Web/Tech Archives

Still fine-tuning this blended stream 2012

Is there some way to generate an RSS feed on a delay? That is, could my RSS feed be a week behind & thus catch my improvements to posts?


Joe says there is and I just have to feed him the appropriate Python-hacker snacks to get it coded up. :)

Posted on May 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM in tweets, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Welcome to the future 2012

"Complexity is becoming our native habitat." - @neb

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 01:32 AM in quotes, tweets, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Augmenting my unreality 2012

Stocking my brain for dreams with @neb's talk:

Video streaming by Ustream

(Yes, my cold has reasserted my nightowl habits. Sigh.)

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 01:01 AM in linky goodness, relationships, tweets, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

The terrible pain of reconciliation 2012

Each month as I attempt to reconcile my iTunes sales reports I am once again bewildered that this mess of an interface/data is Apple's.

Really, Apple, would it kill you to provide your reports by calendar month or at least provide daily sales totals across all regions? Gah.


Continuing saga May 4, 2012:

I receive this error on their website:

"You backtracked too far. The application backtracking limit of 30 has been exceeded. Re-enter MZLabel" (that last word being a link to a login screen).

Jeez, Apple. I thought you were in it to win it. This is just sad. Even BN.com's PubIt is kicking your ass on interface.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 06:01 PM in tools, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Keepin' it real 2012

RT @thelancearthur: Got Work? Because I Got Time. Front-end design and coding, the old fashioned way: by hand.

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM in friends & family, tweets, web design & documentation, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

toodle-oo-oot 2012

On phone with a retailer, placing an order, in the background: "{toodle-oo-oot} You've got mail!" I guess once you establish that address...

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 04:16 PM in tweets, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Meetings Cost A Lot 2010

I'm pleased to see that others have had the meeting cost calculator idea and done something about it.

Toby Tripp, Lydia Tripp, and Roy Kolak's Meeting Ticker has now been joined by Bring Tim.

Bring Tim
Every tech company I've ever worked with (except those run by Clemens Pfeiffer) has needed a device like this, but some need it more than others. Yes, you with the weekly hour-plus meeting attended by the CEO and three VPs, I'm looking at you.

(Thanks for linky goodness, Boing Boing!)

Posted on May 18, 2010 at 10:25 AM in linky goodness, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech, work | Permalink | Comments (2)

Great power, great responsibility, and unsolved challenges 2010

Here I am once again pulling back in frustration and anger from my use of Facebook.

I don't want to have to do this. I want there to be an easy way for me to keep up with people I like, to promote things I like and help them succeed, and to engage in good conversations about what's happening in the world. I want the web to be smart and save me redundant effort. I want it to be easier for information and reactions to it to flow throughout multiple sites. I want people to be able to use the tools they are most comfortable with and for that choice to be independent from the content encountered through the tools.

But I don't want my or my friends' demographic information and details of our activity to be continually and pervasively leveraged for corporate marketing purposes. I want it to be possible to share and participate without providing a neatly packaged commodity that can be used to alter our perception of the online world.

What Facebook's new Instant Personalization feature reminds me of is that manipulation of our online reality. Certainly the list of wants I gave above would be a change to my online reality of great power, but such a change demands great responsibility. It demands transparency – what is being changed, by whom, and what other ways might it be presented to someone else? – and it demands control – opt in, not opt out. Facebook is not demonstrating that responsibility, nor does its history or the statements of its CEO suggest it is likely to.

In many specifics this is a design problem. My experience with the feature so far is that it's very hard to see what is happening or why. I want to give permission before a site can use my data or my friends'; that's something I should decide, not Facebook's business partnerships team. I want a way to lift the hood and see just what's being done underneath. I want a way to have a certain thing not done – and I want that way to be very obvious and easy.

