Leaving Blogger

After only being here for a while, I'm moving over to my own domain and to WordPress.
Blogger lacks so many features, the main one being support for TrackBack's. I have moved over to my own domain as well, at chriswere.com It's been a very quick move, luckily wordpress has some support for importing blogger posts, although it looks like i'm stuck without any of the comments. I don't have time to write something to do it at the moment and probably won't be bothered in the future.
The only issue now is working out the best way to redirect subscribers to my blogger Atom feed. Blogger doesn't seem to give much control over it.

This is the last post on this blog, head on over to chriswere.com and subscribe to the feed over there.


Google taking on PayPal

It appears that Google will soon be talking on PayPal in the online transaction market according to techcrunch.com (article). Google have registered the "Google Payment Corporation" and googlewallet.com has been registered (although the whois entry doesn't look much like Google to me)
PayPal currently have over 72million users so it will be no easy task for Google. Also a large number of PayPal transactions would come off the back of Ebay - what service does Google currently offer that creates online transactions? Perhaps they have some further plans for Froogle in the making?... or will start charging for some of their beta services? Actually what is more likely is they will integrate some sort of payment engine into their adsense program along with a planned classified search system.

More links: Wall Street Journal, USA Today, John Battelle


Calling all Alcoholix

clockwerx has just launched alcoholix. It is powered by clockwerx's ingeniousness in conjunction with feedmap, multimap and needapub.com (cached)
So what's it do?
Simply enter an adress and it will come back with all the nearest pubs to your location, along with the nearest bloggers in your area!.... so now you can meet up with local bloggers at the local.
I think (not 100% sure) that it currently contains just South Australian pubs, but this can be easily rectified by going and adding the pubs in your local area.

Check it out.


Japanese blogging statistics

I have noticed the surprising (to me at least) number of FeedTagger users that come from non-english speaking backgrounds. At the very least it has forced me to make sure the next iteration of FeedTagger has all the mult-language encodings etc. all sorted out.
Anyway, Joi Ito has pointed to some very interesting statistics on blogging and overall Internet usage in Japan. These include:
  • 1 in 4 japanese women in their teens and 20's have a blog
  • 72.5% of people have heard of blogs, up from 39% last year.
  • 9.5% of Internet users use RSS Readers.
The actual presentation of these stats is available here.

I'm surprised that almost 10% of Internet users use RSS readers, purely because so many people I've spoken to that are fairly tech savvy haven't even heard of RSS... and 25% of women having their own blog is huge!
There is no doubt that RSS is here to stay and we are going to continue seeing huge growth, especially as increasing numbers of blogs are created. This growth will continue in places such as Japan and start building strong momentum over the coming 6-18months here in Australia.


Programmable search engine: Yubnub

This is seriously cool: Yubnub
It's like a command line that you can send commands to that perform all sorts of operations such as:
  • gim "metallica" - google image search for metallica pictures
  • ls - show all available commands
  • man xyz - show man page for command xyz
and one that is really fun is tts --voice=charles "hello sir, can i have a pale ale?"

The cool bit is anyone can make their own command and add it to the system so things like this have been added:
  • wikip metallica - find all wikipedia entries that mention metallica
  • ASCII metallica - generate a huge range of ascii art for the word metallica
  • phpfunction - return the manual page for a specific function
For a fair sized list check out the Yubnub golden eggs page.


White Stripes: Get behind me satan

The White Stripes have released another album "Get behind me satan" to help us through the winter months.
It's quite a change up from there previous rocking endeavours, but still mixing in Jack White's love of blues and skill with classic pop hooks.
They appear to already be touring the album as evident by this photo stream on flickr.

White Stripes on the front of Adelaide's street mag "DB"


MySQL and Python and Unicode

I have just wasted waaaay to much time (a day) going through the inner workings of unicode, mysql, python (and twisted) - to get something working I assumed would be simple.
I'm going to document it here so I never have to go through it alll again and hopefully help a few others out along the way. Python's unicode support is quite good. For an excellent intro check out End to end unicode web applications in Python.
It turns out my issue was with MySQL. The trick is that everything everywhere should be set to UTF8. The best way to test this is run:
which should result in something like:
character_set_client | utf8
character_set_connection | utf8
character_set_database | latin1
character_set_results | utf8
character_set_server | utf8
character_set_system | utf8

(having database set to latin1 seemed to be fine, but would be nice if it was utf8)

How can such a thing be achieved? I'm sure there's some settings that can be placed in my.cnf and/or startup to do the above, but I haven't found them yet (and #mysql wasn't a great help either)
My solution for now is to perform the following 3 queries when establishing a connection:
SET character_set_connection=utf8;

It is important to do this for all operations, inserts/selects/updates etc. I'll post a better solution when I track one down, but this works for the time being.

EDIT: With Python when establishing a database connection add the following flag: init_command='SET NAMES utf8'.
In addition set the following in MySQL's my.cnf:
default-character-set = utf8

That should fix pretty much everything to utf8 for nice i8n support :)