The worst thing about vacation...

Is of course, coming back. We just got back from a short trip down to Stone Mountain, Georgia for a family re-union centered about my grandmother's 90th birthday celebrations. It was great spending time with the small family. When we gather together for a re-union, it almost feels like a big family. The kids loved the Stone Mountain train, the cable-car up to the top, and jumping from rock to rock all the way down. I wasn't expecting much from "redneck Rushmore" but the Marriot resort there is very nice as is the rest of the park. I might actually go back there someday.

Anyhow, upon my return I find that my blog has been down all day (due to a misconfiguration on my part) and, as usual, one of my office computers is freaking out. When I leave town, I power down the computers in my office (a Sun box, a low-end Linux box, and a Windows machine. No matter what, everytime I return, one computer won't start up correctly. This time it is the Windows box. The symptom: on start-up it boots Redhat Linux and I didn't even know I had Redhat on that box. Oh well.

In other news... I was supposed to finish Blogs, Wikis, and Feeds chapters 14 and 15 this weekend (you can probably guess how that went). Back to work...

Roller bookmark bookmarklet

Lars Trieloff has created a very nice bookmarklet that makes it easy to add bookmarks to Roller's bookmark manager. I've tried it and works. It and captures both the URL of the page you are currently on, as well as the newsfeed URL (if the page includes the autodiscovery tags). Read more here: Roller bookmark bookmarklet

Atom misconceptions

Dare Obasanjo posted some criticism of the Atom Format and Protocol today, based on Ben Hammersley's talk at E-Tech. I'm not at the conference; I picked up on them from James Robertson, who also shares a rather cynical view of Atom. Dare's a smart guy and I really wish he was participating in the Atom Format and Protocol discussions, but he dropped out and seems to have lost touch with Atom. Even a dumb guy like me can see that. So, I'll try to correct some of his (and James') misconceptions about Atom.

Dare Obasanjo: During the break, Marc Canter and I talked about the fact that both the Atom syndication format and Atom publishing protocol are simply not rich enough to support existing blogging tools let alone future advances in blogging technologies. For example, in MSN Spaces we already have data types such as music lists and photo albums which don't fit in the traditional blog entry syndication paradigm that Atom is based upon. More importantly it is unclear how one would even extend to do this in an acceptable way.

I'm not sure I understand what the specific problem is here, but if there is a problem then that problem is shared by all of the nine ten incompatible forms of RSS as well. They all use essentially the same model and offer the same mechanisms for extensibility (allowing the addition of new elements at feed or entry level). Atom is not supposed to be a new invention, it is a rigorously specified standardization of existing technologies -- carefully designed to ensure inter-op.

Dare Obasanjo: Similar issues exist with the API. The API already has less functionality existing APIs such as the MetaWeblog API. It is unclear how one would perform the basic act of querying one's blog for a list of categories to populate the drop down list used by a rich client which is a commonly used feature by such tools.

Atom's support for categories is unclear, of course, because that section of the specification has not been written yet. When Atom Protocol is complete, it will offer more, not less, functionality than the MetaWeblog API. Contrast that with the MetaWeblog API, where the spec is "complete" yet categories are still unclear.

James Robertson: Sounds like events moved past the Atom API while it was being put together. Podcasting walked right past it. Their idea seems to be that you should just slap Base64 encoded content into the feed - uh huh - I sure want to download a 10MB screencast (more like 15 after being encoded, but never mind) each time I look at the feed. Looks like the Atom API is worth ignoring as something to actually use...

No, that is not the Atom Protocol solution for Podcasting. To reference a Podcast from an Atom entry, you'd use the Atom Link element.

Come on back guys. Read the latest drafts and get back into the process. We need you and we all need Atom.

Joint syndication-publishing session at JavaOne 2005

Congratulations! You have been chosen to speak at the upcoming 2005 JavaOne(sm) Conference in San Francisco, California, June 27-30, 2005. Your submission entitled' Beyond Blogging: Feed Syndication and Publishing with Java ' has been accepted by the JavaOne Conference Program Committee.

The session proposal that Alejandro Abdelur, Kevin Burton, Patrick Chanezon, and I put together has been accepted for JavaOne 2005.

Tonight: Raleigh/Cary Bloggers Meetup

Josh Staiger: Join us tomorrow (Tuesday March 15) for the third weekly Raleigh/Cary Bloggers meetup.

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

Optionally RSVP at the Raleigh/Cary Bloggers Meetup page.

Amongst other things we will talk about this week is the frequency of future meetups.

See notes on our last meetup.

Hope to see you there!


A device for keeping your eyeglasses from sliding down your nose. Hmm... where have I seen that before?

Why a wiki blogging chatbot?

For Chapter 15 of Blogs, Wikis, and Feeds In Action I'm combining my Relay-IRC Chatengine, the JSPWiki rendering engine, and the BlogClient library together to create a wiki blogging chatbot, but why? Why would anybody want to use wiki syntax (or any other syntax) to blog from an IRC chatroom? Are chatbots just pure geek-fun or is there an actual business case for them? Anybody using chatbots, or more specifically blog-chatbots for in a business application?'s updated Atom Protocol support

I'm supposed to be wrapping up Blogs, Wikis, and Feeds In Action, Chapter 14 (Blog Your Build Process) today, but instead I've been experimenting with's updated support for the Atom Protocol (via Robert Sarye). Looks like they have changed at least a couple of things since the last time I tried it:

  • WSSE authentication is gone, replaced by BASIC HTTP authentication over HTTPS
  • Individual entries are now returned as <entry> documents rather than a <feed> wrapping an entry

I haven't updated Roller or BlogClient's Atom support to match. I think I'll wait until the Atom Protocol list arrives at consensus on collection handling.

