First of all–isn’t there anything in any of the syndication feed specs that when a syndicated item returns 404 or like, some indication is made? Shouldn’t there be?

In the meantime, I’ve been putting some thought into what I can do with S3. If you’ve been living under a rock (or conversely, are non-tech and go out to the park and stuff on the weekend), S3 is a very cheap mass storage system that Amazon is providing. You pay a few bucks a month and get bunches of space and bandwidth. The only thing is, you have to store data using web services–it’s not a regular hosting system.

I thought this would be a perfect place to put my RDF files. You can’t store database data at S3, which limits data types of storage. But I don’t store my RDF data in a database. Each model is stored as a separate file, which would be simple to move to the storage. Only thing is, I have plenty of space between the two servers I have now–my shared system for the weblog, and my development server.

I could put my pictures on S3, but it took time for me to find a way to pull all of these back from Flickr AND modify my URL in my posts. I’m not of a mind to do the URL thing again.

I could store my gmail email on S3, but I deleted the account. Actually, I’ve deleted most of my centralized accounts.

That space demands media files. Only problem is, I’m not a real media person–outside the pics. I don’t think I’m going to get heavily into podcasts. I don’t have a video camera.

As for storing my personal computer data at S3, I have a DVD burner; I have blank discs.

The more I think on it, the more I think S3 would be a good spot for RDF data. Not just the RDF that helps run my site–RDF I download, or RDF I scrape from other sites, or RDF I pick up here and there. Then, when I need the data, since the models are stored as separate files, it would be easy to access the data, and update it if necessary.

This doesn’t work with the microformat stuff, as this type of metadata is stored directly in the pages. RDF, on the other, hand, can be associated with our web pages or other files, but stored in an external location.

The key is not to provide public access to the data on S3. I don’t control the domain name, I am unaware of how one can assign a domain name for an individual piece of storage, and there is no guarantee the data will live there forever. It’s hard enough preventing 404 errors when I do host the files, much less when I don’t.

Instead, I’ll mine the data from my server, and then serve it directly from my domains. If I then decide to move the files, I just pull the data, put it somewhere else.

As for security and confidentiality of data–heck, people have been bitching about how unreadable RDF/XML is for years. Now when they say it, I can smile, tell them it’s a perk.


Last spring

Friday I was able to get out for a few hours, for probably my last chance to take Spring photos. At the Gardens, the flowers were in their last glorious song before petals falling and giving away to the hotter, lusher tones and heat of the summer plants.


We talk about four seasons, but our time is marked by a finer granularity. There is Spring, true, but there is the beginning of Spring when we’re teased by the first green peeking through the ground. The hearty but delicate looking crocus is queen then, as we hedge our hopes for early warmth against the knowledge that if we hope for Spring, winter will come in one last time.


Then there’s mid-Spring, when the daffodils are in full bloom, but the tulips are nothing more than curvy spears of green sticking out of the dirt. Here in Missouri, daffodils grow wild–the last remnant of the settlers and others who farmed this land and when they reached a point where not every bit of work had to go to survive, they planted flowers. Just because.


When the tulips come out, we’re just past mid-Spring, into full Spring. Now if we have a snow, we know it’s a freak occurrence, and we can even look at it with some tolerance–as bright yellow and red, or rich pink and purple tulips appear above the white.

I like how a tulip dies. Its petals curl out and under, and it exposes the bright bullet of color that surrounds its stamen–no longer trying to protect it’s innermost secrets from such large and crude creatures such as ourselves.


When I die I want to die like a tulip. I want to die when it’s warm, but not hot. I want to be naked and brightly painted, lying down on the grass with my legs spread wide. And then I want to be found quickly, while the petal is still on the stem, so to speak.



Now is the last of Spring, when the petals fall and the smell in the air is just on the edge between being rich and cloying. This is the last burst of Spring–it’s call to glory. The bees are so heavy with pollen, they can barely fly.


Spring is a messy time of the year. Things sprouting all over, a riot of color, and then the flowers and their inconsiderate dropping of petals, just anywhere. I imagine an obsessive-compulsive gardener would have to take Valium this time of year.


It’s a peaceful time of the year. Even with the birds and the color and the smell and the never-ending storms. I think it’s the warmth and the perfect balance between the dryness of winter and the humidity of summer.


Friday, when I was down by the Japanese lake, a rust-red bird was flying about in the trees. I’d never seen a bird like this, and luckily it stayed still long enough for me to get a few pictures.



The next time I go to the Gardens, it will be summer. Not the calendar Summer–the first stage of real Summer. When the lilies start appearing, and the tulips are long gone, and the butterflies and dragonflies take the field. It won’t be too hot yet. But it will remind me that a year has gone by.