Linkdump for September 21st through November 11th

An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between September 21st and November 11th.

Sometime between September 21st and November 11th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Linkdump for July 25th through September 21st

An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between July 25th and September 21st.

Sometime between July 25th and September 21st, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Amazon Kills Pocketpedia

I saw the writing on the wall a couple of weeks ago when Delicious had their iPhone library app pulled for this same reason, and now Pocketpedia has been killed.

For a while now, I’ve been using Bookpedia to catalog Prairie’s and my book collections, and DVDPedia for our movie collection. One of the handiest things about the system was the ability to sync our libraries to my iPod through Pocketpedia and have them available at my fingertips whenever we were out and about. No more trying to remember whether or not we’d picked up a particular book from a particular author or series, just check the iPod. It was one of my most-used iPhone apps.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option anymore: Amazon recently changed their API Terms of Service, and included the following clause in section 4(e):

You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link , use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.

Since the update to the TOS, Amazon has been aggressively enforcing that clause. I saw the writing on the wall a couple weeks ago when Delicious had their iPhone app pulled, and now Pocketpedia has been killed as well.

This morning we received an email from Amazon requesting the immediate removal of Pocketpedia from the App Store since the program is in violation of their license agreement. (A clause we’re pretty sure didn’t exist when Pocketpedia launched with the App Store in June last year but TOSBack only tracks Kindle and MP3 music service terms of use.)

We’ve logged a request with Amazon that Pocketpedia be exempt from the mobile clause (this is stated as a possibility in the license agreement) but it seems others have tried this before and were shot down so we’re not holding our breath for a favourable response. Hopefully the future will bring a positive change in their policy and we can all go on competing in the App Store.

Pocketpedia Not Available

Unsurprisingly, I — and a number of other previously-happy customers — are none too thrilled with Amazon about this. I’m hoping that some workaround can be found, and that Pocketpedia can continue on (even if that means gutting it to remove all data ever retrieved from Amazon). All I can do now (aside from dropping Amazon a quick complaint e-mail, which I’ve already done) is wait and see what happens next.

Update: Hooray! As of today, Nov. 10th, 2009, Pocketpedia is back! You can download the new, Amazon-free version right here.

iPhone/iPod Touch Application Recommendations

Recommendations based purely on my own personal needs, wants, and desires. These are the applications I’ve installed on my iPod Touch that have managed to stick around for more than a few days of experimenting…

Recommendations based purely on my own personal needs, wants, and desires. These are the applications I’ve installed on my iPod Touch that have managed to stick around for more than a few days of experimenting…

**Applications:**

***Utilities***

* [WeatherBug][1]: More information than the standard Weather app. I’ve put this on the home screen and moved Weather to a later page.

* [Wordpress][7]: I’ve hardly used it, as I’m usually close enough to my main ‘puter to blog from here, but it could come in quite handy the next time I travel.

* [Kiwi][9]: A nice simple Wikipedia interface.

* [Google Mobile App][26]: A one-stop shop for Google’s major offerings. Mostly just a launcher into their iPhone-optimized websites, but handy for using only one spot on the iTouch screen.

* [Google Earth][27]: A little slow, but lots of fun to play with. Nice use of the accelerometer for moving your view around also. Plus, it’s free and makes a good “wow!” tech demo. ;)

* [Amazon Mobile][31]: Because I really, _really_ need a way to make spending more money even easier!

***Media/Entertainment***

* [Remote][5]: I’m not using it much right now, but it’s fun to play with. It does make it tempting to put an Airport Express in the living room to pipe iTunes into the stereo there, though….

* [Rowmote][32]: Slick little companion piece/replacement for Remote that acts as a remote control over WiFi for a whole _host_ of applications on the Mac. I’ve been using this to control the QuickTime player while Prairie and I watch TV episodes we’ve downloaded from Bittorrent, and it works great. Very handy!

* [Pocketpedia][6]: “I wonder if there’s a way for me to easily catalog my DVD collection and sync it with my iPod?” I said one day. A few minutes later, I had Pocketpedia on my iPod and [DVDpedia][6.1] (which generates [this list][6.2]) and [Bookpedia][6.3] on my Mac. Perfect!

* [Now Playing][8] (formerly Box Office): Movie listings at local theaters, reviews, even trailers, all in one slick little app.

* [Stanza][10]: An e-book reader that ties directly into [Feedbooks][10.1], allowing you to download tons of free texts. I read H.G. Wells’ _The Time Machine_ over the past week on lunch, Cory Doctorow’s _Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom_, and a number of others. There’s also a [desktop client][10.2], but I don’t think I’ll use that nearly as often, this is more for easy entertainment when I’ve got a few minutes to kill.

* [Kindle for iPhone][25]: I wouldn’t spend the money for an actual Kindle, but I’ve ended up spending enough time using Stanza for eBooks that I figured I’d give this a try as well. All I’ve picked up so far is the Stephen King short story ‘Ur’, and I haven’t even read it yet, but a few minutes of poking around leads me to believe that Kindle isn’t bad either.

