Monthly Archives: November 2005

ED41, Thursday, 8 December 2005

My birthday is coming up on December 8. To celebrate, I’m planning to have a day full of spending time with people whose company I enjoy, and I expect to have some interesting and challenging conversations along the way. The theme of the day is a bunch of stuff that I am loosely calling “web 3.0” –

It’s time to move on to build Web 3.0. It will be read/write, but more than that, it will be intensely about being in the here and now and focusing on what is going on in your place and time. That includes mobile computing, location-aware computing, and read/write not just for the web but for the world.

The birthday day is in the style of a couple different events. One is in the style of a “blogwalk“, which has been done in a few cities (Nancy White has some pictures from Blogwalk Seattle). Part of the event is a trek from place to place gathering and leaving people along the way. We’ll do that in the morning, starting at about 8:00am at Zingerman’s Next Door and weaving our way via coffee and wifi through downtown. You’ll be able to find the current location of the party through Plazes – look for Where is Edward Vielmetti? – or for the tag ed41.

The second part of the day is a lunch as part of my a2b3 bi bim bop lunch series. I’m planning that for a restaurant near Briarwood, Seoul Garden, which has lots of seating and relatively easy parking for those who must drive. It also has bus service, so the walking part of the day will end up at the Blake Transit Center to catch the bus to lunch if you don’t otherwise have transportation.

The third part of the day after lunch is some time spent in an “open space” type conference event. The idea is that you get some people and some ideas together in an interesting venue, find some things to write on to self-organize some topics, and have some discussions. Whoever shows up are the right people, and the “law of two feet” says if you don’t like what’s going on, you move.

I’m doing the afternoon at a public meeting room at my favorite library, the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. It has wifi and books and music and DVDs for checkout, so bring your library card with you when you come and we can use the resources of the library to help the discussions go forward. I’m hoping some of the AADL librarians will be available during some chunk of the time to talk about “library 2.0” and all of the neat things going on there.

In the early evening (5pm-6:15pm) we’ll be moving to the Old Town Tavern for a round of drinks. Meet at the table under the large Rubenesque painting. The 1998 Arborfood review says

Since the mid-1980s, Old Town has been the unofficial hangout of Ann Arbor’s Unix community. What began as a Friday night pilgrimage for employees of COSI, the now-defunct software company, has evolved into a periodic congregation of aging software gurus as COSI’s diaspora sent its alumni to positions at the U-M, ERIM, UMI, and a plethora of start-ups. The cabal has occupied the same table for a dozen years, eating, drinking, and ranting about AOL, Microsoft, clueless pointy-haired Dilbert managers, and the Y2K bug.

Finally, at 6:15p, I’ll be taking the #5 bus home to make it home just in time to help with dinner and to spend the evening with family.

Everything (except dinner with family!) is an open event, though if you do plan to show up for lunch please let me know in advance so I can warn the restaurant. The afternoon session at the library was free to me to reserve the room but I’m looking to gather a few toys for people to look at – please either bring something for people to share or some useful portable office supplies to write on.

No gifts, please, but if you want to be nice, when you’re at the library pick up some books or music you think I’d like to have so I can check it out!

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Searching the AADL catalog as easy as Google, delivery as fast as Amazon


I was talking with Jenny Levine tonight and mentioned this which I thought more people knew about. (But repetition is the very soul of the net, so I’ll say it again).

There’s an AADL catalog search plugin for Firefox, written by Matt Hampel. Matt is a regular at the a2b3 meetings and a student at Community High. It adds a very simple little search option to your Google search box so that you can keyword search the catalog from the corner of the screen.

The results are wonderful. In essence, it’s just about as easy to search the AADL catalog as it is to search Google, and with a minimum number of clicks (not one-click yet) you can put a book on hold. If you like fairly obscure stuff this will often beat Amazon on delivery times, and certainly beats it hands-down on cost. (Of course you wait for books every so often, but if you keep enough in your queue you can treat the process kind of like Netflix.)

We’re at the library regularly every Sunday when it opens, and it’s wonderful to always have a fresh supply of books to wait for.


Bob Kuehne has details on searching on the Mac with Safari and Inquisition. (Looks even easier).

