September 30, 2006

I'm liking the Google Reader!

google-reader.JPG The Google Reader team announced a redesign this past week, and I've been using it heavily since. What a difference! I had played around with Google Reader when it first launched, but found the interface awkward. It was certainly useful if you liked your new items strung together in a long, mixed-up stream, but it just didn't feel right, and I continued to use RSS Bandit instead.

Not that RSS Bandit was optimal. First, it's a client-side tool, meaning that it can't keep track of feeds I've read on another computer. It also requires installing software, keeping it up-to-date, wrestling with proxy settings, etc. Oh, and still to this day, it scrambles my feeds for no apparent reason.

I tried to make the most of Bloglines to get around the limitations of a local client, but never grew to like it.

What do I like about the Google Reader changes? Here are my favorite features:

  • It's easy to switch between a number of views (by-feed, by-tag, all-new-entries, headlines-only, expanded-entries, etc.).
  • The keyboard shortcuts simply rock! Hit g then t, to go to feeds with a particular tag. Looking at an entry, just click v to follow the link to the original entry. And if you use vi, j and k do what you'd expect. There's a whole list of shortcuts, handily displayed on the home page.
  • Feeds are organized by tag, instead of by folder. Unfortunately, the UI is inconsistent in using these terms. For example, when managing your subscriptions, you're prompted to "add a label" using one dropdown, and "change folders..." in another. Then in other places it talks about "tags."
  • You don't have to click through to the original entry link or explicitly mark something as read. The reader marks it read as you scroll past it in the reader.

Unless I stumble across any unpleasant surprises, I think I'll be sending the Bandito into retirement.


September 29, 2006

Debugging the Torture Bill

Kevin Poulsen identifies the problem I have with Congress's new Torture Bill -- in code:

It occurs to me now that the whole 94-page bill really amounts to a common, one-character programming error.

    if (person = terrorist) {
    } else {

Looks okay, right? Maybe in VB. Keep on clicking for the solution.


September 26, 2006

Evolution and Beer

Mmmm. Two of my favorite subjects in one, excellent article.

My neighbor, Nick, and I have almost finished drinking the third batch of home brew we "made" together. I have to say that I never really tasted beer until I'd brewed a batch myself. Understanding the process and the ingredients gives you a whole new appreciation for the end product. It's biological warfare, baby. If the good guys win, you have a nice, tasty ale. If the evildoers win, well, you have something sort of like malt vinegar.


September 20, 2006

My Nerd Score

Brian and David are such wanna-be punks!

I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


September 19, 2006

30 and climbing!

30 and climbing! My sister-in-law, Patience Salgado, turned 30 this past weekend, and she and Jorge invited Jen and me down to Richmond to celebrate. We gave rock climbing a try for the first time ever, and had a lot of fun.

If you're reading this blog, then you probably already know and worship Pache. If by some chance you don't, then you just need to know that she's on an extremely short list of my favorite people in the world. Pache is the sweetest, most down-to-earth and loving person you could ever meet, and very fun. She's the leading expert on childhood development and soulful parenting, and has practiced well on her three adorable kids. I hope she will write a book on these things some day.

Each of the Hammond girls can be compared to a character from Little Women, and Pache is Beth -- but thankfully without the untimely death from scarlet fever. If you know the story, then you know how true and pure and good Pache is.

I could go on and on, but should just end by saying:

Happy Birthday, Pache! I'm very proud of you. I'd say you're aging beautifully, but that would imply that you're aging.


September 13, 2006

Janus Boye on Portal Usability

Portlets, uggghhhh!!! Janus Boye has a reprint up on CMS Watch with excellent advice on setting up an enterprise portal. Among many other excellent recommendations, he discusses the importance of diving into the interface design early, and developing a proof-of-concept with a vendor before buying. He and I are of the same opinion on the out-dated "dashboard" idea too -- if it's a portlet, I don't want to know about it.

Mr. Boye authored the Enterprise Portals Report.


September 8, 2006

It's a time to be fearless

Jen's first contribution is up on Huffington Post!

Jen Lemen on Huffington Post The theme over there is fearlessness, and this is an appropriate time to talk about that. It's been five years since 9/11, and I'm tired of the cynical fear-mongering coming from our government and the news media. Whatever happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?


September 6, 2006

Strong Bad emails are jumbo/LARGE!

Strong Bad's recent email on the subject of road trips makes a not-so-veiled reference to Jen's Red Bull addiction.



September 5, 2006

Jen's back!

Jen is back from her blogging hybernation, and I'm very glad. She's a brilliant writer.

I switched her journal over to WordPress, which has some nice things about it. I must say though that I still prefer Movable Type's templates. To be honest, I think PHP is one of the ugliest things I've ever worked with. (I know, that last statement could be considered flame bait, but nobody reads this blog anyway. You know the old question, if flame bait is posted in a forest...)

Anyway, Jen's posting her art now too, so I'm looking into gallery options. Maybe we can just copy Rachelle's site.