Updated: 24/9/05; 10:29:41

David Davies' Radio Weblog

 Thursday, January 31, 2002

Updated the picture gallery script to use the mypictures.root tool image template and generally tidied things up a bit. Let me know if there's any breakage with previous versions. The script is here.
Posted 12:57:59 AM - comment []
 Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Last change to the picture gallery script for this evening. The picture gallery file is now uploaded to your cloud weblog so that anyone can view your images.

Here is my picture gallery.

Posted 1:16:35 AM - comment []
 Tuesday, January 29, 2002

If you're like me then you'll never remember where all your uploaded pictures are as they're stored in the www/images folder by date of upload. What date did I upload that picture? No idea. So I thought we could use a picture gallery.

Download this script:


Open it using Radio and it'll import into your workspace table to create a new script called addPicturesToList.

Click on the run button and it'll set itself up (hopefully!). I've not tried it on anyone else's copy of Radio, only mine.

Then, next time you upload a picture, try it now, drag one into your upstream folder, a new picture gallery file will be created. It'll be here:

Nothing clever, just a table of thumbnails for each of your pictures. You can be more creative than I was and format this gallery page however you like, though in this rough proof-of-concept version you'll have to tackle with the script code itself. Maybe a good learning opportunity in itself!

I hope you get it working. Let me know if not.

Posted 5:36:18 PM - comment []
 Sunday, January 27, 2002

Tidied up


so the RSS items are nicely formatted. The aggregator search function is also more efficient now.

Posted 12:58:05 AM - comment []
 Saturday, January 26, 2002

Yesterday I talked about the problem with RSS overload. Today it's search engines.

What are some of he problems with search engines and searching databases in general?

I'm glad you asked. Things I don't like:

  1. Each search engine has its own query syntax
  2. Each search engine returns results in a slightly different HTML format
  3. You have to search each engine via its own web form. OK, some site offer to search a number of engines for you through a single interface but problems 1. And 2. Still apply.
  4. I can't incorporate search results into my own content management system. Don't even mention page scrapes. What's the point.

What do all search engines do?

They search their own databases for internet resources that match a keyword you specify. They return the resulting 'hit's as an HTML page of resources, usually pages, comprising title, link and a brief description of the page culled from the page itself.

That result format, remind you of anything?

What if search engines returned their results as an RSS file. It's be structured in a way you could expect and rely upon so that you could incorporate the resulting data into whatever system you liked. Repurpose it using your own content management system for example.

Why limit this critique to internet search engines?

What if all database searches returned results in this way? What if you could bolt together search interfaces in a plug-and-play kind of way to any database and have the results all returned, aggregated even, in a consistent portable format that can be incorporated into content management systems? You wouldn't have to worry about what platform they were running on, what database was being used at the back end, what query structure they used and more importantly, what format the results would come back as.

Show us the way David, what are you on about?

Here's how I've adapted my RSS aggregator to search for teaching and learning resources. These resources, or rather their descriptors and place holders, held in databases that search engines couldn't index, interoperate with whatever content management system you're using just so long as it's XML-friendly.


More later.

Posted 8:24:06 PM - comment []

Tidied up the RSS feeds aggregator demo for Manila. You can now add your own feed to the aggregator.
Posted 12:23:04 PM - comment []
 Friday, January 25, 2002

How do you cope with RSS overload?

I'd like to be able to filter out those items in RSS feeds that interest me so I don't have to read through pages of chaff to find the odd grain of wheat.


This is a Manila site. It's on a machine remote to my Radio server. My desktop Radio server is running as an RSS aggregator. I've primed it with channels that interest me. A search term is entered via a simple form on the public Manila site and passed over the Internet to my Radio server via XML-RPC. Radio then returns all those RSS items from all subscribed feeds that match my search keyword.

The result? A filtered RSS feed that collapses thousands of items down to a few more likely to be of interest to me.

This uses a number of Radio's key features. RSS aggregator, XML-RPC server, desktop web site and scripting environment.

That's how I cope with RSS overload.

I'm happy.

