Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • How to Fix the Dilbert.com RSS Feed

    Dilbert.com Hates Its Users

    Update: Yahoo Pipes is shutting down. As a result, I started a new software project to replace it. The feeds are updated below.
    Bad RSS Feed with No Pictures
    Bad RSS Feed with No Pictures

    Dilbert.com recently messed up their web comic RSS feed that I use to read the comic every day. They did this so that you have to click through to the website
    to read each and every comic. All you can see is what’s to the right here.

    Penny-Arcade did this quite a while back too, and I’ve been using someone’s Yahoo Pipe that fixes this same problem unfortunately this pipe no longer worked anyway and is replaced below. It just pulls the comic strip images from the page and displays it instead. I never dug into how it worked or Yahoo Pipes at all.

    Yahoo Pipes is pretty awesome. It lets you just drag and drop things and connect them to arrange a workflow. I’m a developer, but I don’t think you have to be to use Pipes.

    Using the Penny-Arcade one as an example, I rigged up two versions of the Dilbert.com feed.

    Using my Google App Engine hosted new software project, I’ve replaced and added new feeds below. The feeds auto-update every 2 hours and the service serves cached copies, so it should be extremely fast compared to the old pipes feeds.

    What It Looks Like Now With These Modified Feeds

    Bad RSS Feed with No Pictures
    Bad RSS Feed with No Pictures

    I no longer use The Old Reader. I now use NewsBlur and I pay for a premium subscription. I find it to be the best news reader for serious RSS users now. You can follow me there.

    Now you get comics back the way they used to be (including images) and don’t have to link out to the site to read it. You can click the title in your feed reader to open the comic’s page (for discussion or other purposes).


  • Pebble Watch

    Meet Pebble

    Meet Pebble

    I got the Pebble Smart Watch a couple of weeks ago, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a watch that connects to your smart phone and lets you get your notifications like text, emails, and phone calls on your wrist without digging out your phone.

    It lasts a really long time, about 9 days before I had to recharge it, and it charges with a little magnetic connector. It has lots of watch faces and apps already, thanks to its SDK and developer community. I’m really partial to the calendar face pictured below.

    I haven’t worn a watch since 2006, but I’m already used to it again, for what it provides me. Check out the additional pictures below. I changed out the default rubber strap for a NATO strap.

    More Pictures

    Default watch face
    Default watch face
    Controlling music
    Controlling music
    Text message
    Text message
    Uptime
    Uptime
    NATO strap with calendar watch face
    NATO strap with calendar watch face
    Original strap with calendar watch face
    Original strap with calendar watch face

  • New Website and Host

    Site

    My last post was in April 2012, so it’s probably time for an update. I successfully imported my blog into a static HTML generating tool called PieCrust. It creates the files serving this site now.

    As part of the move, I totally redid the site’s design and functionality at the same time. I had a lot of help (personal and technological). You can read more about it in the about the site section, linked at the bottom of every page.

    Host

    I love the new host, which was recommended to me by Juan. I’m hosted at Digital Ocean now. I got a great deal by getting 2 months free by using code SSDTWEET. That code should work through June 2013, and if it’s past then when you read this, just google another coupon code.

    What you get with Digital Ocean is pretty amazing. You get to pick your Linux distribution, and they spin up the instance in under a minute. I was able to provide an SSH public key and they spun it up with no root password, with the key, so I was able to login securely. Setting everything else up has been a breeze, since I have full root access, and they even have console access (virtual KVM) in case I screw up the firewall rules.

    I locked down the firewall, set up nginx (web server) with Google’s pagespeed module and php5-fpm, which is needed for a few dynamic things like the site search. I’ll be posting more about that later.

    I get all that for $5/month, and I emailed their support a question about DNS and got a quick reply back. So far, I’m very happy with their lowest end instance.

    Old Site

    This is what the old site looked like:

    Old Site Screenshot
    Old Site Screenshot