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RSS, Wuala, and Perpetual Refactoring

Wuala RSS iGoogle screen shot

This article was originaly going to describe how to quickly code an RSS view of a Wuala folder. Unfortunately "feature creep" can wreak havoc on personal projects because, unlike the real world where schedule is paramount, at home I am beholden to nothing other than the desire to get something out there. In this case, I completed the core code over three months ago. The remaining time was spent fiddling, extending and refactoring. By the time I was done I had crept from a simple PHP script, to a mashup of RSS, JSON, JSONP, jQuery, Google feeds, Apache tweaks, and more CSS than I ever want to see again. The result is a fairly stable service that will hopefully not be obsoleted by a Wuala update in the next six months.

RSS is a universal format that allows users and applications to "subscribe" to things that change. Wuala provides a powerful file-sharing ecosystem that is easily accessible through a desktop client. Joining the two would allow users and applications to receive a notification that something has changed in a specific Wuala folder. With this service in place, many new tools and applications are now possible.

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By Jonathan

From Mozy to Jungle Disk to Wuala

Nobody likes making backups. Home users don't. Developers don't. IT administrators don't. Unlike property insurance which only requires you to write a check every six months, backups require constant attention to ensure the security and integrity of your data. In an ideal world, every change made to a hard drive, iPhone or digital camera would instantly be recorded and stored in multiple physical locations. We would be able to see the history of every 0 and 1 ever persisted no matter where that change occurred. Of course, with current technology this is impossible. Until that mythical service is built into everything, we have to establish parameters and tolerances with which we are comfortable.

I don't like making backups, but I do enjoy trying out new software (beta, if possible). Over the last several years I've used a number of backup systems; the merits of each I will attempt to describe here.

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By Jonathan

How To Watch The 2010 Winter Olympics Online

The Olympics are one of a only few events that cause me to rethink my 2006 decision to forego cable and satellite television. Most of the time I can either stream shows (e.g. Hulu or Netflix Watch Instantly) or purchase a single episode or season through iTunes or Amazon Video on Demand. A dedicated Mac Mini connected to my TV makes all of these online choices easy to use.

The trouble started when I wanted to watch a live Olympic event. Since subscribing to and installing Comcast XFINITY for two weeks would have been difficult, my only remaining choice was to find a live streaming source.

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By Jonathan

DVD Ripping

Audrey and I have a diverse movie collection. From Strange Brew (mine) to Roman Holiday (hers), Metropolis (mine) to Groundhog Day (hers). A few years ago I started converting our DVD collection from its physical medium to an electronic format that I could use in multiple environments.

Although the software I used has changed over the years, the process remains the same: copy the MPEG-2 stream from the DVD, remove the copy protection, convert to a newer encoding scheme.

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By Jonathan

© irondojo · 2010 · Jonathan Camp