July 2005 Archives

I don't know when exactly the Opera Blogs interface will be revamped - but I get the feeling that a revamp is inevitable, and probably under way as we speak. I've expressed any number of opinions about how things should evolve, which I'm assuming have already been discussed and presented to the extent they should be.

What I haven't been clear about is that I think Opera Blogs needs to streamline the way it handles "news". It's to the credit of the Opera fan base, that so many people want to post news about Opera on their sites - however, it can tend to clutter up the Opera Blogs interface with many redundant links to the same story. My personal feeling is that the Blogs interface needs, above all, to be "useful". We need it to be a place that people who want to monitor Opera news/commentary can come and have an effortless experience in terms of reading about Opera, especially from the point of view of Opera users.

This is particularly important for people who will eventually write about Opera, the people who write about tech - for whom we need to make this place useful. At the same time, we should be a place for newer users, and future users, or people with "Opera-Envy", to find out more about the community and our favorite browser.

If you have a news story that no one else has written about, of course you should post it. But if your post isn't going to be more than a sentence or two about a page long article (perhaps quoting an extract), it should be filed under news rather than commentary. That gives more play for people who are more familiar with the intricacies of the situation to express more detailed opinions. Of course there is a benefit to post stories on Opera in as many sites as are willing to do so, so the redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing - just that in the Opera Blogs interface, this repetition should be kept to a minimum.

One of the features of the social bookmarks site del.icio.us, is that they show you who else is linking to the sites you link to. If Opera could do that for the news stories people post/comment on, it would go a long way towards presenting a convenient way of viewing different opinions on a given story. These would be ranked by the number of clicks a given post gets, a built in way of ensuring that the best commentary is ranked at the top, but also rewarding the people who "break" the story, perhaps using a bookmark feed like OperaWatch does. So the aggregator would have to parse for links, and rank the linking posts by the number of clicks they get - presenting a short summary/extract of the post etc.

So I imagine a threaded interface, much like Google News, where the most popular headline has the extract, but links to the other blogs that have the same link below. Not easy, but perhaps worth the effort.

Of course this would be voluntary - the aggregator could parse for the words "Opera News:" as the first letters of the headline/post, just as it does now for relevant posts using the word "Opera".

Posts that did not come under "Opera News", would go to another aggregator that can deal with people generally writing about Opera, BUT STILL PARSED FOR LINKS etc. That way, expanded commentary will appear twice - once on the non-News site, and again as part of the aggregated news links. That's where people can, besides presenting expanded commentary, express general opinions, ideas, tips/tricks, testimonials etc. Obviously, a post like this one would fall under the "non-News" category. Though obviously things posted under non-News might end up in news, in more ways than one, because other people link to it. Especially when important tutorials etc. come up.

So the feed for non-news would be pretty straightforward, but the news feed would send you to the page with the various story extracts ala Google News, or the linked story directly. You'd then monitor the commentary feed for expanded commentary - though on the news page the commentary would eventually show up. A rough idea, I'm sure people can easily come up with something better. The idea would be to be notified of a story only once, unless expanded commentary appears on the other feed. There could obviously also be a combined feed, though marked appropriately as news: or commentary:.

There are conscientious, serious-minded people, who think and look with a critical eye over what is put before them. And then there are Tin-Foil Hatted Crazies who make X-Files fans sound reasonable.

Opera is a great browser - backed by a great company that knows better than to get stuck in the muck from which you never fully extricate yourself. Opera supporters, like myself, do not need this kind of rabid rumour-mongering - supposedly on our behalf.

Bias is an accusation that has become debased by usage - and so often now it has become inaccurate as a description of the partisan hackery that can occur. The only reason people keep jumping up and down is because they fail to understand something fundamental about narrative, about writing. Any narrative, any story, by the nature of its construction, consciously or not, is laced with the context and person through which it is written. There is no absence of "bias" - just a failure to acknowledge the considered conclusion of your deliberation and opinion.

The media can write whatever they want - that's what they're there for. Calling all negative press "bad" and all positive press "good" is like saying chickens have too many feathers. I'm not saying the AP article was particularly well written or particularly honestly presented in any considered way - it is neither - but rending your garments about the tonnage of bad writing anywhere is about as useful as resisting the Borg (and I don't mean the cuddly Microsoft kind).

As for the blazingly astute insight that news gathering organisations have vested interests (tell me more of this "filthy lucre" you speak of) - if you want to have the psychological insight of a three-year-old, that's fine, just stay away from the man with the funny nose.

You might as well say the press have a bias against murderers and litterbugs.

It is only under protest that I even link to trash - and then only via Dan - though personally I think he should know better than to reprint tripe.

If you want something related (dirty, dirty, John), try the last teacup.

Gone Fishin'

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I'm sure there's been a gaping hole in the place where my messenger icons usually are, but well, there are reasons for so many things. I'm in various minds of a party, but can't think of the bother. I'll probably try not to move things till after I'm gone.

The Singnet 10Mbps plan will be a boon for any number of people. Personally, I think the 25 plan is a waste of money, since they both have the same 1Mbps upload speed - and try as I might, maxing out downstream at that level is always a struggle.

I desperately should write more about the Inside and post the very happy charming picture of Rachel Nichol, but the as much as cancelled nature of it gets me down a bit. For my money, probably a better leading lady than Sarah Michelle was - and on a better show. The feeling is that these episodes got pushed up to end the series.

I should write a book.

Seeing as there's no other Opera news of note today, I thought I should bring your attention to the certain knowledge that people still use more than one browser, for any number of reasons. And because of that, it's necessary to have the best tool for moving between browsers: Optool.

