Older blog entries for boog (starting at number 13)

Snippets! I've released a new site called Snippets. Snippets is a del.icio.us-style site for snippets and samples of source code / shell commands, and so on. I will be open sourcing it in due course.

A few months ago I became a Ruby On Rails developer, and although the documentation isn't bad, I often have need for lots of snippets of code, and developed Snippets to hold them. However, anyone can use it.. that's the whole point :) It uses the tagging/folksonomy that's typical to many sites these days. You can narrow down code snippets by tag, so you can first look at all the ruby code, then ruby + rails, then ruby + rails + authentication.. and so on. Makes it easy to find exactly what you want. You can also steer clear of everyone else, and simply look at your own code snippets only, and narrow down with tags on those too. Powerful stuff. Best part? Thanks to Ruby On Rails, 28 hours after coming up with the idea.. here we are. Yes. It took less than 2 days of coding. I love Ruby on Rails (and that's hard to say, being a die-hard Perl monger..)

You database wizards might also appreciate this article about how I did the tag intersections in a single SQL command without endless joins. It took some work, but we got there in the end.

I'm Ajaxing and Ruby on Railsing. It's been a while, but since I last posted I have become a Ruby on Rails addict. Rails is an MVC web app framework for Ruby. You can throw together apps in crazy amounts of time, even with testing.. It's fast, reliable, and I'm already making a living off of developing Rails apps!

In community spirit, I decided to use my last release to help me keep up to date with Rails, and I produced the Ruby on Rails news dashboard. Today I then added the AJAX news dashboard. These let you keep up to date with the latest buzz and links surrounding these technologies. And, well, it gives me more ideas.. yes, news dashboards.. this idea could go somewhere :)

RSS Digest. I launched RSS Digest today. It lets you add an RSS or del.icio.us feed to your site with no coding. It does all the caching for you, you can use JavaScript or PHP to include it on your site, and the formatting is very customizable. The nearest competitors don't have the same features, which is why I wrote it. And, well, I wanted to get my finger into the RSS pie! Oh, and it's free, with no garish advertising notices.

(P.S. It's not open source yet, but it will be. I know it's not usually the done thing, but I like to have complete control up to a certain point and then let the code free ;-))

Chatbots will rule.. soon

I wasn't expecting one, but the reaction to my Perl 'weblog entry generator' was quite amusing. Text generation and parsing (from a language point of view) has interested me a great deal since I stumbled across the Loebner Prize and the Turing Test in the late '90s. I really feel that it's crackable, and not with too much difficulty. Don't ask me to prove it, but it's just one of those deep down feelings I have.. we will have a computer that you can hold a realistic textual conversation with within ten years. Researching chatbots is beginning to turn into a hobby for me now..

For lovers of the English language..

From one language topic to another, I've just launched another Web site. It's called Rich Language and basically I post on there most days briefly covering or defining an element of the English language (the greatest language there is - I'm biased). So if you want to learn something interesting about the English language on a roughly day to day basis, either drop by, or add http://www.richlanguage.com/index.rdf to your favorite RSS newsreader (mine is NewsFire, a great free RSS/Atom reader for OS X) and get reading :-) If you have a site or weblog about English or lingustics, hook up with us, and we can trade links.

I wrote a ridiculous Perl program to generate text. Thing is, it developed some bugs, and has managed to create phrases and combinations of words (which actually make sense) that I didn't even program in. I hooked it up to the Blogger API, and now it updates its own weblog with no editing on my part (I just give it a bunch of topics to talk about). Check it out, I've called it 'Learn'. I can't stop laughing when I read it.. it's so realistic for a weblog. It sounds like a typical teenage girl.

And what's up with all that GNU-Darwin nonsense? I don't really agree with an organization crossing its boundaries and it seems pretty churlish. Not a thread I want to dive into anyway ;-)

30 Aug 2004 (updated 30 Aug 2004 at 00:47 UTC) »

Yes, my last entry said I'd be 'updating my diary more in future'.. and when was that? Yes.. over 8 months ago! I have also fallen back into the slump of using pico, so shame on me for that as well.

I am also (still) planning to get back into FreeFilter development soon as I've had people calling for it. I need to organise it better though.. it's open source, but no-one else works on it due to my poor organization. Perhaps I'll have to learn SourceForge after all!

Latest work is out of the box, it was XHTML work for DomainsAreFree.com, an uber-cheap domain registration company. It's XHTML 1.0 Strict compliant nearly all round, except where I had to hook in with their old ordering system which I haven't recoded yet. So unlike GoDaddy, and the rest, you can use it perfectly using Lynx!! Result!

Okay, here's to updating my Advogato diary more often..

I've decided I should get involved with Advogato so more, so I'll be updating my diary more in future.

At this point though, I just want to say I've bit the bullet and actually learned how to use vi. It's weird for a geek to say he only just learned vi, but I just never got around to it, preferring other editors. Now I've learned it, I can't see myself using it all the time, but it definitely has some advantages with its dual command/input modes.

It's got to be better than pico at any rate ;-)

15 Oct 2003 (updated 30 Aug 2004 at 00:47 UTC) »

Well, it's been a goood nine months since I last posted! The aforementioned open source project came and went. Quite a few sites ended up using it, but many switched to a rival system after a period of inactivity.

Unfortunately, and I'm sure many of you can appreciate this, 'real life' work that pays the beans for the rent and the food usually has to take priority over the pet projects. One such project being a Web hosting reviews site, although it was a fun bit of XHTML related consultancy.. I'm trying to mold myself into the shape of an XHTML zealot who gets paid big bucks to convert existing sites into XHTML.. small steps.. small steps..

Also developed a site for a loose leaf folders & binders company in the UK.

I do have plans for new projects though, some involving FreeFilter, in a round about way. And XML-RPC has become a new thing of mine.. yeah I'm years behind the times, but hey!

I have also become interested in wikis over the past few months, and I think I can see a way they can adapted to become a lot more useful. Perhaps I could turn my twist on wikis into the next 'blog'. :-) Anyway, that's about all.. will post again soon!

Believe it or not, the day is coming. I will be releasing my first major open source project! What is it? A community posting and discussion system. But this is no regular PHPBB or forum...

It's called FreeFilter. You might be aware of a popular community site called MetaFilter which gets a lot of good press because the interface is simple, not over technical, and let's people get on with the talking and posting, and not the administration.

FreeFilter is already running at http://freefilter.bigbold.com/ and you can sign up, post, or either post as 'Anonymous Coward' if you don't want to join.

Initial testing has been going really well, and I'm looking forward to using this for a few community sites I have dreamed up. Hopefully other people will have even better ideas.

The code is written in Perl using MySQL as the backend. Has a generic template SQL file to import to get the database in order, and is really quick to set up. 99% of the layout is controllable from the database and CSS files.

Haven't done any high traffic testing yet (although if I launch a good community hopefully it'll get some!) but am serving a few hundred pageviews per day so far without problems.

There are 101 things to do, things to be added, and lots of tidy up, but it's working so I thought I'd get it up ASAP. The source code will follow when I reach a 0.1 version stage in the next week or two. The code needs a bit of cleaning up.

Anyway, if you have comments, do let me know!

Oh, and it's not as if I don't post anything at all, it's just I have a personal weblog over at boog.co.uk/log as well.

In other news, I'm developing a special tracking system with someone which should plug a certain unfulfilled niche in the market. But I can't say too much about that yet. Not open source, but some of the libraries I'm writing to support it probably will end up being so. (XML access modules, etc)

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