It was helpful to have two separate forums while I got my feet wet, but I think that structure has outlived its purpose, for several reasons. First, although as recently as last June I felt that it made sense to maintain separate professional and personal sites, at the same time I also wrote that "...it's essential to let people know who you are as an individual and to speak in your own voice when you're working online. That means exposing yourself, speaking authentically, and being unafraid to share your silly passions." Having found my online voice over the past year, merging the two sites now will make it easier to speak more naturally and to cover the full range of topics I'm passionate about, from the silly to the serious.
Second, you might notice that the old tagline on my main site--"Thoughts on design, technology, advocacy and marketing"--is gone. Even though it initially gave me plenty of room to explore my professional interests, it was starting to feel a little cramped, like a shirt that shrank in the wash. I could sense myself backing away from topics that interested me but didn't quite fit the old schema, and that's just ridiculous. Using Doc Searl's metaphor, these sites aren't "channels" or "pipes," they're places. My primary purpose on these sites isn't "delivering content"--I'm stretching my mind, thinking out loud, and occasionally meeting others doing the same. And I don't want to be bound by a predefined set of topics, however broad. (Just as a heads-up, these days I'm particularly interested in issues related to organizational culture and executive coaching. I don't know where those explorations will lead, but I'm looking forward to covering some new ground.)
And finally, thanks to my association with AttentionTrust, I have every expectation that more sophisticated attention services will be coming online soon that will allow readers who are interested in my professional musings but not my music reviews (and vice versa) to sift through my feed and find the posts that are most relevant to them. Those services aren't here yet, so there's certainly the risk that merging these streams will just muddy the waters, making it more difficult for people to find what interests them--in fact, I expect that to happen in the short term. But hopefully the advantages described above will be worth it, and the geeks won't keep us waiting too long.
It's an experiment, and who knows? Perhaps the tangle of topics will get too messy, and I'll have to switch back. I'll keep this site in suspended animation, just in case, but I'll be bunking over at EdBatista for the time being.
From our friends in Redmond:
The Office HTML Filter is a tool you can use to remove Office-specific markup tags embedded in Office 2000 documents saved as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). When you create an HTML document in Office 2000, Office-specific markup tags are embedded in it. These tags help "round-trip" the document for editing purposes. For example, if you create the document in Word 2000 and save it as HTML, the code embedded in the document allows you to re-open the document in Word 2000 and use the same features you originally used to create the page.
Once you have completed editing an HTML document in Word 2000 or Excel 2000, you can use the Office HTML Filter to remove the Office-specific markup tags from the final copy of the HTML document. By removing the tags, you reduce the size of the document, which in turn reduces both the amount of space used on Web servers as well as the time it takes to download the page. For additional information about the benefits and disadvantages of removing the Office-specific markup tags, read Use Office HTML Filter to Create Web Pages that Download Faster.
Download the HTML filter. Basic instructions:
To filter a document in Word
- Open the document you want to filter.
- On the File menu, point to Export To and then click Compact HTML.
To create a cascading style sheet (.css) in Word
- Open the document on which you want to base the style sheet.
- On the File menu, point to Export To, and then click CSS Stylesheet.
To copy text from a Word document as HTML
- In Word, open the document you want to copy text from and select the text you want to copy.
- On the Edit menu, click Copy as HTML.
To filter single or multiple Excel 2000 or Word 2000 HTML files
On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Office Tools, and then point to Microsoft Office HTML Filter 2.0. Read Use Office HTML Filter to Create Web Pages that Download Faster for additional information about using the Office HTML Filter in Word. For more in-depth information about using the Office HTML Filter 2.0, read Using Office HTML Filter at the Command Prompt, Using Office HTML Filter to Remove Office-specific Markup, and Using Office HTML Filter to Save Space on Web Servers.
I picked up a 1 GB iPod Shuffle almost on a whim this weekend. Lord knows I love my 20 GB model to death, but it's a little too heavy for a shirt pocket or for exercising, it's expensive enough that I worry about dropping it or losing it, and the battery life isn't really that great. (Yes, I know I'm spoiled. Don't blame me--blame Steve Jobs and his army of engineering nerds toiling under the watchful eyes of their designer overlords.) Enter the Shuffle.
I had no idea I'd love it as much as I do. Light as a feather, drop-proof (all Flash memory--no moving parts), not exactly cheap--but a good sight cheaper than the 20 GB, and 12 long hours of battery life = digital music nirvana. Then factor in 1) the absence of any chargers or other crap to lug around (it charges when it's plugged into a USB drive on an iTunes equipped computer), and 2) the 330+ songs I was able to cram onto mine, and I am truly in love. It's pathetic.
My only mod has been to etch cross-hatchings in the on-off switch to make it easier to slide. It's a little too slick as is and required too much pressure to toggle. Otherwise, the damn thing is perfect.
