Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RFC 3331 and Bash

I've mentioned ISO 8601 here.  As of yesterday, I've started aliasing the shell date(1) command to issue an ISO 8601, RFC 3339 format with the day of the week prepended.

Here's how date(1) normally looks.

Tue Mar 30 06:09:20 EDT 2010

With the bash alias

alias date="date '+%a %Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S %z'"

The output looks like this…

Tue 2010-03-30 06:06:37 -0400

As you can probably tell, date and time stamps are a big deal with me.

Actually this mostly comes into play inside Emacs where I constantly use macros that insert date and time stamps.

Sadly, the latter format is one character longer than the other style.  The two-digit month is one byte shorter than the three-character abbreviation.  However, the time zone indicator -0400 is two longer than the three-character time zone abbreviation.  Ah well, the cost or progress.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Vernal Equinox!

20 Mar 2010 at 13:32 EDT.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When to Dip and When to Scroll

The proper way to read Twitter is to “dip into the stream” to read and view whatever is currently flowing by.  It's considered to be adding unnecessary stress to your life to try to read back and catch up on  your stream.

I agree.  However, if you are using Twitter as I am, i.e., as your main source of pointers to news and anything interesting, you may want to scroll back and read previous tweets from some of the accounts that you're most interested in.  A good example might be @Slashdot.

The reason is simple.  Due to the real-time nature of Twitter, if you read posts at a particular time of day, you may miss most of the items by a user who tweets at a different hour.  @GuyKawasaki tries to fix this for you by repeating his tweets several times throughout the day.  I supposed that's okay, though it makes him sort of noisy.

Currently I just wait until I come across a tweet by one of those accounts I find interesting.  Then I just click on the id and read back through the tweets until I become bored, tired of them, or see repeats.  Of course you can just scan down the list to see what's interesting.

That's working for me now.  Another approach would be to create Twitter lists with these accounts, or even one big list.  In fact, that's probably the recommended solution.  My approach has the advantage of being  dynamic and doesn't tie me to a fixed list, so the sites I consider interesting can vary as rapidly or be as constant as I wish.

Adding a Hash Tag

Okay, I'm adding a hash tag to make my blog posts easier to locate.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Own Library Card Catalog

Since my Nexus One phone is pretty handy at scanning all sorts of bar codes, I wondered if someone had written an app so I could just can in the bar codes from books that I have to make a catalog.

An app I found that does this handily is Book Mobile.

In the process of installing and trying it out, I found that Google Books (http://books.google.com/) has a bookshelf feature so that you can add books to your bookshelf.  You can categorize them (at least by “shelves”) and easily add books.

The BookMobile app also adds books to your Google Favorites book shelf.