Scripting News for 10/23/07

TechMeme for the NY Times? 

A few notes on the NY Times outline

1. I switched it back to the frequency sort, having tried it as an alphabetized list for about 18 hours. Now I want to see what happens with it flipped around so the most frequent keyword bins appear first.

2. Not sure, but I think it will empty out later this afternoon, as yesterday’s stories expire, and before tomorrow’s stories ship.

3. It seems that at least some people have bookmarked the site and are refreshing it. If so, I’m glad — because that’s the way these pages are most useful, they tell you something about what changed. Remember this is “news” not olds.

4. The outline view is something like TechMeme for the Times news flow. Not exactly because the keywords are assigned by people. Unseen news mavens. Where do they reside? Are they on the upper floors or in the basement of the NY Times skyscraper on 8th Ave, or somewhere inbetween? Maybe they work out of their homes. My mind wants to visualize these people, but I have nothing to cling to. It’s not an algorithm that’s determining where things sort out, it’s people. Otherwise known as editors? Or are they librarians?

5. Do you bookmark the outline or the river? I’m a river guy for sure. I wonder about other people.

6. Francine Hardway twitted at me: “Times River is awesome on my iPhone! Was reading it while waiting for eye surgery and it was very distracting.” Amen. That’s the big secret. I wish there were a way to get everyone to look at the river on their cell phone. Eyes would open.

7. Thinking about integrating the two views, cross-relating them. Not sure exactly what I’ll try first. That’s why I wanted to let it settle in for a bit before moving in a other directions.

8. Of course, I know that if this ever becomes a “real” product, the user is going to control the view he or she wants to be the default. But for right now I’m experimenting. I want to see what people think. Enough people were asking for an alpha view that I wanted to see what would happen when I gave it to them, and if anyone would scream. Screaming isn’t a bad thing, it’s data. 🙂

Wii, day one 

My new toy arrived late yesterday, too late for this weary boy to want to set it up. This morning I put it on my to-do list. Item #3. Set up Wii. So that’s what I did.

I have a receiver that’s connected to the other new toy, a Samsung 52-inch HDTV, and the Wii connected up to the receiver, and the receiver was already connected through component video to the TV, and when I cycled through the inputs on the TV’s remote, voila, there’s the Wii. Smooth as can be!

And that’s where we got stuck. I installed everything according to the instructions or so I thought. A screen comes up saying you should press the middle key on the remote which I did, and it chirped kindly, and then presented a screen asking me to confirm that I speak English and no matter what key I press, nothing happens. Nada. It just sits there. I’m ready to bowl, play tennis, design Mii, whatever cooool things you can do with a Wii, but that’s where we are.

Okay. We’ll get past this. I hope. 🙂

Update: I called the 800-number for support, and they had me go through a trouble-shooting procedure, that was actually fairly interesting. I explain it in this picture, which indicates that the sensor bar appears to be okay.

Update #2: I tried standing on a chair, moved 10 feet back, 15 feet, even 20 feet. Moved the receiver to the bottom of the screen. No cursor shows up. Rebooted a dozen times, resynched three or four. Something is screwy here, but I’m no closer to knowing what it is. 😦

Here’s a movie that demos the situation.


Good morning! 

After an intense week with the NY Times metadata, I’m going to put it down for a bit, take care of some other stuff, and put together some downloads of other software I’ve developed over the last few months so they can move to the next stage. I also want to set up the new toy today and see what that’s like. And then I got an email from Jason Etheridge, who is listening to all the Morning Coffee Note podcasts, and finds that quite a few of them are missing. More in a minute.

Missing MCNs 

Jason Etheridge has been working his way through the archive of Morning Coffee Notes podcasts, and has found a bunch are missing. I’m going through the list, using, local backups, Google, and whatever else I can think of, to try to find the missing MP3s. These are the ones I haven’t found yet. (I’ll update the list as I work through it, so hit refresh periodically.) * * * * * * * *

* Denotes a file says they have but can’t access because of technical difficulties.

Of course, if you have any clues about rescuing these files, or have a copy of them on your local system, please let me know.

Rescued MCNs 

Here’s a list of Morning Coffee Notes podcasts that we have been able to rescue, so far.

In-process MCNs 

Lost podcasts that I’ve found, but haven’t been able to upload yet.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Here’s a link to my copy of TS-2004-10-28.mp3.


  2. Thanks Garrick!

    I’m uploading it now…


  3. You went back to keyword frequency? Either way, I really enjoyed using it this morning as part of my morning reads. It’s great to pick what I want (or don’t want) to read BEFORE being bombarded with their ads. (<–Should I have written that? Will that bother them?).


  4. Seth, yes I did — this is a period of experimentation, and I wanted to try it the other way, again, for a bit of time, at least.

    You can write whatever you want. My personal opinion is that they’re better served if you use the Times more effectively. But that’s just my opinion.


