Content Management Systems

In “Comes in Two Sizes”: Greg Wilson comments on Wiki technology.

One of the frustrations I find with wiki software (and, actually, open source software in general) is the proliferation of almost identical versions of a tool. There are too many wiki implementations out there, and each one seems to have one or two good features, but is also missing one or two important features.

TWiki is too large and feature-rich (and has a weird hybrid version of Wiki syntax), but it has real authentication (unlike most of the others) and has a working XML-RPC interface (useful for integrating with, say, movable type :-), so that’s why it is installed.

On the other hand, I’m using MoinMoin at work, because I don’t need authentication there, and it is easier to setup and use.

Anyway, what I’m really looking for for things like “the rolemaster pages”: is a Content Management System that makes it easy for the casual user to create linked documents. This means, for example, that it should use Textile or Wiki syntax for editing. But the most important feature for me would be to extend the power of WikiWords to arbitrary phrases or keywords. For example, if I create a document with the title “Greg Wilson”, I’d like any instance of the string “Greg Wilson” to be replaced with a hyperlink. This makes it trivial to create content; just create the page, rebuild, and every reference to the topic will be magically linked, without using WikiWords. (The problem with WikiWords is that you have to remember to use them, and they don’t always fit comfortably. My Rolemaster characters don’t have last names, for example, so I’d have to name Alex as AlEx, or CharacterAlex, or something similar to get standard wikis to work).

WordPress comes close; there’s a plugin for keyword processing that could probably be extended to dynamically generate the list of keywords from the database. If only I had some time to play :-)

posted at 10:31 pm on Friday, February 27, 2004 in Site News | Comments (1)
  1. Reid says:

    Hm, can’t tell if all of the posting was by you or by Greg Wilson, and I’m too lazy to clikc the link, so there you go.

    If you have a work that isn’t InterCaps, you can (with TWiki anyway) use a syntax like [[wiki][text]] which will use the ‘wiki’ part as the link href, and display it as ‘text’. So to be bizarre about it, you *could* use [[Alex][Alex]]. :-)

Where Did February Go?

We’ve been pushing to get a release out the door for the end of the month, so things have been very hectic; lots of bugs to fix, and many interrupts during the day by other developers trying to get _their_ bugs fixed. (That’s not a complaint; I’d rather they ask questions than disappear down paths I’ve already ruled out in the past :-).

Over the last two weeks (!!) I have spent my mental capacity chasing down an obscure resource leak. It took me too long to get a test harness set up, and then I ran down several dead ends before finally narrowing the problem down to a few lines of code. There were a couple of things I could have done better, but mostly I was plagued by dumb problems causing delays (the version of our software I needed to debug crashes our customized XP desktops; our Win2K+DevStudio ghost images don’t work inside Microsoft Virtual PC; We had a lot of trouble getting our license servers for purify to actually serve licenses; purify refused to deal with _one_ DLL; etc. etc.)

Tracking this down meant I missed a ski day with my son. Fortunately we’re going skiing as a family soon, so it wasn’t the _last_ day…

I haven’t felt much like ranting lately; there are too many targets, and I’m feeling more apathy than usual about all of them. It took me three days to even find out there was a “sponsorship scandal” going on in Canada, and I’m _still_ not clear on the details; that’s how disconnected I am :)

I did take some interesting sunrise pictures while driving to work the other day, but I haven’t even copied them out of the camera yet. Maybe this weekend I’ll find some time to play. In between loads of laundry, probably…

posted at 2:46 pm on Friday, February 27, 2004 in Personal | Comments Off on Where Did February Go?


My MP3 player on shuffle mode just played “Don McClean – American Pie”: and “Weird Al Yankovic – The Saga Begins”: back to back…

posted at 1:44 pm on Thursday, February 12, 2004 in Odd | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    I practically circled around a local square and met a quadratrix at one of the trisections.

Willow Quotes

That was a quote from Willow Rosenberg, btw; it’s evil Willow from the “third season”: episode “The Wish”: . It goes with “This is the part that’s less fun. When there isn’t any screaming.” :-)

There’s a Willow fan site titled “Bored Now”:, and I found sound clips at “Willow Sounds”:

posted at 9:35 am on Thursday, February 12, 2004 in Site News | Comments Off on Willow Quotes


“Bored now.”:

posted at 9:53 pm on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 in Site News | Comments (6)
  1. David Brake says:

    Sorry it’s boring you – what would make it exciting? More comments? ;-)

  2. Greg Wilson says:

    For twenty-five points, what 80s pop lyricist wrote:

    “Life was easier when it was boring.”

    As for “bored now”, yeah, I think blogs need to scratch an itch. Raymond Chen keeps writing “The Old New Thing” to explore how we got here (where “here” is the current tangle of Microsoft technologies). Jon udell blogs because he gets paid to write about the bleeding edge, and the only way to do that is to play there. Miles Thibault (student of mine at U of T) has just started a blog (on my orders) where he’ll write about his explorations of C-Python’s implementation, and so on. So, what’s your itch?

