Me and Yahoo! Pipes

Jumping on teh intarnets bandwagon, I’ve been playing around with laying some pipe, Yahoo! style. Iskold and MacManus have the best explanation as they draw a parallel between it and relational databases and just like those databases it can have a bit of a learning curve but it allows for some pretty powerful and nifty connections to be made once you get a hang of it.

Below is a screenshot of my Planets Pipe which mixes together Gnome, KDE, and Ubuntu sorted descending by date then by post title.

Yahoo Pipes
Squiggly lines abound!

As far as Pipes go this is pretty basic as it just folds the feeds of three sites together into one, the real power lies in using operators to chop up, drill into, and slice ‘n’ dice the data. For example, you could build a Pipe that feeds you info about a geographic location from photos on Flickr, listings on Craigslist and Freecycle, concert information from Pollstar, and events from Meetup. That’s the beauty of pipes is that it treats the Internet like a giant database and you can sort, query, and mix data to your hearts delight. As for myself, I am still getting my head around it and musing over what sort of data mash would have the greatest utility in my life.

What kind of pipe would you lay (using Yahoo! :-P)?

David Wellington’s Backstory

Over the past month or so I have been really enjoying David Wellington’s Thirteen Bullets, a serial novel being published via RSS. With the impending release of his novel Monster Island, Backstory gives him a chance to voice his inspiration for writing it. If you like action packed horror Wellington is definitely worth reading as his writing is crisp and his characters flawed and believable. Good stuff.

Democracy Player, free and open source Internet TV

Democracy Player is the shit. I’m an RSS junkie. I live a good portion of my Internet life glued to Liferea but on occasion I’ve been know to rather watch than read and here’s where Democracy Player comes in. It is a tightly integrated vidcast aggregator and player that provides a streamlined and functional system to satisfy my cravings for multimedia.

It was a fairly simple install for Ubuntu, grab the deb package here, drop to the CLI and run dpkg -i on the package, then fix the install by resolve any dependencies in Synaptic .  Granted, I already installed many of the codecs needed to view the videos but that can be handled by the Automatix script if it turns out you are missing some.

Overall, I’m stoked even though management is frowning a little more at me for spending more time at the laptop.  Well, maybe it is the headphones and my constant, “What? You say something?”

Maybe I’ll stick to writing fanfic for my cats…

Often I think my sister is too generous in her praise, likely she is stroking my ego and bolstering my confidence as recently she floated the idea that maybe I should seriously pursue my dream of writing and pontificating on a more serious and hopefully paid basis. I, however, have no illusions about my talent as a wordsmith and do not see that as a viable venture beyond thinking about it in that smiling twilight state just before sleep. If I had any illusions about my success the recent write up about profit and loss in the publishing industry, “P&Ls and how books make (or don’t) money: part the first: the mass market original complete failure“, will anchor me to reality, especially when read with “The life expectancies of books” which will remind any aspiring or working author that the memory of your works will fade quicker than O-Town’s last single. [For those of you playing at home it was "I Showed Her" from their sophomore follow-up, 02, and yes it sucked but it's O-Town. What did you expect?]

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly think it is commendable that there are people willing to take the plunge and make their livelihood off writing–those people have a greater drive and are less risk averse than I. For me, it is a nice fantasy to have in that I really do enjoy writing and the sites have given me an outlet and an opportunity to think critically and creatively, something I was sorely lacking after I finished grad school. But writing for a living takes a thick skin and a will to see your product through to the end. I get distracted easily, often running after the next shiny thing that glints in the corner of my eye–never did find a way to reign that monkey in–so the idea of a steady flow of income being dependent on my attention span is a frightening notion.

I would like to branch out into more creative writing and I did try that briefly here but scrapped it before long for a lack of time and focus. The GMing experience sort of dredged up the desire again and got me thinking about how I might do it with an eye on keeping things short, tight, and focused. I’m at a loss though seeing as my workdays are long and my nights even longer, finding time to grind out three reviews at Pop and a handful of posts here is challenge enough let alone pounding out short stories as well. However, if it is something that I want to try I really should at least make an effort to even capture scraps of thought and ideas. Letting them flit away seems like such a waste.

Maybe I’ll return to the more creative aspects to 0.333, as long as my attention can remain focused long enough. It was exhilarating conceptualizing a world filled with characters and intersecting plotlines while I briefly GMed, which if anything showed me that I’d would make a better writer than GM–focus thing again.  So I suppose I should thank my sister for the gentle kick in the pants to think a little bigger than I normally do but I won’t be quitting my day job anytime too soon.