Entries for July, 2007

Daniel Burka:

At this point the vast majority of people are using browsers that support the transparent PNG [Ed's note, he's referring to PNG-24]. Huzzah! The critical mass has been reached and I believe it's finally over the top for the PNG.

"Critical mass" being at best 54%? I understand the whole mentality of "If I'm using a Web 2.0 application, I'm probably luring the early adopters with the latest browser" mentality, but it really saddens me when web developers take the mentality of "adopt the latest and greatest and screw everybody else." Every day, new applications purposely only work on as limited of an audience as possible. There was a recent thread on Ajaxian about Digg's new comment system and I responded (I would copy the quote here, but it requires context).

The basic gist of what I'm arguing (and I had to explain this to some Russian devs at MT) is that all UI views need to correspond to URLs. Period. The simplicity of  the web is built upon the powerful notion that you can refer to anything as a URI. Statelessness is a powerful idea.

The saddest thing about all these new sites is their insistence that the REST model is broken, and that fancy animations is more important than maintaining REST principles. It only requires a little more work, but you can get both for free!

This is partially why I'm so skeptical about the emergence of AIR and Silverlight and why I've hated Flash for so long - for content, it breaks the very ideas that made the web so popular. I don't dispute the value of rich clients at all (Pownce looks very nice from the screenshots cause I can't get no invite!)- but as web developers, isn't our goal to make our stuff work for as many people as possible? The web made content accessible - we should continue in that regards as accessibility engineers by creating web apps that work across as many platforms as possible (and degrades nicely).

I recently threw up some links in the old Tabulas control panel that lets people try out the super-buggy super-broken super-risky control panel. Most of the issues, so far, as related to people using outdated browsers. I'm pretty sure at least 3 out of the 10 or so bug reports I've gotten are from people using IE6 or older browsers. Which makes me remember that I need to abide by my own rules - oftentimes when I'm rushed for time, I'll just "make it work for Firefox.." but that's not acceptable! 

Posted by roy on July 2, 2007 at 01:43 PM | 2 Comments

last friday (yes, i keep a few entries in draft status so it won't always be so topical, sue me):

Co-worker Max: Hey Roy, can you drive me to the airport?
Me: In your car?
Max: Yeah
Me: I can't drive stick.
Max: I thought your car was manual.
Me: No, the transmission is automatic. Everything else is manual.

 Laughter abounds. Later:

Max: At least you can't stall out in your automatic.
Me: Actually, I can


Posted by roy on July 3, 2007 at 03:57 PM | Add a comment

We've been watching our DekiWiki downloads at MindTouch grow lately, so I took a look at some Tabulas statistics. Here is some info:

  • Google Analytics says Tabulas had 960,000 pageviews over the past 30 days with 320,000 visits
  • Statcounter tells a similar story:

  • Amazon S3 says over the month of June, Tabulas transferred 240GB worth of static data (images, files, radio files) with 5,443,680 GET requests (that means there was that many requests for images/files)
  • Amazon S3 also shows 3.1 GB worth of data was uploaded (61530 new files) and I'm currently using about 185GB worth of hard disk space
  • EV1Servers says my one web/db server pushed out 350GB of data over the month of June
Posted by roy on July 4, 2007 at 02:00 AM | Add a comment

One-word album reviews:

  • Blonde Redhead's "23" - AMAZING!
  • Fallout Boy's "Infinity on High" - eh
  • My Chemical Romance's "Black Parade" - nice
Posted by roy on July 5, 2007 at 04:02 PM in Music | 5 Comments

sunday mornings are best. i love to wake up at 1pm and lay in bed until 2pm, just thinking about things.

my thought of the day:

there are two diametrically opposing philosophies to software design: one is that software should be endlessly modular, and that the user can bend the software to do anything they want (drupal) at a cost of complexity. the other is that users should bend to the will of the software and  learn to operate within its confines and limitations.  

