Joe Maller.com

Arcade Ambiance

This is what a good portion of my childhood sounded like, especially 1983. Andy Hofle has faithfully recreated the ambient soundtrack of coin-op arcades.

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link: Feb 13, 2008 9:51 am
posted in: misc.
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Microsoft and Yahoo: LAMP, meet WAMP

After the obvious desire to takeover Yahoo’s unmatched traffic, the thing that most struck me about Microsoft’s proposed Yahoo! acquisition was what they’d do with Yahoo’s extensive foundation of Open Source Software.

Historically, Microsoft has had a deep institutional phobia about OSS. But Yahoo! uses PHP extensively, and Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP, has worked at Yahoo! since 2002.

This seems to make no sense. Unless the OSS and PHP backend is something Microsoft wants.

On January 31st, Mary Jo Foley published notes from an interview with Sam Ramji, Microsoft’s Director of Platform Technology Strategy. Foley rightly highlighted this quote from Ramji:

“Our focus is getting OSS on top of Windows, and I’m focused on (providing) interoperability between the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and Windows stacks.”

She also posted this PowerPoint slide:
LAMP, meet WAMP

Boom, as they say. Microsoft wants to legitimize Windows as the foundation for a parallel WAMP stack. What better way to prove the viability of WAMP than running the biggest PHP web site in the world?

Microsoft may have finally realized that Open Source can be seen as a competitor, but also as free labor. Google and Apple, along with Yahoo! realized that a long time ago. Why try and compete directly when you can subvert it by becoming the dominant platform that software runs on? Instant credibility, and instant influence.

So far we’ve only seen the first chapter of this story, or perhaps the first act of this tragedy. The next phase looks like it may turn out to be Microsoft, Google and others fighting over Yahoo’s unfortunate carcass and tearing it to shreds.

Steve Ballmer has giant brass balls and Microsoft most likely anticipated that Google would do something to interfere with the acquisition. Microsoft is on the move. This should be an interesting week.

Disclosure: I’m currently holding Yahoo! stock and have previously owned stock in Microsoft.


How to install Subversion on a shared host

I’ve hosted this site and several others LiquidWeb’s shared servers for probably eight years. They are without question, the most dependable host I’ve ever used. [see update]

But LiquidWeb doesn’t offer Subversion. And I will no longer do web work without it.

For some time I’d been considering leaving LiquidWeb because the lack of svn was now hindering work on my own sites. For the same reason, I’ve had to pass them over several times when clients asked for hosting recommendations. Then the other night, I stumbled across a discussion about installing Subversion on a shared host. Why didn’t I try that years ago?

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iTransmogrify update

The main iTransmogrify! script has been updated with a bunch of new functionality:

  • YouTube.com pages are now supported (see notes)
  • Daily Motion videos are supported for new-style urls (see notes)
  • Kink.fm player and listings page are now supported
  • Sideload.com play links are now supported
  • WordPress Blogs using Viper Video QuickTags are supported for YouTube
  • All media links now open into new windows, so you won’t have to re-transmogrify a page with several media files after playing one. Note that this is dependent on the iPhone, sometimes it will blank other windows)
  • Some content in iframes will now be converted.
  • MotionBox, Viddler and Vimeo embedded videos, while not supporting iPod/iPhone alternate content, now link to their respective detail pages.

The main bookmarklet code was updated. This was necessary to workaround a frustrating oversight with Google Code hosting. Everyone will need to update their bookmarklet, in the future all updates will be automatic.

This has turned out to be far bigger than I ever imagined. Thank you to everyone for the links, feedback, compliments and ideas.

Known issues

LiveJournal pages redefine a bunch of core JavaScript functionality, breaking all kinds of stuff including jQuery. Additionally, they’re serving media in an iframe from a different domain, meaning JavaScript couldn’t access the frame even if they hadn’t broken it.

Notes

YouTube Internal pages
Because of a strange iPhone quirk, these links all need to go through the Google redirector, otherwise they bounce back to uk.youtube.com instead of playing.

DailyMotion
DailyMotion videos using new-style urls, which are usually about six digits long, work correctly. Videos using the old-style alphanumeric ID do not work yet. I’m probably just going to resort to building a simple web-service to grab those. Additionally, there is no way to programatically access the mp4 alternate content url, so I just linked to their iPhone pages. I’d prefer embedding QuickTime directly, but it’s just not possible yet.


iTransmogrify update ready, but…

So I’ve got a big update ready to go for iTransmogrify!. Except there’s a problem with Google Code.

Google Code doesn’t allow downloads to be renamed or deleted after they’re 2 days old or have 50+ downloads. That nugget of critical information is buried deep in their FAQ.

I posted this in Google Code Support, Rename or replace download and commented on issue 417, Need a stable link to the latest version of a download. A ‘latest version’ link on Google Code would solve this completely, but it’s been almost four months since they tagged the issue, so who knows when or if that feature will ever exist.

I’m not expecting any help from Google, so I’m considering the following two options:

  1. Link files directly from svn trunk.
  2. Set up externally-hosted http redirect.

Neither is ideal and both would require users to update their bookmarks or miss out on updates. Additionally the main script file would be outside of stats collection, so no one would know how many times iTransmogrify has been used, when I hit publish on this post, that number was just under 279,000 times.

My solution

After a day of thinking about it and discussing things with a few people, I’ve decided to go with a locally-hosted redirect for the main JavaScript file. Going forward I’ll just manually update the redirect to point to the latest version. This is an acceptable outcome for an imperfect situation.

The update will unfortunately require action on the users’ part, something I had intended never to happen: Users will need to update the bookmarklet. From here forward, all updates will just happen, as I’d planned from the beginning.

Once this update is known to be working, I will modify the graphics seen by the old script file to announce the changes. Hopefully that last step will get most everyone moved to the newer bookmarklet.


MWSF 2008 pre-thoughts

Just so I can go on the record, here are my thoughts before the Macworld 2008 keynote.
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iTransmogrify!

iTransmogrify! is a bookmarklet for iPhone which transforms embedded Flash content into direct links to natively supported formats. That means YouTube videos and MP3s can now be played from the iPhone’s Safari web browser with just a few clicks.

Seeing it work is the best explanation:

On an iPhone? Try it now: iTransmogrify! (works in Safari and Firefox too)

Sorry, it took YouTube a long time to re-encode that for iPhone, here’s a baby panda:

Installation

To install the bookmarklet, just drag the link to your Safari or Firefox Bookmarks, IE users should right click and choose “Add To Favorites…” After adding the link, sync your iPhone.

Grab it now: iTransmogrify!

You can also add iTransmogrify from your iPhone!

More information, source code and bug-tracking is available on the iTransmogrify Google Code page.

    Currently supported content:

  • Default YouTube Object-Embed code
  • YouTube bare Embed
  • YouTube bare Object
  • A variety of Flash-based MP3 players including Digg Podcasts

Lots more added: iTransmogrify update

Support for other embedded media sites will be added as I figure them out. Please report broken sites or suggest additional sources using Google Code issue tracker.

Acknowledgements

The first robust, script insertion bookmarklets I ever saw was Sumaato’s original Flickr GeoCoding bookmarklet.

Other sites also deserving links:

iPhone graphic reference:

Also, John Resig’s amazing jQuery JavaScript library. This project was the excuse I’d been looking for to finally dig in and learn it.

The name came from a late-night brainstorming chat with Bruce and was far more fun and interesting than the utilitarian ones I was thinking of. So thank you Bruce, and of course, Bill Watterson.



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