Posted 12:12:41 AM - comment []
 Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Steve Hooker is mobile blogging his way through a business schmooze. Keep watching he's maybe on to something with community blogs.
Posted 8:06:12 PM - comment []
 Tuesday, January 22, 2002
 Monday, January 21, 2002

HTML Formatted Email

This email contains HTML tags so that

David Davies

can test various email clients.

So that you know, this is PINE Version 4.40 (built Wed Oct 24 23:56:53 PDT 2001)

I hope this formats ok.

Posted 9:11:04 AM - comment []
 Sunday, January 20, 2002

Red Head Tahoma 24 pt.
ArialBlack 'n Blue text 14 pt.
ComicSans in 12 pt. green
the end --ronj
Posted 2:47:24 AM - comment []

Why I think Radio 8 is totally unlike anything else

You only have to follow the above link. Radio Userland 8 is a desktop web server and scripting environment. It's also much more than that but that's enough for now. Userland can release a new feature such as a scraper-free email form and provide a link on a public web site such as http://www.scripting.com/ that links to every user's private desktop web server. That simple action alone is so powerful and so totally unlike anything else that's come before.

There are going to be some very interesting solutions to come from this functionality over the next 12 months. You just wait and see. User's are going to reclaim the web in a big way.

Posted 12:03:52 AM - comment []
 Saturday, January 19, 2002

From: "Stanley Krute" [email protected]

Truly excellent.
I was just speaking with a normal (as opposed
to technal) person and mentioned that one
could now easily add items to a news-item-tickered
website via email, and she grokked immediately
the usefulness & coolth.
Cheers indeed.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2002 11:0 AM
Subject: Yay!

> Whoo hoo, it worked!
> David

Posted 8:32:31 PM - comment []

The next push is for HTML email blogging, sending an HTML formatted email to your Radio 8 blog. I think I've got it cracked for Microsoft email clients as they handle multipart MIME messages in a consistent way but I'm having some trouble with other clients. It's going to be easy to have a bespoke solution but I'd like one that works for any client. Who knows, it may even find its way into Radio ;-)

If you'd like to have a go and join the experiment I need your help. I need to collect as many representative emails from different clients as possible. Please send an HTML formatted email to [email protected] with the subject line 'emailtoblog'. It'll appear on this home page (with luck!). If it doesn't then fret not as it'll be archived so that I can inspect its MIME content.

This account will only be active for a while while we test this so don't think you'll always be able to post to my blog!

Posted 6:10:35 PM - comment []
 Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Getting some interesting responses to the early days of mobile blogging. Move on with it people! Find something new to do. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. Find your own voice and just get on with it but don't whinge telling us all how you've now done 10,000 times what someone had to do the first time.

Just in case those of you without imagination are desperate to say how often you've blogged from a plane since the first plane blog, here are some suggestions for new SMS blogs (with a nod to Steve for starting this thread).

log blog - scatological
snog blog - for the teenagers
drug blog - today I'll be mostly taking...
wank blog - excuse the shaky typing
shag blog - it's got to happen so who'll be first?

and my personal favorite...

blog blog - sms blogging about what you're blogging to Blogger

Posted 1:06:57 AM - comment []
 Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Ha! You can say that now sir. Just as someone would say, crossing the Antarctic these days is 'simple enough.'

Wise words from Steve Hooker in response to a claim that SMS phone blogging is easy. Of course it's easy, it's ridiculously easy, a few lines of code. Nothing clever. But like so may other easy things, someone had to spot how easy it was and be the first to do it. And as SMS blogging pioneers, Mr Hooker and I are only too aware of how easy it was ;-)

Posted 1:52:13 PM - comment []
 Monday, January 14, 2002

Back to terra firma and to a more conventional style of blogging. What has the last 36 hours shown us? Well, for me, it's taken the blog beyond the conventional commentary and narrative and turned it into something more experiential. Sure, with mobile blogging and SMS you're limited in character count so brevity is more important that verbosity (unless you're lucky to have a 3rd gen phone like Al), but it's more immediate, in fact it *is* immediate. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, within reason, you can capture the moment. A kind of snapshot in text. For sure if I'd have waited until I got home to tell you about my trip it would have been a lot less personal.

