coffee. By Raleigh blogger abbyladybug / Dr. Lady Cutie Troublemaker)

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