Geeks With Blogs

Lance's TextBox August 2006 Entries
US Congress: The single-most API needy organization in the world
Who is it? Who is starving for an API or a set of dynamic feeds? Why, the United States Congress, of course! Think about you know what your state senators did last summer? Or your house representative? You might know their positions on the big issues - but what about the ones that don't get big attention in the press? Are they just a pawn voting down the party lines? Are they hiding something? Are they acting contrary to how they campaigned? Are they ignoring the opinions of their constituents ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:44 AM

Flickr Geotagging
Tim pointed out to me yesterday that Flickr was adding some official support for geotagging. In the past, Flickr members just used regular Flickr tags to geocode their photos (ie, tags like lat:36.45 and long:-79.34). Now Flickr will let you go to the Organize page's "Map" tab and literally drag and drop your photos onto a map to geotag them. This is very cool, IMHO. What they've not done yet is make this information available via their API, but they say that functionality is coming soon. So what ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:29 AM

Why should apps take advantage of syndication extensions?
I made some comments about how Feed Crier should understand syndication extensions. In that post, Adam Kalsey (doesn't he kinda look like a younger version of John Travolta in that photo on his blog?) was kind enough to comment: > Maybe Adam Kalsey will make Feed Crier understand>some of the common syndication extensionsPerhaps, but I'm not convinced of their value to Feed Crier. Right now I'm just >trying to make it the best way to get instant update notifications. As I watch how it's used, ......

Posted On Friday, August 25, 2006 12:19 PM

Technorati struggling to keep up with the new A list.
The good news is, I'm no longer the 1,420,445th ranked blog at Technorati. Of course, the bad news is, Technorati obviously did not get the memo. But...since I joined the A-list (contribute to the cause: link to me, subscribe to me), and Technorati has discovered that I haven't actually been missing for the last 6 months, my Technorati ranking has moved up from 1,420,445 to 237,441. Woohoo! Party over here! James, I'll join you in that beer. Of course, in reality this ranking means nothing. Just ......

Posted On Friday, August 25, 2006 9:02 AM

Flickr urls changed for the worse
Lets say you wanted to get the RSS feed for a particular Flickr Group called "MyGroup". All you had to do to know the URL for this feed was: " + MyGroup + "/pool/feed/?format=rss_200" Easy as pie. No matter the group name, it was always very easy to find the URL for its feed. No longer. Now, the urls look like this: (the format parameter can also be atom_03). On top of the fact that ......

Posted On Friday, August 25, 2006 7:11 AM RSSBus Ops
As I've mentioned a couple times in the past, already provides a useful set of RSS feeds. On top of this, they also have a great REST API. Here's a list of "cool third-party applications" that use the api. Their RSS feeds are useful only if I know the metro code. For Raleigh, NC it is 99. So the full feed URL is It would be nice if I could easily piece together this URL without knowing anything other than my state and city, ie: ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:39 PM

Great music at Lincoln Theatre this weekend
I just heard about an awesome show this weekend, Saturday August 26, at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh. Far Too Jones is doing a reunion show. Glorydrive is opening for them. Two great bands. Far Too Jones was one of my favorites back in the mid-late nineties, they were local but very well known around the whole southeast. I remember that time they played at Alive After 5 and I got totally...I mean...uh...I had a blast. :) Technorati : music, north carolina, raleigh ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 23, 2006 8:47 AM

Google Calendar to SalesForce Event
Charlie Wood has been working on synching his Google calendar data with his account. This is an interesting project. Despite its early age, I thought this a good test for RSSBus. I decided to start with moving Google Calendar events to my account. First, RSSBus already has a set of GoogleOps, including a googleCalendarSearch operation that lets me get the details of calendar events in my Google account. The next step: adding events to The currently shipping ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 22, 2006 5:39 PM

Where are Tim, Jeff, John, and Joseph?
Jeff, John, Joseph, and Tim are going to South Carolina Code Camp 2.0. No word on whether Waldo is going or not. These guys want to do something nerdy along the way. Great idea, and I'm always up for nerdy games. :) We can easily create one RSS feed that shows their real-time location (using Where's Tim), the weather they are experiencing (yahoo weather), local events happening in the area that day (, and area restaurants in case they are hungry (yahooLocal). I don't know anything about ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:33 PM

Who's down with APP?
Who's down with APP? You down with APP? Yeah, you know me. Atom Publishing Protocol is naughty, by nature. Its the bad boy on the street who knows it all and is intimidating all the other kids on syndication street. It has made friends with the Googlers, and with this new found friendship it plans to take over all the street corners in Webservicetonvillelandberg. My question is - what services support APP? I read that Blogger is rolling out support for it - but what other services are? Update: Elias ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:06 AM

How do you track comments

How do you keep track of comments that you've left on various blogs? I tried Commentful (.com), but it doesn't seem to work for me....