***Photography***

* [Darkslide][2]: A beautiful interface to Flickr from the creator of the [iPhoto][2.1] and [Aperture][2.2] [FlickrExport][2.3] plugins. Free with ads, also available in an ad-free [premium version][2.4]

***Social Networking***

* [Tweetie][30]: I tried a few, and this is by _far_ the best Twitter app I’ve found. Multiple accounts, saved searches, trend watching, and ping.fm integration. This is my #1 most-used 3rd party app.

* [Facebook][3]: I don’t really use it that often, but often enough that it’s stuck around. I’ve been using Facebook more often recently, and along with that, the Facebook app. Pretty slick, actually.

* [Myspace Mobile][28]: I still hate Myspace, but I have to admit, if their actual website worked half as well as their iPhone app, I might not hate them quite as much. Not bug-free, but so much more bug-free and pleasant to look at than the actual website that this is my preferred method of checking in on those friends who I can’t talk out of the MySpace ghetto.

* [LinkedIn][29]: I don’t stop by here as much, but if I need to, I’ve got the app to do it.

***News***

* [Mobile News][4]: AP’s news browser. When I just want a quick browse of major news stories, this is the way to do it. I especially like the localization options.

***Games***

* [Boom!][11]: Minesweeper. ‘Nuff said.

* [Enigmo][12]: I’m not entirely sold on this one. Neat and all, but the screen’s so small on the iPod/iTouch that I lose track of what objects have been placed where. I think I’d like this as a desktop game rather than in its mobile version.

* [Quordy][13]: A _great_ little word game. Prairie and I have both had a lot of fun with this one — since the default is to start a game by shaking the iPod as if you were shaking a Yahtzee dice cup, if we’ve got a few minutes to kill somewhere, Prairie will just say “Shake it! Shake it!” and (rather than breaking into a dance, which I’m sure would be amusing as well) out comes Quordy.

* [Aurora Feint][14]: While I’m not putting a ton of time into the RPG aspect of the game, the Tetris-like game itself is fun enough to keep me engrossed.

* [Jirbo Break][15]: I’ve always liked Breakout clones, and this one works fine for me. I’d made it through all the levels, but they just released an update giving it 99 total levels. Guess I better get back to work!

* [Cube Runner][16]: Marvelously simple, engrossing, and a great demonstration of the accelerometer. Still one of my favorite games.

**iPhone/iTouch Optimized Sites:**

* [Ping.fm][17]: The dashboard interface to the Ping.fm one-update-does-all website. Now that Tweetie ties into ping.fm directly, I’ve removed this.

* [Twitter][18]: Since I use Ping.fm to update, I’m fine with using the Twitter mobile client to check updates. I do at times wish I could easily check @ replies, but not often enough to install Twitteriffic (which has just never quite felt “right” for me, in either its desktop or mobile incarnations) or another dedicated client. Tweetie to the rescue again!

* [NewsGator][19]: Even though there’s a well-regarded NetNewsWire app for the iPhone/iTouch, I still just use the NewsGator mobile site. It’s faster and easier to use than NNW mobile, and while I keep poking at NNW mobile, it still hasn’t been able to win me over. I’ve actually been pulled away from the NewsGator family, and now use the [Google Reader mobile interface][23].

* [CNN Moble][20]: Not actually iPhone/iTouch optimized, and not terribly pretty, but works if I just want a quick look at “what’s happening now”.

* [Metafilter][21]: Read-only as far as I can tell, but a slick way to browse MeFi.

* [IMDB Mobile][22]: Again, just a nice way to dig through the IMDB. A little slow sometimes is about my only complaint, but since it’s not actually affiliated with IMDB, I can’t complain too much.

* [Google Reader][23]: Though I’m a long time NetNewsWire (and therefore NewsGator) user, I’m experimenting with Google Reader. Their iPhone/iTouch interface is as slick as their web interface, and definitely gives the Newsgator juggernaut some strong competition. Now if I could only sync Google Reader to NetNewsWire….

* [Tricorder][24]: Pure Star Trek silliness. Could really use being recreated as a standalone app so that it doesn’t have the annoying advertising at the bottom. Perhaps using the accelerometer to affect the displays?

And that’s it for me. Any other recommendations from all of you?

