Thoughts

Fall 2006

Toyota Hybrid Concept Car

Technology / December 27th

Check out this Winding Road article about a concept car from Toyota. It's a hybrid with over 400hp that they envision selling for $35K. I'm on the used car tip, but that has a definite appeal to it, both from the technology and the looks.

I'm hoping in the next few years we'll start to see some of the real promise of hybrid vehicles, including those that are powered entirely by electric motors, using the gas engines only to generate electricity. Batteries don't yet have the power-to-weight ratio, nor the infrastructure to support an all-electric car, but these hybrids can be the gateway, especially when they begin to offer a plug-in option.

Some of the developments in ultracapacitors are of particular interest here, potentially giving us exactly what we need to overcome the current reliance on gasoline. If these carbon nanotube capacitors live up to their promise, expect to see some major advances in other areas, like portable device life (cell phones, iPods, and laptops) as well as better home and business power backup.

Categories

Site News / December 26th

I wound up making a new feature live a bit sooner than expected. Sometimes I forget when I'm working on the development site that it's still a production database. That's fine for content, but with the page layouts stored in the database, that can mean some unintended consequences when I modify something to test. Because of this I had to rush to finish up the feature because the main page layout was messed up briefly.

So, the new feature is that on the Thoughts page you can now see a second submenu on the right for categories. Selecting a category shows all posts in that category regardless of date. I've been setting categories for Thoughts as I write them, but they weren't displayed in any meaningful way until now. I will be fleshing this out a bit more by adding the category to the heading of each post in Thoughts. Through this I managed to simplify the page layout and move the submenu html above the content, making the html more intuitive, though that isn't reflected in the way the page looks in a browser. The backend code is a bit hacked because it was a rush job. Hopefully I can get that cleaned up, though it won't change the look of it.

On a minor note, a few days ago I changed the rollover effect of the submenu to match the way the main menu worked, making the color scheme more consistent.

Solar Roofing

Technology / December 22nd

I came across a company that does installations of solar panels directly into the roofing of houses via an article at TreeHugger. This is one of the many things that I've always thought would be slick, and it's awesome to see there's actually a way to do it. Not only do you get solar power generation for your house, but it doesn't mean having those hideous boxes on your roof. How cool is that?

According to the article, BP is teaming up with this company to provide other homebuilders with complete turnkey packages to install this system, which hopefully means it will become more prevalent and available. Unfortunately there isn't much information about what kind of panels they use. There have been some advances in photovoltaics recently that improve efficiency, lower upfront costs, and give you more electricty for less money.

Cleaning

Personal / December 20th

A few years ago Eriq and I started regularly working out twice a week. In addition, my house was the location for our Sunday night movie viewing. As a result of this, I got used to keeping my house picked up and clean. It wasn't especially difficult, time consuming, or even hard to get into the habit. One thing I found about the process, was that cleanliness breeds cleanliness, and messiness breeds messiness. When your home is clean, and there's something out of place, you notice it. When everything is out of place, one more thing hardly seems to matter.

So at some point, as the various social activities moved or changed form or ended altogether, the need to keep the place clean faded, and with the need went the habits. I like having a clean place when people are over; certainly not an uncommon thing. But without the regular impetus to maintain, the tendencies run towards letting dishes and clothes pile up, letting clutter accumulate, and leaving vaccuming undone.

After cleaning like crazy this weekend because the house had gotten to be such a mess, it's now time to return to the maintain habit. We don't have the regular stream of visitors I once had, but hopefully it is still possible to do without that reminder.

The Year

Personal / December 18th

For the last four years, Mike, Eriq and I toasted New Year's in with the promise and decree that this year we will embark upon a plan to improve our lot in life. Each year with slightly more cynicism, we regard the coming year and attempt to determine what avenue we will take that will set us on the road to financial independence. We have not taken these proclamations lightly, and each year in some way we have attempted follow through on our intentions.

That is not to say that we have not improved our respective lots in life in the last four years. Since that first year, we have gotten better jobs, bought homes, and though each time ultimately unsuccessful, we have started no fewer than three companies. We've made multiple websites, learned new skills, and tackled each new idea with hope and optimism. From remodeling Mike's upstairs to long nights of 3-D modeling and rendering, from listening to Carlton Sheets CDs to researching battery powered vacuums for sucking up dog shit, it's safe to say we have not raised those glasses lightly.