Martin's done a wonderful job, not just on polishing up Optool for the current release, but in re-designing his entire Optool site, which is now nice and spanky new.

Of course, Martin's also become a money-grubbing whore - no really - and is now demanding that you send him the official currency of Denmark - the foreign postcard. By which I mean that Optool is now Postcardware.

So go to the official Optool Site, in particular the Download Page. But get ready to fire up your brand new bittorrent engines, since it weighs in at a whopping 111kb.

If you were feeling particularly charitable, you could also have a gander at the Unofficial Optool Fora, where you can bitch and moan to your heart's content. After making sweet love to the Known Issues page, of course.

For a fuller description, and the changelog since 2.0a, word. From what I understand, 2.1 now also supports Netscape 8, though god only knows why.

Such gags. At everything.

Charlotte Coleman really is so adorable and insolent in Oranges, very much inhabitant.

Now we know where the L Word got it's carnival imagery from. Mia Kirshner is supposed to be the new, Jewish, Charlotte Coleman.

The series itself is whatever, particularly sparkly because of her, but otherwise a little unremarkable. Perhaps it's been spoilt by my having watched the stage adaptation in York. Makes me wonder at the source material, since it was adapted by her anyway.

You Suck One Cock...

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It's just funny beyond words. And Dylan Moran is just spanky. It's like Charlotte Coleman has a whole new lease. The intro music alone makes you want to weep.

How Do You Want Me?

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I've just been watching it, and there's something about the music and the setting that is just moving beyond words. And Charlotte Coleman is so very very heartbreakingly beautiful. The cast anyway is wonderful, though this makes me ache for the first series, and really to watch more Simon Nye.

Dylan Moran is great, as is Peter Serafinowichz - I really should go watch Shaun of the Dead. Mark Heap as well.

The fact that she died after, the idea that it might have been so horrible a death, almost beggars belief.

Holding Back The Tides

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Some people got it, some people don't. Basically I'm tired of tweaking the number of days on my front page. I'm desperately wondering if MT 3.2 will mean that it can be set according to posts rather than days.

I've been getting a bunch, well a couple, of e-mails that have warranted really very long replies. I don't know if I'm just bleary from the just waking up, and I wonder if they'll go anywhere. Presumptuous to be sure, but not unwarranted by any means. And getting slapped down is different when it's face to face. If there was any doubt that I am a product, though not an uncritical one, of the periodical I read, let that be proof sufficient.

I've been sort of perplexed, though not exactly displeased with the fact that there's plenty now that even I can't remember the context of, and would require quite a bit of digging to dis/re-cover. To that end, I can't bring myself to write, or write too much, yet at least, about the much hoo-ha-ing right now, which you can't help but wonder isn't just self-defeating. The film of the thing, despite the pedigree of (some) of its scriptors, is just blank on so many levels that it just doesn't quite bother me like it should. But the profound chest-thumping arrogance of it I think is ironic. This from people who would so readily eschew ideas of Charity and didactic disbelief, being so flung victims of it.

But Kelly Macdonald is really very lovely, and Bill Nighy is fun but misused in so many ways.

As with so many times I sit and still, the urge is to come and to blank and to fill. I think my newfound catalysed regularity has now led to me being much less out and out unhappy, but rather maintains me at a rather even keel of alleviated ambivalence.

I suppose it just was a bit spooky watching Howard Stern interview Phil Hartman, especially bringing on the wife that would later kill them both. Suzanne Vega, however, was delightful.

With the upcoming release of MT 3.2, I get that itchy sensation again that I might like to move to using a MySQL backend. I have no doubt it would be no end of painful, but the twinge is there.

And so the experiment of prominent front page ads ends. It seems people who come here (usually the goggle freaks, I suspect), tend to click on the ads that are on the individual post pages rather than anything else.

I always suspect I should sub-categorise, but the more I think of it, there's plenty to be happy about with huge archive pages - I've always found that to be the most useful view for rifling through a new bog you've found. Part of the many reasons I still haven't moved to WordPress. Sure MT could do a better job of allowing you to edit posts from the post view, and could do a better job of ordering and listing archives, but for all its faults, it's still quite pleasing. And I can play with WordPress elsewhere.

Oh, and with the advent of .htaccess, or at least my discover of it, I can tell the referrer spammers to go suck my kiss. Some drama with ICDsoft, but nothing that I'd expect not to find anywhere else - and. I'm still a bit obsessive about my forum spam, but at least I'm letting go of those who don't go out of their way to authorise themselves, and only swatting the rest - like my trackback swarms, which I'll get around to addressing some day.

In the perpetual ping-pong that is Louis' penchant for switching search engines, I'm back to using MSN - especially since Grypen's filters now block their ads as well.

I wonder if WMich has good classes on php and MySQL. Speaking of which I really need to have words with them about the browser sniffing on their portal.

I suppose I could write about Opera, but I've just not been in the mood. Something about the flurry of releases just strikes me as Opera overcompensating for Nokia chucking them for Apple. So there, stunning insight just for the people who subscribe here instead of just monitoring the aggregator.

But yes, Sharapova seems particularly alluring getting spanked by Venus. Even when she was being rolled over by Henin she didn't have that same air of grasping determination. It's probably not wrong to think that her appeal is similar to Zhang Ziyi's, which, as I've said before, seems incumbent on her being made to look thwarted and vexed in that very pursed manner.

Speaking of the shapely, I've been watching the much maligned and ill-fated Tabitha - the Bewitched spin-off that died after half a season. I remember watching an episode a long time ago and finding Lisa Hartley no end of fetching. From what I'm seeing now, it's another of those series that rightly has that attraction of ill fate.

Lindsey Davenport playing Kim Clijsters was quite a sight as well.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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