january, 5, 2003 archives

here's an old story from the the observer about the economics of the illegal drug trade. it's fascinating to see the financials of the industry broken down like this (8% of world trade!). part of the paper's ongoing drugs uncovered series.

i wish dan gillmor's new moveable type-driven weblog pinged blo.gs directly. it's one of those blogs that weblogs.com frequently gets spurious updates for. i suspect dave's weblogsComHelper tool, which appears to be the source of many spurious updates on weblogs.com. i can understand why he made the tool (blo.gs does some polling for the same reason), i just wish it were better.

it does make me think that the ping interface should perhaps have a flag that people could pass in that said “hey, i'm not really the owner of this blog, but i think it was updated” so that the service could take that into account when deciding if the site was really updated. in the case of blo.gs, i'd probably apply the three-day rule in ignoring such unofficial pings for sites that had previously pinged “officially”.

when the recent push for an agreement for the imperial valley to transfer water to san diego crumbled, california was cut back to its supreme-court-mandated allotment of water from the colorado river, and water politics got interesting. i've got the great thirst: californians and water, a history on hold at the library. i need to finish the book i'm currently reading (hot water music, a collection of short stories by charles bukowski) and go pick it up.

i'm a little disappointed about how long it took for the library to make it from the central los angeles library to my local branch. if the next one takes as long, i may plan to just put future ones on hold at the central library and pick it up from there. it's a good excuse to go downtown.

2003 may turn out to be the year of the book for me.

autoexpanding links to the isbn: psuedo-scheme

i just added a tiny little feature to my weblog software to auto-expand links created using an isbn: scheme (such as <a href="isbn:1584790830">i'm just here for the food</a>) to an affiliate link to an online retailer (b&n right now, easy enough to change in the future).

just something for those thinking about ways to play with moveable type's upcoming text formatting features. mix with the amazon web services, and you could pretty easily have a page that listed information about all of the books you've mentioned.

i do actually cheat a bit right now, and the conversion happens when stuffing the entry into the database. but they end up in a regular format, so it will be easy enough to change the old entries when i work up the initiative to make the filtering happen on the output side.

if only the music and film businesses had universal identifiers for their products that worked like isbns.

i've got something similar that turns ampersands (&) into the correct entity, even when i don't type them that way (or there are ampersands in urls that i cut&paste into place). just part of keeping my site validating as xhtml 1.0 strict.

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