[1]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=281940292&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: WeatherBug”
[2]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284919489&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Darkslide”
[2.1]: http://connectedflow.com/flickrexport/iphoto “FlickrExport for iPhoto”
[2.2]: http://connectedflow.com/flickrexport/aperture “FlickrExport for Aperture”
[2.3]: http://connectedflow.com/flickrexport/ “FlickrExport”
[2.4]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284920890&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Darkslide Premium”
[3]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284882215&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Facebook”
[4]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284901416&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: AP Mobile News Network”
[5]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284417350&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Remote”
[6]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284595421&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Pocketpedia”
[6.1]: http://www.bruji.com/dvdpedia/ “DVDpedia”
[6.2]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/dvds/ “My DVD Library”
[6.3]: http://www.bruji.com/bookpedia/ “Bookpedia”
[7]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=285073074&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: WordPress”
[8]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284939567&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Now Playing”
[9]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=289300792&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Kiwi”
[10]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284956128&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Stanza”
[10.1]: http://www.feedbooks.com/ “Feedbooks”
[10.2]: http://www.lexcycle.com/ “Lexcycle: Stanza”
[11]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=285286023&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Boom!”
[12]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=281736535&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Enigmo”
[13]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284572328&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Quordy”
[14]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284975727&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Aurora Feint”
[15]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=283563150&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Jirbo Break”
[16]: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284596345&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Cube Runner”
[17]: http://ping.fm/iphone/ “Ping.fm”
[18]: http://m.twitter.com/home “Twitter”
[19]: http://m.newsgator.com/iPhone.aspx “NewsGator”
[20]: http://m.cnn.com/ “CNN”
[21]: http://mobile.metafilter.com/ “MetaFilter”
[22]: http://nolanbrown.org/imdb/ “IMDb Mobile”
[23]: http://www.google.com/reader/i/ “Google Reader”
[24]: http://38i.biz/tricorder/ “Tricorder”
[25]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=302584613&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Kindle for iPhone”
[26]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284815942&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Google Mobile App”
[27]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=293622097&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Google Earth”
[28]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284792653&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: MySpace Mobile”
[29]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=288429040&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: LinkedIn”
[30]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=296415944&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Tweetie”
[31]: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=297606951&mt=8 “iTunes App Store: Amazon Mobile”
[32]: http://rowmote.com/Rowmote.html “Rowmote”

This is Journalism?

I’ll freely admit that, while geeky, I’m not one who will stand in line for hours for an item I can get faster and easier if I wait a few days. I’m less concerned with ‘firsties’ than with my own convenience. That said — I _love_ the fact that the customer in this video actually calls the reporter on his idiotic ‘reporting.’

I’ll freely admit that, while geeky, I’m not one who will stand in line for hours for an item I can get faster and easier if I wait a few days. I’m less concerned with “firsties” than with my own convenience.

That said — I _love_ the fact that the customer in this video actually calls the reporter on his idiotic “reporting.” I wish more people would do this — perhaps we’d actually get a bit more news in the news, instead of mindless fluff.

Probably not. But perhaps.

Website Tweaks

One of the projects I’d like to tackle over the summer is redesigning my weblog. However, as the major project over the next few weeks here at home needs to be packing things up and preparing for a move, I’ve settled for doing a bit of minor tweaking here and there to streamline things where I can.

One of the projects I’d like to tackle over the summer is redesigning my weblog. I’ve been using this design for a couple years now, and I’ve been thinking that I’m about ready for a change to something a bit cleaner and sparse.

However, as the major project over the next few weeks here at home needs to be packing things up and preparing for a move, I’ve settled for doing a bit of minor tweaking here and there to streamline things where I can.

To that end, here’s a quick rundown of the changes I’ve implemented:

* Upgraded to the most current version of WordPress. Admittedly, a behind-the-scenes change that won’t really make a difference to visitors, but it was time.

* The [About page][1] has been cleaned up a bit, removing the incomplete bulleted list of other places on the ‘net to find me with a simple in-paragraph listing that’s far more complete. I belong to _far_ too many different networking websites.

* Rather than listing my [tweets][2] in a sidebar box, [Twitter Tools][3] and [AsideShop][5] will now be displaying them inline with weblog posts using their own lightweight display style. In order to keep my RSS feeds from getting too cluttered up, [Advanced Category Excluder][4] prevents tweets from showing up in syndication feeds.

* [iWPhone][6] has been installed so that iPhone/iPod Touch users will automatically get an optimized, lightweight layout.

* [LiveJournal Crossposter][7] has been upgraded, which should (I hope) fix the odd problem I was having with crossposts not appearing in LJ Friends pages. It’s also configured _not_ to crosspost tweets, as they’re already crossposted by [Ping.fm][8].

* [Postalicious][9] will be automatically posting my [del.icio.us][10] bookmarks daily around midnight, as long as there are five or more unposted and ready to go, otherwise it will wait until the next day. This allowed me to drop the (huge) ‘eclinkticism’ box out of the sidebar.

* In another behind-the-scenes change, the [WPhone Admin Plugin][11] gives me an iPhone/iPod Touch optimized administration interface, in case I ever need to do any posting or tweaking while on the go.

[1]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/about/ “eclecticism: About the Author”
[2]: http://twitter.com/djwudi “Twitter: djwudi”
[3]: http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress “alexking.org: WordPress Plugins”
[4]: http://advanced-category-excluder.dev.rain.hu/ “Advanced Category Excluder”
[5]: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/asideshop/ “WordPress Plugins: AsideShop”
[6]: http://iwphone.contentrobot.com/ “iWPhone”
[7]: http://code.google.com/p/ljxp/ “LJXP”
[8]: http://ping.fm/ “Ping.fm”
[9]: http://neop.gbtopia.com/?p=108 “Shifting Mind: Postalicious”
[10]: http://del.icio.us/djwudi “del.icio.us: djwudi”
[11]: http://wphoneplugin.org/ “WPhone Admin Plugin”