To speed things up on the experimental RSS-in-Mozilla-sidebar thingy, I’ve added in some cacheing (using a little MySQL db) to the simple XSL-Transform service that’s used to transform RSS to HTML on the fly, for inclusion into the sidebar. It makes it a lot faster, obviously, and takes a bit of strain off our poor old Celeron. I’ve exposed the gubbins a bit, in that it’s possible to specify a ‘cachelife’ parameter on the call. So if you want to customise the URL passed in the sidebar.addPanel() call, you can send this now:
http://www.pipetree.com/service/xslt ? xmlfile=http://url/of/rss.feed & xslfile=http://www.pipetree.com/~dj/rss.xsl & cachelife=30
The ‘cachelife’ parameter says “give me the cached version as long as it’s no more than N (30, here) minutes old … otherwise pull the RSS and transform it for me afresh, baby”. (It’s all explained briefly on a little homepage, which you get if you don’t specify an xslfile or xmlfile parameter.)
The existing sidebar button will continue to work fine, in that a default of 60 (minutes) is assumed if no ‘cachelife’ parameter is specified.
Back in the spring of 2000, I wrote MySidebar, a concoction of Mozilla sidebars, XUL and RSS. It allowed you to specify an RSS URL and would generate XUL from it and install it in Mozilla’s sidebar. (XUL involves RDF. The interconnectedness of all things, eh?)
Fozbaca recently pointed to something similar, which reminded me about the whole thing. I’ve just downloaded Mozilla 1.1, and decided to revisit the area. Things have changed – you can now plonk straight HTML into the sidebar, rather than have to use XUL. Mmmm.
http://www.pipetree.com/service/xslt ? xmlfile=http://url/of/rss.feed &
I recently bought a Hama multi-slot card reader, primarily for reading the Smart Media cards used in our camera. It came with software for Windows. I installed it on our Windows 98 machine, and plugged in the device, following the instructions to the letter. Ka-boom! Blue screen. After about an hour of trying and retrying to make it work (even installing upgraded drivers for the VIA chipset as recommended in the troubleshooting section), I was still no further on. Plugging in the device crashed Windows. Period.
About to package the thing up to take it back, I passed the house server running Linux. What the heck, I thought, and plugged it in the back. “Ooh, hello”, said the kernel. I mounted the emulated SCSI device, and grabbed the pictures of the Smart Media card. Easy as that.
The tables have turned. In times past, it used to be that peripherals Just Worked with Windows (mostly because the vendors targeted the drivers to that platform). Not any more.
I’m a happy Linux user.
I read this a few years ago, and don’t think I appreciated some of the finer points (how many books don’t deserve a re-reading?).
You can find out about the book at Amazon so I won’t bother with the plot. It’s a wonderful study in far future tech – the ships, minds, and drones – which the characters, the author, and eventually you, the reader, take for granted (the tech doesn’t obscure the plot or the interplay of characters, but it’s wondrous all the same), interplay between human(oid) and artificial intelligence, and the tangents of differing civilizations.
But what struck me most this time around was the way that I, the reader, naturally associated myself with the Culture (the civilization to which the central characters belong) – mostly, perhaps, because the Culture was the basis from which the plot stems, and regarded the Empire (the civilization that begat the game Azad) as the “aliens”. But the more one progressed through this novel it was clear, almost politically clear, that in fact the unruly, violent, and relatively primitive Empire civilization … was ours.
A great read.
I wonder how I could reuse this blog item as a review item in the book’s review section on Amazon? Hmm, how about an RSS 1.0 module and Amazon binding in support for that?
…when it takes you over two weeks to recover from OSCON. What with the travel (ok, including a connectionless week in Manchester visiting relatives), the email backlog, and the catch-up at work, not to mention the overwhelming saturation of information, ideas, inspiration, and other things beginning with ‘i’ that came from the great time that was OSCON, I really need a post-conference holiday. I can’t begin to imagine what the organisers feel like.
It was as much the opportunities to meet and chat with other like-minded individuals, exchange thoughts and ideas, and generally make new friends, as it was the talks and tutorials that I (and probably many other attendees) valued there.
Needless to say, I also grabbed the chance to take my annual fill of U.S. food – chilli dogs, cheese fries, burritos, and cinnamon and raisin bagels. Yum.