Attack of the Formatting Phantom

It’s amazing what a few rogue HTML tags can do when put in the wrong place.  I had attempted to post some of Jon Udell’s description of InfoPath.  In the process of editing his HTML in the Radio UserLand in-browser editor, I missed a few closing table tags.  When Radio put in its two-cents-worth of <P> tags, all semblance of nice formatting went bye-bye. 

Funny Feeds

For a brief moment, I thought this was some quirk related to me changing computers with my Radio installation, but I’m thinking that it wasn’t.  Some of this may be due in part to some folks’ daring use of intra-RSS formatting .  when he was trying to switch his subscribers to his new RSS feed (some like to call it “social engineering”).  He turned the text of his old RSS feed white to annoy those using it into investigating and switching to the new one.

There’s nothing at all wrong with that.  I just have to be more careful when carving up other people’s stuff, that’s all.

to distribute thumbnail graphics of InfoPath screen shots.  After looking at the original weblog page, I’m positive that the impact on the RSS feed was entirely innocent.  The article was designed for the web page and was just munged into an RSS feed later.

Clicking Your Own Links

With that in mind, it pays to visit your own weblog page on occasion, just to see how it’s fairing.  Radio presents a different view as “Home” to the blog user, so seeing your weblog the way others see it is important.  By checking my public weblog, I’ve caught upstreaming problems as well.

On one occasion, posts weren’t making it to the public web as expected.  I finally traced to an unexpected date change on my computer.  For some strange reason, the date on my computer reset to April 2001.  The reason my posts were not appearing was because I was posting in the past!  Straight to the archives it went!

I also make a practice of clicking the links I post to other people’s sites, just so I might pick up some traffic from those curious about their referrers.  I haven’t yet studied the TrackBack phenomenon that seems to be .

Someday I will catch up with all of the things I would like to know…yeah, right!

InfoPath and OneNote

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The next version of Microsoft Office is, among other things, a family of XML editors. I have discussed the XML modes of Word and Excel (see and ), and described the newest member of this family, InfoPath 2003, a tool for gathering XML data (see ). Now that I’ve had a chance to work with InfoPath, its role and value are becoming clearer. [Full story at ] []

Cool!!!  I’m getting pretty stoked about the new products in the Office family.  I’ve been drawn back to Office recently as a worthwhile development platform for small personal solutions like web publishing (not FrontPage, either–we’re talking Word-to-XML conversion), mail filtering, Outlook add-ons, Excel XML export, and more.

But as for the new stuff, XML is a major part of the strategy.  OneNote is a different kind of product and fills in the other gap that I see in the personal productivity suite for the power user.  Note taking made natural.

Maybe by summer of 2003, I will find that the combination of products in Office 2003 will make my Notebase idea somewhat unnecessary.

I’ll try to post some links to product info pages later.

Changed computers with Radio, and it worked! (Sort of…)

OK, I did it.  I changed computers with Radio Userland.  I knew it was going to be a chore, but I got through it.  pointed me to some , including one called  that helped with adjust the internal file paths stored in Radio.root because the installation path on my new computer was on a different drive letter (C: –> D:).

Here’s the dirt on myFixFilePathsAndAddresses:

This script is an improvement to the one UserLand provides in the workspace.userlandSamples table. If you move your Radio UserLand folder to another location on your hard disk or to another computer then your copy of Radio UserLand will not work. That is because there are many internal references to absolute file paths within the Radio.root. To correct these references download this script and open it from the Radio File > Open menu. Then run the script. It will ask for your prior file path, the default choice should be correct. When the script finishes everything should work again.

I copied my entire www folder from the old installation, the Data Files folder, and Radio.root.  That seemed to do the trick for most things, but I had to tweak the preferences a little to restore my old settings.  At some point, everything popped back into place, but I’m not exactly sure what order I did things in, so I can’t give an explicit tutorial here.  The articles mentioned above should help though.

I’m finding though, that since I moved my Radio installation from an always-on static IP address to a frequently-moving laptop computer, that there are certain disadvantages to not being able to remotely post from anywhere.  Having a server handle upstreaming in the background while I go about my daily life can be a plus sometimes.  Hmmm… We’ll see how it goes.

Creativity, the Wiki, and RSS's Rival Descendants

. I am worried that the next-gen syndication process rooted in is in danger of going seriously off the rails, because some of the participants have got the idea that it’s about trying to invent new technology or improve RSS…. []

Tim Bray puts in his two cents or two bits or whatever about the recent rumblings about a new format.  Evidently, the A-List tech bloggers have nothing better to do than to innovate on the web 😉 faster than any of us can keep up with it.  How about getting RSS a lot more mainstreamed and adopted before we rewrite it?

Shouldn’t we get RSS-using technologies embraced?  And how about some real tools for it?  Is it essential to have a ground-up redesign before it actually gets adopted?  Maybe some *subsets* of a syndication format should be created, that can be used when appropriate for a particular situation.  Or maybe some of the A-Listers should agree to disagree, diverge, innovate, and remerge at some future point.

Change is good; sometimes anyway.

. “Supporting Communities of Discourse and Practice-Metadata Research & Applications” in Seattle, Washington (USA) 28 September-2 October 2003 will consist of conference, workshop, and tutorial tracks. The number of available participants in the Metadata Search and Metadata Primer pre-conference workshops is limited so register early! []