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Archive: 1 May 2004

Presentation Files Online

The presentation files from NOTACON and the UIUC Webmaster Forum are now available on the Events page (and the Events Archive page) over at Complex Spiral Consulting.  Share and enjoy.

Chat Lunatique

So there was a big deal made out of the fact that iChat AV 2.1 and AIM 5.5 can do videoconferencing.  Apple’s iChat page and a press release from AOL both proudly announce how the two can interoperate.  For example, here’s an excerpt from the AOL press release:

The new live video instant messaging feature in AIM 5.5 is fully compatible with iChat AV 2.1, Apple’s breakthrough video conferencing technology. Now AOL users from a PC can tap into the worldwide community of iChat AV users on Macs. iChat AV 2.1, the latest version of iChat AV was released by Apple today…

This would be ideal for me, as my father has AOL and the latest version of AIM for Windows XP.  He’s also moving to Florida, where he’ll have broadband.  So I view this as the perfect way for him to keep in closer touch with us, and to be able to see Carolyn as she grows, even though he’ll be living a thousand or so miles away.  When she gets older, it will be a way for her to keep in touch with him as well.

Now, neither Dad nor I own a camera yet, but we do both have microphones, so I thought I’d test out the audio chat capability.  So far, zippo.  He and I have both made sure we have the right versions of our client software.  We can’t establish an audio connection.

So, has anyone gotten this to actually work, and if so, how?  I’ve opened up all the ports I can find that even seem to be halfway relevant, as per an Apple KB article I found, and have checked my router to be sure it’s allowing traffic on those ports, but I still can’t establish an audio connection with AIM users.  Text chatting, no problem, but I don’t even get an audio-chat icon in my Buddy List.  I do get one for all the iChat users in my List, and have audio-chatted with a number of them.  Do we both have to own a camera for this to work?  I had figured, you know, if video conferencing was supported then audio conferencing must be supported, but perhaps that would be expecting things to make too much sense.

If anyone out there has a solution, or even a pointer to information about it, comments are most welcome.

Switcheroo

I’ve converted “Thoughts From Eric” over to use WordPress, dropping my lovingly hand-crafted XML/XSLT solution for something packaged.  Since there’s no actual package, I guess I use that term somewhat loosely, but then I was also being very loose with the term “lovingly,” at least as pertains to XSLT.  I decided to go with WordPress because it’s all driven by HTML+CSS layout, and it uses PHP to generate the HTML.  I don’t know from PHP, but I can figure it out well enough to hack in the features I want, and the CSS-driven nature of the layout means I can do my own thing in a jiffy.  In this case, that meant bending the PHP files to produce markup consistent with the old meyerweb, and then applying my existing style sheets to the result.  Thus the visual consistency between yesterday and today.

Some changes that may or may not be of interest to you:

  • By default, comment posting will be disabled but trackbacks will be permitted.  I expect things to stay that way until I decide what my policy will be regarding anonymous posting, comment spammers, and the like.  I’ll open up commenting on the occasional question post—I expect to put up one later today, in fact—but I won’t be opening up every post for comments.  I’ve taken note of how that’s gone at some other sites, and have rarely liked what I’ve seen.
  • All feeds will continue to use excerpts; I will not be publishing full-content feeds, mostly because if I did y’all would saturate the outgoing pipes.  Yes, dammit, bandwidth does still matter.
  • Both RSS feeds have lost their word-count and category information.  As soon as I figure out how to recreate those in WordPress, they’ll be back.  I had them figured out for WP1.0.2, but the very same functions seem to silently fail in WP1.2 beta, which is what I’m using.  I’ll get it worked out eventually.
  • The RSS2.0 feed now includes <pubDate> elements for your sorting pleasure.  FeedDemon users of the world, rejoice.
  • About 300 back-catalog posts (roughly speaking, December 1999 through October 2002) all got dumped into the “General” category.  You might not want to try to read that category all in one shot.
  • I’ll likely fiddle with the categorization of old posts as I come across them, so don’t do anything that depends on a post being in a particular category.  No, I have no idea what that might be.
  • The old archive pages still exist, so your permalinks won’t break.  If you want to update them to the new URIs, that would be appreciated, but if not, no big deal.
  • The vast majority of posts, including posts up through last month, show as having been published precisely at midnight.  That’s because the old archive file didn’t carry time information for those posts, not because I’m an obsessive-compulsive night owl.
  • Posts now show their categories, and clicking on said category names gets you a list of every post in the category.  Right now, that means a page that shows the full post content for every post in the category.  I plan to create a condensed-summary category view at some point.
  • I’ll probably also continue fiddling with the layout, displayed information, and various other aspects of the post and archive pages.  Just don’t refer to a particular layout idea in a debate unless you grab a screenshot, that’s all.

That’s about it.  I just thought some of you out there would be interested in the details.

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