testing Livefyre

Livefyre is a “conversation platform” -much like disqus or intensedebate.

I decided to give it a try. So far I like it: it’s fast, clean, feature-packed and Greek characters (unicode) seem to work fine (this is always a major concern for someone who’s not a exclusively blogging in english).

Even though I haven’t found a specific citation on their site, it looks like livefyre syncs comments back to my wordpress database -I consider this a must, as it makes me feel free I can stop using a commenting platform any time I feel like it and keep my comments.

Please feel free to comment on this post, mention it in twitter, etc, to help me test it!

intellectual parenthood

The term “Intellectual Property” implies a specific set of rights over a work of art. Even if this is not exaclty the case, when we say Intellectual Property, most people consider this a form of ownership much like owning a piece of land. Using the word “property” implies in most cases (and for most people) rights like:
- “it’s mine and I can do whatever I like with it”
- “I can choose who is allowed to step on it, and who isn’t”
- “It’s mine, it will always be mine, I can pass it on to my children”

The truth is that, even in the current state of “Intellectual Property” rights, some of these assumptions are not right. For example, the ownership goes away after 50 or 70 years, depending on which part of the world you are.

And, for some strange reason, this property is not subject to taxes, no matter how valuable it is, unlike most other kinds of ownership in most countries.

I take for granted that the creator, the artist, has some explicit set of rights over his work. But instead of “Intellectual Property”, I would like to suggest the term “Intellectual Parenthood”. That’s not as novel as some may think: just consider the phrase “giving birth to an idea” commonly used when we talk about art.

How is Intellectual Parenthood different than Intellectual Property?

Well, the truth is giving birth to anything is hard work. But we don’t own our children. We invest a lot in them: time, money, emotions. But we know that they will be free after 18 or 20 years. We have the first word on how they will be raised and how they should be educated, and what they should eat, but if we don’t do it right, the authorities have the right to take them away from us. And we obviously, can’t sell them, even if we have invested a fortune and a considerable percentage of our life on raising them up.

We say “my child”, but it’s not a property. We are doing our best to create something we will be proud of, but we don’t expect a return on our investment. And yet, we do it. And it’s a good thing our parents did the same, or we wouldn’t exist.

I feel that replacing the term Intellectual Property with Intellectual Parenthood, would make us see creation as a human need and not as a job. It has been like that for thousands of years.

OSX service to rewrite my intranet links

At the office we have a mixed Windows/OSX environment.

There is also a shared network storage with multiple mount points. In Windows, a link to a file on the server, will look like N:\TempFiles\company\project\ while on a Mac, the same link will look something like /Volumes/TempFiles/company/project/. So when a colleague send me the link to his latest presentation from Windows, I have to manually follow the path.

That’s why I wrote a simple OS X service that does that automatically. I just copy (cmd-C) the link (or part of it), then press cmd-Y (by default it’s assigned to “create new note”, I don’t use notes)

1. From Automator, I created a new service. Options: “no input”, “any application”
2. I selected “Run shell script’
3. Added the following code to the script
f="$(pbpaste | sed -e 's/N:/\/Volumes/g' | sed -e 's/\\/\//g')"
open "$f"

4. Saved the service with a new name (ex. “openWinLinks”)
5. From System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts I assigned CMD-Y to run my script.

Done. :-)

you in Greece

via visitgreece youtube channel

The Mac App Store sounds nice. It’s Apple I’m scared of.

The recently announced Mac App Store is a great idea: an easy to use, easy to monetize software distribution system that guaranties users a good level of software quality.

But I’m not thrilled.

I live in Greece. Which means that I can’t buy software from any Apple on-line store. A couple of years ago, I wanted to buy Quicktime Pro. I couldn’t buy it on-line, I couldn’t buy it from a physical store on a trip to London. I was only left with one option: bittorrent. This is the case with almost every piece of software Apple sells exclusively on-line -the MPEG2 codec comes to mind too.

And, I was reminded of the fact, once more today, when I realized I can’t buy iLife ’11 on-line. I’ll have to wait for the local reseller to bring it to Greece. Or wait for my next trip to a city with an official Apple Store.

And this is why I’m not thrilled with the Mac App Store. What if Apple implements its stupid an restrictive policies there? What if I can’t buy the software I need because “it’s not yet available in my country”?

