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Archive for May 2007

links for 2007-05-29

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Written by jermolene

May 29, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I For One Welcome My New BT Overlords

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I’m delighted to announce that the mighty BT has acquired my tiny little company Osmosoft Limited. I’m joining BT as Head of Open Source Innovation, and I’ll be building a crack open source web development team called BT Osmosoft. To say the least, this is big news for me personally, and I hope will have a positive and lasting impact on the future of TiddlyWiki.

bt_logo_static.jpgBT is becoming a remarkable thing: a truly internet-scale consumer company that doesn’t rely on owning “secret sauce” software for it’s business. At the most senior levels, there’s an appetite to embrace open source that wouldn’t disgrace a web 2.0 startup. I’ll be working with a great many talented and interesting people, and I’m looking forward to it immensely.

Meanwhile, TiddlyWiki has benefited from something rather magical: a global community of eager people who have gathered around it and generously contributed to it, striving to make it better in a spirit of good-natured sharing. I’m regularly astonished by the inventiveness and resourcefulness of this community; I feel a part of something much bigger and more significant than I could ever manage on my own.

I’ve always kept TiddlyWiki fiercely independent — for instance, not carrying advertising (or indeed accepting venture capital investments). I feel that to do anything else would be disrespectful to the grass roots users and enthusiasts who make TiddlyWiki so useful and intriguing. Now that I’m taking up a commercial position it’s necessary to take certain steps to enshrine that independence more formally.

I have therefore legally assigned my copyrights in TiddlyWiki to an open, non-profit foundation called UnaMesa. I think that TiddlyWiki is at once too fragile and too important to be wholly owned by any one player in the ecosystem; common ownership allows everyone to work together on a level-playing field. There’s a lot more to say about UnaMesa, and I’ll return to it in a later post.

I’m looking forward to being able to improve some areas of TiddlyWiki that have not received enough attention in the past – like a better plugin catalogue, automated testing, better accessibility, and easier security. This won’t be by BT taking over the project, but rather by supporting the open source process and helping out with resources when and where it can.

I hope BT’s endorsement of TiddlyWiki will open up new applications that we haven’t thought of yet. To meet the challenges that they bring, I’ll continue to strive to keep the core of TiddlyWiki true to it’s origins as a lean, efficient non-linear personal web notebook.

Written by jermolene

May 29, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Posted in bt, jerm, opensource, tiddlywiki

links for 2007-05-23

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Written by jermolene

May 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

links for 2007-05-15

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Written by jermolene

May 15, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Vector Mum

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So, my Mum has an online exhibition of her art which fills me with filial pride:

Ireland © Penny O’Rorke

She uses a vector graphics application called Xara Xtreme to create almost all of her work (it’s a bit of an overlooked gem, and British to boot; I regularly use it on my Mac via Parallels).

Written by jermolene

May 8, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Posted in jerm


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UPDATE: I’ve now published these bookmarklets to

So, I’ve been preparing for the release of TiddlyWiki 2.2 and have just run into a niggling little problem that’s ended up triggering something quite fun.

I’m at the point where I’m preparing the content for the new release, taking the existing content, folding in the new beta documentation and making sure that everything is up to date and cross-references. The problem arises because the new release adds a “changecount” extended field to each tiddler. It tracks how many times that tiddler has been modified since it was created or received from a server. Our current build process will propagate an extended attribute like that all the way from me making some minor edit in my local copy of up to publication on the internet. That’s a problem, because we should be distributing with clean content, with no “changecount” field.

Various more or less terrible solutions occurred to me immediately:

  • Doing a search and replace in the final index.html file to remove all the “changecount” attributes just before publication
  • Modifying the build process to clear out the “changecount” attribute
  • Writing a new macro that presents a button that scrubs “changecount” attributes from every tiddler

The problems with these solutions being “tedium”, “not knowing Ruby” and “inappropriateness” respectively. Inappropriateness being that such a macro would have to form part of the standard distribution/build process, and yet it seems rather a hack that shouldn’t really be needed.

All of which led to the idea of using bookmarklets – the ultimate platform for hacks. A bookmarklet is a browser favourite or bookmark that has a “javascript:” URL containing executable code, instead of a normal “http:” URL. So, when you click on it, rather than navigating to a new page, it executes the JavaScript code – as if it were on the current page. That means that bookmarklets can reach into the internal structure of a page and do almost anything – including things like stripping “changecount” attributes. With most browsers you can pack enough code into the URL to do some quite useful things.

I knocked up a couple of proof of concept TiddlyBookmarklets to explore what can be done:

  • ScrubTiddlyFields – Strips out all the extended fields from a TiddlyWiki document, including that pesky “changecount” field
  • ScrubTiddlyShadows -Restores any overridden shadow tiddlers in the current TiddlyWiki document. Handy when you’ve gone mad with PageTemplate customisations and your TiddlyWiki document won’t display properly
  • TiddlyRescue – Strips out the raw content of a TiddlyWiki document and displays it in a new window. Handy when you’ve inadvertently been editing an online version of TiddlyWiki that isn’t letting you save changes in the usual way.