  3. Debbie says:

    (The Following Is A Completely Unedited Response Dictated Through Viavoice; Lack Of Editing Was Prompted By The Unfortunate Discovery That “Press Delete” Is Sometimes Misinterpreted As “Press Escape”, Which In Livejournal And Mt Comments Has Disastrous Consequences. Apologies In Advance For Incomprehensibility. )

    Now that was interesting; why would ViaVoice capitalize that macro?

    Anyway, I’ve been blocking for about seven years knell endive fine to the my interest comes and goes. I have found that adding photos makes it more interesting for me, as well as giving myself an assignment topic.

    For me, however, one of the major incentives (before my tendinitis made it hard to write as quickly as I think because I have to use ViaVoice) Was to improve my writing and my ability to write even when I didn’t feel like writing. the latter is an extremely useful skill for someone who writes for a living, especially magazine writing.

    what are your favorite kinds of entries, the ones you most in choy writing? Perhaps you could focus on those kinds of entries.

    Wow, I have no idea how much of the above is going to be understandable. :-)

  4. Debbie Ohi says:

    Apologies for this completely contentless comment whose sole purpose is to enable me to enter my correct personal posting information for future use.

  5. Debbie Ohi says:

    and of course I entered it incorrectly. Here’s another attempt.

  6. Debbie Ohi says:

    While were on the topic of movable type comments, have you had any problems with spam postings in your comment sections (not counting mine, of course :-)). I’m starting to encounter them more, comments masquerading as actual remarks about my blog, but in truth are just links to commercial sites.


Here you go: yet another “solve problems on a grid” puzzle game (remember “Dyson’s Telescope”: ?):

Chromatron, by Silver Spaceship Software is a free game of laser beams and mirrors.

-_*Update*_: Help, I’m stuck on level 30!-

_*Update*_: Ok, I got past level 30. It was ugly :-).

I had four or five levels left near the top, and they were all trial-and-error stuff; if I plugged away at them hard enough, I’d be able to solve them, but there was no satisfaction in doing so. So I went to “a solutions site”: and cleared off my game, so that I’d stop wasting time on it :-)

posted at 11:21 am on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 in Links | Comments (2)
  1. aep says:

    You are evil for posting this URL. I downloaded the game at work and wasted over 2 hours. I’m up to level 25.

  2. aep says:

    I got level 30. Do you want a hint?

Recommended Reading

I find it depressing that I own one, and have read none, of the Locus Online: 2003 Recommended Reading list.

(Paladin of Souls, since you asked).

posted at 11:16 pm on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 in Books | Comments Off on Recommended Reading

Microwaves and Efficiency

When I read “Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything”: by James Gleick, one of the anecdotes that struck me was about people who would type 88 seconds instead of 90 seconds on microwave keypads, because it’s faster. So I laughed when I saw this:

bq. I read once of a person who would microwave their coffee for some unusual amount of time, like 48 seconds. I think it was a brain teaser: why would the person do this?

bq. The answer was that they had timed the spinning of the carousel in the microwave, and knew that if they zapped it for 48 seconds, the mug would make some number of whole revolutions, and end up with the handle pointing towards them, making it easier for them to pick the mug up again.

(via Ned Batchelder)

posted at 6:30 pm on Monday, February 02, 2004 in Humour | Comments Off on Microwaves and Efficiency


I’m pretty sure these are correct; my ‘visited countries’ and ‘visited states’ maps:

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

create your own visited country map

Update: Greg asked about provinces. I’ve been everywhere _except_ Alberta, Manitoba, and the Territories…

posted at 6:27 pm on Monday, February 02, 2004 in Personal | Comments (4)
  1. David Brake says:

    When did you get to all those states? And from the world map it looks as if you went to some small islands off the coast of Argentina and to Corsica. You’re more of a traveller than I thought!

  2. Harald says:

    California and Nevada are easy; been there several times. Washington: a west-coast Canada vacation included a trip to Seattle (and Roslyn :-). Illinois and Ohio were amusement park trips. Indiana – family. New England – camping trip. DC – well, you were there for that one… SE states: various winter vacations. Texas and Tenn. – IETF meetings.

    The countries are mostly from our whirlwind tour with Gareth 5 years ago. As for the little islands, I think they get coloured by the European country that claims them; I’ve never been south of the Equator….

  3. Greg Wilson says:

    What, no province-by-province breakdown?

  4. Jeff K says:

    I think this mapping system is a bit unfair. I’ve been to every province and every state except about 7 [Yukon,Nunavut,Kansas?,Arkansas?,Vermont,New Hamshire,Maine, Alaska], but I don’t think any of us should claim a state without say, having visited some important landmark there, and in a big state like Texas, perhaps several. I’d say California can only be claimed with a trip to San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fran, Mt. Shasta, Death Valley & Yosemite [and I claim same]. Hm, and without Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Ottawa, Algonquin, Toronto, London, Waterloo, Petrolia, I would scratch Ontario off anyone’s list too. Ditto for Quebec without Radisson, Val d’Or, Gaspe, Montreal, Quebec City and Hull [or just claim regions visited]. Oh and you didn’t list “Wright Patterson Air Force” base for Ohio, so you only get to claim the northern part of Ohio. No Area 51 in Nevada? Then you only get the little corner with Vegas. So there.