Monday, May 30, 2005

Podcasting Device

Money was a concern, so iPod was delayed. Then I looked deeper at the limits of the iPod, so I started looking at other mp3 players. Decided that $100 and 1gig was the breakpoint. I think I found the one I'll get very soon: Rave-MP ARC2.5

Friday, May 27, 2005

More on XSLT for OPML: Harvesting OPML

I've was involved with Gateway for Education Materials (GEM) and their system spidered the web in a specialized way that they called harvesting. If various sites create OPML files of their RSS feeds, these could likewise be harvested to create a directory. I know that other places are already doing that, but this is a general idea that could be applied to other purposes beside RSS directories.

More on XSLT for OPML: Shopping Cart

My OPML Wizard idea just expanded. Say you had a large OPML file like Tod Miffin's directory of podcasts. Then you make it collapsible and expandable like good old outliners using Ajaxian coding. Finally you throw in another web meme, the shopping cart, so people can select the items they like. When they view their "shopping cart" they have their own, personalized OPML. Using this concept as with a directory of podcasts, you then have your own OPML directory of podcasts that you could import into your favorite RSS/Podcast reader/aggregator.

If you are having trouble imagining this, think of Gmail interface where you manipulate a list of podcasts instead of email.

Obvious my project for building a XSLT wizard just got very ambitious. And if I could get it working, it would be useful for any site that hosts more than one RSS feed.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Curry vrs Winer and The Washington Post

Nearly everyday I walk by the Washington Post building. On the ground floor there is an exhibit area which among other things features distribution. Most of us think about the stories on not about distribution. But it takes an entire set of skills to make the Washington Post a success everyday. It is more than just witting stories.

The two guys that got podcasting to the critical mass for success had a falling out. It took both Winer and Curry to move it. This is not unlike many businesses where it takes a salesperson and a technology person. There are too many examples to list. Lot of discussion on the blogs about this falling out including this timeline post with comments.

Here's a viewpoint, actually two. What is a podcast? For some it is the show and for others it is the technology. Would Dawn and Drew Show exists without the the show? without RSS? We think what we work on is important because we commit ourselves to it. Usually it is only part of the process, like distribution of the Washington Post. Depends where you are coming from. You can see this bias in some of the bloggers taking sides.

Podcasting is the technology and the show. Credit both.

(Disclosures: I'm a tech/business guy. I've meet Dave a few times. See my Blogshares in Trade Secrets.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

XSLT for Public Radio Feeds and New Project

Tod Maffin maintains Public Radio Feeds and was looking for a way to easily convert his OPML file into HTML. So I wrote for him an XSLT file.

I really like how a simple XSLT file can produce a good HTML page. My XSLT file is less that page of code yet it produces many more lines of HTML for most OPML files.

I offered to do this for Tod for a bunch of reasons. First Dave Winner posted Tod's request. Second, XSLT sounded like the perfect solution and this gave me an opportunity to learn XSLT for OPML. I'm in the processing of learning more and more about OPML. Third, I'm working on a generic XSLT testing page. So Tod's project was a great way to test this project.

So all of this leads me to consider expanding the scope of my XSLT tester. RSS and OPML are two of the most common XML files available on the web. So I was thinking of building an XSLT wizard using JavaScript. You would pick a series of what amount to an HTML building block for each element (node) of a feed. This would build an XSLT file which would be run against any publicly accessible RSS or OPML file. When you like the result the wizard would email the XSLT file to you.

I've got so many other projects that I'm working on, I don't know when and if I'll get to this one. But I really like the idea because creating XSLT is now mostly hand coding with very little debugging help.

If you have an idea on how this project might work for you, let me know.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Schools Build a Showcase Nation

While I love my country, I've always had a problem with "the greatest country on earth." I'm proud of our Constitution, but I feel that the label gets in the way of us listening to the rest of the world. And we should listen to Finland's approach to education.




Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bill Moyer Scares Us

Wise and respected, Bill Moyers deserves to be heard. Corporation of Public Broadcasting was "to be a firewall between political influence and program content." His address to the National Conference for Media Reform looks that troubled state of political journalism inside the Beltway. This was picked up by Salon.

I haven't yet read the entire piece. This is my reminder to take notice of what Bill Moyers has to say. Especially now that this administration is trying to blameshift its problems to Newsweek.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

High Home Prices Can Hurt

Housing inflation is going mainstream. USAToday's cover story was "Bubble or not, high home prices can hurt." There are good numbers in here, like "a typical existing home costs 3.5 times a median family income, compared with a longstanding 2.7 ratio."

And speculative buying and investment buying: "Home builders are trying to tamp down speculative buying by writing contract clauses allowing them to cancel a sale...."

"Based on past experience, ARMs should have only about 20% of market share." They have more than 33% of the market.

Article even uses the phrase: "real-estate-price inflation." This is a quote from Eric Wolfe of IBEW noting working migrating to affordable areas. Like I've been saying, where are the workers going to live? How are the jobs going to be filled?

There is no doubt that we are in scary economic times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Wikipedia is Hitchhiker's Guide

In State Paul Boutin compared Hitchhiker's Guide to the Wikipedia. The comparison is right. Given the absurdity and humor in the books, I wonder if life with the Wikipedia is also like Hitchhiker's?

Chris Abraham says "Complete bullocks, IMHO."

Pro-UNION Site

I happened across an blog entry by a former boss and discovered a great pro-UNION site. There is actual discussion going on here and thoughtful papers. Wish I had more “feet on the ground” experience to add.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sloppiness as a Virtue

RSS is sloppy. So are web pages. Jon Udell wrote about Paving the Information Footpath and shows how things get done – sometimes sloppily.

Sports Teams' Names as the Truth

Are all of the players Los Angeles natives? If you really want honest representation then shouldn't the team that represents Los Angeles be players from Los Angeles?

There is an emotional "leap of faith" to follow any team. This is not a rational decision.

This comment was prompted by an blog entry for Worthwhile: Little White Lies, or Great Tales from the Marketing Front by Kevin Salwen in Creativity

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Housing Inflation Fueled by Home Equity

Pay $10,000 down payment three years ago, refinance twice and take out $80,000 with a $100,000 line of credit which "he might use it to buy an investment property." Margaret Webb Pressler wrote It's on the House in the Washington Post about how the "rules" of home equity have changed with the boom in real estate price. Plenty of information to show how housing inflation is bubbling.