UPDATE: iPodLounge has a great Shuffle tutorial. Best tip: "When listening to a playlist in shuffle mode, press Play three times quickly to re-randomize the play order."
In their own words, Audioscrobbler...
...builds a profile of your musical taste using a plugin for your media player (Winamp, iTunes, XMMS etc..). Plugins send the name of every song you play to the Audioscrobbler server, which updates your musical profile with the new song. Every person with a plugin has their own page on this site which shows their listening statistics. The system automatically matches you to people with a similar music taste, and generates personalised recommendations.
I just started using it, so my profile's pretty skimpy at the moment--but I'm just going to let iTunes shuffle my 2,226 song "Alt, Punk, Pop & Rock" playlist for a few days on end and see what happens. Check out my Audioscrobbler page to watch my profile evolve. Once I get over 100 songs in my profile, Audioscrobble promises to find users with similar tastes and put them in my "neighborhood," so I can look over their profiles
Also cool--and requiring no registration--is their Explore Music feature. Type in the name of a band to see a list of associated bands (determined by the frequency with which Audioscrobbler users listen to both.) For example, here are the top 25 bands on today's list for Interpol (based on results from 60,107 people):
Audioscrobbler doesn't make this explicit, but I'm interpreting the chart as saying that 100% of the people who listen to Wilco and the White Stripes also listen to Wilco, 74% of the people who listen to the Fiery Furnaces also listen to Interpol, etc. In contrast to this data, when I go to Interpol's page on Amazon right now, the list of "similar artists" is:
None of which are in the Audioscrobbler list above, or even in the
complete list of 100 bands Audioscrobbler associates with Interpol. Hmmm. We'll see if anything useful or interesting comes out of this, but it's sure seems kewl.
Why can't I find a (free) site search tool that works? The Technorati searchlet that I installed recently on my day blog isn't working any more--it only searches the entire web and ignores instructions to search just my site. Not helpful. So I've put the Google search box back (TypePad makes it easy.) But it's an imperfect solution at best. It's not updated all that often (at least for a little ol' site like mine), so it excludes terms from recent posts. And it includes terms from my sidebars, so you get a lot of false positives when searching for someone in my blogroll, for example. PicoSearch had its own problems, so at this point I'm out of ideas.
I just dropped PicoSearch from my day site and substituted the Technorati Searchlet. Much better. Far superior search results, and no need to manually index the pages (so presumably no maximum page number.) I wasn't able to get it to work for this site--perhaps because it branches off from my primary TypePad account, perhaps because it's not a public blog--but I'm happy for now.
When I initially set up the PicoSearch box, I had to tweak it considerably to get a fit I was happy with. Just in case I ever want to restore it, here's the code that worked well (at least visually) for the sidebar:
<!-- Begin PicoSearch Query Box -->
<P><FORM METHOD="POST" ACTION="http://www.picosearch.com/cgi-bin/ts.pl">
<INPUT TYPE="HIDDEN" NAME="index" VALUE="232131">
<TABLE BGCOLOR="WHITE" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 BORDER=0><TR><TD>
<TABLE BGCOLOR="WHITE" CELLSPACING=2 CELLPADDING=0 BORDER=0>
<TR><TD colspan=2><INPUT TYPE="TEXT" NAME="query" VALUE="" SIZE="20"></TD></TR>
&type=all" TARGET="_blank"><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="http://www.picosearch.com/picosmall.gif" ALT="PicoSearch"></A></TD>
<TD><nobr><INPUT TYPE="SUBMIT" VALUE="Go >>>" name="SEARCH"></nobr></TD></TR>
<TR><TD colspan=2 ALIGN=LEFT><FONT SIZE=-2><A HREF="http://www.picosearch.com/cgi-bin/ts.pl?index=232131&help=help">
<!-- End PicoSearch Query Box -->
I was under the impression that if you wanted to create a customized popup in TypePad (say, for an image of the San Francisco Giants' Mays Field), you had to be using an Advanced Template in order to have direct access to the CSS where you'd do some funky technical shit.
Not so, dope.
You can create a popup of any size and with a range of features (with or without scroll bars, for example), using simple code right in an ordinary post. Here's the code for the popup above:
<a onclick="window.open(this.href,'_blank', 'width=600,height=350,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,
location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0'); return false" href="http://edbatista.typepad.com/vivabatista/images/2005/02/
(Note that there's a line break between the 'directories' and 'location' attributes to get the code to display properly here. That break must be removed to make the code work in an actual page.)
Now, just because I was able to get it to work, don't think for a minute that I really know what I'm doing. I don't fully understand all the attributes, or what'll happen if you change 'no' to 'yes', but it doesn't really look all that tough to figure out, now, does it?