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Software

Journal Journal: Blogging Software Syndication Formats

I don't like to blog about blogging on my blog, so I'm putting this information here for my own reference.

I want to start a podcast. I have the idea and the content all lined up, but originally I was going to wait to get started until Odeo came out. From everything I've heard and seen, Odeo will make podcasting much easier than it is now. But the beta testers told me two months ago that it would only be about two weeks. I've now decided to stop waiting and just use regular blogging software jury-rigged for podcasting plus a bunch of helper apps like everyone else seems to do.

The essential thing that makes a podcast a podcast is the enclosure tag in the RSS 2.0 feed. So I took a look at the most popular blogging software to see what kinds of feeds they offer. This information was surprisingly hard to find out, so this may not all be 100% correct, but it's the best I could do:

  • Blogger - Atom
  • Blosxom - RSS 1.0
  • Moveable Type - Atom, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0
  • Radio Userland - RSS 2.0
  • TypePad - Atom, RSS 1.0
  • WordPress - RSS 2.0

Of course, any feed can be converted to any other feed format using feedburner. But I think it might be nice to have an RSS 2.0 feed automatically - I'm going to have to jump through enough hoops as it is to set up this podcast.

So far, I'm not sure whose software to use: Moveable Type (too complicated & expensive), Radio Userland (not customizeable enough), or WordPress (generates incorrectly formatted RSS 2.0). I've used Blogger for my other blogs, and like the fact that it's simple, customizeable, and doesn't require me to install crap on my server. But am I willing to go through the hassle of generating then hand-editing an RSS feed every time I post?

I'm going to finish getting my content organized, and should have a software decision within a week.

Businesses

Journal Journal: Adobe + Macromedia = :( 2

I am not happy to hear that Adobe is buying Macromedia. Over the last several years I have used more and more Macromedia software and less and less Adobe.

Macromedia's software is better-suited to the purposes for which I use it. Fireworks was made to create web graphics; inside it, raster and vector formats work side by side in harmony. Photoshop is bloated and has tacked-on web and vector features that are really hard to understand and use.

But most importantly, Macromedia wants my business. I can skip every other upgrade cycle and still get an upgrade discount on their products. Lately, though, I've bought both Studio MX upgrades because the price was so reasonable.

Adobe acts like I should be grateful they let me buy their precious software. If I skip one of the yearly Photoshop upgrades, I have to pay full price. And there was no discount for people who owned older Adobe products who wanted to upgrade to Creative Studio. So Adobe CS would cost me $1000 while Studio MX cost me $400 with Macromedia's generous upgrade policy. This is why I'm still using Photoshop 6.0.

I really wish this were happening the other way around. Macromedia buying Adobe could only be a good thing. I'm afraid Adobe is going to take away all the software I like best and replace it with expensive bloatware.

Education

Journal Journal: One ERP to Rule Them All 2

The University where I work has just announced a major IT initiative. It sounds like the plan is to buy a commercial ERP system to replace all the software from various vendors and homegrown systems the University has been using to manage its information so far.

I've helped create some of those homegrown systems, so I may be a little biased, but this sounds like a disaster in the making. Wouldn't it make more sense to just have a couple of consultants determine which of the software we're already using people like best and then make that the standard? I'm a little concerned about how well a top-down mega-system implementation is going to go over.

Information sharing is important, and it sounds like that's a major consideration in the ERP plan. But it's been my experience that information can be shared between disparate systems if people are willing to share it (the politics of info sharing is more difficult than the technology).

Maybe I've heard too many news stories of major software implementations gone wrong. Anyone have any stories of something like this going well and saving the company/university thousands of dollars?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Going to the Ball

In the past, I've just read about it, but this year I'm finally going to SXSW Interactive myself. I hope to learn a few things and meet interesting people.

If nothing else, it will be nice to be around other people who have jobs similar to mine, to talk shop with people who have different perspectives.

Networking (Apple)

Journal Journal: OS X - Windows Networking Problem Solved! 2

For a while now, I've been having trouble connecting to the Windows fileserver here at work with my iBook. I thought that some change made to the Windows server was to blame, but it turns out that it's Panther 10.3.3 that's the problem.

When I tried to use the Finder to access servers in my workgroup, I'd click on a server alias, get a login box, and then get the message "The alias 'X' could not be opened because the original item could not be found." Searching on the error message with Google brought me to this page, which explains the problem and gives a solution.

Now I'm back on the intranet and able to use the iBook productively again!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Giving the Gift of Tech Support 3

It's time to go home for Christmas, and time for the annual overhaul of my relatives' computers. Used to be that it was just my mom's ancient Mac that needed an annual going over to make sure it could lurch along for another year. My husband, Mac genius that he is, always handled that.

