Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
This morning’s Twitter outage illustrates the reason that social media archiving is needed. Notice also in the article updates that both Live Journal and Facebook were having problems as well. No one knows when this type of outage could be catastrophic and result in substantial data loss. And that can happen. Even organizations that generally take data preservation seriously are susceptible to data loss and serious downtime. For example, LFPL was pouring water out of their servers just yesterday.
Now, today’s outage appears to be caused by a denial-of-service attack, so data loss will probably be minimal. But other types of digital catastrophes can cause data loss, and the data lost may be culturally and sociologically significant.
By the way, if anyone needs ideas for what to do while Twitter is down, here’s a few suggestions. They beat working on a Twitter archiving app right now. Can’t connect to the API.
I was playing around with Yahoo Pipes today, and I decided to make a pipe that would let you search Google Books. It’s simple, but effective. With a little work, one could probably use it to embed a Google Book search in a website or Facepage. If you’re really creative, you can tweak one to embed in your OPAC. Enjoy. If you find any nifty uses for it, let me know in a comment. I would be interested to hear about it.
I’ve been using Assembla for some time, and it looks like that day has now come to an end. On Friday, Assembla announced that the feature that attracted me to it in the first place is now coming to an end. Assembla will no longer be offering free, private accounts to its users. One of the really nice benefits of Assembla was the ability to have free SVN repositories. I have two Assembla accounts, and I will probably close them both. While I realize that for them this decision may simply be a matter of cutting the dead weight, for me it eliminates them as a possible candidate as a vendor in the future because I believe that I cannot determine reliably whether or not they will make additional unfavorable changes while I am paying. I realize that their rates are fairly reasonable, but in a sense, I feel betrayed by the changes in their terms of service. They have offered a product for free. People have used the product and are somewhat dependent upon it. Now Assembla holds these users over a barrell for the sake of exacting a measly $2 a month. I really wish they would have simply grandfathered in those who currently have free, private accounts with them.
I am sympathetic to Andy’s pleas that he has a family to feed and people to pay. I can understand that. These are difficult financial times, and people need to make money. Still, the reason that I decided to use Assembla at work and personally was because it was free. I didn’t abuse the system. I didn’t fill up a subversion repository with tons of data. And I was fully committed to buying a commercial space from them if I ever got to the point where I needed one. That has changed, now. I do not feel like I can trust their bait-and-switch style of business plan, and if I can’t trust a company’s business plan, I don’t feel like I can trust them with my data.
I’m not a huge Microsoft Word user, but when I do use Word, I like to keep versions of my documents. Back in the old days, before I did any coding, I would use multiple file names to accomplish this. What a nightmare! When I began writing a little code, a friend of mine turned me on to Subversion. It’s a great piece of software that allows me to maintain versions of my files without the hassle of multiple files and filenames. If you want to know more about it, Google it, or read the documentation at the site above.
When using Windows, I use a product called TortoiseSVN to keep track of my versioning of files. All this stuff is free, mind you. I have a site (ie. Subversion server) where I keep my code, and I also keep a number of my files there that pertain to the degree I’m pursuing. So, any papers I write go there. They’re versioned. They’re accessible from any web connected computer in the world. That is a very good thing, and I don’t know why more students don’t think of doing something like this. For that matter, I don’t know why Microsoft doesn’t think about doing something like this.
For those who have not seen the news, Ex Libris is changing hands. Francisco Partners is purchasing EL. Francisco Partners also owns these companies. I am not sure what, if anything, this will mean for the future of the company. It appears that EL is the only library services vendor that Francisco partners owns.
To those of you who read this blog on a regular basis, I want to apologize for posting infrequently lately. I have had a couple other projects that I have been working on, plus my Church had vacation Bible school last week. You don’t get much done during VBS week.
I just wanted to take the time to inform you about a new social bookmarking service. For those of you who already have one, you’re probably groaning, “Not another one!” I know. I know. I have been using Del.icio.us for…well…forever. I can’t remember life before Del.icio.us. In fact, I have no intentions on ceasing from using Del.icio.us. (With Diigo and its toolbar, I don’t have to, but more on that in another post.)