  5. Posted by stevensolo on October 23, 2007 at 10:48 am

    I am glad that the nytriver has caught on. Bug report: since you switched to pointing at a version of the page that contains ads (for good cause) there is often a messed up link that reads “XML Parsing Error: duplicate attribute”

    Here is a direct link to one:

    The multiple ways of seeing news stories is cool.

    Keep going!


  6. Dave don’t forget to install the sensor bar, I did the same thing you did and then realized I forgot to install that.


  7. I’ve had my Wii since launch day. It rocks, though it will be even better when Nintendo figures out something useful for online play. Right now that hasn’t hit the system with full force.

    Depending on the types of games you like, I highly recommend Zelda: Twilight Princess (3D Adventure) and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (hybrid of first-person shooter and Adventure). (Wikipedia can get you up to speed on the Metroid storyline.)

    If you like racers, Excite Truck is fun and so is SSX: Blur. Neither have, uh, exact real-world physics, but they’re both fun.

    If you like old-school adventures (Monkey Island, say), a lot of people are psyched by Zak and Wiki. If I hadn’t just bought a house, I’d have already purchased ZnW.

    But the game to really get comes out on November 12, I think: Super Mario Galaxy. It’s a platformer, and pre-release buzz suggests that it will be a genre-creating game as Super Mario 64 was a decade ago.


  8. Dave, you DO have the “sensor bar” set up where the Wii remote can see it right? The sensor bar actually contains two IR LEDs that the Wiimote uses to locate itself, so it needs to ‘see’ it so that you can point at things on the screen.

    On top or below the screen will both work.


  9. Oh, and I prefer the outline. The river flow just doesn’t work well for my reading style.


  10. This may sound goofy, but there’s a setting inside the Wii software that says whether the sensor bar is on the top or bottom of the screen. I wonder if maybe your Wii thinks the bar is on the bottom. Goofy though it sounds, maybe putting the remote high up in the air and pointing it down at the screen, or standing on a chair, might do the trick. Once you’re through to the main screen, you can tell the Wii the bar is on the top.

    (As a previous commentor said, the surprising thing is that the “sensor” bar is actually an emitter. The remote has a camera inside it that is looking for those lights on the end of the bar. So – the position of the remote relative to the bar can make a large difference.)

    When it’s working, the Wii remote is represented by a hand pointer on the screen – so you’ll know if the remote thinks it’s anywhere or not.


  11. Dave, I fully expect a Wii River concept by next week, so get your thinking cap on! =)


  12. Posted by petey on October 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Did you make sure the batteries in the wii-mote aren’t duds? i would guess it’s at least possible that the batteries were faulty and only had enough juice to get you that one button press…


  13. Hi Dave,

    I think you need to sync or re-sync the remote.


    See page 22 of the manual.

    Standard Mode Synchronization
    NOTE: Make sure you have placed batteries in the Wii Remote.
    1. Press the Power button on the Wii console to turn it on.
    2. Remove the battery cover on the back of the remote. Press and release the SYNC.
    button inside the cover. The Player LEDs will blink.
    3. Open the SD Card Slot cover on the front of the Wii console. Press and release the
    SYNC. button on the inside of the compartment
    4. When the Player LED blinking stops, connection is complete. The LED that is
    illuminated indicates the player number.


  14. I’ve resynched a dozen times, more.


  15. Dave,

    I tweeted this, but you may not have seen it. This is a fairly obvious suggestion, but have you pulled off any plastic film on the Wiimote? I can’t imagine why it would matter for an IR sensor, but it’s odd that the A button is working and not the sensor.

    Maybe you just have a bum controller.


  16. Posted by Michael on October 23, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    In your camera phone photo of the sensor bar, sitting just above your glossy, glossy TV screen, see the reflection of the sunny window behind you? (Including the pattern created by window frame itself…)

    If the infrared sunlight through the window were strong enough, it could hamper the Wiimote’s ability to detect the sensor bar LEDs.

    Curious if it works any better after sundown, with the blinds closed, or with the sensor bar below the screen to change the “angle of incidence.” (The bar doesn’t necessarily have to be so close it touches the bezel — the calibration may compensate for it.)

    Don’t own a Wii yet — haven’t even played with one — but maybe I’ve spending too much time reading ’bout ’em? 🙂


  17. Michael,

    In my experience it’s not a problem if the sun is behind you. It is, however, definitely a problem if the sun is in front of you, within about 30 degrees. But even then, the cursor just goes wiggy; it’s still there, just hard to control and predict.


  18. Posted by heavyboots on October 23, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I think at this point I’d be taking the Wii controller to someone else’s hous with a Wii so you could see if you get the same results there. If it works there, it’s the sensor bar. If it doesn’t work, borrow their controller and try it at your house to verify everything else works.


  19. We went the other way, and I got a friend to lend me a controller that works, and it didn’t work in my system. So it’s probably my Wii.


  20. Maybe interference is the issue. Try unplugging all the nearby gadgets and closing the curtains.


  21. According the the Times, the metadata is applied the good ol’ fashioned way, “a crack team of whipsmart librarians”


  22. I mailed you a list of all the MCN podcasts I backed up.
    About 80 of them.


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