Still playing with the Blogger API

Praise be to Aaron who suggested I try 1 or 0 rather than true or false in my request and it works! (The Blogger docs say "true" but it's obviously false since that behavior was spotty and unpredictable.) Now we're cooking!! I wrote up how I did it in case you want to do it too.

Alas, the API is still not "publishing," it's only "posting." Many people have tried it out but it's only appearing along the right because I went into Blogger and manually published as I was setting up the archives. Yes, now there are archives to all this so you can catch up if you miss anything. Drat! I really wanted this to work. Now I feel all pouty!

It seems other folks have had similar experiences with their TiVos like I mentioned on Monday. I posted my suggestion to the TiVo forum; if you have a TiVo and would like to see a similar feature implemented, go voice your support.

Playing with the Blogger API

I whiped up a little interface to the Blogger API this evening that allows you to post to megnut there along the side (see where it says, "Experimenting"). It may or may not work, since it was working when I first started playing with it and now Blogger refuses to FTP the file to this server. Anyway, try it out. The goal here (as explained also on the posting page) is to allow megnut readers to share content. I could have/should have implemented comments but for a variety of reasons haven't done that yet. So this is my alternative.

Of course there are a couple of caveats: only five posts will ever appear at a time, and I reserve the right to delete anything that's inappropriate. Also, HTML won't work, but I'm not doing any client or server-side checking for it. It will just barf behind the scenes on the XML-RPC call and your post won't appear. Consider yourself warned. Aside from that, it should, in theory, work. Let me know what you think.

Update: It simply does not seem to be publishing to the site, though I'm setting the publish param to true. If you have any ideas as to why, I'd appreciate it. I'm giving up for tonight and going to bed. Perhaps it will fix itself tomorrow.

A useful TiVo feature

This would be a good TiVo feature: a warning asking you to confirm a channel change if you're watching live TV on delay. TiVo allows you to pause as you watch TV (like when you need to go to the bathroom and you're watching a football game, say the AFC Championship Game). If you pause enough, you sometimes get "behind" the actual live game. Now it's not the same as having it recorded, because it's only temporary and there's a buffer max (you can't get more than 30 minutes behind the "live" action). Unfortunately, if you change channels (like when the cat climbs on your lap, so you try and move him off of it and onto the sofa, whereby you accidentally place him on the remote control, and his enormous paw happens to hit the channel "up" button on the remote) while watching not-live TV, you lose whatever's in this buffer and there's no way to recover it.

TiVo should give you a warning along the lines of, "Hey! You know you're not watching live TV here. You're behind. Do you really want to change the channel? Because you can't get back to this point if you do, and that means you'll *miss* the Steeler's field goal attempt, which I think you might be interested in seeing, only because New England is going to block it and run it back for a touchdown. If you change the channel now (perhaps by accident), and even if you come back really really fast, you'll just jump ahead seven minutes to the current action. Oh, you'll see the score is 21-3, but you won't know why. Now, tell me the truth: Do you really want to change the channel?" Yeah, I think that would be a good TiVo feature.

Information display at the museum

Mountain GorillaWhile in NY I was nearly attacked by an enraged mountain gorilla, oh wait, no…while in NY I visited the American Museum of Natural History, where I spent many wonderful hours viewing all kinds of exhibits that brought me back to my childhood. I can't get enough of those habitat displays filled with stuffed animals arranged in action-like stances, posed against richly-painted backdrops of their native landscape.

Something that I observed at the time but failed to capture with my camera was the way information is displayed next to the exibits, and how it's changed over time. At the older exibits, like the habitats I mentioned above, a simple paragraph of text beneath or to the side of the window explained the contents. "The Mountain Gorilla blah blah blah…" Very clean and straight-foward, almost what you'd expect from a text book. But upstairs on the fourth floor, home of the dinosaurs and primative mammels, it was very different, for that floor had recently been renovated—the information displays had a very modern, multimedia feel to them. There were underlines and arrows directing one's eye to various bits of text, and certain words were written in a larger font, often emphasized with bold or italic.

