Workbench is Going Back to 2008

This blog has needed a new look for a long time, but I've had a creative block about what I wanted that look to be. Like millions of other people I'm staying home during the pandemic (and I hope you're doing the same). With lots of free time on the weekends and no sports parking me on the couch, I'm tinkering with old websites and servers again. This weekend I finally found a web design I liked for Workbench. The one it had in 2008. This is a screen capture of the Workbench front page from ... (read more)

Converting a WordPress Blog to HTML Files

I've been doing more programming lately, primarily in Java because I am writing several books that teach the language. I have a few big announcements coming soon about those projects. My current coding effort is an application that turns a no-longer-updated WordPress blog into a set of static HTML pages. The goal is to make it easier to retire a blog while keeping the content available in the form that's most likely to be future proof and extremely simple to move around. WordPress can ... (read more)

How to Create a YouTube Time Link When Sharing a Video

It's easy to link directly to a specific time in a YouTube video. All you have to do is add a t parameter to the end of the URL that indicates the time position in seconds. Here's an example that links to Post Malone's Nirvana tribute benefit concert for the coronavirus pandemic 118 seconds in when the performance begins: The t=118 parameter causes the video to begin playing one minutes and 58 seconds after the beginning. There's also a way to accomplish the ... (read more)

Settlement Reached with Dave Winer

I've reached an agreement with Dave Winer regarding the Share Your OPML web application. I destroyed his original code and user data along with everything that was built from it and gave up my claim to a one-third stake in He gave up the claim that he's owed $5,000. I originally hoped one of us would buy the other out and launch the application, but we found a much stronger basis for agreement in a mutual desire to stop working together as quickly as possible. If Share Your ... (read more)

Handling Numeric XML Entities in a Weblog Move

I'm exporting a Radio UserLand weblog to Movable Type for a client, turning Radio's XML archive of weblog entries into a Movable Type import file. I wrote a Java application that employs the XOM XML library to read Radio's weblog data. Some numeric character entities in Radio's XML data threw me for a loop: â (’), À (¿), Ž (é), ‡ (á) and — (ó). They were transformed -- either by XOM or the Xerces XML parser that it uses -- ... (read more)

Opera Subscribes to Common Syndication Icon

Subscribe Opera has embraced the common syndication icon adopted by Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer, lead developer Trond Hansen announced Thursday: Yes, we're adopting it too, and it will be in the next weekly build. Thanks to for making it so easy! Oh, and in case you haven't seen it before (what are the odds). I've attached a large version to this post which you can make love to. The icon, which makes it easier to find syndicated content in software and web ... (read more)

My RSS is Bright Orange

After tinkering with the common syndication icon for RSS and Atom a bit more on Workbench, I've added text that makes the purpose of the orange blibbet less obscure. Subscribe The HTML markup relies on Cascading Style Sheets to align properly and turn the text orange before it is clicked: Subscribe Here's the styles defined for this markup: .rsslink { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-transform: uppercase; text-align: center; font-size: 10px; } .rsslink a { ... (read more)

Tracking Click Pings with PHP/MySQL

Earlier this week, Mozilla Firefox developer Darin Fisher announced that test builds of the browser include support for click pings, an experimental new HTML feature that makes it easier for web sites to track clicks on outgoing links: I'm sure this may raise some eye-brows among privacy conscious folks, but please know that this change is being considered with the utmost regard for user privacy. The point of this feature is to enable link tracking mechanisms commonly employed on the web to get ... (read more)

Let's Put Everything on the Table

Of all the insults I received for popesquatting, the ones that stung the most were about my web skills, such as this comment on MetaFilter: Eh, his website needs work. The text overflows the white box and he must've used the nowrap attribute as there is a hideous amount of rightwards scrolling. pls fix ur website b4 u sho it to teh whirled, pls ok tks. Ouch. F U 2. I like three-column designs, so I lay out my sites with HTML tables, often putting ads in the rightmost column. This lends itself ... (read more)