Technorati :

Posted On Monday, August 21, 2006 9:32 PM

Music filled weekend
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending two concerts. Saturday night was Patty Griffin at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh. I'd never been to the amphitheater at the museum, but I'm happy to say that it was quite nice. Beer and wine was available, in fact you could a bottle of wine for $12. We took a blanket to sit in the lawn, but ended up moving right up front about 6 feet from the stage. It was a great show. The NCMA site says about Patty: A native New Englander, Patty Griffin made her reputation ......

Posted On Monday, August 21, 2006 2:39 PM

Tim called me a bad word
Tim thinks I might be an RSSBus whore. :) It would have been much better if Time (as in the magazine) called me a whore though, then I would get a lot more exposure. Of course, I don't really need it since I'm on the A-list now. If you haven't checked out Where's Tim, you should. Its really cool and you can get real time track your whereabouts. Truth is, I don't care what you call me, as long as you call me. Wait...that really does make more a whore doesn't it? Oopsey. But no, whore is not the right ......

Posted On Monday, August 21, 2006 1:16 PM

New service: receive feed alerts in your IM client
I've seen several people (Michael Arrington, Jeff Barr's links, Postbubble) talking about Feed Crier, a new service that lets you receive alerts in your IM client for when your favorite RSS feeds (craigslist, news, blogs) are updated. I'm surprised by this, because this is not some new mind blowing technology. But ok. I think this service is fine and dandy. Do I see someone using it to be alerted to Sam Ruby's latest Atom comments? Nope. No offense, Sam - I wouldn't use this to subscribe to alerts ......

Posted On Monday, August 21, 2006 12:06 PM

News feeds vs Data feeds (and Yahoo)
Some feeds have no use, at least for the majority of us, outside of a regular feed reader like Bloglines or FeedDemon. I call these "news feeds" whether they are feeds of world news from or Shelley Powers' personal blog postings. Perhaps "news feeds" is not the best name and I should change this habit. Now that I'm an a-lister I should be more precise, maybe. ;) I don't like to just use the word "feeds" to describe them all, because I think feeds that have more granular data in them need ......

Posted On Monday, August 21, 2006 10:29 AM

Joining the A-list of bloggers
Since the A-list is open, I'm just going to go ahead and join. Please be sure to pass the word along and link to me. Then you may as well go ahead and subscribe to me so that you won't miss any of my gems. For those who say an A-list doesn't exist, ok fine, I will start it right now. :) Hah. Currently, Technorati says that my blog is ranked 1,420,445 out of 51,400,000. Thats pretty funny, especially since I don't believe that there are really 51,400,000 blogs (although there might be nearly that ......

Posted On Friday, August 18, 2006 3:29 PM

CBS to start streaming primetime

Amanda (Unboomed) brought this to my attention: BusinessWeek online article: "CBS to start streaming primetime shows".

I guarantee they won't be using RSS for this, and you'll have to logon to their website in order to watch. If thats true, I'll pass. Hello DVR.

Posted On Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:23 PM


Posted On Thursday, August 17, 2006 8:42 AM

Will Ferrell
I noticed that the other Lance Robinson posted about Will Ferrell. It seems that not only do we share the same name, and the some of the same technology interests, but we're also both Will Ferrell fans. It seems that Will did a series of Apple commercials, none of which I'd seen until I saw them on YouTube. "The other Lance" runs, and produces the Hipbase podcast, about the Canadian band "The Tragically Hip". Possibly the best SNL skit ever: ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 16, 2006 10:26 AM

Yahoo feeds could be more useful
Hey Jeremy Zawodny, since you are working so hard to improve the Yahoo! Developer Network, how about making feeds that are useful to software developers? Right now, if you look at the big list of Yahoo! RSS feeds, you've got a lot of things that are interesting for me to subscribe to in my feed reader. For example, I can subscribe to someone's delicious links, or flickr photos, or the Yahoo! Finance feed for a particular company. All great for me to read when I have time. So whats my problem? My ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:04 AM

Tim Bray on Atom (from ETech)
IT Conversations show: "Atom As A Case Study". This is a recording of Tim Bray's talk at ETech 2006. Here are Tim's related links for this talk.The biggest argument against RSS seems to be the lack of detail in the RSS 2.0 specification itself. Internet protocols and standards must be very precisely defined, and RSS certainly is not. There is something to be said for the simplicity of the RSS 2.0 specification though. Recently I noticed that the RSS 2.0 spec says that the url attribute of the enclosure ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 16, 2006 7:17 AM

BlockRocker and geotagging
Scoble is pointing to Rod Edwards' BlockRocker. It sounds interesting. Scoble didn't give it much of a detailed description, but it looks like BlockRocker lets you point to a Google map and then helps you geocode Flickr photos, blog posts, delicious bookmarks, and YouTube videos. I would look more, but I keep getting errors in Firefox. I'll check back later with IE7. On the subject of geotagging, with a couple dozen lines of RSSBus script I've created a little web app that will pin-point geocoded ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 15, 2006 2:23 PM

"Click the unclog button, or try again later"

The new 404 Tubes Not Found error.  Warning:  annoying audio awaits in this link.

