Dan Newcome, blog

I'm bringing cyber back

Archive for April 2013

Goodbye Posterous – a migration story

leave a comment »

Many of you know (or should know, if you have anything still on Posterous!) that Posterous is shutting its doors following its acquisition by Twitter. I was one of the first Posterous users in 2008, and they even gave me many more blogs than were usually allowed on the service at the time. Heady days, those.

Anyway Posterous turned out not to be the ideal host for my blogs, and I continued with WordPress. However, I still maintained a few specialty blogs there (Alewright, for one).

One by one I have been moving blogs to the open-source static blog software, Octopress, which I’ve been hosting on Heroku instances. However, now that Posterous is shutting down, I need to move the last few off, so I’m writing up this post to help anyone else that wants to do the same. Sure you can use their export tool to get a tarball of your stuff, but if you are lazy like me, and just want to get stuff over to Octopress, look no further than this ruby script.

I’m on a Mac, but I’ve used rvm to bump my ruby version up to 1.9.3. I installed the posterous gem using:

$ gem install posterous

Log into Posterous, go to the api page and get an API key by clicking on “view token”.

You need to know then name of your blog, the username and password, and the API key. Then run:

$ ruby posterous-export.rb username password apikey

I had to patch the Posterous gem to get things working. Otherwise I got this error:

/Users/dan/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.3-p374/gems/ethon-0.5.12/lib/ethon/easy.rb:234:in `block in set_attributes': The option: username is invalid. (Ethon::Errors::InvalidOption)
Please try userpwd instead of username.

Running the script gets you a file layout on disk including images and HTML-formatted post files, ready for use by Jekyll/Octopress.

To get the new Octopress blog running, just clone the repo and copy the images/ and _posts directories under the octopress/source directory.

I’ll do another post probably about working with/customizing Octopress so I won’t go into configuring Octopress here. Presumably the API shuts down on April 30, so don’t wait too long!

Written by newcome

April 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Input paradigms for wearable computing

leave a comment »

touching_handsI’ve been tracking various input methods over the course of this blog, providing commentary on tablets, the death (and possible rebirth) of the stylus, touch computing and now with the Google Glass – wearable computing.

I hesitate to call the Glass a wearable computing device, putting it in the company of the clunky hardware of the past, but along with the new crop of smart watches, I think it’s still an accurate category.

Anyone who has followed the wearable computing space for a while will notice that most adherents use a device called a “twiddler” for text input. A twiddler is a one-handed keyboard-like device that allows the user to (rather slowly) touch type without having to look at the device or set it down.

Glass obviously doesn’t ship with a twiddler. Glass relies on voice commands instead. Of course there is nothing to prevent you from using the keyboard on your mobile device for text entry, but that hardly counts as a seamless heads-up experience that Glass promises.

We seem to have gotten used to people roaming the streets apparently talking to themselves when using hands-free devices, but are we ready for the full monty of the Glass camera pointing around and having people muttering to themselves all at the same time?

What about privacy of the wearer? Having to issue voice commands is hardly subtle in many environments.

Fortunately, the simple fact that Glass has persistent Bluetooth connectivity and a display can provide more feedback options than a simple twiddler. A system like Swype could work really well if the keyboard was projected to the wearer while input was received from the phone’s touch screen.

So several closing points:

  • It seems unlikely to me that many people are going to embrace an input method that requires a separate device or a new learning curve.
  • Most people are used to touchscreen keyboards by now, and most devices that are likely to be paired with the Glass already have them.
  • Tactile feedback can be replaced by visual feedback by virtue of the heads-up display with modifications to the keyboard software.

In light of these points, I don’t see the twiddler making its way into the new crop of wearable devices. For heavy lifting, there are plenty of Bluetooth keyboards around if you don’t mind looking like you are typing off into space. For everything else there is your phone (duh!).

If you read this far, you should probably follow me

Inset photo credit: Irene Yan

Written by newcome

April 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized