Elements or Lower

Fri, 11 Jul 2008

Updates, we hardly knew ye

It’s been troubling me that, having started a companion tumblelog to this blog, it got tender and regular lovin while poor old lowerelement.com remained cobwebby and unsatisfied. But a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that (a) Tumblr generates RSS that I could easily write a program to consume, and that (b) Blosxom has the most comically simple API to create new posts: just save a text file in the right place.

So today I set about implementing a crackpot scheme based on these trivial observations. I’ve now set up a little Perl cron job to grab the RSS from Tumblr, parse it, and store each feed item in a database. Where an item in the feed is new, the program generates a simple text file with its title and content, and saves it to the server. Blosxom does the rest.

Consequently, my tumblelog is now merged with the main blog. I’ve only kept a couple of the most recent posts, below. Yes, one of them is a syndication of the Buy Our Honeymoon blog. We update that quite often.

I’ve also been profoundly unexcited by the Haloscan comments system, previously found around these parts, and have heard the siren song of Disqus. So, for the second time, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Haloscan opened comments in a popup window, styled in a way that wasn’t so much old school as homeschool, whereas Disqus embeds the comment thread in the page itself, and is altogether more modern in both appearance and underlying code. In Haloscan’s favour, it’s very easy to export the old comments as XML, and so if I can figure out how to import these into Disqus, I’ll be sure to do so.

In other news, I arrived at the Dome just before 9AM today in the hope of upgrading my iPhone. Turned out that o2.co.uk was wrong, and the store at the dome had opened early after all. Consequently, I found myself 58th in line, with no chance of a 16GB phone. I’m not sure whether all stores operated a similar method, but the O2 staff were sensible enough to assign deli-style numbered tickets to each of us, so that we could wander off to Starbucks and, if we fancied, perhaps the Tutankhamun exhibition, and then return to our place in the queue. When it became clear that, thanks to O2’s robust and not-at-all temperamental system, I wouldn’t be able to expect to make progress for hours, I took the opportunity to bike home along the river, work on the above, and then bike back again. I finally got my upgrade at 14:43 (according to the receipt), a full six hours after I first arrived.

Mind you, having comprehensively shattered the screen of my old one about a month ago with my fat arse, it’s all worth it.