March 5


If you’re not into RSS, but use Twitter you can follow me and get tweets for new posts to this blog via Twitterfeed.

posted @ 10:08 AM EST

FeedBurner Tweets

Oh, since I’m using it already, I just thought to check FeedBurner to see if it can tweet blog entries. It can, so now I’m using that instead of Twitterfeed.

posted @ 12:47 PM EST

March 8

Exit Through the Gift Shop

First, as always, read Mr. Ebert’s review of Exit Through the Gift Shop. I loved the way, in the beginning, Thierry Guetta’s making his living by buying used clothing by the bale and reselling it as designer wear for ridiculous prices turned out to be a metaphor for his later, artistic endeavor.

posted @ 08:44 AM EST

March 11

Blogging with Dropbox

My simple, home-brewed, blogging software generates this website’s code from a directory containing a collection of entries, where each entry consists of a plain text file with a smattering of HTML. It was straightforward to use a Dropbox directory for the entries, thereby making it possible to employ a Dropbox capable editor on a mobile device to compose entries without any rigamarole to transfer files.

posted @ 02:41 PM EST

March 12


SvnX is an open source, Mac OS X, Subversion GUI. With the latest version, 1.3, having been released last November 1, it is apparently an active project. One feature that I find particularly cool is its option to use TextWrangler for comparing and merging.

posted @ 09:53 AM EST

March 13

Adding Blog to Flipboard

'Nothing Is Perfect' on Flipboard

To add this blog to Flipboard on the iPad:

  1. Go to “Contents” in Flipboard.
  2. Tap “Add a Section”.
  3. Type “Nothing Is Perfect” and hit “Search”.
  4. Scroll to “RSS Feeds”.
  5. Select the item on “dolben.org”.

Generalizing this is left as an exercise for the reader.

posted @ 10:00 AM EDT

March 20

Remote Blogging

As mentioned before, I have my blog set up to use a Dropbox directory containing a text file for each entry. But the markup generation doesn’t run on a publicly accessible machine. So, how do I generate the code and upload it to the server after I’ve created a new entry? I send a special email message to myself which, when it is received by the Mail application on my Mac OS X machine, matches a particular rule I’ve created, thereby invoking a tiny AppleScript which in turn runs the Python code that does the needful. The only thing I had to add to enable this remote mechanism from what I had before was the rule and the little AppleScript, both of which were quite trivial.

By the way, the iOS app I like for writing the entry text is Nebulous Notes.

posted @ 02:52 PM EDT

March 21

Space Colonization Fantasy

In “The High Frontier, Redux”, a rather old, blog entry by science fiction writer Charlie Stross, he argued as I did before that space colonization is a fantasy. While I dismissed the technical barriers by merely stating that they were much greater than most people thought, he examined some of them as well as addressing a few of the same social and economic issues on which I focused. (I like how he waves a rhetorical, almost magic wand to posit “a bunch of self-replicating, self-repairing robotic hardware.”)

posted @ 09:50 AM EDT

March 28

SkySafari Lite

SkySafari Lite, a guide to the night sky, is one of my favorite iOS apps. It–and its big brother, the non-lite edition–have received plenty of publicity and numerous reviews, so I will attempt neither to describe it thoroughly nor to list all of its features. Suffice it to say that SkySafari does everything and more that you would want an interactive, celestial map to do. I’d just like to highlight a few features that I’ve found critical to making it wonderfully useful outdoors, at night, under the stars.

  • The display can be set to accommodate night vision by using only red on black.
  • The back-lighting level can be set from within the app.
  • The magnitude of the faintest stars shown is adjustable.
  • Constellations can optionally be shown in a few ways, e.g., by their boundaries or by their modern outlines.

The app was a great aid in my making an observation for this year’s GLOBE at Night campaign.

posted @ 01:08 PM EDT