Think about the difference between visiting an Instant Personalization site (e.g. the surprise of seeing my contacts from Facebook's list of articles they commented on when I visit a site I didn't even know they were reading and then trying to figure out how to stop that sharing of data with this site) vs. visiting a site and having Firefox ask if I want to allow this site to open pop-up windows. The former is confusing and opaque, the latter clear and easily controlled. I don't want to have to fumble around trying to figure out how to prohibit the undesired action after the fact, I want to be asked first and be given the option to set a policy for this site henceforth.

Why does this matter? I am very confident that Facebook's marketing and business growth aims do not map exactly to a map of my trust. Just because they might think a particular company should be allowed to receive a package of social data (me, my demographics, who my friends are, and all their demographics, for instance) doesn't mean I would ever choose to package up all that info for the site myself.

"But it's public information!" you might say. Perhaps – though my confidence over what will and won't be shared is shaky given Facebook's company culture  – but the information wasn't shared by me (or my friends) for this purpose or context. It wasn't packaged by us for use across the web. There's a difference between me saying to Facebook "my friends can know when my birthday is" and Facebook saying to an online store "this user falls into this demographic group by age, gender, and location" so that they can adjust their pricing based on market research of what that particular group is willing to pay for their products. That's a hypothetical example off the top of my head, but it certainly seems to fit within the existing capabilities of the feature.

What compounds all these concerns is the fact that Facebook friends can share your data. User A can go to Site X and by not blocking the feature tell them all kinds of things about his friend User B. Maybe User B never goes to Site X because she does not trust them with her information, but it's passed out of her control now.

In the course of removing all my "friends" on Facebook (and letting each know we're still friends in non-Facebook contexts), I was chatting about these concerns with my friend Glenda Bautista and she brought up a great analogy:

When you add a friend on Facebook or allow someone to add you as a friend, you end up being responsible for each other in your actions. As she said, it's messed up logic to have to treat a tool like this as an STD, but that's just what it is: socially transmitted.

Play safe, gang.

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 11:19 PM in tools, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (4)

Happily watching the number of Discardia fans grow. 2010

Working on book proposal polishing and website update planning.

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Posted on March 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM in Discardia, Web/Tech, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook questions on day one (updated) 2010

(a.k.a. "Oh gawd, I hate you, Facebook; why doesn't anything make sense? At least the Devil gives you a deal when you sell your soul!")

((Update: a.k.a. "Yay! The Discardians are gathering! And, omigawd, I haven't connected with this person in years. This is really cool!"))

I've been online almost more than sleeping for the past 11 years... this should not be so hard and it shouldn't take hours and hours.

I had to create a personal profile in order to create what I wanted, a Page for Discardia where fans can congregate & have discussions, etc. Fine. That part was fairly easy (credit where credit is due), but I've spent the last three hours banging on integration problems.

1) Why don't I see a big ol' link to my Page (Discardia) from my Profile (Dinah Sanders)?
Can't even figure out how to add one. The little blurb box under my picture doesn't accept HTML. Currently only able to get to the Discardia page by going back in my wall to when I became a fan of Discardia and clicking on it. (After I have 25 fans I'll be able to apply for a nice short URL, but only halfway there.)

((Update: Apparently because the integration of Pages with Profiles is still pretty weak. Ya can't do that without custom FBML effort.))

Only thing I've been able to do so far is add the Favorite Pages app which adds a new tab that lists them in reverse chronological order, so Discardia – the one I thought of adding first because it's most important – is under all the others. Why is this even an app instead of part of Facebook's own functionality? Surely there must be a better option.

2) Why isn't Twitter integration doing what I keep telling it to do: show Discardia tweets on the Discardia Page Wall and not on the Dinah Sanders Profile Wall?
I did realize that to avoid redundancy - a very undiscardian trait - I should syndicate Tumblr only to Twitter and then Twitter to Facebook, but that last piece of the puzzle isn't falling into place.
(Tumblr, big kisses to you; your syndication process to Twitter was easy and worked quickly.)

((Update: Apparently because the official integration doesn't include it. Facebook, come on; I thought you were out to crush MySpace.))

