Linkdump for April 27th through May 17th

An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between April 27th and May 17th.

Sometime between April 27th and May 17th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • The Case of the Stolen Source Code: Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer. // In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned. // Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps.
  • JSON Feed: Announcing JSON Feed: We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs. So we developed JSON Feed, a format similar to RSS and Atom but in JSON. It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.
  • Let’s discuss the Linguistic & Pragmatic use of the [“N-word”]: No matter what your intentions, the word WILL mean something different depending on your relative status. Language is circumstancial.
  • The neural network writes the episode list for next season’s Dr. Who: I’ve trained this open-source neural network framework on a variety of datasets, including recipes, Pokemon, knock-knock jokes, pick up lines, and D&D spells. Now I give you: training a neural network on the complete list of Dr. Who episodes.
  • What we really need is an adaptation of the original 1740 The Beauty and the Beast: So were you aware that the The Beauty and the Beast story we all know is a heavily abridged and rewritten version of a much longer novella by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve?  And that a lot of the plot holes existing in the current versions exist because the 1756 rewrite cut out the second half of the novella, which consisted entirely of the elaborate backstory that explains all the weird shit that happened before?  And that the elaborate backstory is presented in a way that’s kind of boring because the novel had only just been invented in 1740 and no one knew how they worked yet, but contains a bazillion awesome ideas that beg for a modern retelling?  And that you are probably not aware that the modern world needs this story like air but the modern world absolutely needs this story like air?

Use your Twitter stream for Mac OS X’s RSS Visualizer screensaver

A simple tip on setting up Mac OS X’s RSS Visualizer screensaver to display your Twitter update stream.

Just a quick little tip for OS X users. Nothing fancy, and others may have figured this out already, but a quick Google search didn’t come up with answers, just questions…so here we are.

For the uninitiated, one of the default screensavers in OS X is the RSS Visualizer, which shows a slick ‘floating text’ presentation of the text from any RSS feed against a cloudy blue background.

I wanted to put my Twitter timeline in, so that even when my ‘puter’s not doing anything, and I’m across the room reading on the couch, I can keep an eye out for updates. Seems simple, but on first blush, it didn’t seem to work, as I just got the background, and no tweets.

That’s an easy fix, though. Twitter password protects your RSS feed, so that other people can’t ‘hack’ into your feed and see updates from those of your contacts who have protected their feed from public view — and the screensaver options don’t give a way to enter your Twitter username/password combination.

Twitter does, however, respect RSS-embedded passwords. So, in order to get the screensaver to work correctly, change the RSS feed from the default

http://twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline.rss

to a customized

https://USERNAME:PASSWORD@twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline.rss

format, and you’re off and running.

Note that I’ve changed the protocol from http to https to avoid transmiting my Twitter username and password in cleartext. With the standard http protocol, in theory, if someone was really determined, there’s a chance that they could intercept the TCP stream between your computer and Twitter and see your Twitter login credentials. Using https (the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’), the information between your computer and Twitter is encrypted, so that packet sniffers wouldn’t get anything.

And that’s it! One Twitter-enabled RSS screensaver.

Issue with my comments-only feed

I have no idea if anyone other than myself is currently subscribing to my ‘comments only’ RSS feed, but I’ve noticed an odd issue with it that I haven’t been able to troubleshoot yet: comments displaying with the date of the parent post, rather than the date of the comment.

I have no idea if anyone other than myself is currently subscribing to my ‘comments only’ RSS feed, but I’ve noticed an odd issue with it that I haven’t been able to troubleshoot yet. I’ve asked for help on the [TypePad User Group][1], but I wanted to mention it here too, in case anyone else has been noticing this or might be able to point out what I’m doing wrong.

[1]: http://blog.liquidvolt.com/typepad/viewtopic.php?p=3438 “issues with comment-only feed dates”

What I’ve been finding is that each item in my comment-only feed is being given the date of the original post that the comment is appended to, rather than the date that the comment was added to my site. For instance, a comment added today to a post from August shows up in my newsreader with the August date instead of today’s.

Here’s the code I’m using for each item in the RSS feed template (the full template code can be found in [this post from last week][2]):

[2]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/02/06/rss-templates-for-typepad-promovabletype/ “RSS Templates for TypePad Pro/MovableType”




<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$>#c<$MTCommentID$> <$MTCommentBody remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTCommentID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>
on : <$MTCommentBody$>]]>
<$MTCommentDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>


Now, it all _looks_ right to me, and the same basic code seems to be working in all the rest of my templates (for instance, in the ‘full posts plus comments’ RSS feed, each comment begins with a header that lists the correct date). For some reason, though, it’s not working here.

