Pydoc - online docs of all the Python modules installed in your system

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 17:20

Python is awesome and so is Pydoc
From Simon Willison: Pydoc:


Pydoc is awesome; I don't know how I missed it for so long. Simply type the following at the command line:

pydoc -p 8888

Then point a browser at http://localhost:8888/ to browse interactive documentation for every Python module available on your system. This includes moduldes installed in your site-packages directory. If you keep code you've written yourself in site-packages you'll be able to browse the documentation for that too. If you're even remotely consistent about writing docstrings you'll be amazed at how useful the resulting documentation is. I can't believe I only just discovered this!


Vonage working on Mac but it's a kludge

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 17:17

Great news. Eventually we will have a fully compatible softphone!

From bestkungfu weblog:


I've been waiting with bated breath for a voice-over-IP phone on my PowerBook. I have a Vonage account with a Cisco terminal adapter, which works great when I'm at home, but is a little bulky to carry around with me. So I signed up for a "softphone" with Vonage, a second account that works with a connected PC. Unfortunately, for the first couple of months, I could only get it to work on Windows.


Feedster Alerts aka RSS for the rest of us

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 16:36

Awesome Feedster stuff is now available in both RSS and email! Go Feedster Go!

Now if only somebody would fund them so they could do the equivalent of Google Alerts for both the RSS generating websites and the non RSS generating sites, that would be great. I am sick and tired of my Google Alert emails clogging up my inbox and the fact that Google doesn't support RSS.

It's great that Feedster is providing email alerts for those still not using an RSS reader but in terms of knowledge flow, I know it would be impossible to keep up with all my knowledge sources without my RSS reader. Having RSS as email simply wouldn't work!

From Feedster Alerts:


"But Scott I Have an Aggregator..."

This is definitely a paradoxical feature.  Feedster News Alerts deliver an alert to you via email that something matching your query has been found.  Yes I know -- you have an aggregator and you don't want email.  I know.  I know.


David Coursey: MapPoint Location Server debut is watershed for location-enabled applications

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 16:20

All apps (especially sharing and authoring apps) will be location enabled in the future. This is just the start.

From MapPoint Location Server debuts (Part 1) :


I agree with people who described this as a “watershed event“ in making location-enabled applications available to American (and Canadian) businesses at prices they can afford. If your business involves sending people to customer locations, whether on service calls, deliveries, or “when news happens“ this is technology you can use. Maybe not immediately, as we are still a bit on the bleeding edge, but now is the time to get this on your radar and plan for 2005 and beyond.


Markdown as an OS X Service

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 14:28

Very cool, going to have to check this out!

From freeform goodness :: tech : computers : os : osx : applications : Markdown As An OS X Service :


I’m happy to report that it’s possible with fairly minimal effort to get to function as a service in OS X. This makes Markdown functionality available inside of Cocoa text fields, which means that everything from Safari to Mail to SubEthaEdit to Stickies can benefit.


Great spoof post from Stuart.

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-03-24 00:12

Great spoof post from Stuart. Truth is far stranger than fiction. I fully expect something like this to happen.

From Unbound Spiral: Skype Business Plans Revealed:


Estonia March 23, 2004* WTF Spoof Newswire

Skype Business Plan details released today outline large scale enterprise ambitions. Throwing caution to the wind and responding to recent enquires from international press sources Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom released new products and service details in a closed session post CeBit conference for the Enterprise market. Earlier Skype announced partnerships with Plantronics and Siemans Mobile. The most important announcements disclosed details of the Skype "Supernode" Corporate Server, the Skype "Presence Manager and Skype for PDA's and Symbian Skype Messenger.

Skype testing began with a free to consumer "telephony" application released in August 2003. With over six months in testing billions in connected calls, and online callers exceeding 300000 concurrently Skype announced that HP would begin an immediate world wide corporate implementation. An unnamed HP spokes person said it was their "Windows" opportunity. It will be deployed in consulting services over the next three weeks. Concurrently HP will release new look PDA's and bluetooth headsets.


Thijs van der Vossen predicts blogs will become most important way of sharing information

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-03-23 22:12

Bold predictions which totally coincide with my thoughts. We won't call them blogs but you will be able to author and share anything, anytime with the world, your friends or any group you decide. Blogs, wikis etc. are just the first manifestation of this future world.

