MyBookFeeds Development Progress

Have been mucking around with today to try to get it working. So here’s what’s been happening:

1. Set up lylina. The problem is this hasn’t been in active development for some years now, but as a basis for an aggregator it should still hold it’s own. Unfortunately, lylina’s own aggregated feed threw out some deprecated function errors, and that would require me to delve into some PHP to fix. Nope, this isn’t good.

2. Looked up SimplePie plugin for WordPress. Now this is very interesting. Setting up WordPress sites now has become a very trivial matter with my new webhost, and after a few minutes of setup I was ready to rock. Then I found out that the plugin simply facilitated the use of SimplePie within WordPress, and it still required some programming in PHP! The plugin provided nothing in the way of a lylina-like admin console that allowed me to add feeds and customize the look. This is meant more for those who would like to add feed reading capabilities onto an existing WordPress blog, and is less a tool to create a brand new aggregator site. I figured if I were to code in PHP using SimplePie, I might as well do it from scratch, and have full control over what I needed the site to do.

3. Spent a quick hour looking at the SimplePie library. Already skirting around the possibility of diving straight into PHP. All the sample codes and tutorials were wonderful to look at, but to get it to what I want MyBookFeeds to do would still require heavy coding. Something definitely to consider in the future to do. Right now, though, I’m still looking for a quicker kill.

4. Relooked at lilina. I missed it the first time yesterday, but lilina surprisingly is still being worked on, the latest being in sept 2010! The reason lylina was chosen (and this was something brought forward from my research from several years ago when I first looked at doing MyBookFeeds) was because lilina behaves like Google Reader – it retrieves data from feeds when you visit. Lylina caches the feeds and will display static pages to visitors instead, which is a much better design choice for what i want MyBookFeeds to do. Well, it looks like lilina has gained this ability as recently as early this year, and a cron job can now be set up to refresh the content of lilina sources. Now we’re talking.

5. I started with the nightly build of lilina, and tried to set that up. I thought better to use the latest and greatest, what the author of lilina calls ‘bleeding’. However, the bleeding part was true for the wrong aspect – I spent almost 2 hours grappling with the install. There were invalid PHP calls when I attempted to set it up, and i was bleeding from my ears troubleshooting this. Then I remembered that I could fall back on the beta build, which is supposedly the last stable version. Thankfully that worked.

So now MyBookFeeds is up and running again, this time with lilina, and looking much better with a working rss feed.

Next up: interface tweaking!

MyBookFeeds–Alpha release

Ok, I have these wildly fluctuating bursts of pure manic energy to do crazy projects at highly inopportune times (like in the middle of a highly delayed work project, or when I’m behind in post-prod work for podcasts).

So I’ve always wanted to do an aggregated feed site for Malaysian book or literature blogs.  This stemmed from an exchange I had with Sharon Bakar over Facebook a couple of years ago, where she rather offhandedly mentioned this, and the prospect of starting such a site stuck with me since.  I was aware of other such aggregators at the time, but had never thought of starting one. 

So I tried to start it, thinking it couldn’t be *that* difficult.  After research, however, while it wasn’t *that* difficult, it was no walk in the park either.  I tried fiddling with tools: lilina, lylina, WordPress with the SimplePie Plugin, but after sinking in hours of research, I came to a conclusion – to have it work as I have envisioned it, I need to learn up PHP and do it using SimplePie.  However, this requires time, and time isn’t something I have in abundance right now.

The recent move to Dreamhost actually kick-started this for me (another burst of energy) and I relooked at this again.  I came back to the same conclusion I reached before pretty quickly, but I see that lilina has actually improved from the last time I saw it, and it may not be too bad an idea to quickly start up MyBookFeeds and see where it goes from there.

So, MyBookFeeds is currently running in alpha, so if you want to see it go to

Book Haul from Big Bad Wolf

It’s starting to get silly for me to go to bookshops when the warehouse sales offer such a delectable selection of books at a price that simply cannot be denied.

A regular paperback is approximately RM35.  I get these at RM8 each.  Some a little more, but nothing more than RM12 or RM15.

This haul was from Oct this year.

  • The Death of Bunny Munro, Nick Cave
  • Gentlemen of the Road, Michael Chabon
  • Busted Flush, George RR Martin, et al.
  • Lankhmar, Fritz Leiber
  • The Centauri Device, M John Harrison
  • The Boat, Nam Le
  • River of Gods, Ian M McDonald
  • The Dream Archipelago, Christopher Priest
  • Gateway, Frederick Pohl
  • Man in the Dark, Paul Auster

  • Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
  • Once on a Moonless Night, Dai Sijie
  • A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, Larry McDonald
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A Heinlein
  • The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood
  • Beijing Coma, Ma Jian
  • King Rat, China Mieville
  • Scar Night, Alan Campbell
  • The Sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt
  • Cowboy Angels, Paul McAuley

Rambleville is back – now powered by WordPress!

After about a year of inactivity, I’ve finally managed to get something going here.

Rambleville has now been moved from Movable Type to WordPress, and changed web hosts too.  This is after a year of being locked out of my Movable Type install for Rambleville, which made it impossible for me to do anything with the blog.  I still don’t know what happened that made it impossible to access, and I don’t rule out the fact that it may have been compromised by script kiddies.

Nevertheless, the posts are intact, and I knuckled down for a couple of hours yesterday to put in the latest version of MT4, regained access to the database, upgraded it to MT5, and then promptly moved it over to WordPress.

And here we are.

So I’ll try to explain a little about my adventures in Movable Type, and how after approximately 15 mins I abandoned the idea of actually leaving Rambleville running in MT5.  Later. If you’re lucky it may even be soon.