Here’s how to use them:

  1. Drag one of the links above straight into your browser links bar
  2. Alternatively, right-click on the links and select “Create favourite” or “Create bookmark”
  3. Navigate to a TiddlyWiki document such as
  4. Select your new bookmarklet to execute it

PS If you’re interested in writing your own bookmarklets, check out this excellent bookmarklet editor that simplifies packing in all that JavaScript, and some useful tips.

UPDATE: Looks like I don’t know enough about WordPress to make the bookmarklet links work properly (thanks Ace_NoOne). I’m fiddling about to try to get them working…

Written by jermolene

May 5, 2007 at 9:07 am

Posted in development, tiddlywiki

MiniWeb Rocks Hierarchically

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I’m late with this, but Dean Edwards: MiniWeb

MiniWeb models an entire web site in a single HTML page. All of the site files are stored in a JSON object which you can navigate with a UNIX-like shell or the system browser. It has a built-in templating system and has an approximate separation of client and server. It is in its infancy but is still kind of fun to play with. Parts of it are clearly unfinished but you will be able to get the idea.

This is rather glorious. Similar to TiddlyWiki, it’s an entire website in a single HTML page, but it takes a very different approach, packing a more or less conventional Unix file structure. Naturally I love anything that subverts the mainframe-isation of the web…

Written by jermolene

May 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Posted in development, web

Collision Detection Restored

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Clive Thompson’s Collision Detection is a fabulous expression of love for the wonder to be found in science and engineering. It’s mostly thoughtfully curated references to articles more or less deep in the scientific literature, the kind of thing that I’d never find in the ordinary way. For the geekier, techier person with the compulsion to make stuff it’s riveting, and a refreshing antidote to undifferentiated linklog streams.

So, it’s good to see CD back after a few weeks absence, including this great post about the balls in NASA’s Gravity B Probe:

It was originally proposed 47 years ago (!!) — but was delayed for decades waiting for funding, waiting for the shuttles to be built to get it aloft, then discovering that, whoops, the shuttles couldn’t actually handle that sort of payload, then designing a rocket to finally get it aloft. They also had wait for all manner of engineering breakthroughs to make those spheres. But what a metaphorically lovely finale: The most perfectly round objects ever made by humanity, flying through the void on one of the purest scientific quests ever.

Written by jermolene

May 2, 2007 at 8:18 am

Posted in recommendation

Microsoft Silverlight: Light Up the Web with DRM?

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I was kind of surprised and pleased to read that Silverlight is being launched on both Windows and OS X; it seemed like an excessively generous olive branch to the MacBook Pro-toting webdev cadre. Because in every other field Microsoft is happy to blithely presume that Mac users are a rounding error on their Windows-led cash cows.

And Silverlight does look well thought through. The video performance looks terrific, and the fact that it installs on IE without even requiring the browser to be restarted is undeniably attractive.

Cramming in an implementation of the .NET CLR is genius and yet defiantly 1996-era Microsoft; if you remember that far back, the first rollout of ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer 4 and Visual Basic 5 offered very similar functionality in terms of building rich applications within the browser. It was excellent fun building demos with that stuff, and I’m sure it’ll be even more thrilling with the benefit of Silverlight’s several orders of magnitude increased complexity.

But the brightest bit of Silverlight is still the video delivery, and I think it’s what will drive the adoption of the plugin. I’m wondering if Silverlight supports DRM; if so, perhaps it’s a way for the BBC’s iPlayer to make the leap to OS X quicker than we might otherwise expect.

Oh, and I wonder if Silverlight will work on the iPhone, too.

Written by jermolene

May 1, 2007 at 11:53 pm

Posted in development, web

Why REST when you can Astoria?

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This is nice, potentially very nice indeed:

ADO.NET team blog : Project Codename “Astoria” – Announced at Mix 07

The goal of Microsoft Codename “Astoria” is to enable applications to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by web clients within a corporate network and across the internet. The data service is reachable over HTTP, and URIs are used to identify the various pieces of information available through the service. Interactions with the data service happens in terms of HTTP verbs such as GET, POST, PUT and DELETE, and the data exchanged in those interactions is represented in simple formats such as XML and JSON.

What I don’t get is why they don’t just say:

The goal of Microsoft “Astoria” is to expose ADO.NET data sources via a RESTful interface.

Anyhow, assuming that interpretation is correct, Astoria will make a nice bridge between TiddlyWiki, with it’s REST-friendly server adaptor architecture, and all that corporate data locked up in Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server. More power to our corporate/public mashup elbows.

Written by jermolene

May 1, 2007 at 10:51 pm

Posted in development, web