Style Updates; Content Filtering

Mar 13, 2011

I spent some time working on the site this weekend, including adding a new visual design and the ability to filter posts by content type (see the little ‘audio’ and ‘text’ buttons above). Visual updates include:

Adding the content type filtering turned out to be a little bit tricky, just based on the way I set up the rendering system. I think it will be cool, though — I added per-type ATOM feeds, and I’m hoping to be able to serve up the audio feed as a podcast once I figure out the nuances of iTunes and get much better at playing piano.

Having this whole site in a git repo has made both posting to and customizing the site much more enjoyable than having to go through a web interface. I WILL NEVER GO BACK.

Ten Minutes a Day

Feb 14, 2011

I was feeling pretty down about this time last week. I was putting off practicing piano all week, and then trying to make up for it with a marathon practice session the night before my lesson. It was enough to keep from embarassing myself in front of my tutor, but that’s about it; I wasn’t making any progress to speak of.

I considered that maybe piano wasn’t for me, that if I really wanted to do it, I’d just do it. I also considered that it won’t be fun to play piano until I’m good at it, and I won’t be good until I do a lot of unfun practice.

I mentioned these ideas to my friend Melodie, who suggested that I try to practice for ten minutes a day. Sage advice, it turns out. It’s always daunting to think about playing for 30 minutes or more, but I’ve had no trouble getting motivated to sit down for ten minutes.

I’ve applied the same principle to meditation, something I’ve wanted to do for years, but was unable to start for whatever reason. So far so good: I’ve practiced piano and done some basic meditation every day for the last week.

Idea: Cantankery

Jan 31, 2011

Cantankerous plus wankery. Think about it!

I know what you’re thinking, and I’m three steps ahead.

Idea: Sync Torrents with Dropbox

Jan 22, 2011

Often when I’m at work, I’ll think about something I’d like to download from BitTorrent, but when I’m home, I never wind up doing it. Transmission, my torrent client of choice, has the option to watch a folder for new files and automatically begin downloading them. I could install Dropbox on a media server under my TV and then put torrent files into a designated folder that the server would automatically pick up and begin downloading.

Idea: 5 Things / Today I Will

Jan 20, 2011

I’m always trying to figure out a system for making new habits stick. My latest approach is a piece of paper with dates down the left side and verbs across the top representing things I want to do consistently, currently read, practice (piano), exercise, create, and meditate.

I’d like to create a simple version of this list on the web. The default view would be a list of the five verbs that you could check off as you complete them. There would also be a historical view, displayed in reverse chronological order. Each entry would be constrained to a single word, and the list capped at five.

I think this could be a great app to play around with lazy registration. A user could create their list without entering any info and would be identified for subsequent sessions using a non-expiring cookie. They could later enter an username and/or password if they so desired.

Idea: Mobile Posting With Dropbox

Jan 20, 2011

I wanted to post a new idea when I was walking to the metro, but didn’t have any way to do that. It’d be great to have a mobile posting interface, but I’d hate to have to wire up a web form to create a new post, add it to the repo, and then rebuild the site.

It’d be great if I could use Elements to create a new post in Dropbox and have a process looking for new posts via the API which would do all the heavy lifting.

Idea: Feed Viewer

Jan 19, 2011

In attempting to create an Atom feed for this site, it’s become apparent that there’s no great way to see what the contents of a feed will look like in a feed reader. Google Reader aggressively caches feed content, making it useless for debugging purposes. I’d like to create a simple web app that takes the URL of a feed, parses it, and displays the content roughly as it will look in a feed reader.

This seems like a good case for a Node.js app written in CoffeeScript. Another alternative is a Ruby app using Sinatra, which would allow me to use a proven feed parsing library like Feedzirra. I’m concerned that most existing libraries are too permissive with regard to malformed feeds, when we’re really attempting to highlight problems.

For version two, we could tie into the W3C feed validator.

Idea: Productivity Patterns

Jan 18, 2011

A simple app that lets you record information about work sessions, including:

The goal being to help identify patterns about what makes you maximally productive and secondarily to serve as a sort of what-I-did log.

Idea: Combinators in Ruby Talk

Jan 17, 2011

I want to speak at the Ruby on Ales conference in late March. I want to finish To Mock a Mockingbird. I will propose a talk about applying the concepts in the book in Ruby, using code samples and real-world use cases.

This post by Reg Braithwaite seems like a good place to start, but it’s over my head at this point.

Update on Yesterday’s Idea

Jan 15, 2011

I spent a few hours last night and this morning rigging up a basic Tumblr replacement & moved http://davidmade.com over to my VPS this afternoon. Pretty cool, yeah?

Source is up on GitHub if you’re into that sort of thing.