Posted by roy on July 8, 2007 at 08:31 PM in Web Development | Add a comment

Beautiful Katamari is dissing the Playstation 3 for the Wii. It brings a great big smile to my face when I see Sony getting burned. Here is a list of reasons why:

  • I'm so sick of Sony with its stupid proprietary formats. No, we didn't want Betamax. No, we didn't want MiniDisc. No, we don't want to buy all our DVDs in your stupid PSP format. (Blu-ray to be determined)
  • I've never had great experience with any hardware from Sony. Their cameras suck (CCDs forced a huge recall), the Vaio is lame, and that battery recall a while back was kinda iffy. Whenever people asked for my camera recommendations back in the day, my response: "A Canon or a Nikon. Avoid everything else"
  • Not only did Sony install a rootkit, but check this quote out from a Sony pres: ""Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" Wow. Awesome.
  • A gaming system that costs more than $500. A gaming system that costs more than $500. A GAMING SYSTEM THAT COSTS MORE THAN $500. Christ. Apple was getting burned for releasing a phone, iPod player, and a small tablet PC for $500. Who would want a Playstation3 over an iPhone anyways? Obviously guys who don't want to get laid.
Posted by roy on July 8, 2007 at 11:59 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments

tonight's "off to bed" music: lynyrd skynyrd's "simple man"


Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.

Take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son,
If you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

Boy, don't you worry... you'll find yourself.
Follow you heart and nothing else.
And you can do this if you try.
All I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son,
If you can?
Posted by roy on July 9, 2007 at 01:10 AM in Music | 1 Comments

Somebody needs to make a simple REST service that will let you keep versions of a plain-text document. It would be a public, anonymous service.

The only requirement to using this service would be to generate a unique key for your document to prevent collisions. The dumbest, easiest thing I can think of is a MD5 hash of a URL (it's not meant to be secure, just predictable, and a 128-bit hash value is pretty predictable). We could go more advanced and allow for salting, but let's ignore that use case for now).

In REST-speak, the service would have 3 methods:

POST: http://freeversioning/uniquekey/
This method would allow you to create/edit contents for this unique key.

GET: http://freeversioning/uniquekey/
This method would retrieve a list of available revisions for this particular key

GET: http://freeversioning/uniquekey/diff/?from=$val&to=$val
This method would do a diff between two versions ($val and $to would be keys retrieved from the GET method above)

How would this be useful? I can think of two very specific use cases right now:

  1. Blogs - Serious bloggers (not me) would benefit from this service because they could keep track of edits to their blog posts, without requiring heavy CPU lifting. I know for Tabulas being able to add wiki-like functions to post editing would be fantastic, and I'm sure this would equally apply to Wordpress and such. This could also open the door for more collaborative blogging - the problem with opening up your individual blog posts to multiple authors is maintaining a listing of revisions and reverting bad changes (a place where wikis shine). The barrier to entry for revisioning functionality is high. Very high. Especially with XHTML (guess who does this well!)
  2. Light-weight SVN for websites - This service wouldn't store any media (it would just store the XHTML data), but imagine being able to snapshot the content your site over time and seeing the diffs of the changes over time.

I want to touch back on point 1 a bit, I make this see like a blog-oriented tool, but it really isn't. Think about all the content management systems out there, and how they differ. But the beauty of a service like this is that it's completely CMS agnostic - it doesn't care where the data or requests are coming from - all it cares about is storing the data and then showing diffs of the content when requested. Think about all Drupal's less-than-stellar versioning, and how it would benefit from revisioning of its documents. It's bringing the power of the wiki to every CMS in the world.

we need more apps like s3 - simple interfaces for complex and deep problems to simplify development.

There's a very good chance that this is the dumbest idea in the world - I might wake up tomorrow and go WTF.

Posted by roy on July 9, 2007 at 11:09 PM in Web Development | 4 Comments

Aaron blogs about Damien's gripes about working with me. It's sad, but true. The quote, from Aaron's blog:

Damien lost a battle over 5 pixels in a recent design decision..errr argument. He was so sad he put together this graphic.

I had to inform him typically it’s spelled “Commie”. I think it’s supposed to be Roy. Kim Jong Il would be more fitting for Roy though.

