Archive for the 'social networking' Category

My original RSS (type) idea 7 years ago

July 10, 2006

I was in bed last night when it occured to me, I thought up an RSS type idea 7 years ago! I was 13 or so and had a southpark website with a collection of various media (all credited of course :)) and regularly checked the top southpark websites. There was a very good community and many of the top sites were friends with eachother.

I liked the idea (and still do) of having a website built based on seperate files (side bar, header etc) and after using frames for a bit I realised I could use an external javascript file with a series of document.write() statements. Frameless pages with seperated content! (I didnt know about server side scripting then!).

I then had an idea, what if all the major websites had a javascript file on their server with a standard name/location and made the location publically available? This file would contain document.write statements with a decription of the latest content. A website could place a series of these to show their visitors what the other sites are upto. I thought I could make a webpage designed for this purpose (a portal).

I never actually did this or looked into it much further, sadly. Now that we have XML this is exactly what is being done with RSS, I had the concept just not the greatest implementation!


I recieved a comment on my digg submission which I found very informative and thought I should mention it here to ensure I have expressed my idea correctly!

The comment is as follows:

“I hate to break it to you, but RSS is over seven years old and the general concept is about a decade old. Your idea was not new or original in any way, in fact it came *after* the whole “push” fad had died down. I specifically remember that I was automatically downloading news, website updates and rich media (a.k.a. podcasts and videocasts in all but name) with Pointcast ten years ago.

The current RSS hype is at least the third time this sort of thing has been popular. Internet Explorer 4 had CDF built in, which was very similar to RSS and could be displayed on Windows 98’s “Active Desktop” in much the same way lots of Apple Dashboard widgets display RSS and Atom feeds these days.” Jim

In direct response I would like to say the following:

I completely forgot about those services and feel very silly for not considering this! In my defense I’d like to point out I wasn’t a heavy power user back then and I didn’t really know about those features at the time. This was more my interpretation of what would be a good service (too bad it had been done!). I’ll read those links with great interest thanks for putting me right!

While XML syndication was available then it was still not widely used by many websites in the form it is now, and not with the ease my initial concept would have provided. RSS feeds for websites were not common.

Just to clear things up I was not trying to say my idea pre-dated XML syndication or anything just that without knowledge of this I came up with a concept that is similar to the RSS feeds that have grown hugely in popularity recently.

Now that we have XML this is exactly what is being done with RSS

Should have read, now the XML has become more common place


WordPress install

July 9, 2006

Well I’m definately on my way to a new theme, I have installed all the development tools and have them working together (apache, mysql, php and wordpress). My install went something like this:

Apache 2.2.x didnt like php4 and was not loading the module dll, I understand this is a common problem and came across some solutions based on php5. I wanted to run php4 so I installed Apache 2.0.x.

I did come across XAMPP, a cross platform easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. Looked like the perfect solution but I’d like to learn how to do it manually.

I Changed the default folder public_html by editing DocumentRoot pram and edited the various other settings to work in with the directory structure I created (%roo%/www/…)

I also installed mysql from a zip archive and changed the ini file to point to my non default install location and set my windows classpath. After setup I gave the root user a password, created a user account and removed the anonymous accounts.

I extracted the wordpress install to a folder named blog in my public_html directory

I came accross a small error in setting up a user for the wp-config file. MySQL 5 uses a new password encryption format that is not supported currently by wordpress this is fixed by starting up the mysql server with the –old-passwords pram:

mysqld –console –old-passwords (I don’t have mysql installed as a service)

Or by creating a new user in the following way:

GRANT ALL ON *.* to ‘user’@’localhost’;
SET PASSWORD FOR ‘user’@’localhost’=OLD_PASSWORD(‘password’);

Note the OLD_PASSWORD function.

From the website:

[UPDATE: MySQL 4.1.7 uses a new password encryption system that is incompatible with prior methods. If you want to get WordPress working with a 4.1.7 database, you need to make sure your user password is set as an old-style password (password-old instead of password, if you’re using mysqladmin). — Nabil] Note : The above are actual user comments, and may be subjective in their content. It is hoped that it will be of help to some users who face the specific problems that are addressed by this question..

Once wordpress could work with my passwords the installation was extremely straight forward and my blog was up in no time! Now time to find/create a theme!


Web2.0 Error Messages

June 28, 2006

I’ve been impressed with how creative some error messages from the larger services have been lately , gone are the standard HTTP error codes or a dull text message:




I have an idea for a message of my own 🙂 Just need to learn, or find someone who can make those cool vector images!

Crypto-Gram Newsletter

June 22, 2006

How could I forget! … I used to read this newsletter every month with great interest and somehow it got lost in translation (or something), anyway, I was in a computer lab yesterday and managed to get in a discussion with a lecturer from another department on various open source related topics. I was very happy to see that other people are as passionate as me on open source software. Another topic that was brought up was Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram Newsletter, a very popular monthly newsletter on computer security.