For those of you who don’t have a social bookmarking service…well…you need one. Social bookmarking is a way to keep track of all of the websites that you visit. It allows you to describe the page using several one word “tags.” For example, if you visited the page for “Talladega Nights,” you might tag it as “movie,” “Will_Ferrell,” “stupid,” and “NASCAR.” This may seem like a useless service until you cannot find that page with the thing that you needed for your job and now you’re gonna get fired cause you can’t produce what you said you could. Or perhaps you can’t find that online add for that ring for your wife that you saw that would save you $1000 so now you can’t get a new johnboat because you don’t have the extra $$$$ you would have saved. Trust me. You need one. There are several out there.
Diigo is different, though. The service is only in beta testing at this point, so you have to actually request an invitation to participate. Diigo not only lets you save a bookmark to the page, but it also allows you to highlight content. It lets you add virtual sticky notes to the page. This really is the ideal tool for research and blogs. You can access your thoughts about a certain web page from anywhere in the world, right on the web page. How many times have you wished that blogs and webpages worked like books. You wish that you could add marginalia. You wish that the marginalia could be either public or private. It’s all possible with Diigo.
Don’t just take my word for it. Go try out Diigo’s playground for yourself. If you don’t think the service is the coolest thing since Cocoa Pebbles (it’s like cereal, only chocolaty), then walk away from your keyboard, go get in your 1973 Ford Maverick, throw in your favorite Captain and Tenille 8-track, and …well… you get the picture.
I have just started using Diigo in the past few days, so I will have more to say about it later. However, I do think that this is one of the best social bookmarking sites that I have used. Long live Diigo!
Totally off topic when it comes to archives, but I found this section of an O’Reilly PSP Hacks book. It explains how to put a keyboard on your PSP.
One problem, though. The hack says you need a server for the keyboard to reside on. Actually, you don’t need a server. You can embed the keyboard in your PSP. Just copy the code provided in the hack into a text editor on your computer. Then save it with a filename you can remember. I called mine kb.html. Next, connect your PSP to your computer, and load the file in the root directory of your PSP. Open your browser, and enter file:/kb.html (or whatever you named your file). Then, bookmark the file, and you can use the keyboard at any time without accessing a server.
Now, if someone could just create a text editor for PSP.
I just looked at this site with IE. I rarely use it, but I did just now. I apologize to you for the way that the navigation bar at the top looks. It looks fine with other browsers like Firefox, Opera, and Netscape Navigator, but not IE. So, I usually don’t do this, but if you want to use this site, I recommend that you use something other than IE.
I found this script at Steven Davies’s website. It was designed to insert a random picture into a page. I tweaked it so that it would output a random background image into an embedded CSS. To use it, copy the code below and save it into your directory as rotate_script.php. Make sure to change the $dir variable to the display the directory in which you keep your images. Then include include a line like
background-image: <?php include("rotate_script.php"); ?>; in the midst of the embedded style in the header where you want it to appear.
Read the rest of this entry »
This is definately off topic, but I have been playing with the PSP my sister got me for Christmas, and I just put an ebook on it. I bought a 2GB Sandisk memory card this week, so I have been playing around with it. I decided to see if I could put James Petigru Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology on my PSP just for kicks. I went to the Founders Ministries website, because they have the .html text there. Luckily, when I went into the index for the book, they had a tar.gz file of the whole book there. I simply downloaded it and unzipped it into a folder on my PC’s desktop. I called the folder “boyce”. Then I connected my PSP and my PC via USB and just moved the folder over to the E drive (the drive that represents my PSP).
Now here is the not so tricky part. I found the table of contents file that provided the main structure for the rest of the site. I opened the browser on my PSP and entered the address file:/boyce/toc.html. I bookmarked it so that I would never have to manually enter the address again. I now have a fully functional copy of the entire book that I can read whenever I want.
If you can get to the directories (folders) of other such html based books that do not have the tar.gz files, you can use the firefox extension Down Them All to download all of the files into a folder you can put on your PSP.
I love technology.