3) Why am I not getting email notifications of new fans of Discardia?
Can't even find controls for this from the Page. (The whole Page vs. Profile thing is a rough road indeed.)

((Update: Apparently there's a weekly email. That'd be a great thing for Facebook to send the owners of newly created pages after they get their first fan. "Not much info for you this time, but here's what your weekly update will include..."))

Posted on March 18, 2010 at 05:58 PM in tools, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2)

First Facebook post in my personal account 2010

Wondering if I'm the only one so far with "Discardian" as my religious affiliation. wink emoticon

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Posted on March 18, 2010 at 11:07 AM in Religion, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Step by slow step, pulling it all together 2009

*phew* Even for web geeks sometimes this stuff can be such a long slow haul.

What I want is for my blog at MetaGrrrl.com to reflect all my online publishing as MetaGrrrl. That means, currently, that I want to have my tweets from Twitter and my photos from Flickr to appear inline along with longer blog posts.

It would also be swell if when I post to my blog, that would also be reflected in Twitter with a tweet.

All of this is made much more complex by the fact that I use advanced templates. Yes, I'm greedy; I want the maintenance ease of TypePad and the control of Movable Type. Fortunately, Six Apart usually gets me at least 80% of the way to where I want to go and frequently does so with more ease and elegance than I expected.

In theory, I've now linked my Twitter account to my TypePad account, but so far I haven't seen it actually work. Perhaps that's because the new little mini Compose function doesn't actually share out to Twitter, which seems bizarre since it's intended for short content, but might be true.


Aha. Finally found a Share This Post help page with some screen shots and I wasn't getting the options in the interface. I deleted the Twitter account and re-added it and now it seems to be tickety-boo.

Posted on December 12, 2009 at 10:08 PM in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peeking into the switching center 2007


Oo! Technology!

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Posted on December 4, 2007 at 08:56 PM in San Francisco, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

All watched over by machines of loving grace 2007

A lovely vision of technology in this poem here by Richard Brautigan.

I do like the way the Long Now folks respond to the world and what resonates with them. (Ah! and that word - resonates - rings and reminds me to go put the album by Brian Eno of the chimes for the Clock of the Long Now on my wishlist).

Posted on October 8, 2007 at 10:31 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Creative ways to destroy old backup tapes 2007

The user group for the products of the company I work for had an amusing thread a while back about good methods for destroying old backup tapes from servers.

Among my favorite suggestions:
- Put them on the magnetic security desensitizer and bang them several times
- Microwave DVDs/CDs "Smells bad, but a good light show"
- Give them to your medical professional spouse to run them through an MRI scanner

But the hands down winner?
"The tape itself is great for tying plants to supports stakes in the garden.  The old 1/2" stuff was best, 2400' would handle a lot of tomatoes, but 1/4" should still do."

Posted on August 12, 2007 at 03:31 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

commuting home 2007

[I did not know then that it was the day the world began its massive technological change.]

Another big line for iPhones



My bus is part of Critical Mass


Just before Critical Mass traps my bus

And gives its monthly fuck you to everyone who isn't in the cyclist club. That "if you aren't on a bike, you aren't shit" attitude came through loud and clear as the other passengers and I tried to get to the curb so we could just get home.

They really need to find a way to flip off the car owners without making everyone else's commute home a nightmare.

Posted on June 29, 2007 at 12:00 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

So sad to see this go down the tubes 2007

but it was the vision and voice of Derek and Heather that brought me to JPG. 

I could deal with a difference in how to work together, or how to execute that vision, but to deny the origins of the magazine and the key people behind it? That's flat out wrong, not to mention an incredibly stupid business move.


Posted on May 15, 2007 at 12:00 PM in friends & family, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mission district sticker graffiti 2006


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Posted on December 27, 2006 at 12:03 PM in creativity, San Francisco, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cosmopolitan 2006


Okay, tart, but she's tasty and got a style all her own.