Now, New Year's again approaches, and our thoughts turn to whether or not we will again make our toast. In all of our efforts we have ultimately run against our own tendencies towards procrastination, our own lack of follow-through when fun turns to work, and a resistance to taking real risks. I do not think I am alone in thinking that making this toast again only to see it result in the same failures it has thus far accomplished is not worth the disappointment. That can mean one of two things, either we do not make this toast again or we make it only after we believe we have a plan that we can pursue that has a chance of success.

I for one have been racking my brain trying to come up with some plan, some idea, or some untried avenue that if diligently pursued would result in us achieving what we have set out to for so long. With less than two weeks to go, and those two weeks full of the holidays and all of the busyness that goes with them, it's looking like 2007 will be another year of trudging along for The Man. Perhaps a year where we don't make that toast will help us realize how important it is, and through that help us determine what our one simple plan is.

The High Cost of Convenience

Personal / December 12th

I mentioned a while back that one of the things I wanted to get for the house was a chilled/hot filtered water dispensor. If you haven't seen these things, they are like a miniature secondary faucet by your kitchen sink. The nice ones have two levers that will dispense purified water that is either chilled or piping hot. Having one would mean no longer buying gallon jugs of water and no longer having to use a tea kettle to make tea. In other words, it would be convenient. Other than gallon jugs, we could also get a Brita pitcher, but for some reason I've never liked them, and the main faucet is a pull out sprayer type, so a faucet-mounted filter would not fit.

The other day I spent some time looking into them on the web. I've seen them at Home Depot but was never really impressed with the options. I found a lot of options, but all of them would cost at least $600. More than that, filters would run me at least $40 a year, even if I was stingy with them. That means such a system would never pay off, given the jugs of water are about a dollar on a bad day and last two weeks. The only justification is the convenience of not buying water and the convenience of not using a tea kettle.

While I can't deny the convenience, and I also add in the cool-factor, I can't see ever being able to justify it. That sucks, because I've really wanted one for years. I guess if the price came down, and the filter price came down, or it was for a house I wasn't planning on moving out of in a few years, then it might enter the realm of possible, but for now it's off my list. I can't help but be disappointed.

Creative Funk

Personal / December 10th

I haven't been particularly good about updating my thoughts, mostly because while I have had a number of thoughts probably worth writing, for the most part I've been kind of lethargic. To be fair, my spurts of energy and creativity are often short-lived, so the fact that I had consistently worked on producing content and done web development for several months was remarkable in itself. However, the end result is that I'm feeling sort of between efforts at the moment.

I did manage to fix a couple bugs on the site (one with the RSS feed and another with the last updated date), and I've started writing a thought about Resveratrol twice now. That may yet happen, but I get bogged down in researching which I think is partly, if not mostly, what would make it worthwhile. I can also continue to update without having to really exert a real effort by linking to content, as in the previous post. If nothing else, it was an occasion to find the best way to inline video so that it works and is XHTML compliant, so it wasn't completely shirking effort.

Mad Skillz

Cool Stuff / December 3rd

As someone who once sketched the floorplan and 3D rendering of a six unit apartment building in MSPaint, I am truly humbled by the MSPaint skills of this individual.


(Click to Play)
Original Post on CollegeHumor

Nikola Tesla would be Pleased

Technology / November 15th

I read a couple of articles today about a recent announcement by MIT researchers that believe they have found a way to wirelessly transmit electricity. While people have been trying to figure out a method for this for a hundred years or so, historically it has been limited to induction and line of sight transmission of microwaves or lasers.

The researchers describe using electromagnetic resonance of two antennas. In this way, instead of broadcasting power like a radio the transmitter and receiver antennas are resonating at the same frequency and a "tunnel" is established between them. If there is no device in range, the transmitting antenna actually recaptures most of the signal it sends out, meaning it is fairly efficient. It is projected to work at a distance of up to six meters, meaning a house with one transmitter per room would have fairly complete coverage. They have not yet developed a working prototype, so there may yet be challenges with the implementation.

Not only could this mean an end to the clutter of various chargers for cell phones, mp3 players, headsets, keyboards, mice, etc, but it could also deliver power to cordless speakers, game controllers, remote controls, toys, household robots, and other devices that are currently reliant on regularly replacing batteries. They also mention it can be scaled to the microscopic, allowing applications for nano-technology.

In addition, an application of the technology that isn't discussed is that it could be used as a secure data transmission medium. Because the energy is only dispersed if the paired resonating antenna is active, adding an eavesdropper antenna resonating at the same frequency would result in at least a detectable increase in used transmission power.

