Ryan Greene's Radio Weblog : On Semi Hiatus Until Further Notice.
Updated: 2/14/2003; 6:26:10 PM.


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Thursday, June 13, 2002

I used the tool Radio Userland released yesterday to make a list of the books I plan to read this summer. I'mina be busy. (link fixed)

comments   10:17:45 PM    

Mark Pilgrim sent an email on Tuesday saying that he now has his own wiener boys, and he "gets it." I said I support what he's doing, his narratives of real-world case studies for accessibility are just what I wanted, to help me understand what the issues are, and what solutions exist. Some people are making fun of Mark, and that's cool too, because so far the parodies have been well done. I know it can be hard to look in such a harsh mirror. So I also support what he's doing because it's valuable to me and I don't worry about what may appear to be preaching. I've gotten to know Mark as a smart person with strong opinions who doesn't cut corners. That's harder to do that it might appear. [Scripting News]

Is it possible to set up a CSS that will override all the text info on a page, so that when you browse around the web it will automatically render the text in a larger font? What if the browser used a frame (don't hit me!) that had a sidebar which held your favorites, and then rendered each page inside the frame, applying the style sheet? What is there was a CSS in the OS itself that set the fonts to an easily readable size?

I know this was one of my long time problems with Flash, the inablity to set the fonts as relative for users with imparied vision. The reason I careda bout this was that back in '93 I had met someone who had a disease that left her with rapidly deteriorating retinas. As a result, she needed a 21" monitor with a magnifer built on (not unlike Brazil) which would allow her to read the text, which was by now about 2" high.

It would be four years before I would be in a postion to anything with web design, but as soon as I learned that you could do relative font sizes instead of fixed, I went that way. Usability is key, and to deny anyone accessability is to cut off information for people with a perspective that is different form yours. That has always been a bad choice in my experience.

comments   11:18:45 AM    

How to build an RSS digital dashboard using Manila and Radio (a low tech approach).  The concept is simple.  In addition to getting new posts from news sites and other weblogs, RSS feeds can contain data from corporate systems.  Sales data, financial data, supply data, data from partner systems, etc.  Using this method, employees could get up to the minute data from multiple applications on a single webpage -- a personal digital dashboard.

So, for example, I could be a sales manager at a Fortune 500 company.  I want to track information available to me from multiple corporate applications, and I don't want to run the client software for each app on my desktop.  I only want the data. 

Here is what the feed could look like:

Sale:  Customer name:  Proctor and Gamble,  Date:  June 12, 2002, Amount:  $2.3 m,  Made by:  Tom Durst, E-mail: tdurst@widget.com, K-Log:  http://tdurst.widget.com ,  Product: Widget XYZ

So, in order to offer employees better access to data, the IT department creates granular RSS feeds for the main corporate apps (CRM, ERP, financial, etc.).  Using Radio I merely subscribe to the feeds I want to monitor form a list on the Intranet (using the news subscription page).  Every hour I get all the latest data from each of the apps.  Further, I can take any of this data, add an annotation/comment/POV, and publish it to my K-Log.  Sweet.  Further, I could create published views of this data using the Multi-author tool for Radio (this tool lets me select the feeds I want to group and publish them to category specific weblog). 

Manila works in a similar fashion.  I can publish feeds I want to subscribe to using a simple macro.  Using Manila, create a new page for your site (a story), place the macro below in the "source view" of the editing box.  Here is the macro:

boxTitle:"Nanotech News", align:"center", width:200,
frameColor:"#000000", titleBarTextColor:"#ADD8E6",
titleBarColor:"#FFFFFF", boxFillColor:"#FFFFFF", timeZone:"PST",
hspace:0, vspace:0, maxItems:20)}

Note:  replace the URL for the RSS feed I have in the above with the feed you want to monitor, change the name, and presto.  You now have a page on your site with the data from the RSS feed.  In fact, using Manila you could build a complete portal of aggregated newsfeeds without much technical knowledge.

