Bloglines is old and busted. Gregarius is the new hotness.

May 8th, 2006

I installed Gregarius tonight and successfully set it up to replace Bloglines. The install is public and at ryanwick.net/feeds

A few minor things were more difficult than they probably should have been, and there were (and still are) problems with a couple feeds, but overall it was a smooth transfer. I reordered some feeds and changed things around from my previous setup but didn’t alter the order too much.

I really like how in Gregarius you have to mark specific items or feeds as read, otherwise it leaves them unread. This means that if you glance at something, but then move on to something else, it doesn’t get marked as read (a wonderful Bloglines “feature” that I won’t miss). Also, you can control how many feed items appear on a “page”, so if you don’t want to be hit with 100+ unread items all at once you don’t have to.

There’s a few UI additions or changes I’d make, but I’m not sure how much time I want to devote to tweaking this, as I’m very happy with the default.

Time to move away from Bloglines

May 2nd, 2006

Overall I’ve been fairly happy with Bloglines, but recently I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the service. Between downtime, UI inconsistencies, the fact that you can’t retrieve past the most recent 200 items in feeds (it’s all text – how hard is it to archive?), and that there is no pagination in long unread lists, I think it’s time to look for an alternative.

I need a web-based reader, so Gregarius is at the top of the seemingly short list. It would be nice not to have to setup and manage yet another app, but word is that Gregarius isn’t very fussy.
I may also check out Google’s Reader, but it doesn’t look ready for primetime yet.

Discogs.com – Very cool site.

April 19th, 2006

When looking up music release information or discographies, I relied on a combination of Amazon.com, Allmusic.com, sometimes Wikipedia and record label or store websites. Now I can add Discogs.com to the list. They rely on user-submitted content and function very similar to IMDB.com. I was impressed, and will look to see if there’s some things that I can contribute.
They’re also local, which I thought was really cool. First I find that CDBaby is based in Portland, now Discogs.com, who knows what else is out there.

Google Calendar for real

April 13th, 2006

So far I’m really liking Google Calendar. I was able to import my 2 iCal files into Google Calendar with only a little fuss. After about 10-15 more minutes of exploring, I had it set up as I wanted. I don’t know of a compelling reason to keep the aforementioned Sunbird/WebDAV combo for shared calendars around, as GC is way more slick and there’s less setup mess for me. The only big feature that I’d really like to see soon is some support for Categories or Labels or something similar, but I’d be surprised if it’s very far off.

Resizable Textarea extension for Firefox

April 10th, 2006

Resizable Textarea 0.1b – It’s a small and unobtrusive extension for Firefox, but when you need it, it’s great. Hover over the bottom or right edges of a textarea to get the cursor change signaling you can drag the edges (or corner). The rest of the page resizes to fit accordingly.
It was a bit hard to find a recent version, but Jeremy Zawodny updated it for Firefox 1.5 and has it available for download.

Added Top Weekly Artists to site

March 28th, 2006

Now that I have some history built up on Last.fm, I added one of the charts to the sidebar. I wish they had more options for displaying albums, but for now this will do. I may be able to grab one of the feeds from their web service and use that to identify albums and then display covers. But this may be more work than I want to get into for this. Unless someone else has done most or all of the work already. I’ll have to look at a later date.

Worthless Wire Stripper

March 27th, 2006

I wasn’t looking for a new wire stripper, but when I purchased a Cold Heat “soldering” iron from Costco for $20, one was included in the package. I welcomed it as a potentially useful addition, since it had an easier grip than my current tool and had a spring action that would try and do the stripping for you. The first time I used it everything worked fine. But the second time, before I was actually using the tool, I noticed that it didn’t spring back into place after pulling the grip like it once did. Upon further investigation, the spring was bent, and I could hear the rattling of a loose part inside the tool, which later fell out onto the table. To add insult to injury, the tool was secured with rivets so I wasn’t able to open it up and try and fix it. So during the second use of this tool, it fell apart and was unrepairable. Good thing I paid only $7 or so.

Added a quotes plugin

March 23rd, 2006

I added the wp-quotes plugin to the site and started it off with a dozen classics.

Fun with online calendars and WebDAV

March 6th, 2006

For about a year now I’ve been running my own personal online calendar using iCal files on my web space and accessing them with Mozilla Sunbird and WebDAV. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it was working, and there’s not much in the way of alternatives (save for web-based shared calendars). Well, somewhere along the way, one of my iCal files (the big, important one) got corrupted. I’m not sure if Sunbird was in the middle of a file write when my wireless connection went out, or if it didn’t survive the temporary move when I setup WordPress. At any rate, the file was incomplete, with over half of it missing (of course, the half I was missing was the newest half). Since Sunbird keeps a local copy of each calendar file on the local computer, I was hoping to resurrect the file with an older version that was more complete, but each of the local ones had been overwritten already since the remote, “master” file was different.

After a few days of not making any progress on this, I remembered that I had seen something at some point about accessing backups of my files on DreamHost (awhile back they started making snapshot backups). I was able to pull an old file from a 2-week old backup. The next trick was to replace the corrupted file with the complete one. Since the remote iCal file is essentially the “master”, it wasn’t enough to replace a copy of the file on the local machine, open Sunbird, and try to get it to overwrite the remote file. It wouldn’t take, and I’d be back with an incomplete file. So I had to overwrite the bad file on the server. But since the directory is enabled as WebDAV, I can’t copy and move files like normal. I had to disable WebDAV on the directory, wait a few minutes, then copy over the new file, turn WebDAV back on, wait a few minutes, and then hope everything works. Luckily, it did, and I haven’t had any more problems.

Also, I managed to download Sunbird 0.3a1, when I was trying to get Sunbird to work with my corrupt file. I knew most changes in 0.3 so far have been on the backend, but there has been some nice UI cleanup already. So far it seems stable enough for everyday use, but hopefully the full release of 0.3 isn’t far behind.

Installed WordPress on root of domain

March 2nd, 2006

DreamHost’s One-Click Install usually doesn’t work if there are any files (or folders as I found out) in the target directory. I kind of understand why this is, but it’s still a pain, as I was wanting to install WordPress onto ryanwick.net, not ryanwick.net/journal. So I moved all of the files and folders temporarily out of ryanwick.net and then installed WordPress. After the install, I moved the folders back and everything is working fine. I think.