ralphm's blog

Thursday, 29 August 2002


I have been using JabRSS as my prime RSS notification service for a while now, but lately it has been offline often. The author told me there were some problems with the hosting of the JabRSS bot. I was really pleased with how it worked, though, and wanted to set it up for myself. Unfortunately I found it to have way to much dependencies for my needs.

In comes janchor by atrus. This is another RSS notification service written in perl. You can register arbitrary news sources with it and later subscribe to presence of those sources. The presence even shows DND when the source can not be reached for retrieving updates. Works great so far and the TODO looks promising.

Tuesday, 6 August 2002

Omnipresent bugs

I just came across this Slashdot posting pointing to an article on tactile, physical interfaces and how they might the next evolutionary step in how we interact with machines.

At the end of the article there's a link to a collection of Phidget Projects, where Phidget is a contraction of the words physical and widget. The first of those projects is Buddy Bugs. Now that immediately rang a bell. My hunch was right. It's a physical model of a leaf with bugs on it, where each bug represents a person on your buddy list (in this case using the MSN IM network). The bugs are translucent and their glow shows the presence of the person.

This is really exciting. Most of you know the Jabber World Map and maybe even the Jabber Fish Tank. What you might not know is that they have a common ancestor: the Jabber Christmas Tree. It's not online right now because, well, it's August. Anyway, this is a tree with lights, where each light represents a person. They all use some of the same concepts as the Buddy Bugs and maybe a physical version of the Jabber World Map or the Jabber Christmas Tree would make a good Phidget. Wow.

Monday, 5 August 2002

Back from Malta

I'm back from Malta. It was a really good and much needed vacation break with lot's of sunny, warm weather and nice things to see. Those of you who found me on the Jabber World Map while I was on Malta know ;-).