Blog Posts from February 2006 (page 1 of 6)

Arcitecture Help Shirts Arrived

Last week, I ordered a couple of my shirts from Zazzle and they arrived over the weekend. I got one each black and white and I wore the black one to work today. I’m pretty impressed with the quality of the shirts and the printing job.

Of course the coolest part was being asked where I got the shirt and being able to reply “I made it”.

BTW, I met a couple of folks from Zazzle at Mashup Camp. They told me about a couple things working that I’m not sure are public yet which is why I left them out of my daily roundups. They told me the 304 shirts was actually a kinda slow day.

Experimenting with Ning

Last week at Mashup Camp, Yoz showed me Ning. I had heard about Ning, Ning is a social software enabler…I guess enabler is the best word…with a fascinating approach to building software. Well, getting started building software at any rate. While they provide other more basic functions like hosting, Ning provides the ability to clone almost all of the apps running on their site (over 6500 as I write this). When you clone an app, Ning makes a copy of all the files from that app on your own domain (typically appname.ning.com, though you can pay to have your own domain name). They also provide a set of basic starter apps that you can clone to get started.

I decided to try it myself. Behold Partisan Hacks.

Partisan Hacks is a clone of Ning’s Do I Rock? starter app, which is itself basically a copy of Hot or Not. The difference is that you rate how big a partisan hack the individuals are. As I wrote for the About page, I was basically inspired by Jon Stewart’s now famous appearance on the now cancelled CNN Crossfire. Of course, I’ve been throwing the term around myself a bit lately, hence the reason why the topic was top of mind for me.

From a technical perspective, I added two features to the basic Do I Rock template code. First, I modified the detail page to include a link to Wikipedia as well as to pull in search results from MSN. Second, I added an RSS feed to the most partisan, least partisan and newest additions to the site. I’d never used PHP before, so it took me a bit longer that I would have expected to make the changes, but still it only took me a couple hours to make those as well as other minor cosmetic changes to the site.

While hacking PHP was somewhat tedious (back to my ASP days of the mid 90′s), one area that is both compelling and productive is the Ning Content Store. It’s the shared database on the back end of any Ning application. I didn’t really make any changes to my content, but it appears to dead simple to add new info to content objects. I was thinking about how I would build this app w/ ASP.NET, and realized that having to build a custom database would offset most of the productivity I would gain from using ASP.NET instead of PHP. According to Ning’s Roadmap, they’ll be bringing Ruby and Rails support online soon. I’ll have to see how much better an experience that is than their current PHP based approach.

Partisan Hackery

A few people took issue with me calling Dennis Miller a partisan hack while also expressing relief that the new season of Real Time with Bill Maher was starting. I finally got to watch last Friday’s episode. Sure, they made fun of Dick Cheney’s hunting accident and had a round of negative things to say about this administrations handling of Iraq (one of the guests was Dan Senor, Advisor to the U.S. Presidential Envoy in Iraq) but he also grilled Democratic Senator Russ Feingold on the effectiveness of campain finance reform and came out as pro-wiretapping:

[I]f they need to listen to keep a dirty bomb from going off in Long Beach, then I say, “Listen away.”

<snip>

Oh, please, Americans don’t want privacy. They want attention! They’ll put a camera in their shower and show it on the Internet! To get on television, they’ll marry strangers and eat a cow’s rectum, and ice dance with Todd Bridges. They’re trying to get on a show called “Big Brother”!

We are a nation of exhibitionists from “me” to shining “me.” And what we really fear isn’t that someone’s listening; it’s that no one’s listening. This whole country is one big desperate cry for somebody to listen to “listen to me, photograph me, Google me, read my blog! Read my diary; read my memoir. It’s not interesting enough? I’ll make shit up!”

<snip>

I tell you, this country gave the finger to privacy a long time ago.

[Bill Maher’s New Rules for 2/17/2006]

Seems like quite a difference to Dennis Miller calling out John Kerry and Howard Dean a year after the election and having nothing at all negative to say about the Bush administration.

Out of curiosity, I’m wondering what people think of Jon Stewart of The Daily Show fame. Partisan Hack or Not?

ASP.NET Trust Levels

For reasons to be named later, I’m experimenting with the various trust levels of ASP.NET. While “most things” work fine when you ratchet down the security, if finding that the things that break aren’t well documented. For example, at anything other than Full Trust you can’t use the Response.OutputStream.Write() method to write binary information to the response buffer. So that means that using ASHX Handlers for images doesn’t work. That means that, among others, the Personal Web Site starter kit breaks on any photo related features.

Also, does anyone know what happened to permview in .NET 2.0?

Tim’s Wannabe Five

I don’t know how I missed this before, but Tim Bray blogged about not inventing XML languages over a month ago. This comment is right on the money: “The value of a markup language is proportional approximately to the square of the number of different software implementations that can process it.” Conceptually, I agree with him – my primary argument against XSPF is that it has the same basic semantics as RSS, but RSS is much more widely used. But his list of the “big five” markup lanugages seems more like the “wannabe five”. How many different siftware implementations process any of the things on his list?

I’m not arguing the technical quality of these lanugages – frankly I’m not that familiar with any of them but Atom. But if you’re arguing the network effect, none of these formats Tim lists qualify. I’m sure he wants them to be popular, but wishing doesn’t make it so.