Playing with a proximity beacon

Nine-dollar devices send URLs to your phone over Bluetooth.

I’ve been hearing about proximity beacons lately and thought it would be fun to try one of these inexpensive devices that broadcast a URL for a range of just a few meters via Bluetooth Low Energy (a.k.a. BLE, which I assume is pronounced “bleh”). Advocates often cite the use case of how a beacon device located near a work of art in a museum might broadcast a URL pointing to a web page about it—for example, one near Robert Rauschenberg’s Bed in New York’s Museum of…

What REST is really about

According to the primary source document.

I had thought that “RESTful” meant “easily accessible with an HTTP GET, even when something isn’t HTML”. Shortly after a RESTafarian pointed out that there was more to it than that, I went to Brian Sletten’s excellent presentation REST: Information Architecture for the 21st Century at the Semantic Technologies conference and I learned a lot more about what being RESTful implies. During the presentation I asked Brian whether Roy Fielding’s 2000 doctoral…

Expand those shortened URLs before archiving twitter messages

What if a shortening service goes down?

People love to talk about the implications of twitter.com going down, but what if a URL-shortening service goes down? When I had trouble getting to is.gd recently, I realized that when they’re down tweets referencing is.gd URLs are worthless—and that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do something about it before this happens. (I have wondered, though: why doesn’t twitter grab some short domain name and offer their own shortening service?) After all, if you’re saving any…

My own little Twitter client

No AJAX, Flash, or AIR; just HTML, but arranged the way I want it.

I’ve tried various Twitter clients, but usually just went back to the twitter.com web-based interface that people hate so much. My main complaint with it—and I saw no other clients that did any better—was that it showed tweets in reverse chronological order. Conversations and the multi-tweet mini-essays that some people write are difficult to read that way, so I decided to write my own little client.

A video from a still camera

With various strange noises and images.

I’m on my second Canon Powershot right now, having gotten my first one in early 2003. These can take brief movies, but the Powershot is not really a movie camera, so I only took three- or four-second movies of things that I could loop. In November of 2004, once I had a collection of these clips and access to a Mac with iMovie installed, I took a few loopable shots of my daughter Alice playing the drums so I could tie the whole thing together with a regular beat and edited it into a trippy…