Thursday, September 11, 2008

Testing an old BBC iplayer embedding trick

Does this still work as a trick for embedding iplayer content that isn't supposed to be embeddable? (Hacking the iPlayer embedded media player)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gaming the World

So Google have bought SketchUp, a 3D CAD/drawing pages that works with Google Earth.

Seems like the basis for a wealth of educational/simulation games to me...

I wonder when the Sims will be roaming Google Earth's streets?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Search across computers

Google's starting to scare me...

For example, their new desktop client has this service

>Search Across Computers New!
>To search documents and web history from your other computers, enter your
>Google Account information. An error message on the Desktop homepage will
>let you know if you accidently entered an incorrect username or password.
>(see more details about Search Across Computers)
>You can also choose to:
> * Name this computer: This name will be displayed in the search
>results of your other computers that have enabled Search Across Computers
>with the same Google Account.
> * My other computers can search this computer's:
> o Documents and web history
> o Documents only
> o Web history only
> * Clear my files from Google: In order to share your indexed files
>between your computers, we first copy this content to Google Desktop
>servers located at Google. This is necessary, for example, if one of your
>computers is turned off or otherwise offline when new or updated items
>are indexed on another of your machines. We store this data temporarily
>on Google Desktop servers and automatically delete older flies, and your
>data is never accessible by anyone doing a Google search. You can learn
>more by reading the Google Desktop privacy policy.
> While your data is automatically deleted from our servers, you can
>use the Clear my Files from Google button to manually remove all your
>files from Google Desktop servers. Note that if these files haven’t yet
>been copied to your other computers, clicking this button will prevent
>you from finding them when you search from your other computers. The
>files will, of course, still be searchable from their computer of origin.

This is all starting to look a bit like 'Google wants to organize the
world's information *by having a copy of it all*'! (as sort of predicted

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Neat Blogging Extension for Firefox: Performancing

Yet another of those really short posts to try out a new blogposting extension for Firefox called Performancing.

In operation, it adds this sort of panel:

/>to the lower half of a Firefox window.
You can set up the extension (very easily indeed) to access a Blogger account, as well as several other major blogging engines.

Choosing which blog to post to is simply a matter of selecting the appropriate blog from the list of blogs you have told the extension about.

The text editing panel offers a basic set of formatting tools, and a spell checker addition is also under testing.

So here goes - will this be published as easy as anything...? ;-)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tooltip Links

Earlier today, I read this post on Linking to stuff in your posts which describes a situation familiar to many bloggers and blog readers:

Sometimes when I write a blog post I’d like to refer to a list of links but I can only hyperlink under one word, so what most people do is this:

eg. A lot of people have talked about this, and I have mentioned it here, and, here

I think this is a bit awkward, the proper way is to list all the titles of the posts, but sometimes you can’t just do that in the middle of a post, it may ruin the flow.

So what if (I think I may rename this blog what if…) you could choose the word to put a link under and then when someone clicks on that link an ajax box pops-up listing all the title’s of the links.

Like this perhaps:

and demoed here?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Chat Mail

Every four or five months I clear out my email Mailbox, vowing as I do so that I will put some of the recommendations made in Mark Hurst's Managing Incoming Email management report and not let things get so bad ever again. (My email count last week was about 1600 messages, down to 18 today.)

Here are some nuggets:

The correct way to measure e-mail load is by the message count, or the number of e-mails currently sitting in the inbox. While message volume shows how much more e-mail users have to manage than yesterday, message count shows the total number of e-mails that are currently loading the user. A user who gets 100 messages a day may not be overloaded at all, if their message count is low; conversely, a user who gets ten e-mails a day may indeed be overloaded.

From this, the key recommendation to managing email follows straightforwardly:

Keep the inbox empty. In other words, clear out incoming e-mails before they pile up too high in the inbox. Delete most of them, file some of them (in mail folders or elsewhere), but most importantly, get them all out of the inbox before they really begin to pile up. Keep the inbox empty.

One thing I know from my own bitter experience is that I use all sorts of reasons to justify why I keep my Mailbox cluttered. These are succintly summarised in a section on The Misused Mailbox:

People often use the inbox for several purposes it was never intended for:
  • To-do list. Users often keep action items and other “to-dos” in the inbox. This is perhaps the most common misuse.

  • Filing system. Meeting notes, project status messages, attachments containing proposals and other important documents stay in the inbox, instead of going to a proper project folder.

  • Calendar. Dates and times for meetings, conference calls, or other events pile up in the inbox.

