I am the ghost of groovymother.com. Woooooo!

This is an old page from Rod Begbie's blog.

It only exists in an attempt to prevent linkrot. No new content will be added to this site, and links and images are liable to be broken. Check out begbie.com to find where I'm posting stuff these days.

Entries for week beginning September 11, 2005

September 17, 2005

50 Things That Out of Town College Students Must Know About Boston

Origin unknown, but it’s fucking hilarious. “Remember to say a little pray that you are fortunate enough to live somewhere that celebrates holidays by drinking Guinness and drinking Guinness while watching a Kenyan run.”

Filed under : :
via |

September 16, 2005

O'Reilly Network: Using Qpsmtpd

Finally got qpsmtpd up and running on my mail server. Watching the ngrep logs as it makes short work of spam is most rewarding.

Filed under : : : :
via |

Nintendo Revolution Controller Finally Revealed

Holy crapoly. Nintendo’s next-gen controller is a spectacular leap away from the standard.

Filed under : : :
via |

September 15, 2005

Apple breaks the iPod UI a little more

Number of button presses required to see/change the rating of a track on the iPod nano: Three, Four or Five, depending on whether you have Lyrics and Cover Art attached to the track. Hey Apple! Remember “consistency”?

Filed under : : : :
via |

September 14, 2005

Audioscrobbler - The Music Technology Playground from Last.fm

The Last.fm chaps share their music tag data for non-commercial purposes. Can you say woo?

Filed under : : : : :
via |

Stats the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it

I saw some of the buzz for Mint—a new webstats package—floating around last week.1 I took a nosey at the pretty brochureware site, glanced at the $30 pricetag, saw there was no live demo or way to try-before-you-buy, and clicked on my merry way to research important matters of the day.

Then yesterday, I dropped the cash, downloaded a copy and became really quite impressed by it. But before the review, a quick history of my geekstatskeeping…

I’m an obsessive access_log scanner; I have been since my very first website on the Heriot-Watt CEE server back in ‘94. I have every log file for groovymother.com, going back to its original launch in 2001, gzipped up and ready to pipe through whatever analytical tool I choose.

I used WebTrends Live for a couple of years, and it really found it useful—the data analysis tools side of things was top notch—until they started charging $35 a month, which I couldn’t justify paying. Not to mention the fact that all the data and code was on their server, so I couldn’t tweak, and once I stopped forking over the cash, I lost all the data.

Then I moved to AWStats(AWStats – Free log file analyzer for advanced statistics (GNU GPL).). It’s free as in [beer|speech], but suffers from having a statistics display (Statistics for awstats.sourceforge.net (2005–08)) which approximately resembles My First HTML Page with Tables, and, frankly, would make the Baby Tufte cry. Worse, since it depends on scanning your access_logs, it just gets gummed up with spammers, worms, robots and other crud, despite desperate hacks to remove them.2

And so to Mint. It’s not free, but it’s open in that “Hey look! A plug-in API!” free-enough sort of way.

First up, it’s configurable. Note that this does not mean “Tweak a 10,000 line config file which changes format every time you upgrade” like with most Free software. You still have to set-up the database info in the config file, but then after that, you’re dropped into a lovely “Drag and drop to re-order the statistics you see on the main page” interface.

The stats display is very well designed. Yes, designed, rather than just “spewed onto a screen wrapped in <TD> tags”. Just enough info at a glance to be useful, and it’s easy to dig in for more. And just like the iceberg, it’s the visible sheen that convinces (fools?) you into believing that what’s under the covers is just as elegant.

And the plug-ins, oh the plug-ins! I haven’t had much time to dig into the API myself, but a couple that have impressed me include a plug-in to display Sparklines of your traffic, and one which tracks outgoing clicks from your website (meaning that I don’t have to rely on MyBlogLog going forward)

To complain that Mint is an expensive AJAX-ifiied version of exising free apps is to sell it short. It’s really the cheapest extensible and usable webstats package on the market today. And I look forward to seeing what it ends up as tomorrow.

1 Initially, it was on John Gruber’s Daring Fireball Linked List, which is one of the highest quality linklogs around. Well worth a subscription to Daring Fireball if you’re at all interested in Apple opinions)

2 And let’s not ignore the awstats bug that allowed crackers to break into a bunch of servers last year(Box Cracked (by Jeremy Zawodny)). I’ll be glad to get it off my machine.

The Jolly Wacky Executionist (video)

Found whilst rummaging through folders on my webserver: A (crappily-encoded) video of a sketch I wrote and performed in at the Improv Asylum in 2001.

Filed under : : : :

September 13, 2005

Privacy Enhanced Computer Display

“It is also possible to use the system to “underlay” a private message on a public display system.” Anyone else reminded of “They Live”?

Filed under : : :
via |

Doonesbury: returning to G2

Grauniad dumps Doonesbury strip without warning as part of shrinkifying of paper. Hundreds of readers complain. 24 hours later, the features editor posts “mea culpa” in their blog comments, and says that it will return. Good for them. (FWIW, Steve Bell and Doonesbury were two of the main reasons I started reading the Grauniad when I was 15.)

Filed under : : :

September 12, 2005

My new plates

My new plates

Come the end of the month, these will be attached to my car. It just takes a $40 donation to the Jimmy Fund, every two years, to get Sox plates.

Google Maps with 2000 Census data

Very nicely done. There are roughly 69,000 people living in a one-mile radius of our house.

Filed under : : : :
via |

ArsTechnica iPod Nano review

ArsTechnica try their damndest to break apart an iPod nano — it’s reassuringly resilient!

Filed under : : :
via |

September 11, 2005

Reduce the risk, hire from open source (Loud Thinking)

There is much I agree with here. Maybe this weekend I’ll finish off a draft blog entry I’ve been meaning to do for months on hiring.

Filed under : :

About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.