Anthropological Convenience

Hugh Laurie - Biography
On Cambridge: 'I went there to row. I'll be blunt with it. It's been ten years, and I think the admissions tutor can take it now...but that's really what I went for, and anthropology was the most convenient subject to read while spending eight hours a day on the river.'


Openness and Research

To avoid confusion related to "Open Source" in the memetic marketplace, Jean-Claude Bradley proposes "Open Notebook Science" to describe the process of making data available during experimental research (in Bradley's case, a chemistry laboratory's preliminary data).
Drexel CoAS E-Learning: Open Notebook Science
Interesting approach. As the fields in which I spend most of my time are often said not to be scientific in the strongest sense, I'd probably prefer "Open Notebook Research" to Bradley's "Open Notebook Science," but the "open notebook" idea seems to apply equally well to Wet Sciences, Soft Sciences, Hard Sciences, and Humanities.

Blogged with Flock



Ça y est!
La version «sociale» du navigateur de Mozilla, Flock, supporte maintenant la vérification orthographique en continu.
Honnêtement, sans cette fonction d'apparence si simple, je n'avais pas vraiment l'intention d'utiliser Flock. L'idée, c'est que je passe pas mal de temps à écrire, quand je suis dans un navigateur. Que ce soit un billet de blogue (comme celui-ci) ou un message électronique dans Gmail, j'écris plus que je ne lis. Et j'ai vraiment besoin d'une vérification orthographique quand j'écris.
La version 0.9 de Flock, qui ajoute cette fonction, semble très différente de la version 0.7 que j'avais utilisée pendant un certain temps. J'ai pas encore fait le tour des nouveautés mais on dirait que les développeurs de ce logiciel ont beaucoup réfléchi avant de rendre cette version publique. D'ailleurs, je crois saveur que cette nouvelle version s'est fait attendre un certain temps puisqu'il me semble me rappeler qu'elle devait être mise à la disposition de tout un chacun il y a déjà plusieurs mois.
C'est en fait grâce à un commentaire d'un poditeur de la balado-diffusion Buzz Out Loud que j'ai appris la sortie de cette nouvelle version.

Blogged with Flock

Flock as Blog Editor

Now that Flock has a "spell as you type" feature, I can give it a fair shake as a blog editor.
Flock 0.9 Beta Release Notes | Flock
Thing is, though, it seems to have a problem with my main blog's extremely long list of categories. When I tried posting a blog entry with my WordPress.com blog account listed among the others, Flock became unresponsive as it was trying to download all my categories (all 2,751 of them). Maybe I could have waited longer but after a number of minutes without being able to use my computer at all, I decided to let it go.
Still, it made me a bit cranky. So the rest of this post will sound like a rant. It's more like wishful thinking, though. I like wishful thinking.
I don't like the way Flock's blog editor handles link insertion. Sure, like any WYSIWYG editor out there, it has a button on which you can click to add an appropriate URL to text you've selected. But there's no clear shortcut for this button and it could be much more powerful than it currently is.
Qumana has a better way to handle links. For one thing, it automatically inserts the clipboard's content in the URL section of link insertion dialog box. And since it keeps published blog posts, it makes it easy to copy the "permalink" to another blog entry (for those bloggers, like me, who tend to be self-referential). Can't remember off the top of my head but I'm pretty sure ecto and Windows Live Writer have similar features.
Ok... Flock does have this drag and drop interface for "media streams" (basically, Flickr or PhotoBucket accounts) and for "Web snippets" (local content, including text and links). Good idea and I guess I could make my "bloggable content" available to me while blogging by adding lots of content to my Flock installation and Flickr account. Makes a lot of sense for those who mostly use blogs as placeholders. But it's still not the ideal method for blogs which rely on more extensive writing. Or for message writing.

What I want is pretty obvious but I haven't found it yet, even in dedicated blog editors. I want my blog editor to have access to all of my links (Web history, favourites, social bookmarks...) and make it easy to work with those links while I'm writing. Sure, a "Web Snippets" feature is useful. But it still requires a fair amount of mouse movement to simply insert a link. Call me lazy but I prefer limiting my mouse movement while I'm writing.
My dream editor would integrate all of my social bookmarks, Web histories, and address books in the same interface. I could use a keystroke and start typing to get access to those links and addresses that I use frequently. Why addresses? I want to use the same editor for writing blog posts and email messages. Why not? Messages and posts end up having very similar features anyway. As many sites label it, it's all about "sharing content."
(I'm not really into IM but, as logic would have it, the same features should work with IM as well.)

To me, the "killer feature" in modern browsers is that auto-complete in the URL bar. I want to go back to a site I've visited recently, I just start typing the URL in the URL bar and the browser shows all related URLs. Same thing in Gmail: start typing an address and Gmail auto-completes it. So simple that nobody ever talks about it. But this simple feature is yet completely absent from blog editors, AFAICT.
Oh, sure, Flock does auto-complete in the search field. In fact, it supports incremental searches, which is really nice. But I need auto-complete for links and addresses.
What makes auto-complete even nicer is that it's now possible to synchronise browsers through Google's Browser Sync extension for Firefox (it might work with Flock too). Google also saves a Web History. And Gmail users get easy access to their address books from Google applications like Google Docs. And Google has toolbars for most browsers. So I guess Google could easily implement my dream editor.

Thing with my wishful thinking is that it's often obvious enough that it becomes concrete very quickly after I say it. For all I know, this feature may exist somewhere and everybody else knows about it. But I've been missing it for a while now.
Ah, well.

Blogged with Flock