Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in January, 2003

Grupo de interessados abriu um site para pedir um “recall” generalizado de iMacs G3 e displays da Apple, que aparentemente queimam a placa analógica com facilidade. Quem estiver afetado por este problema, deve ir lá ver como proceder.

Disclaimer pessoal: na minha família há dois iMacs G3, com 3 e 2 anos de uso, funcionando sem problemas…

Syndic8 indica os sites brasileiros que publicam via RSS. Hoje são só 4… o único de notícias é o do “Globo”, e parece que ou está desatualizado, ou os links estão quebrados.

Update: Um dos problemas é que poucos sites declaram sua localização. Pesquisando por sites em português aparecem mais de 60, mas muitos são de Portugal. Entre outros, o site do “Jornal do Brasil” também parece estar com problemas.

De blogs brasileiros, achei entre outros o . Depois procuro mais…

Excellent essay on How to be a Programmer, written by Robert Read. Every programmer should read this!

Thanks to Matt Croydon’s postneo for the link.


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I posted some more comments about the recent site update. A good excuse to learn lots of new stuff and buzzwords – PHP, MySQL, RSS, RDF, XML, XML-RPC, and so forth 😉

Matt Croydon’s postneo asks a profound question:

The effect of RSS On Design

Dane Carlson redesigned his weblog. (…) This begs the question:

If a redesign happens and everyone is reading via RSS, did a redesign happen?

phpBB 2.0.4 and RSS

More or less simultaneously with my discovery of RSS, phpBB version 2.0.4 came out.

So this was a good excuse to simultaneously update and implement RSS. It turned out that this wasn’t as cut-and-dried as I first thought, since I had already modified the standard phpBB code quite a lot – mostly to force descending order for my main weblog topic and to do several cosmetic and functional enhancements. There are still several bugs in less-used areas, mostly related to administration and moderation, but I’m working on them…

In any event, BBEdit helped a lot with its “compare folders” feature. I even found some hidden bugs in my previous code. I was up and running in about 24 hours (not counting a week of learning details about RSS).

Nevertheless, there’s still lots of thing to do. My RSS code now runs OK through the RSS Validator, but most of my pages still fail the HTML Validator, and the CSS stylesheet still needs a few tweaks. Even so, everything seems to work fine in all major browsers…

Besides some added functionality for phpBB, the major next thing to do here is to implement trackbacks. Stay tuned…

Well, I’ve somewhat belatedly found out about RSS. This stands for Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary, depending on who you’re asking). This is a XML-based file format that is becoming popular for automatically distributing news or weblog posts. As with nearly everything on the Internet, there are two sides to RSS: server (generator) or client (reader).

Let’s look at the RSS reader side first. I’m using NetNewsWire Lite for Mac OS X, written by Brent Simmons at Ranchero Software. This sort of software is also known as a “news aggregator”.

Basically, you go to a news site or weblog you’d like to read daily (or even hourly). If you’re lucky, you’ll see a red tag, just like the one at the top of this page; some pages have a simple “Syndicate” link instead. Copy the tag or link’s URL from your browser, switch to NetNewsWire, use the “Subscribe” command, and paste the URL into the subscription dialog. From now on, NetNewsWire will check that site (and all others you’ve subscribed to) every hour or so, and if it finds new news items or weblog entries it shows you a list. You can read summaries right there or have the full items opened in your browser.

To make a long story short, I’m now subscribed to over 60 news sites and about the same number of weblogs, and save at least an hour every day! No more sitting at the browser and selecting dozens of bookmarks, one after the other… or at least, the number of sites I do this for has shrunk considerably. I find myself forgetting to check sites which don’t have a aRSS feed.

Now let’s jump to the generator side of RSS. In my case, I’m interested in making it easier for people to read my weblog. Many important bloggers don’t have time to read non-RSS sites, so generating RSS is a big step in getting to play with the big boys.

Ready-made blogging software which runs on your own server, like Movable Type, Radio Userland and Blosxom (to name a few), usually have RSS generation capability built right in. Centralized systems like Blogger usually don’t, although I hear Blogger Pro has an experimental RSS generator.

In my case, I’m using phpBB which is more bulletin-board-oriented; I’ve hacked it to use it as a weblog generator, too. So now I’ve spent a week or so putting in RSS generation capability (and updating to 2.0.4 while I was at it). There still are some nits to pick, but it works now. At least NetNewsWire reads my feed with no problems, and the RSS Validator says I’m generating valid RSS/XML.

Just found out that Neil Gaiman, the author of “American Gods”, also has a weblog (or rather, a journal) up on his site.

His review of Terry Pratchett‘s “Night Watch” is excellent. As you may (not?) know, Neil and Terry have co-authored a great book called “Good Omens”. All are highly recommended.

Safari favicons

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RAILhead Design has a great tutorial about making “favicons” – those little 16×16 icons which Safari may show next to the URL. (Yes, I know my own isn’t all that great… I’ll be changing it, but it’s not a priority.)

There’s also an entire website devoted to the subject. This article talks about best practices.

In my own experience, making a single 16×16 icon in 256 colors will cover 99% of the cases where the icons appear… the 32×32 size is apparently only used when dragging an URL to the desktop. The articles recommend also making 16-color versions, which usually suck.

And of course, other browsers like Mozilla and Opera (not sure about Chimera) also show favicons.

Thanks to Bryan Pietrzak and Jack Small, who posted these links on the Carbon Developer’s List.

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