If this technology pans out, it could result in some pronounced changes to the way our electronic world works, and go a long way to simplifying how we use devices. My chief concern other than it not working as hoped is that a unified and open standard isn't developed and it remains a niche application.

BBC: Physics promises wireless power
ArsTechnica: MIT develops model for wireless power

Only an entire Four Months

Web Design / November 7th

I just noticed that today is four months exactly since I posted that I was actually going to do a XeoMage redesign. In that time the site has come a long way, more than it probably seems. I'm not the sort to congratulate myself much or focus on accomplishments instead of what needs to be done, but I am pleased with the state of things. I am again proud of my web page, even though I still have a lot to do.

At the same time I didn't realize how little time I really have to work on this, how poorly I spend the time I do have, and lastly, how little I accomplish in a given stretch. Don't get me wrong, I actually do enjoy learning how to code PHP, how to design database applications, and how to take something that exists only in my mind and make it real, or at least as real as things on the Internet are. It's just that so much time is spent on little niggling issues, reworking things I thought I had figured out, going back over code that seemed to be done, and getting bugs worked out, that I don't seem to make progress very quickly.

Maybe that view is unrealistic. I mean, I upgraded a very primitive site (my first database site ever) into the most sophisticated I've ever done. I didn't only re-do code, I changed the layout, I changed the colors and presentation, and added a lot of new functionality. I've also been generating new content at a much higher rate than before (mostly because it is so much easier than it used to be). I guess I don't have a lot of reference for comparison. Sisyphus was made in a week, but it had a lot of bugs that weren't worked out right away.

There is still so much to do, and I don't know even now how long it will actually take to do it all. I need an administrative panel, I still can't edit the stylesheet through the browser, the header and footer of the page needs to be moved into the template system, there's a new section to launch, there's image management code to write, I want ping support, and there's some AJAX controls to add. That's just what occurs to me at the moment. It's good to have a hobby, and maybe I'll never finish, but I feel like Homer climbing the Murderhorn. So it only took me an entire four months to get this far. I'm guessing the rest of it will take another four.

Site Update

Site News / November 5th

I have completed a major step in the site redesign. All sections are now generated from a dynamic system that stores page templates in the database. Some aspects of the system are still being developed, but it is definitely a big improvement over what I had previously. I will eventually be able to manage the sites look and feel without touching code. Of course, any new features will still require coding, but that's just the way of things. Maybe in time I can get that sophisticated, but one thing at a time.

You'll also notice some subtle changes here and there. I changed some fonts to improve readability, added button-style links for the bottom navigation menus rather than text, added a new color to the palette, and the front page quotes now include everything that used to be on the Quotes page. I also changed the sections to display in reverse chronological order, since that is more expected, and instead of only the latest post, the root of a section displays the last several posts. This update took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I'm really excited about it, since it represents a major enhancement to not only the backend of the site, but also adds a bit of polish to the interface. There's more to come, but I hope you like it!

Web x.0

Web Design / November 1st

I'm as guilty as anyone of being wowed by slick design, particularly on the web. When I go to a web site that has that certain "gooiness", that polished feel of being graphically tight, highly expressive, and thematically coherent, I start wishing my site exuded the same awe. The difference comes in when my critical nature starts to look past the shiny and sees the lack of depth. The web is replete with examples of sites that look really cool, but are almost always low on real content, low on useability, lacking in standards adherence, and laden with long load times, wasted space, and most importantly any reason to come back.

When I took on the latest revision of XeoMage, I knew that I wanted something more. I wanted to bring some of the useability improvements that blogs provide, I wanted a better use of space without losing the white space (well, in this case blue space) that helps relax the eyes. I wanted to simplify the interface to its very essence, give exactly the essential information, but still have a graphical snazz. I still have a lot of areas I can improve, specifically in some minor graphical touch ups and refinements, but I think I at least succeeded in a visually attractive and more-importantly useable site.

A lot of the so called "Web 2.0" sites are little more than a glossy reflective logo and some rounded corners. I decided to be fairly sparing with the reflective look, though it is pretty, and skipped rounded corners altogether. The more important side of it is CSS-based sites are becoming the new benchmark, not overdone Flash sites with intros and mystery meat navigation. The new appreciation for web standards that is coming with the adoption of Firefox is also good to see. Even so, looking at some of these new sites all I see is a huge header of graphics and title that takes up half the screen. On every page you have to scroll down just to get to the second paragraph, and I use a fairly high resolution.

