Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Bleeding Edge of Technology....

I recommend you skip this post. Really. Do something more valuable with your limited time.

Usually, when it comes to technology, I'm opposed to it. Yes, you heard me right. I'm a techno-phobe. I've never had a cell phone, nor do I ever want one. In case of emergency, I'll be the guy at the phone pay wondering why it doesn't work when I try to call 911. Assuming, of course, I can find a pay phone. Last time I needed to use one, I found three that didn't work before I succeeded with one that did. Took me an hour to make the phone call.

But I digress..... Do I use a PDA? No. I like the old fashioned pen and paper better. I have a PDA, thoughtfully donated to me by Speedsquare to develop features for all you PDA people out there, but I tried to find a box once with clues from the PDA. And I didn't like it. So it mostly collects dust now. I still keep it around for testing purposes, though, when I need to update or change the PDA code on Atlas Quest.

Even when it comes to programming, I prefer the "tried and true" than the bleeding edge of technology. There's a reason it's called "bleeding edge." When I first learned of Google allowing little people like myself to display their maps on my own website for free, I was THRILLED! How cool would THAT be?!

And what did I do about it? Absolutely nothing. Why not? It was bleeding edge technology. If you read the documentation, they warned that it was new. The API (basically the "language" used to talk with a given application from a programmer's point of view) could change with little or no warning breaking the application. Bugs had yet to be found, and work-arounds developed.

So I did nothing. Choi did include the maps, briefly, on LbNA, and well--it learned why it's called the "bleeding" edge. =) Don't get me wrong--Choi's a great guy and this isn't meant to embarrass or diss him. Had I gone jumping into the Google Maps myself, I'd probably have had the same problems he ran into. In fact, I learned from his troubles. You can call it a failure if you'd like, but I'd call it research and educational. Have you ever noticed that you can't go to http://atlasquest.com ? Try it. It bounces you back to http://www.atlasquest.com every time. Choi doesn't know it (though since he's probably reading this, he does now!), but it was his experiences with Google Maps that made me implement this change.

Frankly, I like atlasquest.com better than www.atlasquest.com since it's shorter and quicker to type. But that www is so ingrained into the web culture, I went with the flow. Guess that makes me a dolphin. ;o)

Anyhow, Google Maps is up to version 2.x, and I figured by now, it's a heck of a lot more stable than it would have been when they first introduced it. At the very least, it has cool new features that version 1.x didn't have like that little overview map in the lower-right corner of the map.

But I digress..... Why am I talking about bleeding edge technology?

Because I accidentally just stumbled into it. I was checking my blogs and they had a link for the "new blogger"--just click a button and they'll convert your existing blogs to Beta Blogger.

I clicked. It was an automatic impulse. It says "click here", and without even thinking about the consequences, I clicked.

I regretted the action almost immediately. I tried posting a new blog entry, and I got an error message. Tried posting it again. Another error. Next thing I know, I had three copies of that post listed in the management section of the blog, but none of them showed up IN the blog. I deleted all but one of the postings--or tried to. Got more errors when I tried to delete the extra posts, so I wasn't really sure if it deleted anything or not. Not that it mattered since my post wasn't showing up in the blog in the first place.

Another thing happened. AQ started complaining about the atom feed it pulls to generate the "Letterboxing News" on My Page. One of those little pieces of information AQ picks up is when the post was created. The old feed had a label called "created" that I used to display and sort blog entries by the date and time they were created. The new feed didn't have that. I had to look through the XML to learn they changed it to "published".

So I had to update AQ to first look for "created," and if that's not found, check for "pushlished."

And I thought--thank goodness I discovered this problem on my own blog when none of them needed to be displayed in Letterboxing News. Had Mark and Sue Pepe, for instance, converted their blog to use Blogger Beta, their posts would have stopped showing on Letterboxing News. Who knows how long it would have taken us to realize something was wrong. How long would it have taken us to figure out there was a change in the XML format with Blogger Beta?

When I logged in today, I saw that post I made which never made it onto my blog suddenly showing up on the blog. And those posts I deleted are no longer there. Seems to be working now.

Of course, the ultimate test to know if everything is working correctly is this post. Yes, you fool, you read this long, rambling post to finally get to the point of why I wrote it.

This is a test. This is only a test.

You'll know it passed if it shows up in Letterboxing News within the next hour. =) If it doesn't--well, you probably didn't read this post anyhow and you'll still think I'm a genius and can do anything with technology. ;o)

Learn from me: It always pays to let someone else use bleeding edge technology first. *nodding*

-- Ryan

7 comments:

ericaflory said...

did i pass? :D

Anonymous said...

I read it!! I made a similar mistake with accepting a toolbar update once. Couldn't get to where I needed to go anymore!!!!

Lock Wench said...

For the very same reason, I don't buy the first year of a car model. Let someone else deal with the bugs.....

Anonymous said...

Curiosity. . .and all that.
However, you are an interesting writer, so it was worth it. Blooming Flowers

Anonymous said...

As pyratemate Kate says. "It's not a bug; it's an undocumented feature."

Pyratemates

Anonymous said...

You did warn us not to read it....

Sheba

Choi said...

:o) Makes me glad that I skipped that Blogger Beta offer!