Posted On Monday, August 14, 2006 8:48 AM

"Enterprise Mashup" Links - The quest for enterprise mashup tools. - Mashups: The new breed of web app. http://management.silicon.c... - Why CIOs need to know about Ajax and mashups. - IBM MAFIA: Mashup Fabric for Intranet Applications. ......

Posted On Friday, August 11, 2006 1:15 PM

Turbo Delphi, Turbo C++, Turbo C#
Ah, remember Turbo Pascal?  If only there was more (or less?) in a name:  here's news from InfoWorld about the next Borland Developer Studio offerings.

Posted On Friday, August 11, 2006 11:25 AM

Output any feed as JSON
In my last post, I explained how RSSBus can be instructed to output JSON instead of RSS items. This means that RSSBus can be used to output ANY feeds items in JSON, simply by creating a 3 line RSSBus Script that calls the target feed. As an example, here's how I can get the latest technology topics in JSON: 1. Create a new RSSBus Script that looks like so: <rsb:call op=" <rsb:push /> <rsb:call> 2. Hit the url http://localhost:1110/digg.... ......

Posted On Friday, August 11, 2006 10:32 AM

RSSBus JSON output
Drew McLellan says that all web services and API's need to offer JSON output: “if you want people to hack on your APIs, roll out JSON support“. Several people made this same kind of comment in some of the feedback for the first beta of RSSBus. Then, during the first beta, if I wanted to get a feed of MSFT and BORL stock quotes using the yahooStockQuotes operation that comes with RSSBus, I could call: http://server:1110/admin/ca... Now, during the ......

Posted On Friday, August 11, 2006 10:01 AM

WS-* - aka WS-deathstar
I just saw this picture in David Johnson's slides from his Triangle .Net Users Group presentation last night:

(original source is David Heinemeier Hansson).

Posted On Thursday, August 10, 2006 7:39 AM

RSSBus and remote access
There are several things to consider when attempting to access RSSBus: 1. Operations are never directly accessible from outside of localhost. The only way to expose them to the outside is to create a script or template which makes calls to them. 2. Scripts and templates are not accessible from outside of localhost by default. In order to expose them you must use the rsb:allow keyword. For example: <!-- the following allows a particular user. --><rsb:allow host="*" passwd="changeme" user="joe" ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 9, 2006 8:40 AM

Grillz. No, not grills - grillz.
I think my friend Andi might like a new grill. Not a grill, but a grill. The kind where the plural form ends with a z instead of an s. The kind that wanna-be street thugs put in their mouth. I found out recently that Andi is an accidental G-unit fan (he bought a G-Unit shirt, but didn't know what it meant). Is it just me, or are grillz the stupidest thing since November 18th, 1923 (coincidentally, this date is also the birth of Ted Stevens)? Why on earth would anyone want to wear such a thing, even ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 9, 2006 8:19 AM

RSSBus beta 2 released
RSSBus beta 2 was announced this week. If you are interested in RSS, and leveraging RSS to create your own feeds - you have got to check this out. Download here. Creating feeds is just scratching the surface of what RSSBus can do. IMO, the coolest thing is mixing and pipelining feeds and operations, and then pushing item data out as a new feed or in any other format like HTML, iCal, text, etc. I personally suggest checking out the script and template demos that come installed with RSSBus first - ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 9, 2006 7:17 AM

A little fun for my boring blog
My friend Holly says that my blog is boring lately. So here's a little Google Maps/Flight sim mashup that I saw somewhere today. This is entertaining for at least 45 seconds, but not much more than that. Sorry I guess thats the best I can do. Of course you could just do the same thing in Google Maps or Google Earth or MSN Virtual Earth - just without the little plane and the potential explosions. Here's a funny Flickr post from somebody in the Raleigh Flickr Group. Apparently there are more goat-eating ......

Posted On Monday, August 7, 2006 2:08 PM

RSS and Atom vulnerabilities
Last week Nial Kennedy posted about SPI Dynamics' report about RSS and Atom vulnerabilities. There's been a little bit of chatter about this ever since. Nick Bradbury says that FeedDemon is immune to all of the major vulnerabilities, and he points to Mark Pilgrim's Platypus prank as one example. Mark offers a little checklist for aggregator authors to be smart. Technorati tags: rss atom security ......

Posted On Monday, August 7, 2006 1:48 PM

access:restriction tags in feeds

Proposed by Bloglines, not very well received in the TechCrunch comments.

Technorati tags:   

Posted On Wednesday, August 2, 2006 11:58 AM

How to build an Amazon S3 hosted website
From the AWS blog: Peter Lewis, writing from Australia, shows how to create An Amazon S3 Hosted Website using Interarchy. Interarchy is an FTP client application for the Mac.The technique illustrated in the article is not specific to this application and is quite handy - Amazon S3 is a really good web host. Of course, the article itself is on an Amazon S3 hosted website! Technorati tags: amazon s3 ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 2, 2006 10:04 AM

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