The problem is that I'm still wowed. I still want it. At the same moment that I'm noticing what an irritation elements of the design are, and how little of the page is actual content, I'm wishing I had that same glossy, shiny, gooiness. I'm closer than I've ever been, but I still have a lot to learn. I won't be truly happy with my website until I have it all. When I have depth of content, excellent useability, and the much-coveted gooiness, that will be something.

Data dreams and nightmares

Computing / October 30th

Storage. What a freaking pain. The combination of Bittorrent, fast Internet, and Xbox Media Center gives me an awesome, nearly on-demand digital media library that now rivals my DVD collection. Movies, television, anime, videos, photos, music, documents and more all organized in a single location with inherent reliability and redundancy, available to all systems on the network. That is the dream. The nightmare is that this ever expanding collection constantly outgrows its drives and I keep trying to find a solution that will stave off the dreaded 'out of space' message.

My current setup is the first true implementation of this goal. A RAID 5 array of three 250GB SATA disks. Total capacity: 430GB. Free space: 8GB. I'm going to add another 250GB disk which will translate into about 200GB more space, but that will only hold me at the current rate for about six months.

What I want is an 8 drive RAID 5 SATA NAS. With that I can build out gradually on a larger disk size, like 500GB. That will keep me for quite a while, much longer than the 4 drive maximum I have now. The problem is that the ones for sale are extremely expensive, and building my own isn't much cheaper. I'll keep looking for a way to build it on the cheap as I fill up what I've got, and if I find something, I'll share it.

Halloween

Events / October 24th

This Saturday I'm holding my tenth Halloween party. Not quite in a row; there have been a couple of missed ones, but my tenth regardless. If you know me and you're free and for some crass reason I didn't invite you, let me know and I'll send you the details.

The pendulum swings

Personal / October 18th

Nearly every day at work I deal with a new problem. This is a large part of what keeps my job interesting. It seems that even though I've been dealing with the world of Windows software for a decade, and my understanding of that world has continued to grow, that there's always something within that sphere that I don't know, that I could understand better. At the same time, a large fraction of the challenges I face are frustrations because they continually point to poor design, poor implementation, or come from the same mistakes that have been made for years.

This frustration can build up until I don't even want to try anymore. I get a fatalist sense that no matter what I try to accomplish, it will invariably wind up having some problem. The perception is that no matter how well I think I understand the environment, no matter how much I test, and no matter how much research I do, there will still wind up being something wrong that causes frustration.

This is especially prevalent for me because I roll out new software and updates to over ten thousand computers at work on a regular basis. The nature of Windows is that there is almost definitely something that I didn't account for on at least one of those computers. Something is going to go wrong. That I can accept. What I have more trouble with is when things go wrong because either it was designed poorly, I was given bad information, or I forgot to take something into account. Then instead of improving things I've caused headaches for me, for the technicians that often wind up fixing it, and for the associates that had to deal with it.

Sometimes, though, things come together in such a way that I forget all of the problems and I forgive the poor design because something intrinsically cool starts to work. When things work the way they are supposed to, even if it took a lot of hammering and annoyance to get there, you can feel it. Something that only moments ago may have felt kludgy and hopelessly broken starts to behave the way you want it to, dealing with the various situations with grace, giving the expected results regardless of what you put it to. That's when the pendulum swings the other way, you get that satisfaction and pride at having made something that really works.

Typically this is followed by a list of caveats, limitations, and unforeseen problems that tarnish that feeling of accomplishment. For those moments, though, when it spins and whirs and runs and I made it do it, I come back to work every day and beat my head against the wall some more.

Idiocy in high places

Politics / October 17th

We live in a dangerous world. To take the government view, America is a shining beacon of freedom. So bright is this beacon that evil-doers seek to frighten us and kill us. In this extremely simple world, our existence as a nation of people that enjoy prosperity, democracy, freedom of speech, religion, and privacy, and all the wonders of media-driven consumerism, represents a threat and a menace to those that wish to oppress.

In order to defeat these killers, we need to take the fight to them. Where are they? Well, though the 9/11 hijackers mostly came from Saudi Arabia, and their bases were in Afghanistan, their real home is Iraq. By fighting the Iraqi's (the murderous, evil ones that were just biding their time while Saddam was in power), we are keeping America safe. We'll make a new beacon of democracy in the Middle East, and that will distract the terrorists from attacking us.

