Monthly Archives: July 2007

XPath: Learn It!

So I’ve been trying to do some Facebook App stuff in Ruby on Rails (I already did some in PHP) and the RFacebook Gem uses this wacky XHTML/XML parser called “Hpricot.” The most experience I have with parsing XML is winging it with REXML until I got something that was somewhat correct.

So I tried using Hpricot tonight. Apparently it’s super fast, but the documentation assumes you know a whole lot about the mating habits (internal workings) of HTML and XML. And… I don’t really.

At least, not until I found this handy XPath tutorial! After actually reading the tutorial, rather than trying to wing/hack it again, I think I have a pretty good feel for this Hpricot thing. Basically, there’s a pretty simple vocabulary for describing the nested nature of XML. It’s impossible to figure out from the Hpricot tutorials (which I tried doing for a while), but insanely simple once you just look at the tutorial. Ah well, I guess that’ll teach me a lesson not to hack so much when it’s easier to RTFM…

Pownce Beta Impressions Update: Uploads Work!

Hmm. It looks like they fixed the uploads. Oh, Leah Culver, when will you learn that hotswaps aren’t infallible

So now Pownce is actually kinda neat. One issue I saw was that one of the MP3s I uploaded (umm, totally a song I wrote and performed myself…) played at like, .01x speed. Weird. Also, I had registered as a “friend” of some people, then removed the friendship (or fanship) and their messages still stayed on my page for a while. Oh well.

Other than that, the site sure is slick. I can see this being a cool way to share neat music with people. It comes with its own mp3 player (which has some bugs), but so does gmail. I like the instant gratification feeling though. Aw hell, it’s fun to use, even if it isn’t a serious replacement for that thing I like to call “electronic mail.”

Pownce: Beta Impressions

pownce.jpg

I got a Pownce invite today (Thanks Jessica!) and finally got a chance to try out the hot beta. Unfortunately I couldn’t actually get any of my uploads to work…

While the site is pretty nice looking and slick, if the functionality doesn’t work, it’s useless. I think it could actually be somewhat useful for sharing files with a select group of friends. Like “hey, I like this song, check it out” and bam!

Then again, you could do that by email, but email is SOOOOO 1999! Actually, email’s more like 1979, but you get the idea. If only Pownce worked… The worst part is that it’s a beta product, but there’s no way to report a bug besides using (wait for it…) email. How ironic, indeed.

How To Remove Annoying Gawker Internal Links

I like a lot of the blogs on the Gawker network. Kotaku, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Valleywag are all blogs I read, with Valleywag being the one I must read everyday. One thing that infuriates me, however, is their use of “SEO” tricks to up their pageviews. Almost every article on the Gawker blogs will have links to “Posts tagged as” whatever, which links to a tag list.

I noticed on the actual sites that they change the color of internal link to blend in, and the external links look like links. That’s good, except that I read the blogs in Google Reader. So an article ends up looking like this:

valleywag-sucks.jpg

Holy Crap! 8 of the 12 links on that page are directed to a fucking tag list! First of all, this is incredibly annoying. If a person clicks on a link entitled “Facebook” then maybe clicking on it should take them to FACEBOOK!!!

Second, linking to internal “search results” for SEO purposes is frowned upon by Google. Of course, they’re not just doing this for the SEO, but also for crazy-insane inflated pageview stats.

I was gonna write a greasemonkey script to remove the annoying links, but before I could, I found an existing one. Unfortunately it doesn’t work in Google Reader.

A lot of other blogs are starting to do this, and it’s really starting to annoy me. I’m sure others are annoyed too. Maybe if enough people complain, these sites will ditch the annoying SEO tactics. Maybe we should report their evil ways to Google?

If I do end up giving up reading Valleywag, at least there’s a better (yet less often updated) successor, Uncov. Long live Uncov!