I instantly googled it realising I had forgotten this email I used to love and I am now subscribed again 🙂

You can subscribe via the following link:

I've also done another lage link dump on my account so expect many more interesting posts over the next week as I catch up on them all, as well as my expanding email box!

Link dump and SPAM

June 21, 2006

I'm still finishing assignments and have been really flat out so this post  is just a link dump. I had a rather large collection of bookmarks in FireFox which was getting very hard to manage as well as many links going un-noticed (I'd forgotten about them). I decided to organise them by deleting them from FireFox and uploading them to my account. The result is much better managed bookmarks that I can access from anywhere as well as share with anyone interested. I am a huge supporter of social networking. (excluding myspace :P)

Links of interest:

XSPF: XML Shareable Playlist Format: Home

Nvu – The Complete Web Authoring System for Linux, Macintosh and Windows


Dia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are a select few of the links on my account. If you are interested in software development I suggest having a look as there are lots of good resources not in this list. Alternatively you can keep visiting this blog as I will be doing more link dumps as welll as a few write ups.

Lately I have been getting a large amount of spam comments which is very annoying, I'm going to have to start validating comments I think. – fresh links for developers

June 11, 2006

I've been meaning to link for ages, very slack of me! A brief description from the digg article is below: (DZ) is a link-sharing community where member participation determines what gets published and what does not. Members submit links to developer-related content into a queue, and you vote to indicate whether or not you like those links. A must read for developers CS pros and hobbyists.

I could spend all day reading articles there (and proberly will over the holidays 🙂 ) Support them by signing up and digging the article! 

Social networking and SPAM

May 21, 2006

Lately I have been getting a lot of emails from people on my contact list asking me to join <insert service name here> to view <insert contact name here>'s photos. While this would be ok for say one person to one service, as they are all interlinked (you must sign up to view x persons page) its like a never ending loop with the same person asking me to join something new each week.

The most annoying part is that these services simply load a complete contact list from a provider such as hotmail, gmail or yahoo; the people sending them do not put any thought what-so-ever into who the invites are sent to, just next > next >  next. What I'd like to see is ONE service that offers all the social networking benefits without all the spam, network issues, and privacy concerns that plague these sites, then sure I'll sign up and view/ comment on your photos and entries.

I know my friend Tom agrees on this and has posted on the topic before: see For the record @ Toms Blog.

Perhaps I could start making my own over the holidays? Perhaps a good one exists that I'm not aware of? The question to ask is why do they feel the need to keep changing? What would keep people at one community? A questioner might be in order! 

Until then I will continue to mark as spam and delete. 

Redesign for Slashdot?

May 12, 2006

From the slashdot website article: Slashdot CSS Redesign Contest Update, It looks like we might be seeing a CSS based redesign of the slashdot website. The post mentions three strong contenders (not finalists) and they are all pretty nice designs! I think its about time Slashdot had a make over 🙂

I have also been tidying up the links on my side bar, I have a bit more to do and am thinking of combining general with checkout. I have removed a couple of links that didn't serve much purpose there as well as renaming some links to make it tidyer. I have added my friend Riki's blog which he has recently started posting to again, hopefuly he keeps it up!

Blogmad … I started writing about blogmad yesterday but changed my mind. I am going to write about it today though. I joined blog mad when it was in testing and used it quite regulary (very regulary actually!) when it was publically launched. I havn't been using it in a month or so now as I got tired of having to browse blogs to keep credits up, this was largely due to the content filter not working too well. My site stats are still growing which I am happy with so thanks to all my regular readers! Although it is a very good service and is especially good for getting exposure I don't think I will be using it again too soon.

Goodbye MySpace!

April 22, 2006

Well I deleted my MySpace account, and shall never speak of it again :P, well maby not that dramatic but I don't see the need for an emo MySpace account when I have Google Talk running most the day, MSN when I feel like it, A large list of contacts in Gmail, as well as a blog and cell phone. I must admit I never really looked into the music scene on there which I understand is the big attraction, I only opened the account cause a friend asked me to and I wanted to try the CSS tricks 🙂 It was coincidence I came across the digg post How MY SPACE grew into a Monster – Learning from Flaws of Competition. Interesting read and some very funny comments too.

I would be interested in an alternative social networking service however, MySpace just put me off with its contstant server errors, crappy user interface which alot of people really seem to love? (Bright green and pink != good design, neither does embedding an mp3 in a webpage, it wasn't cool 6 years ago and its not cool now), and bad security! 
I like the idea of it but it has simply just got too big for itself.

So for now, Goodbye MySpace!