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Exciting website features

Started: 2007-05-08 07:42:07

Submitted: 2007-05-08 08:19:55

Visibility: World-readable

Loyal readers, this is your big opportunity to prove your loyalty by telling me what exciting features I should implement. My nominations include:

  • Single sign-on with other websites in the greater festing.org circle.
  • Improve search: show snippets of the matching text. (Does search currently cover changelog comments? I should make sure it does.)
  • Polling, so I can conduct surveys like this one without requiring my loyal readers to comment to provide feedback.
  • Improved RSS support: Include the text content of changelogs in the feed. (Note that since certain RSS aggregators like Bloglines have a very silly notion of what a "private" feed is, it is unlikely that I will provide full text for visibility-restricted changelogs. If there are any readers who have accounts and subscribe to my generic RSS feed, notice that the RSS link at the bottom of the page (and in the meta tags, so Firefox and other browsers will pick it up as an RSS link) has a unique identifier that lets my website serve headlines to you that may be invisible to other mere mortals.)
  • Include comments in the RSS feed.
  • Shiny AJAX Web 2.0 features. Rounded corners, or something?

(Void where prohibited. Voting here doesn't guarantee feature implementation.)

I've also been amusing myself by trying to put together a DVD of Fences and The Gate. I can't remember how far I got the last time I tried this; I found an almost-complete dvdauthor xml file describing the DVD and its menus, but the multiplexing was incomplete. I spent some quality time with ffmpeg multiplexing the audio and video for each scene group (which Willy edited and mixed separately; I'm going to use them as DVD chapters) and ended up with pauses at each chapter transition. On the assumption that this is the result of the audio decoder stopping and restarting (since I encoded the audio on each chapter individually), I threw together some scriptable code to crop wav files to the exact size of the video, concatenated the audio and video together individually, then multiplexed the whole thing together. That was last night, right before I went to bed; I didn't get a chance to double-check its progress this morning.

My shiny new GPS receiver arrived from an eBay seller on Saturday, just in time to go on a short hike with Kiesa. The Garmin eTrex Vista is the same model as the one I destroyed, only in better shape: the LCD isn't cracked, the battery spring isn't missing, and the rubber cover isn't falling off. I uploaded my waypoints and installed my old back panel battery cover (with Velcro strips so it'll stick to the left shoulder strap on most of my packs); the only thing I need to do is upload new firmware.

On Sunday, I took one more step towards mapping my local open spaces by hiking from Button Rock Preserve into Hall Ranch with my GPS receiver Velcroed to my shoulder. As a result, I now have the two-mile trail that connects these two open spaces (which I could call the "Hall Ranch-Button Rock Complex" if I wanted; if Boulder County Open Space and Lyons ever gets around to connecting Heil Valley Ranch to Hall Ranch, we could call it the "Heil Valley Ranch-Hall Ranch-Button Rock Complex") mapped and visible in my lifetime kml file. I'm still working on the algorithm to combine multiple tracks along the same trail into a single average track; I've been running the algorithms around in my mind for two months but I keep poking holes in them.

We've entered Boulder's brief rainy season, which tends to last between April, May, and June. April seemed dry, but May has come through with storms almost every day. This means everything is green (for definitions of "green" that would no doubt appall anyone from any climate with a bit more moisture).

You always learn more from someone whom you disagree with.
- Dr. Shepherd, 23 August 1999