Mac App Store gives Apple gets an extra level of control over software distribution. Unfortunately, Apple is known for using control in a restrictive, not a liberating way.

publishing for the future

Let’s say, I need to publish content that should be accessible in 10 or 20 years, or more. A good example might be a kid’s blog, created by its parents: they probably want to share the content with a couple of friends and relatives (look this is a video of his first b-day, etc.) but also make sure that this content will be available when they (and the kid!) grow old.

The tools we currently have available are very good for publishing. It’s easy to set up a blog for free, host your photos on flickr or picasa, or somewhere, upload your videos on youtube, embed all that in the blog and you are ready to go.

But, this approach has so many things that can (and probably will!) go wrong: what if your account is shut down, for some strange complaint, or the service goes out of business, or stops supporting a feature you use, or starts charging, or, or…

To be honest, the best solution I’ve found so far, is (surprise!) Apple’s iWeb. It creates static HTML pages, puts all extra media files in separate folders, and it’s easy to upload to an ftp server. The only thing that can go wrong is if your hosting provider fails, but then all you have to do is upload the content to an other one. One can argue that I can’t be sure iWeb will be there in 20 years. That’s right, but that’s not a problem: if Apple stops supporting it, or even if I stop using an Apple computer (iWeb runs only on OS X), the content will still be there, I’ll just have to look again for a new solution. But the content published so far, will still be accessible and portable.

So… any other, more elegant solutions?

using SparkleShare

I tried the beta version of SparkleShare. It wants to become a dropbox alternative, but it’s open source and runs on top of git -which is really cool.

Here is a video of how it looks like.

This is a very promising project. And if it takes off, I can see bucket3 getting the user friendly file distribution mechanism it needs to really make sense.

Go to http://www.bomahy.nl/hylke/blog/sparkleshare-02-beta-1-for-linux/ to get the beta code.

why blog pagination URL structure needs restructuring

The most popular convention on how to represent a blog pagination URL is that the home page is page 1. These are the latest, let’s say, 10 articles. Then you have page 2, where the next 10 most recent articles appear. It sounds reasonable, but it’s quite impractical.

The reason is simple. Every time you publish a new article, ALL “pages” change content. The last article of page 1 goes to page 2. The last article of page 2 goes to page 3, etc. For example, as soon as I publish this blog post, the contents of http://vrypan.net/log/page/2/ will change -and the same will happen to pages 3, 4, 5,.., 44.

As a result:
- indexing any URL that indicated pagination is useless for search engines.
- if you are using some kind of caching engine, you have to re-create all “pages”, whenever a new post is published!

The funny thing? No matter what number I assign to the page containing the very first 10 posts of the blog, I wrote back in 2004, their has been the same for 6 years now, and will continue to be the same for as long as my blog exists (unless I decide to delete one of the first 10 posts). So, why not make this page, page #1?

The way I see it, the very first post of your blog should be on page #1. The last ones on, let’s say, page #100. As you add posts, the pages increment. But the older pages don’t change.

This would cause only one inconsistency: if you have 23 posts, with 10 posts per page, on the home page you will present posts 14-23. Page #1 has 1-10, page #2 11-20, #3 21-23. This makes it impractical to have the usual “older entries” link at the homepage. This link (obviously, no home page has a “newer entries” link :-) should be replaced by an “archive” link or something like that.

In short: a blog is read in reverse chronological order, but its archive should be numbered like a book, in chronological order.. Yes, if you want to know the end, you go to the last page, we’ve been doing this for centuries. This would solve some important problems, and wouldn’t create any new ones, IFAIK.

@you: twitter UI fail?

No, my twitter handler is “vrypan”, not “you” :-)

I’d like to set up a torrent tracker. How?

I want to set up a bittorrent tracker. I will seed legal content, don’t worry about this.

Even though bittorrent is such a wonderful and widespread technology, I found little information on how to set up my own tracker. It looks like the entertainment industry propaganda is driving away people from sharing their knowledge on how to setup and maintain a torrent tracker. I also couldn’t find good tools, like web front-ends or tools to analyze and visualize tracker traffic and stats.

So, please, if you know about these things, write some decent howtos, and share the knowledge with the rest of the world…