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pastebins in search results == bad

One thing I’ve noticed from time to time (and just now, hence this post) is pastebin entries showing up in search results.

One thing I’ve noticed from time to time (and just now, hence this post) is pastebin entries showing up in search results.

Never mind the fact that they usually expire quickly (and then only to remain in the results until the search engine does a recrawl), they shouldn’t be there at all. At least, that’s the easier solution.

The more difficult solution would require everyone who uses them to create addenda to their pastes describing what their results were. People use pastebins to show others their code/logs/etc. and usually in conjunction with a discussion or bug. Seeing a pastebin entry for a term you’re searching for means someone else probably had the same issue and may already have gotten it resolved.

But ultimately the right thing to do is for them to exclude search engines. Seeing the paste of the exact thing you search from, while reassuring that you’re not crazy, does not help.


bookStack 0.1.0

First release of my non-awaited extension for Firefox. Think, if you found this page and already had the extension you could just middle-click and save it for later. Amazing.

First release. See this page for more details. Only 17 days after I started on that page, so not too bad. Still buggy, but it’s come a long way and now I’ve got a couple thousand items in my google reader queue to add and go through.

I’ll say this about bookStack: it’s not ideal yet. There’s still a kind of general point I’ve not hit with it that I want to reach before the 1.0 mark which is to make it as simple as swatting flies to deal with massive amounts of content. The idea is to help the user filter all of it in as few clicks as possible, and that will ultimately probably mean either a sidebar or some other more advanced dialog.

This is a learning experience for me, and I’ve gotten a lot of chrome under my fingernails which makes me a bit more comfortable going forward in revamping and reworking this extension. That said I’m still a bit nervous about how changes affect the browser when they’re installed over, so for now I’m asking that anyone who tries this please REMOVE old versions before upgrades just in the hopes to make things sane and simple.

Good luck and hope you like it,


The Microsoft Dilemma

Just one of the reasons Microsoft bothers me and I’m glad to be using linux.

I’ve still not seen Vista in the flesh, and I’ve neglected to write up a ‘linux one year review’ (it’s been over a year since I switched), but I thought I’d chime in briefly on one aspect of Microsoft’s OS that always bothered me and is among the things I love about linux.

Powertoys. These were little applications that made it easy to tweak or customize the behavior of the operating system to provide alternatives. For the most part (speaking specifically of TweakUI) they just modified existing Registry keys, but it’s always nice to have that up front and center in a nice application.

And here’s the twist: I always felt like the developers at Microsoft did that in their ‘spare time’ as it were. That they felt like these were things they wanted and went out of their way to get it approved and posted for the rest of us to use. I felt like there’s this creative spirit that still lives in the hearts of Microsoft Employees, but that they are not free (like the Googlians are) to harness and express it… at least not directly.

That’s one of the amazing thing about Free Software. There’s probably been something like 1/256th (really I have no idea what fraction) the code of the whole of Free Software written that never made it. That’s a shame, but it was when individuals had a tweak or patch they wanted, but upstream said ‘no thanks.’ But for every 1/256th that got dunked there’s probably at least another 15/256 that got added.

The heart of Free Software is people that want a function or want an application or want a library, and they go to it. And then they put it up somewhere and say “this is here if you want it get it, if you change it tell me so if it’s good I can add it to mine.” With Microsoft not do they not want you to do that with their software, they don’t want themselves to play either. It’s far too rigid.

If Microsoft had more of the powertoys extensibility in mind and built in to their operating systems and software I think the world would be a lot mellower and sharing place.

And with all that wind let out, bookStack is nigh. It’s probably actually in the state it’ll be in when I ship it, but I’m still thinking about some of the quirks I’d like smoothed and features that I have in limbo for the moment. So if I don’t decide anything in a week it’ll be out.