this is aaronland

fancy idling

like a dog humping your leg (with photos)


Wouldn't it be great if there was a thing that would POST new and updated photos from Flickr to a server as an Atom feed? Wouldn't it be great if you could tailor those updates to be just photos from your friends and family or photos that your contacts have faved or photos of Myles?

Strictly speaking, no such service exists but the nice thing about the Flickr API is that it already has the ability to return API responses as (Atom 1.0) feeds so if you scheduled a little background job to poll the API periodically it could easily re-POST those replies, as is, to a server that is set up to expect Atom messages in (near) realtime.

Screen shot 2011-05-04 at 1.05.22 AM

Seth did something like this a few years ago when he built Bamboo Shooter : a pseudo-realtime interface to the Flickr Panda APIs. It polls the APIs once per minute and dribbles the responses out over XMPP over the course of the subsequent minute.

Wouldn't it be great if you could have the thing that receives the messages also keep them in a queue and rebroadcast them to a web page that you could put in full screen mode, whether it's in a browser or on a tablet or projected against the wall?

Wouldn't it be great if digital frames weren't fated to be such shit anymore?

Screen shot 2011-05-06 at 10.11.28 AM

Wouldn't it be great if you could shamelessly pilfer the lovely design touches, like scaling a chunk of text to fill an entire screen, that people like RIG and Dan have been exploring lately? (Wouldn't it be great if I also understood why the code that does the text scaling sometimes makes everything really small?)

Wouldn't it be great if you could also add cheeky filler copy when there are no updates to display, just like Dextr?

(for Kevin)

Wouldn't it be great if WebSockets seemed like the sane choice for shuttling the updates back to the thing that displays them? Wouldn't it be great if WebSockets didn't still require you to hold open a still finite number of connections and somehow made building web applications like snorting pixie dust? Wouldn't it be great if WebSockets also made all the problems around shared memory and disparate requests immune to edge cases (not to mention possible) so you wouldn't have to still run something like Redis to act as a global hive-mind across all those connections?

It's worth pointing out that WebSockets actually look pretty useful — aside from the few remaining kinks that might still cause them to break the entire Internet — but really only for a limited number of applications, namely things that aren't bombarded by the everyone on the web. In many cases the only real advantage it presents in favour of doing plain vanilla polling using XMLHTTPRequest calls is that it punts one or two foreach loops from the Javascript side of things back up to the server. But it's early days and I'm sure we'll figure out how to make WebSockets sing.

Screen shot 2011-05-06 at 4.41.32 PM

Wouldn't it great if I could figure out why when I resize an image to be the same as window.innerHeight and window.innerWidth the browser also adds (n) pixels worth of sweet nothings causing it to display scrollbars? Wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to write things like winner.innerHeight - 6 and then notice a thin border around the bottom right edge of every photo?


Wouldn't it be great if there was a a proof-of-concept / reference implementation of all this stuff on Github? Wouldn't it also be great if someone ported it all to be the dumbest of dumb PHP scripts so people wouldn't have to suffer through my on-going noodling-around with tools like gunicorn? Wouldn't it be great if you weren't still responsible for dealing with the piece that actually generates and pushes updates (the Atom messages) to a listener?


That would be great, wouldn't it?