Then my mom got a nifty new iMac at work which she brought home over Christmas break for a tune-up and Q&A session as well. Not long after, my dad got a Dell laptop so he could work from home. My grandfather also got a Dell. Since George doesn't do Windows and my brother doesn't do tech support, I ended up supporting those by default.

So I'm heading home with a CD loaded with goodies: Windows XP SP2 (just in case), Ad-aware, Spybot, Firefox, and Bruce Schneier's recent article on PC security. (Grandpa's internet connection is glacial, so I don't want to make him download anything more than necessary.) Dad's laptop is going to be a breeze, but Grandpa's desktop is going to be a challenge. Who knows what junk has accumulated in there since last year?

I'm happy to do it, though, if it means that Grandpa is still willing to use his computer. Technological progress always comes at a price.

Businesses

Journal Journal: Best free places to advertise jobs online?

In trying to advertise a couple of job openings recently, our research group has run up against high prices and low response rates for traditional help wanted ads in the paper, and on large sites like CareerBuilder. The university job listings are of course free, but don't seem to get a very good response, either.

Where are the best places to advertise an IT job opening that are free or low-cost and are likely to get a good response? I have so far suggested Craigslist, and I'm thinking of suggesting Geekfinder. Can you think of any others?

User Journal

Journal Journal: 688-10134 2

23-5617-1021-401-72-1-429-12-5-79-434-2-1932.
11-1691-8-59-21-41-2161-2-1056-1650, 542-12-1339-37267.
147, 5443-9-21851-4676.

Movies

Journal Journal: Star Wars Still Tops 2

The movie industry likes to rank movies by box office gross, not counting for inflation, because this means the movie on top will always be a fairly new one.

However, using the Yahoo! list of top-grossing movies of all time and a handy inflation calculator to adjust all amounts to 2003 (the most recent year the calculator can do), the original Star Wars blows away the competition. It grossed $1,423,852,836.89 2003 dollars, compared to E.T.'s $839,840,340.63 or Titanic's $673,897,526.76

This better correlates with anecdotes I've heard about people who saw Star Wars forty times. With the advent of the VCR, who does that any more?

User Journal

Journal Journal: C'mon Laugh You Bastards 2

Our church has recently started recording the sermons on CD each Sunday. It's my job to get the CD after the service, rip the sermon to MP3, and put it up on the church web site. Nobody (other than the guy who set up the recording system) really knows how to work the CD recorder. There are hand-written instructions on it that tell which buttons to push in order to record and finalize the CD.

Apparently, some people are using the CD recorder as a regular CD player in the church. I've noticed that when I pop the sermon CD in my computer at home a random title and track listing pops up. I'm guessing that these are the title and first track from the last CD in the player. However they got there, they are burned into our original sermon CDs and can sometimes be humorous, as when the sermon was titled "The Pope on the Rosary" for a few weeks running (our church isn't Catholic). It's also kind of interesting to see what people have been listening to in the church during the week.

The best so far, however, was this week's sermon. The CD is titled "Sing You Bastards!" and the sermon track is labeled "C'mon Laugh You Bastards." I'm not sure whether the music director was trying a little tough love on the choir, or our assistant rector was looking for some new jokes for her sermon.

Of course, I change the label to something boring and appropriate before I put it online. But wouldn't it be awesome if you saw one of those signs outside a church announcing the week's sermon title that said, "C'mon Laugh You Bastards"? That would be one sermon I'd want to hear.

United States

Journal Journal: Keep the Good Guys Around 1

He may officially be the Representative from Virginia's Ninth District, but during the last few years he's often seemed to be one of the few people in the U.S. Congress representing the District of Cyberspace. Rick Boucher is running for re-election this year. I can't vote for him since I live in South Carolina, but to those of you who live in VA or near enough to help with his campaign, I suggest you take a look at the links below to see who I'm talking about. I'd be sorry to see this guy go.

DMCA Foes Find Allies in House
Two Congressmen Push for DMCA Amendments (/. story)
Boucher's DMCRA To Get A Hearing On May 12 (/. story)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Technocrat.net is back 13

Some of you may remember my technology policy / technology news site Technocrat.net. The site is reactivated. It's intended to be a more mature, and hopefully more relevant, forum than Slashdot. No ACs, a special focus on technology policy and high technology outside of the conventional corporate model, but conventional tech news as well.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd create a login on the site and submit articles. Especially original work, which hasn't always been well recieved on Slashdot - they seem to prefer linking to other people's coverage. RDF and RSS are available at http://technocrat.net/rdf and http://technocrat.net/rss, so you can keep track of articles from elsewhere.

Bruce

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