..Call for Peace around the World..

San Francisco waits until tomorrow, since today is the Chinese New Year Parade

All the cool experimental Clients are Mac

First there was Watson, Webbing Effortlessly with all sorts of Screen Scraped (from Yahoo I hear) Tools. Then Spring, designing online life with by pointing, clicking, and dragging visual web services.

Konfabulator looks like a sweet scriptable Widget Engine …

The format for these Widgets is completely open and easy to learn so creating your own Widgets is an extremely easy task.

For lagging Windows users, I guess I’ll try DesktopX

blogRoll, myRadio style

myRadio publishes your subscription list, grouped according to your myRadio customization. It’s in your gems folder, named mySubscriptionsMyRadio.opml.

I publish my blogroll, on Brain Off, using this macro ..

<% activeRoll(“file:///C/Program%20files/Radio%20UserLand/www/gems/mySubscriptionsMyRadio.opml”) %>

Give it a try yourself. You may need to adjust the path, depending on your installation and OS. More info on publishing active BlogRolls at activeRenderer

myRadio – update – v. 0.3.3
Read more at http://radio.weblogs.com/0100875/outlines/todayspages/

Newseum provides a great service called Today’s Front Pages, digital images of over 180 Newspapers from around the World.

With this module for myRadio, choose your favorite papers to view in your Aggregator. Yea, Read the World in a glance. Well, really, the images are too small to read, but they’re large enough to grok headlines and images, in color. It looks cool. Click through for the full screen version.

Check out http://radio.weblogs.com/0100875/outlines/todayspages/ for more info on installing the module in your Aggregator.

Just to note, this took only a couple hours to put together in myRadio. Recombinant Growth, yea

Happy Birthday XML

I have a free subscription to Dr. Dobb’s Journal, and this month’s issue has gone all psychic on me. The lead story is “XML-Based Programming Systems”, just one day after discussing it here, and wondering why I had thought it such a good idea in the first place.

The article argues that switching the underlying format of programs to XML, will improve the power of the development enviroment. Standard, powerful, generic tools for manipulating XML are coming, so programmers should take advantage of this. XML will allow developers to easily include and reference documentation, support, bug dbs, from within an interchangeable IDE format. Inspection and Manipulation of external modules is straightforward (this sounds like an argument for SOAP interfaces on library APIs). Interesting, but not what I was looking for. He also mentions Superx++ as “the world’s least readable programming language” :), and goes on to say that this is not a problem with the proper WYSIWYG editor.

Happy Fifth Birthday, XML jolted out my original initiative.

Just as interchangeable parts drove the Industrial Age, reusable information powers the Information Age.

I was looking for an easy way for any developer or user to write a myRadio module. Really enable My Yahoo for the masses. Currently, you’d need to write a Tool in Frontier — not a task many are ready for. So, I thought of building interfaces for standard myRadio types tasks — scheduling aggregation, screen scraping HTML, calling web services, displaying edit screens and storing preferences — for configuration by an XML format. myRadio services, defined in XML, could easily be swapped around and installed, in the Radio implementation or any implementation. Sophisticated tools could enagle regular users to develop their own web applications. Cool!

Stephen Wolfram at Stanford

I rode down to Stanford last night, to catch Wolfram’s follow-up lecture tour to A New Kind of Science. A beautiful, over-capacity auditorium, filled with mostly male, compsci/math/physics types, from wide-eyed “math is better than lsd” fan-boys, to more sceptical and reserved grey beards.

Wolfram’s lecture was a one-hour version of ANKOS. And it was surprisingly lucid — for me at least, since I’ve actually read it (At one point Wolfram praised his readers, especially some masochists who read it 2 or 3 times!). He’s not exactly the most engaging speaker, but most everyone felt obliged to pay keen attention for an hour, considering Wolfram spent 10 years staring at cellular automata. He used his hands a lot – mostly a kind of chop, but every so often a forward thrust Wave. Most of his concessions to engagement and laughter came from numerous plugs for Mathematica. Another hearty response came as he described proof-reading the first print ANKOS, and discovering a one pixel error on page 157 — discovered to be a long time bug in PostScript. Yes, this was a PostScript joke loving crowd.

Read more…

New-fangled XML gubbins.

I’d like to make a couple of clarifications:

  1. I didn’t really take a look at SuperX++.  Or rather that’s exactly what I did.  I looked at that chunk of code on the page and went “ugh!”
  2. I don’t agree with the statement “XML is both easily human and…”.  Computer readable?  Yes.  Human readable, gods no.  Not that example anyway.

I’ve had this argument before but so far I haven’t seen any good reason for XML programming languages.  In conversation with the author of ObjectBox I wondered about using such a language for building advanced coding toolsets but I sure as hell don’t want to be typing this stuff in!  You, of course, may type in whatever you like 🙂

[Curiouser and curiouser!]

Yes, I hesitated to type “human readable” :)! Though even in IE’s xml renderer, readability is greatly improved. This particular language may not be the best representative of the concept [paradoxically, this language has spwaned a varient which doesn’t use xml at all].

Intuitively, an XML programming language appeals to me. I see this type of programming as fairly high level, such as stitching services and data together into web applications in Recombinant Growth — not as a replacement for traditional programming language. Programming in an XML langauge should be easier, for the task at hand.

Does this justify XML for programming? I need to put more thought into this intuition.