April 2004 Archives

MovableType 3.0


I don't think I mentioned that Movable Type 3.0 absolutely rocks. I have been using it for about a week, but I haven't had time to make TypeKey work and of course upgrading required some template changes and wiped out my local hacks, but except for a few cosmetic things I think most things are working alright again.

The UI in 3.0 is much slicker than in 2.6 and it's much better about letting you delete spam than 2.6 was, so much in fact that I'm not in too much of a hurry to get TypeKey working.

Ben Hyde wrote some, as always, thoughtful and interesting comments on TypeKey. Two Problems, The Universal ID and The Central Authority.

I really need to finish the new version of my single signon service...

itunesApple released iTunes 4.5 with a bunch of new features. One of the most interesting is lossless encoding. I'm looking forward to playing with that, even if it might not be terribly useful with my ~25GB mp3s and a 4GB iPod.

Also new convert WMA files to play them on the iPod, a "Party Shuffle" rolling random playlist queue you can reorganize and a "Print CD inserts with album cover art" feature.

After upgrading I recommend you hurry to the preferences and disable "Show links to Music Store" and enable "Group compilations when browsing". The latter feature makes the "browser" let you browse albums properly, awesome!

You need the iPod update 2004-04-28 to play the lossless files on the iPod (and to get "Improved playback performance")

The iTunes icon is still green. :-)

While we are trying to fit everything into Combust, we've been considering using UML on perl.org to make it easier to host sites or projects where Other People needs to be able to login with ssh or do other silly things like that.

I spent most of a weekend tampering with it a while ago and got a Debian system to boot. Yay. Then I setup networking and the kernel on the host box decided to panic. Oops.

So, we are looking for an expert in such matters to help us get setup and preferably also to maintain the UML system. We'd prefer to run RHEL on both the host and the UMLs, but we can be convinced otherwise I think. At least to Fedora.

If you have experience with UserModeLinux and are the expert we are looking for, please send me an email. We can't offer any monetary compensation, but you'll be rewarded plentifully in Good Feelings and Fun Work. :-)

Perl Licences

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I noticed that people would sometimes link to the Artistic License at OpenSource.org when they were referencing the Perl License(s). That seemed rather silly, so we[1] put up the GPL and the Artistic License as used by Perl5 on perl.org.

[1] (well, Robert did it, I just put a ticket in RT that "we" should do it. I love this delegation thing when it works)

Gmail innovation


Jeremy doesn't see the big deal with Gmail. "Oooh, a whole gigabyte. Who cares?" he asks.

Do you honestly expect to see other large (and even mid-tier) web mail providers not increasing their offerings to match or surpass those of Gmail?

Without the competition from Gmail, why would they have? Isn't extra space what their users pay them money for?

So we've got threading (not new) plus virtual folders (not new) in a single mail interface. Well, stop the presses! It's amazing to think that no mail clients have offered this functionality in the last 5-7 years! Oh, wait. They have.

Really? Which popular mail client has these features? I haven't seen threading and the context functionality work nearly as well anywhere else. With my regular mail clients I've always been saving a lot of my mail (~3GB now), because yes -- occasionally I need to find something old. With Mail.app I've been deleting more, knowing that I can find it in the trash for 30 days. How does Gmail change that? Read on ...

Three innovations in this area Gmail are doing:

  1. Saving is the default instead of deleting, so there's no need to think about it.
  2. When I get a new mail, the relevant archived mails are being pulled out as context. No need to search through the saved-mail folder and open up a bunch of mails to find it.
  3. The search sucks a bit less. Except for "find mails from this email address or with this subject", searching in most (all?) clients just royally sucks. I think it will be, but I haven't used Gmail enough to know if it's better. Of course I don't NEED the search as much because usually they are already pulling up the mails I want to search for for me!

Another notable new thing is how they've made the web browser feel like a normal application rather than a web page, for better or worse. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of that in the coming years.

Of course it's all evolutionary, but we don't see this much evolution in mail clients usually and being at least for me the application I spend most time in (after my text editor), it's sure very welcome! I'm looking very much forward to Apple integrating these ideas into the OS X mail program.

It sounds like Jeremy got an invitation to test it. Jeremly, load up Firefox and try it for a few days. :-)

Playing with Gmail


I got a chance to play a bit with Gmail today...

  • Holy crap it's fast.
  • I only had a dozen test mails in the system and I already felt like they were getting lost. Or I was getting lost. I think the "just search for stuff" approach will take a lot of getting used to.
  • What's with the top quoting?
  • It doesn't work with Safari.
  • I didn't realize how much I love the "quote selected text when you reply" feature of Mail.app until I didn't have it here.
  • Man that's a lot of javascript.
  • And frames! Bloody frames everywhere.
  • It really doesn't work with Safari. I can login but not click on anything.
  • This is the least "web-like" web application I've seen. Ever.
  • Cool keyboard shortcuts everywhere. That works really well.
  • I don't care it's not web-like, this stuff works too well. As I said: Fast. It'll be interesting to see if it'll scale as well as their web search.
  • Lots of ideas to stealconsider for my next web application.
  • Will the billion kilobyte javascript make it slower on modem-speed connections? I should try it via GPRS ...
  • "six letter minimum" usernames, so no ask@gmail.com. Suck.
  • I can't setup a signature?
  • How do you access Gmail when you are offline?
  • I'll stick with Mail.app+imap for now.
  • I can't decide if the Gmail interface is crazy or brilliant. If you vote crazy, then Fastmail is still be my recommendation if you need an email provider.
Update: I've been using it for my ask@apache.org mail since this morning. Main complaints now:
1) Attachment handling is pretty poor, at least in my browser (Firefox on OS X). 2) The spamfilters are letting 10-25% of the spam into my inbox (I get much more spam than real mail to that address). I hope they learn from all the "this is spam" markings I'm doing. 3) The mail composing interface isn't great. They made everything else fancy, but composing is just a textarea.

As Justin pointed out, the constant show in context is really fantastic. You mark everything but the most utter junk as "archived" and when something new in the same thread comes in, it'll be shown in context of the archived mails. Having that in Mail.app is now number 1 on my mail.app wishlist!

I'm also starting to like how it doesn't show quotes, but rather shows you the original mails in the thread. I want to subscribe to a busy mailing list and see how it manages the threads there ....

Defect websites

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bofabomb.pngApologies for letting my current frustration hit you in all their boredom.

The screenshot you can see to the right is what the B of A site gave me back after 15-20 minutes of clicking to get a new account. I even used FireFox to avoid any trouble if they didn't support Safari! "runtime error 800a01a8". Idiots. Alright, so sometimes a database is out of order at 3am or whatever, but what happened to showing a useful error message? "Object required oPrincipal" makes me believe that it is indeed because I'm not using MSIE 6 or whatever they expect and bothered to test with.

I love the "Higher Standards" wish they put next to their logo.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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