Monday, October 29

ARRR!!! Parents Weekend show videos

If you’ve ever wondered what this ARRR!!! thing is all about, take a look at these videos from last weekend’s show. I was happily in the audience, surprised that the joke is still going on, and gets better every year.

SFW, btw, as long as you keep your headphones on. They have the censorship banner, after all.

Part One
“Bully in the Alley,” “Tobacco Island,” “Whiskey”

Part Two
“Whiskey,” “Bell-Bottom Trousers,” “Fields of Athenry*”

Part Three
“Roll Your Leg Over,” “All For Me Grog”

* Make sure you catch the end. Blackheart is my hero.

Sunday, October 28 "to_read" on iGoogle

This may seem to be a pretty obvious tip, but I just realized that I could add my “to_read” bookmarks as a feed to iGoogle. Now they will not be forgotten by me.

Though, what I really need is a way to remove the “to_read” tag from the bookmarks from iGoogle once I’ve done the reading…

Wednesday, October 24

Trying out Stikkit and writing a Stikkit Google Gadget

I’ve started playing around with Stikkit a little bit. I’m not entirely sure what I want to use it for, but it has the advantage of a pretty good API, which means that, whatever I do with it, I can do it from the Dashboard, Quicksilver, and anywhere I can run my own code.

James Adam, who wrote a Dashboard widget for Stikkit, wrote:
Instead of using Stikkit as my online information repository, I've found that I used Stikkit as a kind of online-short-term memory.
I think that’s a good direction to take, since, with the Quicksilver tool, I can quickly post to Stikkit from home and work, and I can access my Stikkits from anywhere with a browser.

Right now I’m trying out Stikkit for personal todo items (I love OmniFocus at work, but it’s too heavyweight and on-one-machine for home use) and I’m thinking of also using it for tickler file things, since it’s easy to tie dates to things. (Formal events I’m keeping on Google Calendar, sometimes fed in from Upcoming.)

Since I’ve also been recently taken with writing gadgets for iGoogle (mmm… scroll-y) I took a few evenings and wrote a Google Gadget for Stikkit.

Add to Google

The gadget will show a few days’ of upcoming events and also all of your undone todos (except those that appear as events). Clicking on the “-” next to a Stikkit will mark it as done.

You’ll need your Stikkit API key to get this to work. It’s available from your Stikkit account settings page (click on your username).

Driving the Stikkit API from a Google Gadget is slightly tricky. Google provides the _IG_FetchContent function to get around same-domain policy and grab the JSON as text. A simple eval call then turns it into a data structure.

POSTing and PUTing is trickier. I ended up using a <form> element that is targeted at a hidden <iframe>, specifying the “text” format for the result. Stikkit supports a _method parameter to override the POST into a PUT for the todo toggling. This works when it works, but due to cross-domain limitations the gadget code can’t tell when it doesn’t work.

Anyway, if you’re using Stikkit and give this Google Gadget a try, leave me a comment here or drop an e-mail. I’m open to feature requests as well as suggestions into how to get the most out of Stikkit.

Also, if anyone can poke Rael and the gang and get SMS reminders to AT&T working, I would be much obliged.

Monday, October 8

Response to Ev’s posting form question

evhead: "Wow, the Blogger posting form sends down 30 Javascript files to your browser and 17 .gifs. Curious why they don't turn those 47 http requests into two or three. It would make a huge difference in responsiveness. Pete?"

Really? 47? I ran LiveHttpHeaders while loading the posting form, and here’s what I saw:

GET /post-create.g?blogID=16425656 HTTP/1.1

GET /__utm.gif?utmwv=1&utmn=602865791&… HTTP/1.1

How is it that Ev got 47 and I got 2? If you use curl on Blogger’s image and JavaScript files, you’ll notice that they’re sent back with rather generous cache headers. So, chances are the files are already in your browser:

> GET /img/ HTTP/1.1

< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Cache-control: public
< Expires: Thu, 08 Nov 2007 02:14:31 GMT

Obviously, if the files are not in your cache, Blogger’s post editor will load more slowly, because it does have 47 or so files to download. If Blogger had the same code in fewer files, the initial loading would likely be somewhat snappier in non-cache situations. So it would have some effect, but, in practice, not always a “huge difference.”