Today, I had a cheese sandwich

You know how the paper media keep telling us that “Web logs” are nothing but dull and tiresome recitals of what the author did that day? Yeah, I’ve noticed that too.

Also, while I don’t see much use for it in my future, the itex2MML plugin for Movable Type is one hell of a demonstration of the sort of things you can do with text formatting plugins. MovableJive is fun, and I’m sure there must be people who would rather type Textile/Tiki formatting than HTML, but if you need to casually throw the odd bit of calculus into your blog entries, typing “\[\int_0^\infty e^{-x^2} dx = \frac{\sqrt{\pi}}{2}\]” and getting MathML output is quite reasonable, while typing

<math xmlns='' mode='display'>
<msubsup><mo>&Integral;</mo> <mn>0</mn> <mn>&infin;</mn></msubsup>
<msup><mi>e</mi> <mrow><mo lspace="thinthinmathspace" rspace="0em">-</mo>
<msup><mi>x</mi> <mn>2</mn></msup></mrow></msup><mi>dx</mi><mo>=</mo>

in the middle of an entry would probably make me give up on blogging pretty quickly.


Comment by Damelon Kimbrough #
2003-02-23 00:57:29

Well, you know, Phil some peoples days are just more mundane than others. But it sure seems like the guy at Musings is just writing about his day, like the rest of us. His boring, math intensive day… *snarf*

Comment by Jacques Distler #
2003-02-23 07:30:40

Yeah, but now I can blog about it.

And therein lies the miracle of text filtering.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 08:29:27

Since print media is becoming more of an unedited flow of AP/UPI wire reports, syndicated columns, ad-sponsored inserts and PR-produced drek, I don’t see where they have the right to complain. Speaking, of course, as someone who has relatives in that particular business…

As for the rest, the day I throw a bit of calculus into one of my blogs is the day I will have officially gone completely over the edge; not necessarily a bad thing.

Comment by Shannon #
2003-02-23 08:34:18

C’mon. You know I had to play with the new toy.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 08:41:29

I need to come up with something that we can all argue about, back and forth in a dozen threads, so we have a place to see just how bad it can get.

Comment by Shannon #
2003-02-23 08:53:07

I’m all for it. Bring the pain!

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 09:14:14

I’m against it.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:17:27

Oh, the Artificial Bacon Flavor Substitute and Mock Cheddarlike Flavor Product isn’t too bad. Plus with all the preservatives, you’ll live forever.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 09:23:43

Yeah, I tried that for a while. Didn’t enjoy it. Too much of that ”you must be a god” thing to deal with. Besides, I typically don’t like stories that keep droning on and on. Would you pick up a biography that comes in regular installments, forever? Too expensive a read for me.

Comment by billsaysthis #
2003-02-24 16:49:31

My fiance is positively hooked on Havarti ever since I happened to bring it home from the market one day. You’d think she’d been eating it since she was two feet tall!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-24 19:15:14

Good stuff, to be sure. Nice and subtle. I mostly like cheeses that are a kick in the mouth, but Havarti’s great for not overpowering everything you put it near.

Comment by Shannon #
2003-02-23 08:54:06

Or should I reply to this one? I should really brush up on my threadiquette.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 08:56:55

Ish. Here, you’re talking to yourself in public. Bad Shannon.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 09:18:10

And this is unusual for Shannon?

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 09:18:55

Double post! Wee!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:23:25

*looks around innocently*

What double post? I don’t see one anywhere.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 09:24:43

I don’t need your help to look insane, thank you very much.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:24:50

Well, if you think too much about it that’s all blogging is, most of the time, so I think I won’t think about it.

Comment by Jacques Distler #
2003-02-23 09:22:24

Just out of curiousity, why didn’t this post of yours generate a Trackback Ping?

Do you have that disabled on your blog?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:39:30

I have my own (not widely held) beliefs about what should and shouldn’t send a TrackBack ping, and so rather than turn on autodiscovery I only ping when I think it should be pinged.