Digital dashboards should be something anybody can create, customize, and control.  Don't let your IT department launch into a multi-million $$ universal application portal when a simple approach like this could be accomplished in days for short dollars. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

comments   10:50:14 AM    

Digicam Equipped Phones, PDAs, To Read Barcodes. Cheap alternative to traditional laser scanning solution available. [allNetDevices Wireless News]

Digital cameras to be used for reading barcodes. given the forthcoming ubiquity of said cams, as well as the significantly lower pricepoint for integrating them into existing devices, this should help speed this app to success in the market.

categories: Business, Engineering

comments   10:49:39 AM    

SpaceDaily.  Soldier of the future.  I particularly like the use of the RPV.

>>>Already developed is a reinforced helmet built of kevlar-type material that integrates night-vision goggles, cameras, infra-red targeting, biological and chemical alarms, a Global Positioning System, an electronic method to distinguish between friends and foes, and of course radio communications.

But in the future, US infantrymen could be going into combat aboard a 250-kilo (550 pound) robotic "mule." Soldiers could travel up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour aboard this wheeled machine, also designed to follow them at a distance carrying heavy equipment when the soldiers travel on foot.  The vehicle, equipped with a silent hybrid electric-fuel engine, will also serve as a power generator and water generator and purifier, and come equipped with a cannon or a white phosphorus smoke launcher.  The top-line "mules" will even come with a mini-drone, a small pilotless plane that will enable soldiers to view their environment from the sky, De Gay said.<<< [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

I hope that they harden the suits against EMP pulses, as well as the RPV's, otherwise you are a sitting duck in a fancy suit. I also hope that the hemet can be opened up in some manner (unlike the motorcycle helmet they are displaying now) so that the soldiers can rely on their own hearing when entering/clearing structures.

comments   10:25:10 AM    

Harry Potter released unprotected. The failure to copy-protect Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone suggests Hollywood may have decided it is cheaper not to bother [New Scientist]

...By not protecting Harry Potter, Time Warner has saved the five US cents or so per disc or tape that Macrovision charges. Analysts suspect that Warner left the release unprotected, to investigate whether this would have a significant impact on sales.

...But the company is clearly embarrassed by the revelations. When contacted by New Scientist, Warner UK refused to comment, first denying that the release is unprotected. In the US, Warner has claimed that some discs are protected and some not...

...US trade body the Video Software Dealers Association sums up trade concern. Spokesman Sean Bersell brands Warners' failure to protect Harry Potter as "short-sighted" and warns that it "undermines the legitimate market for its products."

Industry eyes are all now on the next big video release, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which is due in August. If this is also unprotected, Hollywood may have decided that it is cheaper to let a few people copy than spend money on protection.

There is no, I repeat NO copy protection on this release, either in DVD or VHS format. Admittedly, it's going to sell gangbusters, and it's price point is low enough that there is little reason not to buy the film. Still, this is a huge move, akin to the release of Pretty Woman at $19.95 back when it was released on video, which pioneered lower pricing on VHS releases back in the early 90's.

categories: Business, Entertainment

comments   10:16:33 AM    

WSJ.  A review of the recently released census data.  Here are the highlights:
  1. Personal income outpaced inflation by 8% during the 90s.
  2. Personal income rose by 40% on average over the decade.
  3. The percentage of Americans with a Bachelors degree rose to 24.4% from 20.3%.
  4. The percentage of households earning more than $150k a year tripled to 4.6%.
  5. The number of those over 65 living in poverty dropped by 20%.

This is great news across the board.   It is little wonder why consumers were able to power us through the last recession -- we are much wealthier.  I expect this next decade to be even better. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

categories: Business

comments   7:09:53 AM    

I've Got Your Trivia Fix Right Here, Buddy.

"For all of you librarians interested in trivia, the trivia archive of the bar trivia questions that I have been working on are all archived here." [librarian.net]

Andy B. and Kate Are Going to Love This! Very cool, although it does need a search engine (naturally).

[Jenny Levine: Tech Goddess]

Cool move by REM. Reminds me of when Rage Against The Machine encouraged fans to trade their album on Napster by stopping their label from banning people for sharing it.

categories: Business, Entertainment

comments   7:05:05 AM    

Cool Beans.