Let's take a step back here. We already know the government view is absurd. Pointing that out is like laughing at a six year-old for not properly tying a shoe. What I want to talk about is that it isn't just the current administrations view that's absurd, it's the whole concept of a War on Terror. Nevermind the obvious and clumsy attempts at word association the government uses to link its policies to 9/11, and garner support from the gullible and the righteous. The War on Terror has at its heart a concept so ridiculous that it truly boggles the mind: if we kill enough terrorists, we'll end terrorism. Oh really?

Maybe that isn't the real goal, huh? It couldn't be, because no one could possibly believe that, right? Well, sadly, many do. Let's look at a situation that has little to do with terrorism. Many believe that the reason we're not succeeding in Iraq is because we don't have enough troops there. If we just had some more troops, we could crush that insurgency. To say that is to say that the reason we haven't beaten the insurgencies is because there are more of them left that we just can't get to, or that we can't kill them as fast as they are signing up. If we could just kill them faster than they are signing up, we'd win, right?

I think we know that isn't the case. But if it isn't, what do we do? Pull out? Won't that create a power vaccuum and a hotbed of terrorists? Won't that embolden them, show us as weak, and give them a victory? Everywhere we pull out, the insurgents take over and the local police are afraid to go. Everywhere we push in, we create more hatred and spawn more insurgents. This is a case where there isn't an easy solution. There's no magic wand that can undo the three years of war and the pointless invasion that started it.

The U.S. forces are lightning rods for violence, and in defending themselves against the embedded insurgency they cause more death and breed more resentment. Accepting that killing terrorists (or insurgents) won't end terrorism (or insurgency) is the first step to working on the real problems. The U.S.-backed government is fractured, corrupt, and because of that it is ineffective. The police are woefully unequipped to deal with the problems they face. They have no armor, no guns, and too few numbers. The infrastructure projects are underfunded and mis-managed. Unemployment is incredibly high, leaving many with ffew options.

Addressing the real problems in Iraq that lead people to accept, support, or join the insurgency is the only solution that will lead to a better Iraq. It will not end the violence quickly, but it will end in time.

Say what?

Computing / October 15th

Today's Thought comes to you courtesy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9. This entire post is being dictated by voice rather than being typed out by hand. This is one example of a technology that is finally getting to the point where it can be really useful. I've used speech recognition technologies in the past, everywhere from an earlier desktop version and the version of speech recognition that they installed on Macs back in the 90s, to the order-taking Pizza Hut robot. All of these in one way or another failed to live up to the promise that I believe this technology holds. I mean, let's consider the computer on Star Trek and its infinite ability to perceive what is a command and what is idle conversation, and compare that to restating that you want sausage on one half and pepperoni on the other over and over again until finally giving up. I don't know that we'll ever get to the level of the Star Trek computers since it was not real it was only a fictitious portrayal of accurate speech recognition. What I do know is that this technology is finally to the point where I think I may actually use it which is pretty incredible considering how far it's come in so short a time.

The best part of this is that I didn't have to spend a ton of time training it. I did spend a little while reciting some part of the Dogbert management book but other than that it pretty much just understood what I'm saying. I've had to make a couple of corrections as I write this or 'say this' more accurately, but ultimately I think we're looking at the future of human-computer interaction. I encourage anyone that has to type more than a few lines of text on computers on a regular basis to check out this software. If for no other reason purchasing this now will encourage its future development to the point where it will truly replace a lot of what we now use the keyboard for.

Too many distractions

Personal / October 11th

One of the challenges in life for anyone is juggling all of the multitude of things that you need to keep up on. At work there are often people that you need to get back to, stuff you need to do when you find some time, and stuff you probably have time to do but really don't want to. Managing the priorities and actually getting around to the stuff at the bottom of the list isn't easy, but it doesn't end there. When you get home the house needs at least the usual cleaning chores, from laundry, dishes, and cooking daily to vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and just picking up.

That's not the end of the house, though. If you're not in an apartment you probably have list of stuff beyond just cleaning. In my case I need to get the roof fixed so it won't leak, the garage door fixed so it will open and close properly, we need new curtains that aren't sun-rotted, a flat network cable for the Xbox, I want a chilled/filtered water dispenser, and a couple new pictures on the walls.

Then there's the car. I just changed the brake pads but it needs a wash and vaccuum. The back window still needs to be fixed because it will cost $560. On the personal health front I need to wear my retainer more, go back to the eye doctor for a checkup to see how the contacts are doing, I need to work out regularly, drink my protein shakes, and we want to get into Kung Fu. On the financial front you need to track your income, track your bills, track your spending, save, invest, and budget.