This is definitely going to be totally irrelevant for the majority of people but I think that from now on we're no longer constrained to blog the world post hoc. We can be there, right in the moment, and tell it as it happens!

Posted 11:09:07 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 21:03:06
And home again! That's the end of my first travel blog. Thanks for listening!

Posted 9:04:03 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 20:27:25
Is there anything more spectacular than flying over cities at night? The network of yellow sodium lights is quite beautiful.

Posted 8:28:09 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 19:04:00
Here we are, on the plane again! Is this a blogging record I wonder? The plane's a Dash 8 TProp for those who know their planes.

Posted 7:04:06 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 16:45:34
On the way back to the airport. Will resume posting from the plane! It's a turbo prop this time.

Posted 4:46:14 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 16:43:46
Very well received presentation. Demo'd Frontier interop with other content management systems. I'll post details on the web soon.

Posted 4:44:28 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 12:13:46
Interesting discussion so far. Learning objects, meta data, interoperability. Plenty of scope for Radio as a client to an XML CMS.

Posted 12:14:42 PM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 09:04:54
Arrived safely at the Tay Park Medical Centre. Presentation later.

Posted 9:05:21 AM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 08:38:53
Good morning mobile blogging fans! The best thing about staying in hotels is the cooked breakfasts!

Posted 8:39:34 AM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 00:20:09
Remember, although you are reading this via the web, I dont have access to a computer or the internet, only a phone. Mobile blogging!

Posted 12:21:05 AM - comment []

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 00:11:43
For those wanting the serious side of all this, tomorrow I'm giving a presentation on distributed computing and interoperability.

Posted 12:11:40 AM - comment []
 Sunday, January 13, 2002

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 23:48:05
If you're ever in Scotland I can recommend a pint of 80/- (pronounced 80 shilling). A pint of heavy as the Scots say!

Posted 11:48:59 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 23:41:04
Just been told that some scripting.com readers may be tuning in. If so, hello from bonnie Scotland!

Posted 11:41:31 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 22:29:47
Staying at the Invercarse Hotel in Dundee. Very nice. Used to be a silk merchant's house in the 19th century.

Posted 10:30:18 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 21:19:49
Touchdown! unfortunately I couldn't use my phone in the air. Still, I reckon I was the first person to blog from inside a plane!

Posted 9:19:55 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 20:07:07
On the plane ready to go! I'll try to blog again when we get airborne!

Posted 8:07:04 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 19:32:57
It's funny, where ever you go, what ever the country, there's always a Starbucks! I'm in one now waiting for my delayed flight.

Posted 7:33:32 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 18:38:34
On my way to the airport. I wonder if I'll be allowed to use my phone when we're in the air?

Posted 6:38:42 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 16:53:16
Just a quick test before I head off to the airport. You wouldn't want to miss anything now would you!

Posted 4:54:08 PM - comment []

Sun, 13 Jan 2002 14:00:02
Because Steve Hooker asked so nicely, the way to get a formatted date of posting next to your mobile weblog posts is to fetch it from the email message table and simply add it to the script step that adds the graphic. I've updated my how-to instructions to reflect this:


Posted 2:01:08 PM - comment []

I'm going to Dundee (in Scotland for all you non Brits) today for a presentation tomorrow on some of my Frontier-based interoperability work. There's some public stuff here:


There's a lot of potential here for Radio Userland as a desktop client allowing teachers to create their own web-based teaching & learning applications. More later.

Expect a semi-regular update on the journey and conference via SMS blogging. Why? Because I can!

Posted 11:33:51 AM - comment []

If only I had one of those new Nokia phones with the built in camera! You would really have a mobile blog if you could post pictures!