AIM Terms of Service

AIM Terms of Service: "Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses. "
So, basically, don't say anything on AIM that you would not like to see displayed on the jumbotron or (perhaps, someday) re-enacted on Time Warner's new AIM-dialog based reality TV show.

Netbeans 4: Wow... absolutely smashing

Joseph B. Ottinger: So far... "Wow" and "Well, it's okay."

I found the installation to be a breeze, which isn't too much of a surprise. It found the various JVMs on my machine, including 1.5, which was good, I suppose.

It looks absolutely smashing. (That's good.) The development pane is easy to understand at first glance, also good (although note that I'm not a rank newbie to Netbeans, so my prior experience may factor in here.) It's pretty fast, too, which is good to see. Maybe this will help shut up the SWT hordes.

Lately, I've been working on making the switch to Netbeans 4.X (I'm using both 4.0 and 4.1-beta). My expectations were pretty low due to my past experience with Netbeans 3.X, but Netbeans 4.X is great. It's a whole new IDE, the Ant integration is awesome, and 4.1 adds the refactoring I need to make the switch. Plus, it's fast. I have to agree with Charles Ditzel, the tables have turned and now both Netbeans (and IDEA) seem to be faster and more responsive than Eclipse.

Unfortunately, my Eclipse addiction is still not entirely under control. The one area that needs work in both IDEA and Netbeans is the source-code control integration, I still have to fire up Eclipse when I need to synchronize with the CVS repository. I feel like I'm flying blind without Team Synchronization view.

DataDirect blogs

I just noticed, DataDirect (based here in Raleigh) has blogs -- ok, just one, but it's a start.

re: Why RSS?

Bora Zivkovic: When I went and checked out the latest Blog Reader Survey responses , one thing that caught my eye is how few people use RSS (and presumably other feeds) to check on blogs. And I think that is wonderful. People have their bookmarks and blogrolls and they surf and browse and go from one blog to the next though the link to another and yet another blog "by hand" and who knows where they'll end up. That is how I do it and I love it. If you check the updates on your aggregator of choice, all you get are the same opinions by the same people you liked three years ago.
Bora: that's crazy. I would never have read your blog entry if not for my newsreader and your Atom newsfeed. There is simply no way that I can follow the blogs I want to follow without a newsreader. I still surf around occasionally, but mostly just to find interesting new newsfeeds (like yours).


You know what I like about my Sun Java Workstation W2100z?

Full rebuild of Roller: 15 seconds
Tomcat/Roller start-up: 6 seconds

Raleigh/Cary Blogger Meet-up, Tuesday March 15, 2003

Josh has the details on the last meet-up. We're going to do it again next week, same bat time same bat channel.

Time: 6:30PM
Date: Tuesday March 15, 2005
Location: Cafe Cyclo, Cameron Village, Raleigh

Integrated Planet Roller ready for testing

I've been working like mad to wrap up the Planet Roller UI and finally, it's ready for testing. I'm so confident in the code, that I even deployed it (and latest CVS Roller 1.1-dev) to this site. You can see the new aggregated main page in action here:

Main page -

RSS 2.0 feed -

As you can see, there is now a Technorati rankings bar that complements the Hot Blogs list, since Hot Blogs only works for the on-site blogs. I included a bunch of Roller-related blogs in the aggregator. If you blog about Roller and you'd like to be included in (or excluded from) the aggregator, let me know.

Update: some Planet Roller usage/testing notes are on the wiki (with screenshots).

Right on Chapel Hill!

My hometown makes me proud and activist bloggers played a part From the News and Observer:

CHAPEL HILL -- They swooped in by the busload to the town they said was filled with "dead churches" that "disregard the Bible," hoping to win over some sinners.

"I came here because I love Chapel Hill," said the Rev. Ron Wood, pastor of Celebration Assembly of God on Weaver Dairy Road and a member of the anti-gay-rights group Called 2 Action.

"I'm an ordained minister, too," he added, referring to several speakers at the Town Council meeting Monday who identified themselves as clergy members. "But I'm not one who believes I have the right to disregard the word of God."

Their message was rejected by the majority of Chapel Hillians who met them at Town Hall with signs, T-shirts and buttons proclaiming their support for gay rights.

IBM blogging with Roller

I'm not sure how many of the reported 2,800 internal blogs at IBM are running Roller, but it's pretty clear that the blog in the screenshot is a Roller based blog. I've heard from multiple sources that they're running a forked version of Roller (looks to me like circa 0.9.7). It's time to upgrade to 1.0 guys and join the fun on the Roller dev-list. We'd love to see your mods.

Raleigh/Cary Blogger Meet-up

Josh has the details. I'll be there. I hope Josh, Grace, David and others will be there too. Come join us at 6:30PM at Cafe Cyclo, Cameron Village in Raleigh, NC.

RSS and Atom books due out in 2005

Danny Ayers lists some of the RSS and Atom related books coming out this year. Don't forget Blogs, Wikis, and Feeds In Action, which is due out in July.

Return of The Art of .war

Patrick Peak's been off writing Hibernate Quickly for Manning, but now he's back with a slick new Roller theme. He's written a nice couple of posts attempting to debunk some of the Ruby hysteria that's been infecting Java bloggers of late.

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