On Not | Mo Chit

February 21, 2004

Got Amylin? I knew milk was for suckers. According to the BBC, the amylin hormone could prevent bone loss. Great! Hopefully, Coca-Cola can start putting this stuff in every can of Coke. Unless, of course, we've got the usual "Patent Pending" business.
Posted by Dudley at 09:38 PM
Stick it to them It seems that our bud, Tony Blair, feeling high and mighty from his stance on WMD in Iraq, thought it would be a good idea to stick it to people a little closer to home. According to this BBC article, Tony wants random drug tests for students in the UK. Wow, what a great idea!

However, I don't think it should stop there. I think random drug tests should be administered for all public officials including Tony himself. Of course it's a terrible thing if a student wastes his/her life by getting involved with drugs, but it's ten fold worse when a politician does so since it adversely affects their decision making. Also what would all the doped-up UK kids think if their very own politicians failed drug tests?
Posted by Dudley at 09:23 PM
Scoble's unsubscribe policy Scoble hates feeds that only have titles and no content. We couldn't agree more. When you do something like that, you're pretty much just wasting bandwidth. I really wish mozillaZine would put some content in their feed and I don't particularly care for Slashdot and others, who don't put the full post in their feeds. As we mentioned earlier, John Udell has some good points on why you should leave post summaries up to news readers.
Posted by Wes at 09:15 PM
When good birds go bad Apparently a gang of birds has been robbing a car wash in Virginia. The owner complained that they were losing a good junk of change each week, and setup a video trap. This is what they found,


The car wash ended up finding a little over $4,000 on the roof of their building and in nearby trees. I say we throw the book at them. (via Ari)
Posted by Wes at 08:14 PM
RSS: Readers, Users and Organization John Udell has an interesting article discussing how RSS Readers display feeds and the viewing preferences of users. He makes some recommendations to allow the choice of scannable summaries and a way to aggregate on full-blown posts, which include:
  • Nobody needs to truncate feeds in order to enable front-page views (although some will still want to in order to drive traffic to websites).
  • Authors should think of the first HTML element (normally a paragraph, but could be a list or a block quote or something else) as special: the lead, or deck, that will appear in a front-page view.
  • Feed readers should then offer a front-page view (e.g., just the first HTML element found in each item) as well as a full-content view.
Many aggregators treat RSS feeds like e-mail which really encumbers users, because you have to click on each item you want to read, instead of being able to scan through them quickly. This is synonymous to a webpage just having links off the front page to their content, which is quite annoying and cumbersome to use. Most aggregators also don't have any options for how many items to display at one time, instead of allowing you to page through 30 or 40 items at a time.

When writing the Gush News Reader, we thought long and hard about these issues, and realized that the big problem is the lack of control over feed organization and aggregation. We came up with a tree structure organization of feeds, allowing users to create groups, and groups within groups. This gives the flexibility to see the news items for a particular feed or group(s) of feeds. Imagine having 15 or 20 new items across a group of feeds. Being able to aggregate on a group level with new items sorted to the top is a huge time saver compared to visting each feed individually.
Posted by Wes at 04:30 PM
Right on the Mark Mark Pilgrim has an excellent article about determining the character set used within a feed. Gush complies mostly with the outlined steps. We have a last resort step which uses the Mozilla's Univerisal Charset Detector for recognizing feeds that use encodings such as SHIFT_JS, EUC_KR, etc. The results for using UCD are mixed, but it's better than just giving up when the encoding isn't us-ascii or UTF-8, and the information isn't present in the XML declaration or the HTTP header.
Posted by Dudley at 03:10 PM
See your site in Safari

iCapture is a very cool idea that let's you enter the URL of a website, and then within 30 seconds get a screenshot of how it looks in the Safari browser. Could have used this when 2entwine's site was still having problems, before we bought our PowerMac G4. It's also a nice free way to advertise yourself too, since they have a history of the last 30 entries on the main page. (via Nick Bradbury)

Posted by Wes at 02:01 PM
The borrow version of eBay

Mediachest allows you to share your CD's, DVD's, Books, and Music with others. Only problem is, you have to physically meet up with them to let them borrow your stuff, and Mediachest, I'm guessing, will probably take no responsibility if someone just walks off with it. I doubt whether I would drive an hour to Boston for a DVD when Blockbuster is 5 minutes away and only 3 bucks. (via Boing Boing)

Posted by Wes at 01:50 PM

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