Posted 4:39:09 AM - comment []

Here's a how-to guide to getting icons into your Mail-to-Weblog posts:


Posted 4:30:43 AM - comment []

Steve Hooker's mobile weblog posts have got nicer graphics than mine. Typical. Some hard working underpaid scripter comes up with the idea then some graphic designer makes it look nicer!
Posted 2:40:06 AM - comment []
 Saturday, January 12, 2002

A little under a year ago I started a Manila weblog that had an unusual method of posting:


I could post to my blog from just about anywhere just so long as I had my mobile phone with me. You see in the UK (I don't know about anywhere else) it's common from network operators to offer an SMS to email gateway. That way, any SMS text message can be routed to email and therefore picked up using any email client. This allowed me to write a script in Manila to check for emails sent from my phone and post them to my weblog home page. This was great and worked for me. I even blogged my way through a soccer match:


Very neat!

But this had one major flaw. You had to either be running Frontier and Manila or at least have access to a Manila server to install my scripts. This obviously ruled out most people so I guess this was bit of a nice idea but not much use to anyone.

Then came Radio userland (http://radio.userland.com/).

Now that Userland have started a desktop web server revolution with Radio Userland 8.0 anyone can use this great method of posting. Just think of the applications. You can blog on holiday, you can blog on the road, you can blog from the middle of a field. You choose. You can really document your every day life, if you want to!

The weblog is definitely a new way of writing and turns everyone into a publisher. Maybe tools like Radio Userland, SMS and other forms of mobile blogging are going to make it just that bit more immediate.

Posted 7:51:31 PM - comment []

Sat, 12 Jan 2002 19:05:31
I wanted to be able to post to this weblog using both email and my SMSmobile phone and I wanted to be able to show which method I was using by wayof a blogging record. So I put a little check in my email blogging script toselect the appropriate icon. So here goes, my first email post. So nowyou'll know!

Posted 7:06:04 PM - comment []

Sat, 12 Jan 2002 18:47:45
Seems Steve Hooker has discovered SMS blogging now. Go Steve! Have you figured out how to add a graphic yet?

Posted 6:48:29 PM - comment []

Yay, Radio Userland 8.0 is out and running on my Mac.
Posted 10:28:07 AM - comment []
 Thursday, January 10, 2002

Thu, 10 Jan 2002 19:25:25
In Burger King with the kids before going to watch Lord of the Rings. It's Emily's 14th birthday today! Happy birthday Em!

Posted 10:28:07 AM - comment []
 Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Here's my other weblog. You can follow the trials and tribulations of trying to get my stupid G3 to stop freezing. Maybe I should just give up and buy a new iMac.
Posted 1:51:50 AM - comment []

Tue, 08 Jan 2002 01:46:02
Hey, cool, Duncan Smeed likes SMS blogging. Cheers Duncan!

Posted 1:46:03 AM - comment []
 Sunday, January 6, 2002

Sun, 06 Jan 2002 01:04:53
Think I've managed to fix the G3, at least for now!

Posted 1:05:02 AM - comment []

In case the last two posts are a little cryptic, here's what's happening. Most mobile phones in the UK can send email. You don't have to have a fancy phone, the network provider routes a specially formatted SMS message to email for you so you can even send email from very old phones just so long as they can send SMS text messages. The format of the SMS text message on my phone is:

"[email protected]##subject#message body"

I use the subject as a secret password field so that the following step can't be hijacked.

Once this SMS text message is sent, I have Radio UserLand check an email account I set up specifically for my blog. The blog email account is the email address you send your SMS text message to! Checking every minute or so keeps it current.

If a new message is found the script checks for the secret password in the subject line and if it's OK, the message body is posted to this blog home page!

Using this simple trick I can blog from anywhere providing I have my mobile phone. You don't need an internet connection and you can blog from the middle of a field if you like! I blogged my way through a football match last year as proof of concept.

Get in touch if you'd like to know more.

Posted 12:59:02 AM - comment []

I'm standing in a supermarket checkout queue. Well, that's my Saturday night off to a good start!

Posted 12:57:38 AM - comment []

I'm going to try to blog from my mobile phone via SMS...
Posted 12:53:33 AM - comment []
 Saturday, January 5, 2002

Sat, 05 Jan 2002 11:10:03
Testing posting to Radio Userland

Posted 11:10:08 AM - comment []
 Thursday, January 3, 2002

This is a test post from "flickr", a fancy photo sharing thing.
Posted 10:19:33 AM - comment []