Searching with a Spotlight

I played with Apple’s Spotlight quite a bit when I was prototyping the Creative Commons extension to it. Today I was trying to find something on my Windows machine and I started to pull up the Windows Search tool, planning to go get lunch and come back to see if it found what I wanted. Then I remembered that I’d installed Google Desktop Search 2 recently and that it does more than just display a cool sidebar. Of course, it does too much more.

I wanted to find something by filename (my .emacs file, which I can never remember where it’s at on Win32). Searching Google Desktop was fast, but it returned everything on my system containing “emacs”. What I’d really like from Google Desktop is something that seems pretty natural to me (and apparently Apple’s engineers, too) — the ability to search on a particular attribute. So is this really a missing feature, or have I just missed some super secret search syntax?

date:2005-08-31 13:59:23

Using wpLicense

Ted is trying to use the wpLicense WordPress plugin and ran into some problems. So he wrote a little blog entry and when it showed up in my Trackback queue, I went to leave a comment, but can’t — you must be registered, and it appears registration is turned off (at least the link is, and I’m too lazy to try and find the URL). So here’s my reply; I’m dropping it here because classes start today, so I don’t know how long it’ll be before I get around to updating the actual documentation:

Hi Ted, thanks for trying the plugin. The most common reason the plugin doesn’t display the license icon and link has to do with themes. WordPress provides a “footer” hook which wpLicense uses, but in order for it to be called, your template must include a call to wp_footer();, probably in footer.php. The default theme, Kubrick, does that, so you might look at it’s footer.php for a sample.

I just looked at the documentation again, and that’s not clear, so I’ll try to get that updated. In the meantime, if you still have problems, feel free to email me directly (nathan at yergler dot net).

Thanks again,


date:2005-08-22 06:49:26

Uh, Bullshit

Hilary Rosen is guest-blogging for our esteemed chairman, and while it makes perfect sense in theory — CC is not about tearing down copyright, but about building a better system within it’s confines — I call bullshit.

Ms. Rosen posits:

I love the Warhol Campbell Soup example. I wonder if Campbell’s would sue him today. doubt it. in fact that is what is always so fascinating. the amount of people who face legal consequences for things like samples or parodies is so miniscule compared to the amount of their use. Music sample lawsuits, for example are really only done by successful artists against successful artists because it just isn’t worth it to pursue. Every once in awhile “artistic integrity” comes into play, but rarely.

First, I wonder why she thinks Campbell’s Soup wouldn’t sue Warhol today, especially if he chose to distribute his work in a digital medium (something that strikes me as plausible, although I’ll admit that I’m just pissing in the wind here). It seems to me like the atmosphere has shifted to a more litigous one in all areas, not just copyright. But that’s not the point — neither Ms. Rosen nor myself can speak for Campbell’s, of course. The point is with respect to the link she tries to draw between Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s Soup can, parody and sampling. And here’s where I call bullshit: if the lawsuits are so few, the “chillling effect” on creativity so minimal, and the damage to artists so slight, why not codify the right of artists to reuse, remix and sample in copyright law? What not provide real statutory protection for parody and sampling so that judges don’t have to decide how much a sample is worth, and possibly decide incorrectly.

And we were hung up. Hung up on the very issue you raised. What would happen when legitimate fair use needs arose and the required content wasn’t available in upprotected formats? While we knew it wasn’t a “dreamers” issue and that technology was moving rapidly enough that protected content could be a reality quite soon, it wasn’t yet at the time. And several of us, including most importantly by that time, the Committee Chairman who had heretofore been opposed to the Bill, wanted to get it done. So, I pulled out a long used legislative tactic and suggested we put a “study” in the statute.

Oh, right, I forgot — the Copyright Office and Commerce Department studied it, and found out its not a real issue. Thanks for that legislative gem, Hil — you’re a doll.

PS: Tell ‘Liz to get you a keyboard with a shift-key that works — you work hard for the money.

date:2005-08-18 14:41:29

Packaging Applications for Linux with Autopackage

One of the most frequent [STRIKEOUT:complaints]requests I receive for ccPublisher and ccLookup is for Linux packages. As one user pointedly put it, “how free can your app be if you don’t even support a free Operating System?” While I took issue with the user’s tone and statement (packaging does not necessarily equal support), I know that ccPublisher is more difficult to run from source than it should be. My stock answer to these requests has been that Linux packages are coming “real soon now” and “definitly by 2.0”. Well, with work on 2.0 moving along, I turned my attention to packaging this week. The approach I’ve chosen won’t make everyone happy, but I think it’s a good compromise for a small organization.

So what format are we packaging? RPM? DEB? Neither. We’re using autopackage. Autopackage is fairly slick — it uses a package specification file to build an installer. When the user runs the installer, they’ll either see a text, GTK or QT version of the front end, whatever’s available. Autopackage also allows us to be rather flexible with our dependencies. We decided early on that unlike the Mac OS X and Windows versions of ccPublisher, the Linux packages would actually require Python and wxPython as dependencies. There are lots of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that in my experiments “freezing” just doesn’t work as well under Linux. So Autopackage lets us specify dependencies using “skeleton” files. All I had to do was write a simple skeleton for wxPython that sets the appropriate environment variables with the installed version.

Finally, a major change in ccPublisher 2 is the split of the actual application from a more generic framework. The goal here is to make life easier for maintainers of derivative apps (like Ourmedia Publisher) — [STRIKEOUT:if] when we find a bug, fixing it in ccPublisher will generally fix it in other derivative apps. Autopackage makes life slightly easier in this respect by allowing us to specify a dependency on our framework (which I’m calling P6 for the time being) as you’d expect. If a user already has a P6 application (like ccPublisher) installed, Autopackage will just use that installation. If not, it will seamlessly download the dependency and install it. Slick.

date:2005-08-17 16:02:05
category:development, projects

Coworking… that’s a good word for it

Mike pointed out that I’m not the only one who doesn’t love working from home — well, the isolation part of it, at least. Brad Neuberg has started a Coworking effort in San Francisco. Described as “Community for Developers Who Work From Home”, Brad focuses more on things like group meditation and yoga than I would choose to, but it sounds a lot like something I’d like. I’m curious to see how it progresses.

date:2005-08-10 08:56:43
category:my life