Bees Boost Coffee Crop Yield [Scientific American]

Couldn't help it.

categories: Business, Science

comments   7:00:08 AM    

Isaac Asimov. "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." [Quotes of the Day]

comments   6:58:17 AM    

Backseat Drivers Get an Office. Introducing the car that does everything. Also: Ford disses telematics business ... North Korea to go mobile ... Clear cell-phone calls in Australia ... and more, in this week's Unwired News. By Elisa Batista. [Wired News]

Most interesting is the last item on the list:

Unlimited text messaging: Leap Wireless, which operates in the United States under the "Cricket" brand, has launched an unlimited text messaging service in 30 markets across the country for $5 a month.

This is a part of what Jenny has been talking about, in terms of getting the prices for SMS down to a reasonable rate. Good move Cricket!

comments   6:57:13 AM    

This is just filled with asides. I've had three hours of sleep, sorry

U.S.: GOP Looks at 'Marriage Penalty'. 01:34 ET - AP [NewsBlip.com]

I blame Charon for the death tax. Interesting, Yahoo News provides voting records of the senators it reports on. I already knew about Opensecrets.org, which provided a guide to who was giving (and recieving) in politics, but this is another good reference to have.

comments   6:52:23 AM    

rubicund: Dictionary.com Word of the Day. rubicund [Dictionary.com Word of the Day]

categories: Words

comments   6:22:51 AM    

Provided without comment.

The Nail in the Coffin.

Another View on Replay TV and Forcible-content-watching

"Here is an alternative view of the Replay TV issue, that I haven't heard presented so far. Please feel free to post this to politech if you find it interesting.

Using Replay TV to skip commercials is not theft. Actually it should be completely legal, as the people of the united states have already paid for programming on the public airwaves.

First, the people of the US gave the broadcast companies access to the public airwaves. This access wasn't granted so that the broadcasters could then "sell" us programming. This access was granted so that the broadcasters could present us with content. We also granted the broadcasters the right to present us with advertising to help them meet the costs of producing the content they are presenting over the public airwaves.

If you accept this premise, then using a Replay TV to skip advertising is not theft in any way. The people have already paid for the content of a TV broadcast with a very valuable public resource, the RF spectrum it is broadcast on. So there really is no contract between the TV viewer and the broadcaster when it comes to advertising. In effect we have already paid our share...." [Allen Hutchison on Declan McCullagh's Politech, via Corante Copyfight]

[Jenny Levine: Tech Goddess]

categories: Entertainment

comments   1:22:31 AM    

Now You're Speaking *Your* Language.

Yesterday's discussion about language translation on-the-fly (make sure you read the <A href="javascript:void(0)">comments) is taking a new turn. Brent Ashley (he who figured out how I could provide an abridged RSS feed for my site) is taking his fascinating BlogChat tool to a whole new level with language translation. Bear witness:

"I've been playing with realtime translation with BlogChat. I'm at a pretty early proof-of-concept stage, but have used it to good effect already. Here's a capture of a session:

It's simple to use and quite fast. I've got a whole bunch of ideas of how to build a useful translating chat. Time to leap into the conversation, I guess!"

This is great news, and kudos to Brent for this work. Of course, my next question is how do we get on-the-fly translation into news aggregators, but I'm sure we're a ways off from that.

[The Shifted Librarian]

While I'm on my TTS kick, if this could also read you the phrases in the other language, it could help you to learn it much faster, especially if the translator transliterated as well as translated the phrases entered.

comments   1:17:52 AM    

Is it just me, or do other people think that XML feeds like RSS can help make information more accessible to people with disabilities? What about outliners? [Scripting News]

It's not just you. Having a custom browser that handles text to speech interpreting the XML, or an outline reader that do the same would be fantastic. Having a CSS set up that adds inflections as it hits punctuation, headlines etc would help tremendously as well.

comments   1:15:59 AM    

© Copyright 2003 Ryan Greene.

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