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Pocketmod notes

Pocketmod3A few notes on Pocketmod uses. (A pocketmod is a piece of paper cut and folded just so, and the software that comes with it prints out handy forms ready to use.)

Saul (in kindergarten) likes to print his name on 4×6 cards and then fold them up to turn in as homework. I think he’ll like a kindergarten pocketmod. There’s a report of a kindergarten using the storyboards mod on the Pocketmod forums.

I’ve been using blank sheets of paper folded into pocketmod format instead of printing out the forms, just because the predominant use I have for them is as a quick capture device of ideas and todos which often need a paper resting place before they hit the addtodo files on my system.

It’s handy if you have 11×17 paper available to do the folding, since what you end up with is quarter sheets and thus holds a lot more writing.

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RSS feeds for searches from the Ann Arbor District Library

This is a new one in the catalog –

Do a keyword search of the catalog – a sample screen is here.


You’ll get back a result screen that looks a lot like this:


Note the result set – it has an RSS feed! Select it


and you’ll get a mishmosh (that’s RSS for you). Copy that URL into your favorite aggregator, and you’ll see something like this:


Presto, you’ll always be notified in your aggregator about new materials (or in some cases that I haven’t quite figured out yet, changes in availability of materials already in the collection) for your favorite topic.

Some URLs if you are following along at home and want to just construct the RSS feeds directly: – Knitting RSS search feed

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AATA service to Canton Township?

Catherine Jun from the Detroit News writes (11/16/05)

Residents of Canton Township and neighboring communities who commute to Ann Arbor might be able to ride the bus to and from work beginning next year.

Township officials are examining whether enough residents in the township and nearby would support a park-and-ride service for commutes to Ann Arbor.

“It’s better for the environment, better for gas,” said Mike Ager, manager of the township’s Community Services office. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

No idea yet whether this would be an extension of an existing AATA route – e.g. a longer #2 bus – or some completely new flyer service with only a few stops. The sensible connection point is at the Green Road park and ride which has frequent service.

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Plazes, a 100 day review

Here are some notes regarding my experiences using Plazes for the last 100 days or so.

Plazes is a very interesting application in many ways. It’s as good as any as a tracker of what places in a town have open wifi, and a little bit about each location. There are some small amounts of community building going on around busier places, and it’s often entertaining to read the comments.

Peter Morville has a good discussion of how Plazes and services like it create Ubiquitous Findable Objects. He notes

GPS, RFID, UWB, and cellular triangulation enable us, for the first time in history, to tag and track products, possessions, pets, and people as they wander through space and time.

It’s not really clear to me how many people in my social circle and my demographic want to have a tracking bug on them all the time or even some of the time. Fortunately, Plazes is pretty easy to opt out of on an instance by instance basis, and you have to have your laptop connected to be findable. I often want that to happen when I’m out and about somewhere away from home.

I’m not a global traveller, as my Plazes map clearly shows, but many of the people who are fondest of the service seem to be.

There’s an element of a game to the whole system, where the goal of the game is something similar to what ham radio operators do on contest days – “worked all states, worked all countries”. Did you discover somewhere to get wifi and chocolate in Chelsea, MI? Show that off to the world, get your name on the Plazes leaderboard.

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addtodo – a simple but powerful todo list tracker

from the readme file

Add todo.

Edward Vielmetti


v0.1 First public release.

This collection of shell scripts is “addtodo”, a simple

but powerful way of tracking what you are trying to get

done. Use it as follows:

% addtodo ‘for clean-house take out the trash’

% greptodo clean-house

2005-09-11 for clean-house wash the kitchen floor

2005-11-21 for clean-house take out the trash

% vitodo

(takes you into the vi editor to do whatever you want)

% saytodo trash

(speaks the todo list for that tag if you have text to speech)

there are a couple of other scripts that go with it

% locktodo

(uses RCS to lock file for edit)

% unlocktodo

(uses RCS to unlock file for edit)

% randomline

(prints a random line from a file)

All in all it’s 33 lines of shell scripts, the barest

minimum to get the work done. Share and enjoy.

Edward Vielmetti

Ann Arbor, MI

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