Start from ”a TrackBack is a comment that lives on someone else’s server.” So if you are just posting an entry saying something like ”[link]This[/link] could be cool, I should look into it.”, I don’t think you should send a ping, since you would never leave a local comment saying that (well, most people wouldn’t, anyway; or I think they shouldn’t, at least).

To me, the purpose of TrackBack is to say to readers of the pinged entry ”I think that you should also read what I said here,” and since I didn’t say a thing that someone reading your entry needed to know, it doesn’t strike me as a candidate for TrackBack. As far as I’m concerned, adding blanket TrackBack autodiscovery was just a way to forestall requests for Pingback, which is designed for and intended to be exactly what autodiscovery TB adds onto TB: an automatic way for you to say to someone else ”hey, I linked to you.”

I do realize that the non-autodiscovery TB mechanics are a pain, and I’m idly thinking about how you could have a halfway-auto method, where it looks for things it can ping, and then asks if you want to ping any of them, but since I suspect that’s going to amount to a pretty big hack I’m dragging my feet, hoping that someone else will get there first.

Comment by Jacques Distler #
2003-02-23 10:15:42


I totally understand your having turned off autodiscovery (though I gotta say that without autodiscovery, I’d probably not send any TB pings at all).

I was worried that, in my recent mucking about, I’d accidentally pooched the RDF Trackback data, or that my server was timing out … or something.


Comment by Mark Paschal #
2003-02-24 18:48:56

I would look at pretending all the autodiscovered pings failed, so they show up in the ”URLs to Ping” box. You could remove the ones you don’t want to ping, and resave the entry.

Ugly for the user, but easiest to implement (I think).

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-24 19:32:59

Might not have to be too ugly, even. It’s an easy hack to keep ping errors out of both the log and the error message on the page, have to look at whether you can keep them out of the log while still adding a message, so you don’t have to scroll down to see if there are any URLs to ping.

Though it might not be too hard to just hack a page in between rebuilding and pinging – I’ve never done it, but the way that the steps along the way just redirect to a new URL with instructions on what sub to run next makes it look like it wouldn’t be too tough to slip a page in there.

Comment by Liz #
2003-02-27 09:02:35

Interesting. Haven’t heard that argument made about trackbacks before, and it bears consideration. However, I tend to think of trackback less as ”a comment that lives on someone else’s server,” and more as a bi-directional link.

The former is an evolutionary step in web publishing, while the latter, to my mind, is more revolutionary. It significantly changes the nature of linking.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-27 09:44:21

Partly it’s a matter of perspective: there’s an unspoken preamble to ”a TrackBack is a remote comment”, namely ”For a post-to-post TrackBack, from the perspective of the post being pinged,”. I’m just too lazy to keep typing that, and it weakens the message.

From the perspective of the pinging post, it’s a way to say ”I think you should come read my post now.” It doesn’t even really need to be a bidirectional link, always: the best example being along the lines of ”I see someone’s post asking why all of a sudden they are getting ’read timeout’ errors while pinging, rather than leave a local comment linking to my explanation, I just ping them from my post.” Most of the time it will be bidirectional, but it doesn’t really have to be.

Time and past that I drag this out of the various comment threads where I’ve been leaving it and start posting about it, but speaking of time, I’m late for work.

Comment by Dave Winer #
2003-02-23 09:38:36

Phil, how about generating OPML for the threads so I can browse it in my outliner?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:47:29

Excellent! Off to look for the spec, which I need to blog so I’ll remember where it is.

Just to be sure I remembered how to open an OPML file in Radio, I grabbed mySubscriptions.opml – damn, that rocks! It’s actually better than some aggregators I’ve used. So many many toys, so little time.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 09:49:34

D’oh. – even I should be able to remember that.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 11:07:04

Damnit! How do I get the outliner to forget about an ill-formed OPML file? I tried to open a first draft that was completely wrong, and now it doesn’t even try to get a new copy, just gives me the error message from the local copy.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 14:11:37

There must be some better way than shutting down Radio and restarting, mustn’t there?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 14:14:16

It’s rough as hell, and not working like I want, but just change the .php to .opml and it should at least open.

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