At MindTouch, battles are not won by superior arguments or rank; they're won simply when the other side is too tired to continue. This is how we design features, how we design UI, and generally how we function as a company. We call this "consensus by exhaustion." ;)

Posted by roy on July 10, 2007 at 05:50 PM in Foolishness, MindTouch | 4 Comments

So I've been going back and forth about writing a 2008 election post. I think if you're an old reader, it's pretty clear where I stand on a lot of issues. If you're not an old reader (or if you've forgotten where I stand), it's probably good you don't know. Less words I have to eat later on when I'm proven horribly wrong.

All I'll say is this: I think the biggest threat to our country is the overreaching powers of the executive branch. Bush has continuously abused the executive branch to the point that there doesn't seem to be much in checks and balances anymore. To me, any type of leader who has any type of authoritarian type views is no good. Whoever gets elected next needs to make a concerted effort to reduce the power of the executive branch. Whether that's wholly possible, I don't know.

I also (finally) registered to vote! I know, I'm like 5 years late, but whatever. I registered as Republican, so when I end up voting for some fringe candidate it'll make it seem like the Republican party is "torn." That'll be great. It will also hopefully annoy Aaron, cause he hates Republicans. Hah!

Posted by roy on July 12, 2007 at 03:10 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Since this wouldn't be a journal without me chronicling the mundane aspects of my life, here it goes:

I noticed lately that either my waistline has been expanding, or my  pants have been shrinking. It's not just in the waist area, either; I noticed the space for my "junk" in my jeans has gotten exceedingly tight. I'd like to leave a little imagination for the ladies of San Diego in that area, so this was obviously a problem that had to be fixed ASAP. In an effort to combat this problem, I woke up today to do my once-a-year shopping.

From the moment I left the door and returned home, in exactly 61 minutes, I managed to:

  • Have lunch ($5.05 chicken teriyaki, cheapo bandito!)
  • Get a free Jamba juice (my coworker Max gave me this coupon, woot)
  • Complete my once-a-year shopping at the Gap

I didn't know whether my pants shrinking was the problem, so I tried on both 31x30 pants and 32x30 pants. The 31x30 pants fit very well at the Gap, but if shrinkage were to be a problem, it's better I go with the safer bet. So loaded up with the knowledge that I wear a 32 waistline, I went nuts. Picked up a pair of khakis, two pairs of shorts, and two pairs of jeans. I've been meaning to pick up polo shirts for the past two years, so also picked up two of those (one in the old MindTouch brown!) as well as three white t-shirts (can never have too many of those).

What's great, though, is the sales associate (who was born in Raleigh, woot!) informed me that I could save 20% by opening a credit card! And it was double points! So what originally turned out to be a $280 spree turned out to be $228, plus I get $40 off my next purchase! o_O

Man, to be covered on clothing for the next year $227... now that's great. And to do it in under an hour ... even better.

P.S. The gap sales associate was uber-cute. Too bad I blew it when I told her that I had to buy all these clothes cause I "ran out of clothes." As if clothes were a perishable good... sighmuffins.   

Currently listening to: One Republic - Apologize
Currently feeling: accomplished
Posted by roy on July 15, 2007 at 02:55 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments

So I'm not sure exactly when Bank of America added this "My Portfolio" feature, but apparently you can link up all your financial accounts to get your net worth online. It lets you tie in your investment accounts (I got Fidelity, Scottrade, and ING linked up), credit card accounts (liabilities), and other sites (PayPal and Prosper, even!). 

Not only can it glean information in one view, but it'll autologin you into these sites as well! I had no idea they were building such cool tools - this blows out of the water all those Web 2.0 personal financial managing sites that I tried out.

If you've got BoA, try it out. Just log in through your online login and you'll see a link on your account summary for "My Portfolio."

Posted by roy on July 15, 2007 at 11:37 PM in Finances | Add a comment
Metric friggin' rocks. They had a show next door a few weeks ago, I totally should have caught it. Next time!
Currently listening to: Metric - Soft Rock Star (Jimmy Vs. Joe Mix)
Posted by roy on July 17, 2007 at 12:36 PM in Music | 6 Comments

As I grow older, less and less things impress me. I can get excited about many things for a brief amount of time, but then I tend to get really disappointed with them.