Gone were the simple paragraphs in favor of "hipper" layouts that forced the eye to track across a wide plexiglass-type sheet to take in all the information. (Why oh why didn't I take a picture of this?) More colors were used, more fonts, more visual aids, and yet, I found it much hard to read than the simple text presented on the first floor. While it certainly looked cooler, I'm not sure it did the job of presenting information any better. In fact, it might have been worse. But the dinosaurs were very cool.

On a totally different, and far more ridiculous note: Free Winona t-shirts for sale. But why does she look like Jackie O? Or the woman on an English Beat t-shirt? The answer to some of life's mysteries can never be known.

The Christmas tree

A thought occurred to me today as I closed a pop-up ad window and a new one sprung up behind it saying something like, "Don't close that window just yet" before I closed it too. Can you imagine if your TV, upon having its channel changed away from a commercial, went back to that same station, and the ad said something like, "don't go away just yet!" Rude beyond all belief, but that's what happens every day with this unwanted in the first place pop-ups that spawn generations of pop-up children.

Search on

I added a "search" to the site on the right there (yes, eons after everyone else has already done it. We don't make trends around here, we follow them, way way after the fact…) Anyway, I did it because I couldn't find content I knew I'd written, and Google wasn't any use. They don't seem to be indexing my archives and rather than figure out why (well I know why, but rather than change how I archive), I just added the easy-to-use and free Atomz search. Voila! Search away, my friends, search away.

Now that the Five Days of Huskers Mourning have passed, I'm ready to resume posting. Actually, I wasn't in mourning, and there's no five days of mourning or anything like that for the Huskers, like they used to have years ago when people were widowed (first mourning, etc.) I had a zillion deadlines (or two) which needed to be met and prevented me from focusing any energy on ye olde megnute.

Trains in Cali

I've always thought we could do with a high-speed rail system here in California, so imagine my joy when I found this on Nick's site: The California High Speed Rail Authority ("Moving Californians Into the Future"). Though they don't have a high speed rail to Vegas, or to Tahoe, it's a start. I hope it gets built, though it will be something like 20 years before it's done. Still…20 years is better than no years.

And while they're at it, they should do something to improve the current ride up to Tahoe. Here's an article about a great idea: taking the train up for the weekend to go skiing. Alas it takes six hour or seven hours, one way, and is over $100. Plus the trip is often delayed. But it sounds so pleasant. I'd be more inclined to head up there via train (if it took three hours and cost $50/rt). Maybe someday.

Yahoo! maps is a bit confused

I rely on Yahoo! Maps frequently and it's a very useful service, rarely if ever wrong. So I was really surprised today when I got a totally useless result. The address "Ord, San Francisco CA" yields driving directions to ORD, or Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in Illinois, 2142.8 miles away. But if I add "St" to the address, transforming the obscure (to Yahoo!) "Ord, San Francisco CA" address to "Ord St, San Francisco CA" I get the directions I'm looking for. Ord Street is only 2.7 miles away, a distance that's more achievable today in all this rain. Seems like there's a mistake in the "Get Directions" logic since I'm obviously not looking for driving directions to O'Hare. If I were, I'd have entered "Ord, Chicago IL." In this situation, the "San Francisco CA" part of the entry should be more heavily weighted than the "Ord." Or a simple "St" should be appended if necessary.

Speaking of Yahoo! Maps, they have one of my favorite disclaimers on the web, "When using any driving directions or map, it's a good idea to do a reality check…" Do a reality check? The incongruity of a formal disclaimer to the slangish expression "reality check" just makes me giggle. Good thing I confirmed my reality consisted of a desire to travel less than three miles in my own city, not travel half-way across the country, via car, to an airport.

Thanks to all who've written with birthday wishes, I appreciate it. You'll be happy to know I was treated to a delicious sushi dinner and am now not nearly as morose about turning 30 as I was pre-hamachi nigiri.