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Mon, 05 Jan 2004
Yep, everyone makes mistakes
On Saturday, Julie posted about an incident that happened at our house. Today, it was my turn, except instead of dinner it was a blog post that scarce mother free time had gone into.

It all started innocently enough. Last night Julie told me that she had gotten on the aggregator train. I was impressed and curious as to which aggregator she had chosen. I was less happy when I found out it was Bloglines. I have nothing against Bloglines (I've never seriously used it), but I know that Julie's goal in using an aggregator was to spend less time blogging, and I don't think that a web based aggregator can compare to a client side aggregator for efficiency. So I suggested that she try a different one. I've played with RSS Bandit and there were some recent laudatory posts about the latest versions, so this morning I downloaded a copy (after doing Windows update for Win2K on the Thinkpad, rebooting, installing a newer version of the .NET framework, and rebooting...) and installed it. Things seemed fine, at least until I started adding feeds. The first two feeds I added were hers and mine. RSS Bandit choked on both. Now we have a internal/external network setup, complete with split DNS and a whole bunch of other stuff. I figured that might be a problem, and started tweaking. The deeper I got, the more I realized it wasn't going to work. I foresaw many pleas for technical support followed by frustration -- I mean, *I* was frustrated. So I dumped that and went for Plan B, as it were. FeedDemon. I've felt bad that I used FeedDemon so long as a beta tester and then Nick never got any money because I switched to the Mac. But he's gonna get paid now. Julie took a quick drive through the opening wizard and seemed like she could deal.

After dinner, we did a quick tour through FeedDemon. Our two feeds added fine, along with some others. Everything was going great. Then Julie asked, so how do I blog from the aggregator. I remembered something about w.bloggar, and I've played with it from time to time but always dumped it because pyblosxom only has blogger API support, which means it doesn't read my categories, and that just won't do. In any case, I downloaded a copy of w.bloggar, and got it configured for Movable Type. Posts were showing up in the editor, and all was good. So then we tried to "Blog this item" from FeedDemon. There were some weird refresh problems, but sure enough there was the info all ready for the posting. Life was good, I was making big points. Then I tried to get rid of the test data, so I hit delete. Turns out that I didn't delete the test post, I deleted a post that Julie had been drafting, that she had invested about half an hour in. Now, when you are a parent of three young children, a half hour of your "no kids" time is a lot. I went to the Movable Type admin pages, hoping for some kind of undo or such. No such luck. So, due totally to Pilot Error, I killed a precious half hour. I was apologizing up and down... Fortunately Julie just looked at me and said "It's only a post". The shoe was surely on the other foot, and I was thankful to be on the receiving end of grace.

Mistakes were a theme today. At work I've been working on unit tests for the Chandler repository, trying to learn my way around the system, and the APIs. It's been a good experience, I've learned a lot and turned up some bugs. So on Friday I asked Andi to review the test code that I have written in order to make sure that I'm using the API as designed. Today he started IM'ing me his feedback -- a nervous thing for me because I've been wondering if I've really been using the API's "as designed". I asked him to post his diffs and commentary to the Chandler dev list, so that others could benefit from my experience. Of course, another way to look at it would be "so that others could benefit from my mistakes" - but I try not to look at it that way. In my mind, this is an essential part of the worldview necessary for open source / community based software development. We don't hide our problems and mistakes, or try to pretend that they don't exist. We recognize that they are there, and we illuminate them so that we can deal with them. That way others can learn from our experiences and we (I hope) make it easier for people to get involved.

It's nice when the things that work at home also work at work...

[00:04] | [misc] | # | TB | F | G | 7 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

I got a number of exceptions about invalid URI's and when I clicked read more I got URIs like:


When I tried Locate Feed on my feed I got:

Request of URL
http://www.sauria.com/blog failed: the specified node cannot be inserted as the valid child of this node, because the specified node is the wrong type.

I had no idea what the problem was.

I'm sure that it does work, but given the cryptic nature of the error messages, you can see why I didn't want to be front line tech support...
Posted by Ted Leung at Mon Jan 5 01:32:20 2004

Ted: Julie might find it easier if you skip the w.bloggar step and have FeedDemon call her blogapp directly. For MT, you go into Configure Blog Publishing Tools, click Add, and enter something like this in the "command line" field:


As much as I like w.bloggar, I'd generally prefer to sidestep the middleman and edit a post natively.
Posted by Roger Benningfield at Mon Jan 5 06:35:44 2004

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