From Thijs van der Vossen · Predictions:


"The future will be simple, open, informal, standard-compliant and in reverse-chronological order.

No matter how you call it, blogging, weblogging or personal publishing will become the most important way of sharing information and managing knowledge.

Wikis will become the most widely-used groupware and collaboration tools.

Web standards usage will grow as more and more people will be accessing the web using an ever increasing range of browsers and devices. It will not be long before mobile phones include talking browsers by default.

Everything will support and everybody will use content syndication and news aggregators."


Help Britt make a better democracy

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-03-23 21:58

Sounds great. Sign me up for the Acceptance and Innovations Boards!

From Vets needed:


"Thanks to Doc for helping Ethan Zuckerman and me advertise for Internet vets to vet the accumulating activism tools for our nascent Open Republic effort. Since all but my 15 readers have missed this groundswell, the back story is that a small bunch of us are looking for volunteers to serve on one of three blue ribbon advisory panels (your reward will be a blue ribbon and a certificate suitable for framing).

The Review Board will survey the available tools so the Open Republic Foundation can host its flagship effort–sort of an activist consumers' union–granting a Good Nationkeeping Seal of Approval for the tools providing the best user experience:

A comprehensive and comprehensible guide to the online organizing of campaigns

The Innovations Board will describe tools in the guides that need improvement and new tools to fill in the gaps among those tools:

Stimulate the creation of excellent campaign and governance software and Internet resources.

The Acceptance Board will exercise quality control over the work performed for the Innovations Board:

Review work commissioned for the Open Republic Foundation and accept or reject it as fast as humanly possible."


Safari is my default browser because Ecto's "post highlighted text to blog" service works and tabs work properly

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-03-23 14:54

Even though Safari is slower than Firefox, it remains my default browser because:

  • I can post to my blog from any app from ecto using Command @. This doesn't work with Firefox.
  • Tabs work properly i.e. multiple tabs get opened when I click on NetNewsWire rather than multiple windows. Again this doesn't work with Firefox.

Shrook 2 rocks Cory Doctorow's world

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-03-23 10:27

OK, after this ringing endorsement from Cory Doctorow, I have to re-evaluate Shrook. I wasn't too impressed with 1.0 but 2.0 sounds cool.

From Boing Boing: Wicked RSS reader redesign:


My RSS reader of choice, Shrook, went 2.0 this morning. After five or six hours of using it (couldn't sleep, friggin' jetlag), I am in love. This is the best UI overhaul I've ever seen (the old UI was pretty good too), a completely unexpected redesign that nevertheless managed to make this app that I use all day, every day, into something five times more useful and stable than it had been the day before. I like this punctuated equilibrium stuff.


TypeKey FAQ

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-03-23 00:31

Kudos to Six Apart for addressing the concerns of the community with an excellent FAQ. If only other companies would respond so well to feedback.

From the TypeKey FAQ:


With Movable Type comment registration, we've provided a great deal of options for weblog owners. At release (remember, we're still in Alpha), we plan to provide a detailed user's guide to comment registration and comment management options. But, for now, we want to provide a glimpse of the commenting options.

With Movable Type 3.0 you have options. You can:

  1. Only accept TypeKey-authenticated comments where the commenter sends an email address
  2. Only accept TypeKey-authenticated comments
  3. Accept TypeKey-authenticated and moderated comments
  4. Accept TypeKey-authenticated and regular comments
  5. Accept moderated comments
  6. Accept unmoderated comments
  7. Accept anonymous comments

Currently in Movable Type, 6 and 7 are the only two options. 1 through 5 have been added to create a varying degree of accountability.

While comment registration is not the right answer for every weblog, Movable Type 3.0 and TypeKey provide a flexible system that we feel will work for the majority of Movable Type users."


I still believe that reading and writing everyday will make you a better writer unlike Mark Pilgrim

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-03-22 16:09

I'd rather have a world where people who aren't great writers blog and write every day even if they don't improve. Better to live in a world where people express themselves than not!

And I think over the long haul (measured in years) that 99% of the people will become better writers. I certainly have improved!

