As You Were

Devin Coughlin's blog.
Styles: Serious Spare

June 27, 2007

NetNewsWire and feed management

Via Daniel Jalkut comes the notion of using NetNewsWire's Attention feed report to cull feeds you don't really read.

The attention report doesn't seem to work for me. I've got seven blogs with high scores (including Jalkut's Red Sweater Blog) and the rest have the lowest score possible.

I'm not sure how attention is measured, but the algorithm doesn't seem to mesh with the way I use NetNewsWire.

Or maybe it does? My two favorite blogs, Kevin Drum's Political Animal and Tim Bray's ongoing are in the list. And I certainly read every word of Red Sweater Blog -- but I know for a fact that I almost never read The Old New Thing (schadenfreude, mostly) or Mary Jo Foley's All about Microsoft.

(And while I've been writing this, Red Sweater Blog has jumped from a score of about 10 to the top of the list. Hmmm.)

So, I haven't been culling based on attention. But I have recently started taking some small steps to manage the insanity. I used to have NetNewsWire keep permanent records of all my feeds, in case I wanted to search them (which never really worked anyway). This meant that it would take at least a minute or two to launch the program, so I didn't quit it very often. When NetNewsWire 3 came out, the launch time jumped to about an hour(!!), so I decided to scrap that. Now my articles only stick around as long as they are in still in the feed. Launch times are good enough that I can close NetNewsWire when I want to get work done and open it when I need to procrastinate.

Another tactic I've been using, on and off, is to stop my political feeds from updating. This cuts down on volume greatly (those political types sure post a lot, don't they) and has a side effect of keeping my blood pressure significantly lower. This works well because political blogs tend to be topical and the value of a post lowers greatly when it is more than a day old.

I subscribe to a lot of low-volume mac developer feeds. It's a good way to keep my finger on the pulse of the mac world, and I've found it's well worth it to slog through fifteen posts on barbecue (christ, my cancer risk went up just by reading) to catch the one about method swizzling with the Objective-C runtime.

But I have to work hard to fight the urge to unsubscribe from developer blogs (Fraser Speirs and NSLog(); come to mind) whose politics don't mesh with mine. And it's a good thing Steve Dekorte doesn't have comments, because otherwise I'd never get any work done.

I've made a conscious decision to cut down on my own political posts for this very reason. I get the feeling that most of Mac blogosphere is pretty progressive, so I'd be preaching to the choir anyway. Still, there are occasions when the bamboozlement factor gets so high (the supposed "impending doom" of Social Security, high deductible health insurance + Health Savings Accounts, the notion that a security fence around Mexico will protect us from al-Qaida) that a rant becomes inevitable. Consider yourself warned.

This has been yet another mediocre blog post (or, as Radis would say, it's adequate), by Devin Coughlin. Thanks for your time. Please feel free to unsubscribe . . . But, coming soon, a primer on printing with WebKit.

Update: Unsubscribed from Fraser Speirs' livejournal. I just can't take it any more. I'll let others wade through the reactionary horse puckey and pick out the diamonds in the rough.

Posted by coughlin at 12:16 PM

June 22, 2007

Recipe: Potatoes with cumin

Chop 2 potatoes into pieces approx 3/4 inch in each direction.

Boil or microwave until softish.

Heat 6+ tablespoons peanut oil in a wok until near smoking. Add 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds and let sit for 10 seconds. Then add softish potatoes, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons(!!) salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a little bit of black pepper to the oil. Stir and cover quickly. Add 2 tablespoons grated ginger. Fry for ten minutes or so, manhandling the potatoes so their edges get kind of mashed.

More or less from Foolproof Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.

Posted by coughlin at 8:28 PM