Monthly Archives: September 2005

CopyURL+ and Blogging

Update 2009-07-24: The original author of CopyURL+ has not updated it for several years; instead, see CopyURL+ by Marbux for a more up-to-date release.

Recently I’ve discovered CopyURL+, a handy Firefox extension that makes it easy to copy web page URLs and titles for citation in your blog (or elsewhere). From the project homepage:

The Copy URL+ extension enables you to copy to the clipboard the current document’s address along with additional information such as the document’s title, the current selection or both.

You might find this behavior useful when you want to send (IM, email) an interesting link to a friend and out of laziness convenience you don’t want to copy the link and an explanation of what the link is in a single step. The explanation can be as short as the document’s title or it can be a descriptive text from the document.

The real power in CopyURL+ is the customization they provide, allowing you to create links in the format that you need. Customization is pretty easy (once you find the right spot for your user.js file). I’ve added entries for Markdown (my text filter of choice for MovableType) and Wiki (for my Twiki editing at work):

user_pref('copyurlplus.menus.1.label', 'Copy Markdown link');
user_pref('copyurlplus.menus.1.copy', '[url]: %URL% "%TITLE%"');
user_pref('copyurlplus.menus.2.label', 'Copy URL + Title (Wiki)');
user_pref('copyurlplus.menus.2.copy', '[[%URL% %TITLE%]]');

Now, what would really be handy is a merge of this with Linky. I’d love to be able to open several web pages in Firefox and with one command have links to all of them ready for my blog post.

IE Developer Toolbar

Microsoft has published a beta of the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar, providing a bunch of functionality helpful for web developers:

  • Explore and modify the document object model (DOM) of a web page.
  • Locate and select specific elements on a web page through a variety of techniques.
  • Selectively disable Internet Explorer settings.
  • View HTML object class names, ID’s, and details such as link paths, tab index values, and access keys.
  • Outline tables, table cells, images, or selected tags.
  • Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.
  • Display image dimensions, file sizes, path information, and alternate (ALT) text.
  • Immediately resize the browser window to 800×600 or a custom size.
  • Selectively clear the browser cache and saved cookies. Choose from all objects or those associated with a given domain.
  • Choose direct links to W3C specification references, the Internet Explorer team weblog (blog), and other resources.
  • Display a fully featured design ruler to help accurately align objects on your pages.

IE Developer Toolbar

This looks similar to the Web Developer Extension for Firefox/Mozilla. It might not be as mature or complete, but it’s nice to have this support for IE now as well.

SDForum Search SIG

Last night I attended the inaugural “Search SIG” from SDForum, held conveniently at the Yahoo campus. The event was titled “The Audio Search : Selling Picks & Shovels at the Podcast Gold Rush” and included a good list of speakers:
* Doug Kaye, ITConversations (the Poderator)
* Ev Williams, Founder/CEO, Odeo
* Eric Rice, Founder,
* David Marks, Founder/CEO,
* Jeff Karnes, Director of Multimedia Search, Yahoo!

The event was well-attended; I counted at least 80 folks who stayed for the duration. The format was nice — first half was a roundtable of sorts with Doug leading the discussion and taking Q&A from the audience. The second half included demos from Odeo, and Loomia.

All three demos were pretty good — I need to dig a little deeper in these sites to understand them better. It’s interesting how all these new startups are web-based applications. Does anyone make client software anymore? (Rhetorical question.)

Ev showed the ability in Odeo to record, mix, and post audio all from the web browser. Very cool, but not quite open to the public yet. Niall Kennedy did grab a picture.

For more from Technorati:

BayCHI: Doug Kaye and Dan Klass

Last night I attended the monthly BayCHI meeting which featured two guest speakers on podcasting:

  • Podcasting: Media Evolution or Revolution?, Doug Kaye, IT Conversations
  • Podcast Solutions and Podcast Problems, Dan Klass, The Bitterest Pill

I had never been to a BayCHI meeting before, but they have an impressive list of speakers. I estimated about 50 people attended last night.

It was cool seeing Dan Klass in person after following The Bitterest Pill for a while now. Rather than following prepared comments, Dan gave some intro comments and spent most of the time answering peoples questions (in depth). Dan emphasized the idea of “narrow casting”, or talking to specific topics. He also suggested focusing on content creation and connecting with your audience rather than talking to them.

Dan mentioned a couple shows I need to check out:

Doug Kaye followed with a similar talk, some specific notes he wanted to cover, but mostly good Q&A. Doug made a lot of good points, some of which I’ll try to summarize:

  • IT Conversations is now being supported by about 50 volunteers (“Team ITC“)
  • They focus on content with a long shelf life and avoid news or time-related coverage; older shows continue to be found and downloaded, so ideally they’ll be “timeless”
  • When he started recording tech conferences, he ran into hesitation initially (worried about cannibalizing conference attendance), but he was able to show how the conversations extend the reach over time; (I get the sense that, today, he doesn’t have trouble selling the benefits)
  • ITC doesn’t do any outbound marketing, but rely on search engines which bring in the majority of visitors. To make this effective, they spend a lot of time making the shows search-engine friendly (meta data, descriptive data, one page per show, clear titles, etc.).
  • “Content that’s free is more valuable” — Doug explains that his is from a pragmatic viewpoint rather than academic; by keeping the content free, it stays alive in ongoing conversations. Counter example: if bloggers won’t link to content behind pay or registration barriers, the content becomes less valuable.
  • Looking at which shows are the most highly-related, he listed solo presentations followed by 1:1 interviews. Panel discussions consistently rate poorly; he suspected it was mostly due to poor sound quality, but has also heard from listeners that don’t like panels in person, either.

Update 2005-09-23: The BayCHI site now has the MP3 audio from the two presentations.

MovableType 3.2

After playing with the beta build on a couple of systems, I finally updated this site to the new Movable Type 3.2 release. It was a little more complicated that I had hoped, but I was being extra careful and tried running in a “staging” location first. I started down the path of creating a brand new instance to get the new templates, but it didn’t look simple to copy over all my settings manually.

Here’s the sequence I finally used:

  • Backup everything
  • Convert data from Berkeley (DB_File) format to MySQL; I had been meaning to do this for a while and the upgrade was failing without it
  • Installed new MT 3.2 files in version-specific directories
  • Set up symbolic links for ‘mt’ and ‘mt-static’ to point to 3.2 rather than 3.14
  • Review/edit mt-config.cgi with correct settings
  • Ran mt-check.cgi to confirm everything was good (I had to fix one line in this that was causing a Perl warning and a 500 server error code)
  • Ran mt.cgi which directed me to mt-upgrade.cgi, upgrading the database (which went smoothly)
  • Reviewed weblog settings to make sure everything came over (it did) and to explore the new 3.2 options
  • Rebuilt the entire site
  • Edited the CSS so that edit boxes use a fixed-width font (Lucida Console)

So far, so good! Next step will be to revisit all my templates to see if I should revert to the standard ones. (Mine were hacked together when I first switched to MovableType.) The new StyleSwitcher looks interesting, but I haven’t been able to make it work just yet.