Google Reader search within single feed

I’ve been using Google Reader for quite some time now, but it was only today that I noticed that I can search within a single feed.  The drop down menu near the search box at the top contains choices like “All items”, “Starred items”, and “Shared items”, which are followed by the tags.  But if you scroll further down, after the tags, there is a list of all your subscriptions.  You can pick any feed that you are subscribed to and search within it.

I’m not sure if this is a recently added feature or if it was there for ever, but it’s priceless.  I was missing out on it, because I use way too many tags and, apparently,  never scrolled down deep enough.

A little RSS reading tip

ReadWriteWeb runs 2007 : The Year in RSS post. Nice read. Among other things it has this little tip:

For some crazy reason the world is full of people who still feel morally obligated to read every single item in their feed reader. These people, probably the majority of RSS users in fact, complain that RSS is becoming a big source of information overload. (Hint: it’s ok! Just read what you can and don’t worry about the rest!)

Chess bits

I’ve been fascinated by chess for as long as I can remember.  This is one of those games that brings it all together – intelligence, suspense, entertainment, magic…  Unfortunately, I wasn’t ever any good at playing chess, or even understanding most strategies.  But that didn’t stop me from enjoying a game now and then.

I have recently came across two interesting bits about chess.  One is this post on the gaping void blog with the history of chess pieces.  It explains where from the names and looks came, as well as why the pieces move the way they move.  Another one is this Battle Chess web site (in Russian).  Battle Chess is a variation of the chess game, which, as the site says “is a war, not a game”.  What they do is let each chess player arrange his pieces on his part of the board any way he wants.  The second player does the same.  The trick is that they don’t see each others positioning before the game starts.  And then they start.  Sounds exciting. And innovative.  Which I guess isn’t very easy to do with a game a few centuries old.

On copyright, fair use, and free speech

TechCrunch has an excellent cover of the “photograph in the video” story that has been going on all over the web in the last few days.  Basically, somebody wrote a funny song and made a video for it.  In that video a bunch of images were used including one that was downloaded from Flickr without permission of the photographer.  The photographer got really pissed off and such.  The video was re-edited to remove the offending image, but there was plenty of discussion on how is right and who is wrong in this story.  Some really important questions on copyright, fair use, and free speech were asked, and some really smart people tried to answer them.

The rights of the copyright holder have always been balanced against the more fundamental right of free speech. And free speech in the Internet age, more so than ever before, goes way beyond words and text. The way people express themselves on the Web increasingly involves images, video, animations, and other rich media, often in mash-ups of pre-existing works. That is how people communicate today. Both copyright law and industry standards need to evolve to take that into consideration.

While I support the (copy)right of the author to command the usage of his or her work, I think that this particular case wasn’t handled properly by the photographer.

Happy Birthday, Perl!

My favorite (so far) programming language has been born 20 years ago.   It’s been loved and hated.  It’s been praised and damned.  It’s been complimented and criticized.  But all that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that it has been helping people all over the world to solve problems.  Tricky, boring, annoying problems.  It provided enough power to build enterprise grade applications, while still being easy and flexible enough to be the super-glue of many systems.

I’m sure Perl will still be with us in another 20 years.  I wish it to be as useful in that time, as it is now.

Thanks, respect, and best wishes to everyone who created and supported Perl, its community and tools all these years.  Happy birthday!