Posted by roy on July 19, 2007 at 08:03 PM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Next week, we're releasing the next official release of Deki Wiki. It's been about 8 months-ish since our last release. Why so long? Well, we moved a TON of the business logic from PHP to C# (Mono, although all the devs here use .NET).

(Un)fortunately, we didn't do too many UI changes - most of the changes over the past few months are all back-end changes. This should (in theory) set us up in the next release to do more work along the UI front like a new template or a revamp of our biggest eyesore - our crappy dialogs.

However, Damien did do a little work with our default skin and did a fantastic job:

Amazing what a little color change can do!

Posted by roy on July 20, 2007 at 02:44 PM in MindTouch | Add a comment

We had a company picnic last Saturday at La Jolla. Man, was it BEEAAAUUTIFUL! I noticed Aaron posted a few pictures online, so I'll repost them again here so you can get a VISUAL idea of what our team looks like:

That's Damien; he's our wonderful graphics designer. I have to get contacts so I can wear cool shades like him. I'd wear my shades all the time, cause the sun never sets on being badass! Hahahahaha. Nice.

This is Max. He is an evil Russian landowner. I like this picture because it makes him seem like a giant, compared to that little boy.

Corey and Pat, who are respon$ible for bringing the b$ing b$ing home.

Brigette and Steve, husband and wife (Ken always pokes fun of them by banning "interoffice fraternization", roffles). This is Ken:

Sofia, our office manager (she snuck up on Aaron and shot him with his own toy gun today ... it was friggin' great. It scared the bejesus out of him cause the gun almost scalped him).

There are no pics of Aaron from the party! So I'll steal another one of him and his adorable daughter, Ashby:

Of course, this wouldn't quite be my journal if I didn't plaster it with pictures of myself: (I have very few pictures where I'm actually smiling forreal - I think this could be like one of only a few out there!). I look like Smeagol after finding the ring, but that's fine!!!!

The whole MindTouch team of 2007 (minus the Russian team):
(Because Pete is in MN, I had to expertly photoshop him into our group shot; see if you can figure out which one he is)

Posted by roy on July 20, 2007 at 09:06 PM in MindTouch, San Diego | 8 Comments

Have you heard of wikigroaning? It's a game where you find two wikipedia articles and compare their length and depth to one another, and shake your head at the emphasis placed on certain articles.

For example, look at Jedi Knight's wikipedia article and compare it to Knight. The article linked above has a few more choice entries:

Well, you get the idea.

Anyways, with all this Harry Potter talk, I decided to read the wikipedia article; I ended up reading the whole ending scene and it seemed pretty ... uh... uninteresting (given that I've never read a Harry Potter book).

I decided to do a wikigroaning comparison of the latest Harry Potter book against my favorite books:


(my new usericon seems very fitting right now)

Posted by roy on July 22, 2007 at 01:25 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment

Who's the idiot who made the graph in this article? Look at how the value of "Not sure" changes from light pink to dark pink from the first to second images. Ummm, right.

Edit: Wow, they changed it. I'm going to pretend my journal made the difference. Now when I go out bar hopping I can tell all the ladies that the Financial Times reads "danger smells like clean socks!" hahahahahahaha. niiiice.

Posted by roy on July 22, 2007 at 01:48 PM in Ramblings | 9 Comments

I mean, really, wow...

This is funny on so many frickin' levels.

Posted by roy on July 24, 2007 at 01:11 PM in Ramblings | 15 Comments

NOBODY from work knows what I mean when I talk about the Swedish Chef! NOBODY! I thought he was one of those characters that EVERYBODY knew about! How many of YOU don't know? (More importantly, how many of you DO know what I'm talking about???????)

Please restore my faith in humanity!!!

Posted by roy on July 25, 2007 at 12:36 PM in Ramblings | 7 Comments
  1. large groups of asians make me nervous. i feel nervous to be in them, and i get nervous when i see them coming.

