ANWR again

If the measure to allow oil drilling in ANWR was as noble and worthy as those who say it is, it wouldn’t have to be snuck in the back door, attached to other measures. I thought this measure had been stopped, but evidentally, it had only been stalled.

President Bush spent the first few years of his administration getting Halliburton into Iraq. It now seems he’ll spend the rest of his tenure trying to get Halliburton into ANWR.


Different buttons

I love the magic corners on my PowerBook. I love the fact that if I send my mouse to that corner, all instances (windows) of whatever application currently have focus get displayed in bitty windows, but if I swing it over to this corner, everything with an open window gets displayed. And lets now forget that down here, the windows are swept out and down and I have direct access to the Desktop.

With Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4), I have this Dashboard stuff, so swooping my mouse over to the top-right opens up the Dashboard, and if my iTunes is playing, the little Dashboard widget shows what’s currently playing — not to mention what the weather is outside, and so on.

I was playing with this today when my roommate came in to drop something off and asked me what I was doing. I showed him, swinging my mouse around as things opened and closed–asking him isn’t it the coolest? He looked at it, nodded indifferently, and said, “Sure”.

I looked up at him for a moment, and then opened up this site that Joseph Duemer pointed out on Friday.

“Ah, that’s great! No wait, scroll down more.”

“Look at that! That’s so cute!”


“What is that! HaHa!”

“That’s so cool! Can you send me that link?”

Technology Weblogging

WordPress Two Lookies

I listened to an interview with WordPress developers Matt Mullenweg and Donncha O’Caoimh. It reminded me that I hadn’t checked out WordPress 2.0 yet.

I downloaded the code using the Subversion command:

svn export

This gave me a copy of the code without the Subversion source code control files. I then uploaded it to my server to WordPress Two and had a look around. Asymptomatic has a good review of what’s changed, including a true data abstraction layer, which should make for a more robust product.

From a user’s point of view, the administrative interface is vastly improved, with a much better organized, as well as more attractive design. This is the Post Edit page and as you can see most of the post options have now been placed behind DHTML-based buttons, which can be clicked to expose or hide the specific option. As the page also shows, photo uploads can be handled directly for the post and, though it doesn’t show in the snapshot, in-page preview actually uses an iframe and loads the user’s stylesheet, so you get a chance to see the post ‘live’. You can also use an Ajaxian option to add new categories, on the fly, as you add a post. The Edit page also has a WYSIWYG editor, which you can turn on or off in options.

The theme selection page also has some new features, such as seeing an image of each theme available for use in the page. However, a new option allows the theme designer to attach a functions.php file to their theme, providing options to allow the users to customize the existing theme. In the Default theme, this allows the user to change the header and font colors.

The use of DHTML and Ajax is noticeable in the product, and most of it welcome. As such, the Javascript libraries are setup in such a way that you can access these for your own weblog customizations. However, after the first ‘ooo wizzy’ moment watching the update message fade from bright yellow to pale blue I ignored the effect; so I’m not sure the JS for this particular modification is worth the load.

All in all, WordPress 2.0 is a major improvement over 1.5. Enough that if you’re thinking of moving to a self-hosted weblog rather than a centralized hosted solution, now is the time to give this possibility serious thought.

After this first, quick look, I have only two suggestions for the WordPress development team. The first is remove the section listing those posts currently in draft above the page where the post is developed. It takes page real estate, and you’re repeating what’s already available in the Manage page. The second change I would recommend would be to make the WYSIWYG editing interface plugin-abled so that any number of good WYSIWYG editors can be wrapped and released as editing plugins. I did this with Wordform, and it gives the users an option in the one area they can be most picky: the editor.

(I believe the Desktop can be replaced with a plugin, but if not, this would be another suggestion.)

One thing I do differently, and something for the developers to consider, is a separate preview of the page. I did this with Wordform, using the same files that are used for the main page, but with a preview option. Right now, with the page previewing in the edit page, if the entry has several photos, this could slow the page down when loading and saving after edits. Also, even when you load the stylesheet, viewing the preview in an iframe is not the same as actually viewing it exactly as it would look when published. Still, this is a preference–there are folks who would probably prefer the in-page preview.

I’ll be getting a fresh export and updating the code once a week or so until the beta is released. I’ll cover different aspects of the tool with each release, as well as discuss what I would do to alter the base tool with plugins and administrative extensions.

If you’re interested in playing with the new interface, send me an email and I’ll set you up a test account — if you’re not too scary, or have a name like “Joe Spam” or something.


Margarita Dissent

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I haven’t heard anything from Dori Smith, the panel leader, whether the panel on women and visibility is going forward or not. That will most likely be between her and the SxSW folks.

If it does go forward, I have to decide whether to appear on it or not. Kathy Sierra’s participation was important to me, primarily because hers is a strong, articulate voice in dissent. Too many panels–especially ones having to do with women and technology, or women and online visibility–tend to be a group of like minded people who basically end up saying some variation of the same thing. The very concept of dissent seems to be discouraged, or even stigmatized as ‘trolling’, ‘flaming’, or some variation.

When dissent is carefully introduced into the discussion, it’s so bloodless as to de-emphasize the differences; all in the interest of presenting a common front. How many times have you attended a panel where the moderator ends up saying, “…though we have our differences, we all agree…” at the end, as if the one and only goal of the panel is agreement.

Based on my reading of posts, participating in the official backchannel, reading the liveblogged sessions, and listening to podcasts, though the participants at BlogHer, were engaging, intelligent, and diverse, there seemed to be a commonality that ran through this conference that left as many questions unanswered as answered. What was missing, in my opinion, were those who not only disagreed, but could express their disagreement with thoughtful, articulate passion.

That’s why I was looking forward to Kathy’s participation–not only is she an articulate and passionate speaker, she didn’t even agree with the panel title. The issue of women’s invisibility online and in technology would have been explored deeply, as well as broadly.

I have debated Kathy many times in online communications, either her and I alone or with other participants, (instances of which, found via a quick search, are herehereherehereherehere , hereour first comment discussion back in March in David Weinberger’s comments, and so on). I was looking forward to doing so in person — not the least of which (she selfishly and sheepishly admits) because Kathy has five times the readership and ten times the presentation experience than I do, and I wouldn’t be accused of ‘kicking the baby squirrels’ if I do disagree with her. And I doubt that anyone would accuse Kathy of kicking the baby squirrels for her disagreeing with me.

Women disagreeing. Too often, this ends up being categorized a ‘cat’ fight, an absolutely appalling term used by those who seek to denigrate any arguments made by women. Or the participants are looked at with disdain by the prim and proper among us–all of whom look as if they’ve been sucking a lifetime of lemons. We only have to consider the recent altercation between Mena Trott and Ben Metcalf at Les Blogs to realize that there was a strong hint of disapproval of Mena’s outburst, less because of the outburst than because of who she was : Mena. Sweet, smiling Mena. One could almost feel the puckering through our computers.

Women can disagree, yes, even angrily and passionately, and still be feminine/womanly/women. Where did we lose this right? When we decide that women must be mannered at all times?