Any ideas?

Update: The issue has been fixed. Turns out that you can’t use an `` tag inside an `` container (much thanks to [Jamie Jamison][3] for [pointing me][4] to [the explanation][5]).

[3]: http://www.jamiejamison.com/ “Jamie Jamison”
[4]: http://blog.liquidvolt.com/typepad/viewtopic.php?p=3441#3441 “Here’s your issue:”
[5]: http://www.virtualvenus.org/wiki/view/MT/MTCommentDate “MTCommentDate”

The solution was fairly easy (and the code in my [‘how-to’ post][2] has been updated): I just removed the date display from the body of the RSS item, and moved the closing `` tag up a couple lines. Here’s the new version of the above code:




<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$>#c<$MTCommentID$> <$MTCommentBody remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTCommentID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>
: <$MTCommentBody$>]]>

<$MTCommentDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>

RSS Templates for TypePad Pro/MovableType

I just had someone ask how I was able to create the four RSS feeds for my site. Here’s a quick rundown, along with the templates themselves, should anyone else want to do the same thing. All the templates are RSS 2.0, and have been checked with the RSS Feed Validator.

I just had someone [ask][1] how I was able to create the [four RSS feeds][2] for my site. Here’s a quick rundown, along with the templates themselves, should anyone else want to do the same thing. All the templates are RSS 2.0, and have been checked with the [RSS Feed Validator][3].

[1]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/02/rss_feeds_updat.html#c573917 “Comment from Steven Kaye”
[2]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/feeds.html “RSS Feeds”
[3]: http://feedvalidator.org/ “Feed Validator for Atom and RSS”

TypePad users will need a Pro account, and will also need to be using an Advanced Template set, as you’ll need to create a new template for each RSS feed you want to add. I give each template a name that’s fairly indicative of which feed it is for, and I make sure that the output file is also named similarly.

Here are the templates I use:

####Default feed: Full text, no comments####

**Template Name: `RSS 2.0 Full`**
**Output File: `index.rdf`**


<$MTBlogName remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTBlogURL$> <$MTBlogDescription remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
en-us
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>
Copyright <$MTDate format="%Y">
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>“/>
hourly
1
2000-01-01T12:00+00:00



<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryLink encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryExcerpt remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>

<$MTCategoryLabel remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>


####Enhanced Feed: Full posts with comments####

**Template Name: `RSS 2.0 full plus comments`**
**Output File: `fullposts.rdf`**


<$MTBlogName remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>: With Comments <$MTBlogURL$> <$MTBlogDescription remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
en-us
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>
Copyright <$MTDate format="%Y">
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>“/>
hourly
1
2000-01-01T12:00+00:00



<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryLink encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryExcerpt remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>

on : ]]>
<$MTCategoryLabel remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>


####Short Feed: Excerpts Only####

**Template Name: `RSS 2.0 Excerpts`**
**Output File: `excerpts.rdf`**


<$MTBlogName remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>: Excerpts <$MTBlogURL$> <$MTBlogDescription remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
en-us
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>
Copyright <$MTDate format="%Y">
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>“/>
hourly
1
2000-01-01T12:00+00:00



<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryLink encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryExcerpt remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>
]]>
<$MTCategoryLabel remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>


####Comments only feed####

**Template Name: `RSS 2.0 Comments`**
**Output File: `comments.rdf`**

Update: The code here has been slightly altered since the original posting to account for an [issue with incorrect dates][4].

[4]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2004/02/issue_with_my_c.html “Issue with my comments-only feed”


<$MTBlogName remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>: Comments <$MTBlogURL$> <$MTBlogDescription remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
en-us
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>
Copyright <$MTDate format="%Y">
<$MTEntryDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>
<$MTEntryAuthorEmail$>“/>
hourly
1
2000-01-01T12:00+00:00




<$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$> <$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$>#c<$MTCommentID$> <$MTCommentBody remove_html="1" encode_xml="1"$>
<$MTCommentID$>@<$MTBlogURL$>
: <$MTCommentBody$>]]>

<$MTCommentDate format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S"$><$MTBlogTimezone$>