Overall, feeling really burnt out. Deki Wiki went out the door Monday night. We've upgraded doc.opengarden.org with the hayes release, so you can play with the new release there. Aaron went nuts and abused all our new features on the main Deki Wiki Hayes Release page. He embedded a bunch of RSS feeds, did some really fancy formatting, and took advantage of our inline image manipulation tools.

This was a release about 7 months in the making... you'd think with a release cycle that long, there'd be some huge sense of relief, but there wasn't. The "we're done" feeling was replaced with "oh shit, what bugs did we unleash upon the public?" feeling. It's been three days now, and no serious issues reported by the community (although a few patches were released). I guess I can start taking this stick out of my ass now...

Cause I ended up working over the weekend, I got Friday and Monday off as a trade-off, so I've got a NICE 4-day weekend to look forward to after tomorrow!


Currently listening to: metric - soft rock star
Posted by roy on July 26, 2007 at 01:09 AM in Ramblings, Web Development, MindTouch, San Diego | 5 Comments

I wrote back in March:

Californian girls (maybe it's just SD) all look the same: super toned and tanned bodies, super short shorts (the ones that look comfortable yet still manage to hug the ass), a white tank top (with strategically positioned fruity-colored bra straps showing), huge dark housefly-like sunglasses, sandals, jabbering away on a cell phone. I mean, the only difference really is whether they're a blond or a brunette ... I feel like there are only 5 girls in California, and they follow me around every where I go just to keep reappearing in my line of sight. California, the land of mass-produced "hotness." Sighmuffins.

GOD, I TAKE IT BACK. PLEASE STOP MOCKING ME. I also take back my confession from last night ... large groups of asians don't make me as uneasy as....

... 150,000 dweebs who have descended upon San Diego downtown for Comic Con 2007.

Everywhere____I____walk, I see dorks. They're everywhere. Please ... bring back the hot Cali girls... please... <sniff sniff>

On Wednesday, my co-worker Max and I went up to pick up some lunch downtown ... and the guy who took my monies asked us, "are you guys here for the comic book convention?"

EXSQUUUEEEEZZEE ME??? ME? Do I look like a DORK to you? Does it LOOK like ***I*** need a girlfriend??? (umm... wait a second...)


Double burn ... ::sniff sniff::

Posted by roy on July 26, 2007 at 07:48 PM in Foolishness, San Diego | 11 Comments

When I imagined my 4 day weekend, I imagined 4 days of extreme productivity for Tabulas. After Friday, I've done nothing. Saturday and Sunday were wasted watching Season 2 of The Wire, Season 1 of Tru Calling, and (so far), episodes 1-15 of Freaks and Geeks.

Freaks and Geeks, btw, is awesome. It's amazingly accurate plotlines let me reminisce about those horribly high school years.

Anyways, Linda Cardellini is beautiful:

IMDB shows all her recent pictures as being a blonde, but I think she's far more stunning as a brunette.

Posted by roy on July 30, 2007 at 08:19 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

From the Facebook blog:

At the same time, we noticed other platform applications building their own walls - ways to leave various sorts of messages behind. We realized it made sense not just to add videos to Wall posts, but to make the Wall a more central place that any platform application could add content to. As a result, we have now launched an improved Wall.


Somebody else wrote a better application than ours, so we stole it and implemented it as our default feature. We control the API! Haha, BURN!!

Explain to me why you want to work on a platform that's always going to give its own features precedence? (Granted, there are a few targetted applications Facebook can't compete in, but those are *very* limited).

Run, lemmings, run!

How fitting, I read this after posting.

Facebook completely removed the Audio music-sharing application from its platform last night, saying it violated music copyrights.

Audio was developed by a third-party using Facebook’s platform for developers, and Facebook says Audio violates its newly updated developer terms of service.

K, I'll stop writing about facebook. I've got better things to do, like ogle at pictures of Julia Allison, some chick who showed up at some tech parties and reminded a bunch of "high flying" techboys how woefully inadequate they are.


In conclusion: Facebook; lame. Julia Allison: hawt.

Posted by roy on July 31, 2007 at 04:12 PM in Ramblings | 9 Comments
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