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bright light version (a.k.a. after letting the phone choose its light levels instead of clicking fast)

I like the dark one better, partly for color and partly I flipped the lime to get rid of the redundancy.


Genuine Tailings Trade of Quality


This Gus-Gus disk came from LaLa member "Tailings"

More fun with stickers!


Fun with LaLa mailing cases


Cosmopolitan #2, the slightly diluted other half from the shaker


Plus a maraschino cherry to offset my use of unsweetened pure cranberry juice.

Note how much mileage I get out of a 3oz recipe!

Posted on October 7, 2006 at 09:00 PM in Food and Drink, music, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brevity is the sole of wit. Whew. That's less than 140 characters. 2006

Today I signed up for Twitter as metagrrrl.

[retroactive post written July 16, 2009]

Posted on September 23, 2006 at 11:20 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thinking about software development on the way to work... 2006


... Okay, yes, okay, it's fine; we're already using AJAX. Geez, even the ground wants it.

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Posted on July 13, 2006 at 12:00 PM in Web/Tech, work | Permalink | Comments (0)

IT has to deal with all kinds of problems... 2006

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Posted on May 3, 2006 at 05:07 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

changing pocket habits 2006

The "expensive home products" industry catches up to changing pocket habits

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Posted on April 1, 2006 at 12:00 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

walking about 2006

Nice patina

Very good chai lattes and free wifi, The Newsroom, Connecticut Ave NW at S St., Washington, D.C. 

spending a frustrating 20 minutes trying to get photos off my phone & into Flickr. Phone says email successful, but they aren't all showing up in Flickr. (Same problem as when I uploaded last night).

Wouldn't matter if I had room on the phone for more than 10 pictures or another camera with me, but I'm hoping to take more snaps when I get down on the mall for a little bit more museuming before heading off for my flight.

Very frustrating to think I can't trust a message that something has sent to Flickr. I guess I'll send to my email as well as a safety net.


Roofline porn for my folks

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wave motif on wall near Smithsonian

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Approaching the Smithsonian from the southeast


Sackler Gallery, Hokusai exhibit

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Notes for the lovely, if outrageous, Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery


Freer Gallery, The Peacock Room

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Freer Gallery in the "Pretty Women" room


notes from "Pretty Women" exhibit at Freer gallery

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Whistler paintings in the "Pretty Women" exhibit all had frames designed by him 

This was one of those "make a note of this" snaps to remind me of stuff to look for in the shop. Sadly, the shop had nothing about this exhibit. I'll have to search online.


Some shoe designers should be slapped. 

This was on the little shuttle truck ("mobile lounge") out to the C terminal at Dulles airport.


Wish it had come out clearer; those were some ugly ass shoes.

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Rainbow wall at Dulles Airport


Posted on March 26, 2006 at 12:00 PM in creativity, the big room with the blue ceiling, travel, warnings & kvetches, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Adaptive Path party 2006

I was rocking on Adaptive Path's dime



lovely post-it wall art by Maggie Mason

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Posted on March 3, 2006 at 12:01 PM in friends & family, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blog (noun) A weblog or similar brief journal usually containing links and commentary thereon. Term coined by Peter Merholz.

Visit Typepad or Blogger to start your own. (I began with hand coding, then switched to Blogger when it first became available, then to Movable Type when I wanted more control over my weblog and to have it hosted at a place of my choosing (Hurricane Electric). Since 06/2003 I've used Typepad, a hosted service built by the same folks who made Movable Type, which I love because I don't have to maintain the underlying system).

You may write to Dinah @ this domain.

Except where otherwise noted all content is copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Please do not repost my writing or other creations elsewhere. Instead, copy a tiny bit and link to the rest. Thanks! Images are copyright of their original creators. MetaGrrrl logo and photos by Dinah are copyright 1965-2018 Dinah Sanders. Inkspot Books and the Inkspot logo have been Service Marks of Dinah Sanders since 1993.