Tag Archives: today I learnt

Effing this, effing that

24 Mar

My friend Alexandre pointed me to an article by Uncle Bob, There are ladies present, in which I had a language-related epiphany:

[…] there was an f-bomb in every sentence. It was effing this and effing that and what the ef here and there and everywhere. […]

Until that time, it had never occurred to me that the adjective ‘effing’ took its origin from the f-word, ‘fucking’. But now that I do, it makes sense completely.

I may even use it, now that I understand –and own it, in a way. That will add an extra middle-strength layer to how I convey a feeling or state of mind, still keeping the f-word as last resort.

By the way, Uncle Bob’s article is one that I recommend; he shares how women in tech have thus far lived in perpetual inconsequence, mostly having no status, no respect, and no voice in their world.

Why I moved from My Opera to WordPress .com

27 Feb

I came to use wordpress.com last weekend as a mean to an end, an intermediary step between My Opera and hosting my blog on my website. I’ve wanted to host my blog on koalie.net for several years without attending to it. When last month my former colleague Karl Dubost wrote myobackup, a Python script to export (backup) blog posts from my.opera.com, I saw an opportunity. And when I noticed that Daniel Davis added export to WordPress format (WXR), I just took the opportunity.

Blogging on my website

Like I said, I initially wanted to host a WordPress powered blog on koalie.net, but I learned that some of the constraints on the machine where my website lives include a requirement for limited (i.e. no-no!) database server installation and maintenance, as well as limited exposure in terms of services. M’kay.

Static blogging

Static blogging, why not? Since my website is already static, I may as well consider a static site generator approach. I had all my posts stored neatly in directories of years and months. Only the comments were missing. Presented with a couple of suggestions (Nikola, Pelican), I soon became hopeful that at some point, even koalie.net in full might be generated. Woo! Crazy. After years of building my RSS feed by hand, that would be a pleasant change!

Several attempts with Nikola

Hmmm… Maybe I didn’t pick the right one for me between the two generators. I chose Nikola because Tim van der Linden wrote a thorough tutorial that complemented nicely the Nikola handbook. I followed every step. Three times. It sucked most of Saturday and Sunday, well into each night. I tapped into Vlad’s brain and knowledge whenever I was too stuck. Thanks, Vlad.

I was at times enjoying discovering this whole new thing, and at other times I was really clueless about the whole infrastructure. I tried to rethink and adapt my future work flow without seeing a clear path. Maybe it would have been exactly the same had I chosen to try Pelican instead. Maybe I’m too old, or maybe I lost some of that characteristic geek nature.

At some point I realised the output.xml file that myobackup had generated wasn’t working in Nikola. It was missing the links to the posts, and the program’s import_wordpress function was stuck there.

From My Opera to WordPress.com via output.xml

WordPress.com took the content of output.xml that myobackup had generated and imported successfully. Less than a half-hour later I had exported from WordPress.com a nice, long and full contemplationsinmarkup.wordpress.2013-02-24.xml file.

Back to Nikola, and away

Nikola did just fine with the newest xml file. That milestone reached, I tinkered a while with theming and customisation. There again, I found the numerous directories daunting. I soon resolved, grudgingly, to use one of the available themes as is, without customisation, for the sake of my own sanity. I took a break and pouted away from the computer.

But I kept coming back to the promise of one integrated way to generate koalie.net, including my blog. So I tried harder and re-read the tutorial and the handbook, played further in the virtual environment I had set up.

At this point I was pretty frustrated with myself, to the point that it made me shed tears. I was disappointed. In truth, I was unable to sort things out, let alone make them work.

I nuked all directories.

Sticking with WordPress.com. For now.

I licked my proverbial wounds and then curated the content I had fed into WordPress.com hours before.

119 posts had tags but weren’t filed under any category. There aren’t categories in My Opera as far as I know. Also, a handful of posts used to have images that hadn’t been imported. That took a great while to transfer the 152 files in question, add a description for each, and insert them where they belonged.

Yet, I actually took pleasure in the otherwise boring manual tasks that were involved. I got to re-discover past entries I had totally forgotten. I got to look again at the photo blog of our vacation in Costa Rica last year. I generally got to recall memories attached to events recounted. So, at the end of that experience, there was smiling again, and comfort.

In the future I may try again to install and use a static site generator, be that Nikola, Pelican, or Jekyll/Octopress. In the meantime, I’ll stick a bit with WordPress.com.

I used to be thick in #semanticweb

31 Jan

I used to be thick in #semanticweb. But that was before.

That was before Alexandre (@bertails) started to explain, and Amy (@amyvdh) translated.

What’s a triple? Easy. It’s three URLs: subject (sky), predicate (has color), object (blue).
Now, what’s a quad? It’s a 4th URL that names the context.

I was kidding; I’m still obtuse to Semantic Web. But I’ve learned something!

Thanks, wonderful colleagues.

Attribution links to pasted content? – Something is wrong on the Internet!

15 Nov
Some websites will transform, at the paste event, the content that you copy. This isn’t recent, and it was a mild annoyance until it made its début in Opera, the browser I use the most (I installed 12.11 beta RC last last week).

What happens is that when you select text from some web pages, the site uses JavaScript to report what you’ve copied to an analytics server and append an attribution URL to the text that you paste.

What a terrible idea.

As John Gruber put it in a 2010 article on the subject:

It’s a bunch of user-hostile SEO bullshit.

I looked at the Tynt website, and soon found that users can opt out. o/ http://www.tynt.com/opt_out.php

If you don't want Tynt tracking copy activity or adding attribution links,
you can disable Tynt, by clicking the Opt Out button below.
You will need to Opt Out for each browser you use, and have cookies enabled.

It appears that there aren’t any other competitor. I hope it stays that way.

But what I wish even more, is that Websites would just NOT do this. It’s not privacy that concerns me, it’s the fact that in many cases, what I want to paste is lost.
In all cases, what I want to paste is what I select.

I don’t want to need any work-around. Yes, I can view the source of a page and select from there. It’s tedious. Yes, I can paste in a text editor, strip to what I need, copy again and paste what I want. It’s also tedious.