  • Bookmarks list. E-mails are kept that contain pointers to websites and other applications. Usernames and passwords may be in these messages as well.

  • Address book. Messages containing phone numbers and postal addresses of contacts may stay in the inbox instead of being entered into an actual address book.

There is another reason I'm aware of that contributes to my email overload, and that's not always deleting messages I reply to, or deleting throwaway messages I have sent. (You know the sort of thing - one liners saying 'thanks for that', or 'coffee?' - things that should be consigned to instant messaging - only I don't use IM, and neither do a lot fo people I know).

So this is where chat mail comes in. Chat mail is mail that is purely throwaway and conversational. To handle chat mail I would like a couple of new buttons in my email (Gmail?) client:

1) 'Reply and Delete' - if I take this option, I generate a reply to the current message, and when I send that reply the message I am replying to gets deleted.

2) 'Send and Delete' - when I take this option, send the current message and then delete it from my mailbox.



I've already mentioned Suprglu in a couple of posts (here and here, in fact), but it also came to mind when I recently revisited this exchange across the Library Clips and Data Mining blogs on managing conversations across blogs.

One of the key problems I think is that each blog post should be able to stand as a post in its own right, yet also contribute to a conversation ionvolving one or more other blogs. [In case this ramble needs to refer back to this, let's say each blog post can act as a freestanding conversational node.]

The cross-referral between blog posts/conversational nodes can be managed through formal Trackbacks, or informally through comments ("I blogged about something similar *here*"...).

But are there any other ways? I've been thinking about email a lot, lately (and hope to post something exciting(?!) on this topic on my other blog in the next couple of days) and wondered whether a cc: convention would work...

CC:? exactly? Well, consider Suprglu - it aggregates posts from a variety of feeds in date order to produce a derivative blog. Now, if we want to be able to read through a 'blogversation' , it's a pain following Trackback links. The Library Clips suggestion of a Conversation Exchange provides for a centralised collection of pings relating to a particular conversation, and I suppose (though I don't think it's mentioned) that this list could then provide a river of posts in a single feed reader.

My take is very similar to this, though it tries to develop a different metaphor. How about if we send a copy of our blog post to a derivative blog? (I know the scope for spam is horrendous...) That is, when I make a post in part as a contribution to a conversation, I cc: a copy of the post to the blog posts I am conversing with...or more likely, I cc: a copy of my post to a derivative blog where all the posts in the conversation can be viewed in one place.

To get the original post at the start of the derivative blog, the original author would add a cc:Blog link that, when it is polled the first time, creates a new derived blog, sends a copy of the post to a new derived blog as the first entry, and returns a unique ID for that conversation. The erson cc:Blogging the post then sends a copy of their post to the derivative blog.

The cc:Blog link on this second post, if polled, will return the ID of the derivative blog/conversation the post is contributing to...

To view the whole conversation, a reader simply has to visit the derived blog page.

Hmmm - much easier probably to set up a Coversation Exchange and provide an easy way for people access the OPML feed and read all the posts in a conversation in a single page...


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rollyo Portable? PageLinks Search

Just after I made the SearchLinks post last night, it struck me that another possibly useful tool would be a federated search over all the sites linked to from a given page: Rollyo Portable, if you like (after the Rollyo services which allosws you to create personalised, aggregated searches via Yahoo).

How would this work? Quite straightforwardly, I imagine:
  1. It would use toolbar searchbox, or text field added to the page somehow, and
  2. a server-side script, to
  3. search a page for anchor (<a>) tags, then
  4. extract the href link information (domains and directory path information),
  5. and use them in multiple calls to Google, say, using the Google Search API and the site: switch set to each linked to domain in turn,
  6. aggregate the results, and then
  7. return them to the user.
Each page could then have it's own customised Rollyo search equivalent. So, a possibly useful feature for a Rollyo toolbar, perhaps?

NB I'm not convinced that Rollyo does all it could. In particular, I think it only searches on a domain, which means I can't use it to search my OUseful blog, which actually lives down quite a long path...


Just a quick, quick post about something I'm doodling with - SearchLinks.

The basic idea is to be able to hover over a link and then perform a Google search using your own search terms over that domain.

The first rush is v ropey/brittle, but can be made to work if you're gentle with it. If you want to try it out, it's here at the moment...

In the roadmap is: 1) generalise the scripts to extract href info;2) improve usability; 3) Greasemonkey it; 4) get it on the Google Toolbar ;-)

PS I just stumbeled across this not totally dissimilar idea - page contextualised search from Yahoo, referred to as Y!Q Search