Month: August 2006

Firefox “Phrase Not Found” Noise

Praise Jesus.

One of the handiest features in Firefox, and one that I use frequently and absent-mindedly, is the “find as you type” shortcut. Press forward slash, and Firefox will jump to the next text that matches what you type; press single-quote, and Firefox will jump to the next link text that matches what you type. So fast and invaluable.

Unfortunately, if the string you type turns up no results, Firefox alerts you with what sounds like “a hoarse dog barking.” Not just once, but for every subsequent character that confirms your search failure: a curse for fast typists.

This annoyance was not even solved by FlashMute [via], a tiny and amazing program that mutes all sounds originating from your browser, or just those from embedded flash objects.

After not trying very hard to find a solution via Google, I thought “what the hell” and went to about:config. Searched for “sound,” and voilà. “accessibility.typeaheadfind.enablesound”. Double-click once, restart Firefox, and no longer will you be plagued by the hoarse dog.

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Boing Boing Sucks

I’m starting to really resent Boing Boing for taking up so much space in my aggregator. I kept it there begrudgingly, for the dwindling handful of interesting posts that I’d probably hear about elsewhere anyway. But for every interesting post, there are ten totally boring posts about DRM, ten totally boring posts about Disney, ten totally boring posts about a useless toy, and ten totally boring posts about how to turn your lawnmower into, I don’t know, a GPS lawnmower or something. Not to mention their smug self-absorption, and their inability to separate entertainment from politics. As an example of the latter, this recent post describes an anti-Bush Robin Williams movie as “look[ing] like a hell of a movie.” In fact, the movie looks shitty, but because it lambasts politics, it is heralded by Boing Boing.

And now I’m reminded of the time during the World Cup that they said this:

I don’t even know what the FIFA World Cup is. I’m guessing it’s soccer, which I hate just as much as any other pro sport. Every editor at Boing Boing detests professional sports, and we would sooner stream a video of a crumpled up paper napkin in the corner of a room than show some jackasses running after a ball. The only time we would ever post anything about pro-sports would be to make fun of them.

Are you so self-righteous that you think we care about how much you hate sports, while at the same time you worship all things Disney fer chrissake?

And why do you force your readers to use Google to search your site, yielding unorganized heaps of results? And why do you force your readers to blog about you in Technorati-registered blogs in order to “comment” on your posts?

I’ve had enough, I’ll just have to get by without that weekly interesting post about a glowing fish or something.

I should have known I’m not alone.

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Rojo & Feeds 2.0

RSS feeds appeal to me not just as a useful medium for reading serialized content, but also as representative of a kind of “dumb” handling of data, the separation of content from presentation, modularity, all that stuff, which I just appreciate aesthetically. And as I found an increasing number of the sites I visit providing feeds, I wanted to take advantage of this to corral all my reading into an easy, one-stop repository.

But, when aggregating any significant number of feeds, the more frequently updated ones inevitably bury the others, the latter of whose content is probably more important because of its infrequency (see: kbps). So I was overjoyed when I noticed that Rojo accounts for this in several intelligent ways. First, it shuffles the most recent posts of all your feeds together toward the top of your “wire” (a fake term I’m using), allowing infrequent content to muscle its way to the surface and avoid being lost. Second, it keeps track of how users interact with all the articles it serves, whether they clicked on a link in it, or marked it as interesting, or bookmarked it, and pushes those articles closer to the top of your “stream” (a fake term I’m using).

Pretty cool, and I now can’t imagine the internet without Rojo.

On the horizon is a new service, Feeds 2.0, which promises to take this same idea further. Feeds 2.0 pays attention to the content of articles you tend to click on, taking into account both which feed they’re from and key words they contain, to deliver content that is more relevant to you specifically to the top of your “wire/stream” thing. Not only that, but it groups together articles that it determines to be about the same thing, so that those memes clogging up Boing Boing, Waxy, Digg, &c. can be easily compared and ignored.

Unfortunately, Feeds2 is only in private beta at this time, so if you’re interested I recommend signing up for an invitation. I signed up what feels like forever ago but was probably closer to six weeks, and I still haven’t heard anything. Suffice it to say I am trembling with anticipation.

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