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Showing posts from 2008

Sometimes your problems are not caused by Windows

I have a Media Center PC. For my sins, I really like it.

However for the past few (well many) months it has been failing to power manage correctly, never sleeping and running the fan all the time. It has also been running like a dog.

Being the clever computer type I am, I immediately diagnosed a bad case of Windows Rot and tried to make time to reinstall it.

Then we moved house and I noticed it was filthy. Every vent at the rear was choked with vacuum-cleaner-bagesque dust bunnies.

Having administered a quick stiff brushing, it is now running cooler, quieter and faster.

Sorry Windows.

Five minutes with SocialThing

So a five minute play with SocialThing makes it seem really promising.

Being able to into easily import all your friends from all your social networks (eventually) and then easily alias them together sounds like it would be awesome.

Sadly it goes downhill really quickly.

Firstly it requires your usernames and passwords. They explain why - to get otherwise unavailable private data (friends only Livejournal posts for example), but it seems unnecessary and phishing-like. What they really need is to do is offer a "publicly viewable information only" option for these services.

Secondly there doesn't seem to be any kind of history. New items push old items off the list and then, poof, they're gone. That's kind of limiting. There's also no feed produced so I can't subscribe to this stuff anywhere else, I have to go to their site.

Lastly you can only see an aggregate view. Having aliased my friends (when I've been fortunate to have two of their posts from se…

wxVenus

Phil finally gave me an excuse to beat lxml into submission.

And this is the result: wxVenus on OS X.

HOWTO: Install lxml on Mac OSX

lxml is a total nightmare to install on the Mac. For my own future sanity, this is how to do it.
Install MacPortsInstall libxml2: sudo port install libxml2Install libxslt: sudo port install libxsltMake sure DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH includes /opt/local/lib (I am a unix n00b and just edit ~/.bash_profile to have the lines:
DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/local/lib
EXPORT DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH
in it and restart the shell)Get the lxml code: svn co http://codespeak.net/svn/lxml/trunk lxmlInstall Easy_Install (surely you've done this already!)Install Cython: easy_install Cython==0.9.6.12In the lxml folder run python setup.py build --with-xslt-config=/opt/local/bin/xslt-configThen python setup.py installLook puzzled when python test.py fails utterlyShrug that off quickly when lxml works generallyThis is for Tiger, it may work on other versions too.

Finally! My wife is impressed by my nerdery

It only took 10 years, but she seemed genuinely impressed when I whipped up a quick Python script to turn the iSight camera on the MacBook into a nanny cam that uploads to a rotating set of private photos on Flickr.

It will probably take another 10 years for her to be impressed again.

Stream of rubbish or a pool of something more interesting?

It's been a while since Phil excoriated lifestreaming for being probably the least interesting thing you could possibly do.. I noted it at the time, but I didn't have a whole lot of interest in lifestreaming or attention data, Digital Lifestyle Aggregation or all that nonsense he blogs about.

Lately though I've been playing with a pet project, which while not actually a lifestream, could easily have lifestreaming applications (sshhh it's a secret).

The upshot of this is that, while I tend to concur that the stream itself is kind of useless, over time it builds up into something more interesting - a pool information about what I (or whoever) did and thought at a given instant, and how those things changed over time. So drinking from the lifestream firehouse today might well be rubbish, but I'm not sure that wallowing in the lifestream nostalgia of tomorrow will be.

UPDATE: I note that Phil rushed to agree with me several months before I posted this.. Typical.

Is there a subtle privacy problem here?

I was looking at the demonstration of how socialthing will allow you to alias together your friends various accounts into a single entity. It's a useful enough feature, and probably something I'd want to do were I a socialthing user.

However, something about it makes me subtly uncomfortable. I might know that my friend Bob is bob123 on last.fm and bob1974 on Twitter. Does that automatically mean it's OK for me to announce that to the world? Maybe Bob doesn't want that link made public and specifically chose different usernames for that reason.

It's not a big thing, but I'm not sure it's my place to aggregate information about someone else.

The caveat here is that I am not a socialthing beta user, so it's entirely possible that this aggregation is for personal use only. The video doesn't make it clear.