Kulling the blogs – down to 196

Maybe it’s Winter preparedness, or maybe it’s a slow news day… But I’m reviewing the blogs I follow, deleting the old, and subscribing to new. I was breaking well over 300 and realized many were dead (in my opinion, a blog that isn’t updated for 6 months is dead).

It’s cleaning time. I’m under 200. Bring on the cold.

Scraping the rust off – AppEngine and iPhone SDK


Photo by Peter BaerCC


As a tech manager I’ve got myself in to that mode. You know the mode. The one where you’re so focused on building a great product that you’re not getting to code that often, if at all. This isn’t bad – you have to do whatever you can to get things done – but if you’re a developer manager, you need to live in this space. And I’ve felt the atrophy.

So over the weekend I scraped the rust off and tried some new stuff. I’ve never coded in Python, but I’ve had Google AppEngine sitting on my account for a while. And I’ve got a personal iPhone developer SDK and ADC membership. It was time to whip out the programmer-WD40.

What did I build? Pytchfork. What is Pytchfork? You’ll find out – but not in this post. It’s something I’ve had on my mind for a while. In about an hour I had AppEngine installed and Pytchfork configured. Less than two hours later I was done with a REST library and the framework for what Pytchfork will become.

A REST feature set for input. Basic XML, RSS, ATOM, and JSON as output. In a few hours. Not bad, and it felt gooooood.

From this I’ve learned Python is a friendly animal, and not just in theory. It’s too friendly. The lack of semi-colons in my C/C++ brain feels like I’m walking up to a cliff without a railing at each line ending. But it’s something one gets used to.

Unless you’ve written a PHP or Ruby framework you’re married to, AppEngine and Python is about the best thing you could do for yourself as a way to publish a small, personal, application.

Starting a Monday without rust feels great. Stay sharp!

Returning to “Traditional” use of Twitter

After using Twitter as my push-based latest-news system for five months, I’ve gone back to the “traditional” use of Twitter. Without IM and large follower functionality, Twitter offers no way to experience a flow of tweets.

“What have I done!?”

I’ve gone back to the traditional use of Twitter. The method more than 95% of the userbase uses it for. I now use it to stay in touch with the people I’ve met and know personally, rather than using Twitter as a medium for info aggregation. It’s not possible to use Twitter how I did in the past.

If you know my series on flow (it kicked off here), you know what I was doing and how cool it was. I got the idea partially from Robert Scoble’s entry, The Secret to Twitter. His use was brilliant and it worked amazingly well!

Back in March of ’08 I began following any interesting person I thought to be intelligent and putting out informative tweets. Primarily I found people in the software development, new media, aviation, library science, and management arenas. I ended up following 6,218 people at the high (last week). Everyone’s updates were viewed in IM and I would see an amazing flow of information.

Usually hundreds of tweets per minute, forcing me to read very quickly and get a quick read on the blogging, technology, and media areas in a short period of time. It allowed me to find articles and posts that would have filtered in slowly on RSS (arguably, if I had more than my 632 RSS feeds I’d find more information here, too).

It was great. Flip on iChat over breakfast and watch the flow while eating granola and yogurt. An ideal start to the day.

But in the last week I’ve culled over 4,000. The removed are people who don’t follow me and who I never met in real life. The chance of our interaction is very small, and if we meet I’ll follow.

I’m looking forward to having more intimate interaction with friends and followers. Focus will shift more towards FriendFeed and Google Reader (RSS).

GPS Running

Link to today’s run

I love running. I skip wearing headphones or listening to music because I love hearing the world race past me. Things that interfere with the actual experience of being there aren’t interesting to me.

Nike+ on an iPod (a music player first and foremost) thankfully has the option to do a workout without music (and without a headset). I’ve been using this since Christmas 2007 when my wife gave it to me. It’s great! Nike has training programs you can follow to get you the next level.

Recently discovered when I got an N82 is the Nokia Sportstracker app. It keeps track with GPS and gives an amazing amount of live metadata. Not only are you able to follow your speed, pace, average pace, distance, location, etc, in real time, you can pump the data live to the web.

There are a couple things lacking with both systems: Social interaction outside their gardens. Both offer links to back to your workout pages, but neither supports easy placement of the data elsewhere (read: No RSS feeds of the content).

An RSS feed of the workouts would be an ideal next step for either company. RSS being available would allow WordPress and TypePad widget development much more easily.

It would also be slick to have Twitter and Facebook integrations (Nike+ has some Facebook apps written by third parties – I haven’t been impressed with these since they’re all Flash).

Running profiles:

FriendFeed’s response about del.icio.us feeds not updating


Ross Miller at FriendFeed responded to my question about FriendFeed del.icio.us feeds not updating. It seems del.icio.us is blocking mass spidering of their site.

Ross’s email:

“Hi Sol, del.icio.us places restraints on our ability to crawl their site. So if for some reason the item is missed, it becomes very hard for us to retrieve the del.icio.us link. Unfortunately for now the refresh button is your best option when this happens. Sorry for the inconvenience and we hope to get this resolved with del.icio.us soon.”

Looks like this is a restriction on del.icio.us’s end.