Scripting News for 8/6/2008

Wifi in BART 

I rode the BART into SF last night for a dinner near Moscone, first BART trip I’ve taken with the new Asus Eee PC 901 with XP. It’s a fine little computer, so little in fact that you can almost think of it as a cell phone or an iPod, maybe a big iPhone, esp if you add on an EVDO modem, which I have.

I had a 20 minute wait for the train returning to the East Bay at the Montgomery St station, so I whipped out the Asus, thinking I’d listen to some music or watch some video, but I noticed there was a wifi signal. Odd, since we were about 50 to 100 feet underground. Turns out it was an official BART wifi signal, a free trial, so I signed up, logged on, and downloaded the latest episode of Fresh Air and listened to it on the train home.

Now get this — the wifi signal went about 1/2 the way across the tunnel under the bay! After the signal went away, with the lid closed the Asus makes a fine podcast player. All my podcatching software runs on it just fine. We may be getting somewhere interesting. (If only Apple had made a cell phone that ran Mac software, I know it’s something like the Mac, but I’m lame and have no patience for platforms that are “something like” platforms my software already works on.)

Anyway BART’s on board. Nice! (And yeah I know they’re going to charge for it, and that’s fine.)

My to-do list for 

I had a great phone conversation yesterday with Evan at It was just an hour, but we covered a lot of ground. And Evan is an open kind of guy, so I’m pretty sure he won’t mind me saying what I was lobbying for him to do next.

1. Cosmetics. I want to spiff up my presence on the same way I have with my presence on Twitter.

2. Payloads. We never got them from Twitter, so as a result every time you want to push a picture or video through Twitter, it involves showing the user a URL. Over time it fades into the background, we forget how ugly this is, but when you use FriendFeed, you don’t see so many URLs cause it understands a few common data types, and does something intelligent with them. This should be formalized before it gets out of control, and RSS enclosures are the obvious way to go. Thumbs for pictures, embedded MP3 player for audio, same for video, where possible.

3. Threaded discussions through a plug-in with Disqus et al.

4. Plug-ins! (This is killer. I would write some right off the bat.)

5. Let’s play with RSS clouds for lightweight federation. Again, I would definitely ship code that connected with on this level. It’s been years since I did anything with clouds in RSS, but it’s a feature that’s been there for a half-decade, ready for someone to pick it up. This one was Evan’s idea, but I obviously support it.

Anyway, there were some other things we talked about, of course, that I don’t want to make public at this time, esp things Evan is going to do that are cool but didn’t come from me. Gotta leave something to tease about. 🙂

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