From Most valuable asset [dive into mark]


I grew up being taught, believing, and teaching others to believe that there were only two things you needed to do to become a good writer:

1. Read every day

2. Write every day

But now we have thousands of webloggers who read other webloggers every day, and who themselves write every day, and they’re not getting any better at writing. Some people become better writers through weblogging, but if you look around you’ll have to agree that many don’t. They may fancy themselves as writers, or even journalists, because after all they’ve been writing every day for years. But their latest stuff is just as immature and nonsensical as their old stuff. They can’t put words together. (What’s so good about putting words together? It’s traditionally considered advantageous for a writer.)

This bothers me enormously. First, the mind-boggling lack of self-knowledge required to write every day and not realize that you write badly. But more important, the fact that there is obviously a secret third ingredient required for becoming a good writer. You need to read every day... and write every day... and X. But I don’t know what X is, and obviously my teachers didn’t know either. They had it, but they didn’t know it. Daily writing is not our most valuable asset. So what is it?


Markdown - a more frictionless way to enter HTML and XHTML for blog posts

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-03-22 12:34

Markdown sounds like exactly what I am looking for. Very cool! Must check this out. Writing HTML without a WYSIWYG editor, using the broken code from Mozilla and IE's WYSIWG editors and using an HTML text area with a preview mode is for the birds. Hopefully this will alleviate the pain of doing this

From Daring Fireball: Markdown:


Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

Thus, “Markdown” is two things: (1) a plain text formatting syntax; and (2) a software tool, written in Perl, that converts the plain text formatting to HTML. See the Syntax page for details pertaining to Markdown’s formatting syntax. You can try it out, right now, using the online Dingus.

The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown’s syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters, the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email.


NetNewsWire editor being totally overhauled for 1.1

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-03-22 12:25

Go Brent, go! I can't wait for 1.1. Looks like it will be smashing!

From Yahoo! Groups : NetNewsWire Messages : Message 1371 of 1374 :


About the weblog editor, here's the deal:

It's being overhauled, top-to-bottom, for the next release of NetNewsWire. It
will be quite different from the current weblog editor.

The goals are:

1. To make it easier to use *and* more powerful. The user interface has been
completely re-designed.

2. To support more weblog features than are currently supported. (Things like
Movable Type keywords.)

3. To make it a better text/HTML editor.

4. To fix a bunch of bugs.

5. To make it scriptable.


3 FREE RSS Technorati searches

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-03-22 10:58

Awesome, thanks! Now if you could only do wild card URL searches like PubSub's referenced URI feature e.g. give me an RSS feed of all blogs that have links with in them. That way I can see if anybody links anywhere on a site rather than to just a single URL i.e. anybody who links to a page anywhere on

From Sifry's Alerts:


I'm proud to announce the new Technorati redesign has launched, available at Some highlights of the new design:

Three free email or RSS watchlists for individuals - all you have to do is sign up as a member. Of course, people who have paid for watchlists are grandfathered in as well.


Illustrated MT templates

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-03-22 10:47

Oldie but goodie that I must re-read now that I have a MovableType blog hence the re-post. The CSS and JavaScript and HTML stuff apply to Blogware blogs too. Only the template stuff differs. But once you have figured out one templating system, the second and third and fourth :-) (I think this is the about the 5th or 6th blog templating system that I have learned) comes easier.



Tackling Movable Type templates and CSS for the first time can be daunting. The MT default templates contain four kinds of code: CSS, HTML, MT tags, and Javascript.

If you're new to all this, you're about to learn that it pays to make a careful study of the code. Once you understand the way it works together, it's pretty easy to modify your MT templates to display almost any design you want.


MovableType and TypePad expand to Europe

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-03-21 22:24

Congratulations! MovableType and TypePad's world wide expansion continues.

From Loïc Le Meur Blog: Six Apart and Ublog SA sign an exclusive representation agreement in Europe:


Mena, Ben, Barak and myself have been already working on this agreement for many weeks, I am very glad and honored to announce that Six Apart and my company Ublog SA have signed yesterday an exclusive representation agreement.

Ublog SA becomes the exclusive agent of Six Apart in Europe, Middle-East and Africa and has started distributing its leading weblogs publishing products, Typepad and Movable Type.

Typepad is already available in French and Spanish and will also be available in the next weeks in German and Dutch. Most European languages will follow shortly. Local Typepad and Movable Type websites will be launched very soon.



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