After all of that, there are hobbies. I need more drive space on my computer, I want to rebuild my server, my web projects are never ending, there are TV shows and movies to see, I want to get started on some business plans with Mike, I have ideas for video projects with friends, I want a better digital camera to get more into photography, I have a number of short stories I want to write, I want to travel more, and there's probably a bunch of things I haven't remembered, like other people's birthdays.

So where am I going with all of this? I don't know. Mostly I just want to say that if you're having trouble keeping track of it all, or you feel overwhelmed, you're not alone. Life is complicated. Don't be afraid to write stuff down, don't be ashamed to set a reminder for things, because you can't hold it all in your head at once.

The world on the trigger

Politics / October 9th

Recently there has been a lot of talk on the world political stage about the nuclear developments of Iran and North Korea. In 1968 or shortly thereafter, these nations (and many others) signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. This treaty states that they agree not to develop nuclear weapons, but gives them the right to develop peaceful nuclear power, including the enrichment of uranium. North Korea has withdrawn from this treaty, and Iran states their nuclear intentions are peaceful.

In 1968, for the majority of countries other than the five members that signed as having nuclear weapons already, developing nuclear weapons or even nuclear technology must have seemed like a pretty lofty ambition, so signing such a treaty wasn't a big deal. "Yes, we won't do something we don't think we could possibly do anyway." But there is only so long that now sixty-year-old technology can be kept secret, and what was out of reach almost forty years ago seems a bit more attainable these days.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I think nuclear weapons are an abhorrent and dangerous thing. But as long as nations have sovereign rights and don't threaten their neighbors, what right do we have (as a nation or as part of the international community) to tell these countries that they cannot have nuclear power, up to and including nuclear weapons?

We have to contend with the reality that the barrier to developing advanced technology that can potentially give these nations the ability to threaten us or anyone has fallen. We are returning to the state the world dealt with for centuries, when any country could threaten any other if it built the weapons necessary. Sure, we are more content if the only ones with the power is us, but that doesn't mean it's right.

Iran is a fundamentalist religious state with limited personal freedoms and a long list of past deeds that make us wary of them. However, as long as we try to strong-arm nations like Iran into capitulation, we're going to keep winding up with nuclear-armed enemies, instead of nuclear-armed friends. If we open diplomatic relations, accept that nuclear power is an eventuality, and move forward, we can be on much better terms with these countries. That will reduce our risk much more than the tactics that have been at play recently.

The same goes for North Korea. As a nation, they are acting like a child, crying for attention. We've been punishing North Korea for so long that we've decided anything less will be seen as acting weak. This posturing is only going to lead to more suffering for their people and more saber rattling by them against Japan and South Korea. Opening diplomatic ties is cheap and likely effective. A path towards easing sanctions that doesn't involve them giving up sovereignty but encourages them to act with more civility will probably defuse things faster than more security council resolutions.

Accepting that we can't command the state of the world is the simplest, best thing our nation can do to improve relations with the "Axis of Evil" and will lead to a far, far better world than all of the over-bearing shock and awe our military can muster. There is a time for military might and this isn't it. If nothing else, Iraq should have taught us that.

A work in progress

Site News / October 5th

As I mentioned previously, the redesign is not complete yet. Today was the first new feature, namely RSS, but there are a number of new things coming down the pike. A few of these I'll be open about, others I'm keeping close to the chest.

The actual coding work and progress (or lack thereof) on these will continue to be documented in proto for those interested. The backend code of XeoMage is what powers these updates. Some ideas from FIRE were co-opted to provide a uniform content database table, and a standardized method of displaying content. I need to do some more work on this before the system will be capable of supporting new sections and new content in existing sections. It won't be too difficult, and it should be pretty cool when it's finished. I also need to upgrade the AJAX engine to support style and multiple id updates. Once those two things are done, getting new features rolled out should be easy.

Syndication

Site News / October 5th

XeoMage now has an RSS Feed! This much requested feature allows you to use an RSS feed reader to see when XeoMage has been updated and provides direct links to content. The new database architecture was necessary to allow this functionality, but with that in place it was fairly simple. I'm not too keen on the orange, so I may change it to some other color, but having it noticeable since it is new isn't the worst thing ever.

I'll be updating Thoughts as often as I can. I wanted to leave the post announcing the redesign up for a few days, but things are rolling now.

Edit: I changed the rss icon.