Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

The report about Web 2.0 and blogging in government came out: The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0.

It looks pretty good. It looks pretty focused on government political blogs, mayors etc. Here's a wild thought: If a lot of the public sector took up blogging, the aggregate civil servants could have a much more significant impact than the relative tiny amount of political bloggers. So maybe that is a bigger issue.

Dave Fletcher has good comments about the report. has a nice news item about the report. Something new for me is the idea of using Second Life for real world purposes, besides financial gain.

From the news item:

Another fast-growing Web 2.0 phenomenon is 3-D immersive experiences, such as Second Life, where users assume a "virtual identity" and have a personal avatar — an animated character — that can shop, play, and learn online. About 100 universities use Second Life to conduct online seminars. Companies use it to conduct employee meetings. Government may someday use it to deliver services to constituents.

How does the promotional and disseminatory forces of Lisp inspire someone to want to do something as crazy as learn Lisp for real programming?

I'm just starting to learn Lisp and my reasons are here. Maybe some of these things are true for others.

I also examined reasons I'm not learning Lisp, things that don't matter in why to learn Lisp. The degree of truth of these are besides the point, they're just not reasons to learn Lisp.

Reasons That Are Not Reasons To Learn Lisp

  • Practicality
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Support and documentation
  • Programming libraries
  • People I know use it.
  • It's the trend and thing to do.

Reasons To Learn Lisp

  • It's really awesome.
  • It's very powerful.
  • It has powerful abstraction capabilities and is very flexible.
  • The old Python reason, "I like the way the code looks". And parentheses are cool.
  • It has macros.
  • It's well suited for writing programs that write programs, and that is just so awesome.
  • Cool programming languages like Ruby, Python and Javascript draw power from it.
  • Functional programming.
  • It's well suited for bottom-up programming and making domain specific languages.
  • Paul Graham is a great writer.
  • Eric Raymond says learning Lisp will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days, and it is a programming language of particular importance to hackers.
  • The book Practical Common Lisp.
  • A lot of people are writing good/cool/great things on the Web about Lisp.
  • New people are learning Lisp.
  • Lisp is coming back.
  • Lisp is comparatively unpopular and rarely used.
  • Lisp is new.
  • Lisp is old, and old school.
  • There's missing pieces about Lisp such as libraries, documentation, etc. which provides good opportunities for developers to contribute important things to the language.
  • Lisp people are smart.
  • You can write great software with Lisp.
  • There has been good/great software written with Lisp.

Let me know any reasons I'm missing.

This is a great illustration of the Web.
Today I looked into Gtalk bot technology. I decided I wanted to make a bot for is a new community-driven web application/site that's currently in pre-beta and being done largely by Aaron Parecki. It's kind of like It's still evolving. I wish Aaron would write more about it on his blog. It's definitely about communication and community. It has some very interesting communication technology. To make posts you instant message the AIM bot untiedIM. Everything you IM that bot is instantly posted on the website and in your account (and can be other places in the website). So it is really easy and fast to post. I know there are plans to also make similar bots for MSN chat, Yahoo chat, and Gtalk. Currently you can already call a 1-800 number, leave a message, and the audio recording is automatically posted on Playing the recording on the site is really easy, you just push the play button. You can also post to the site via text messaging with your cell phone.

In looking into Gtalk bot technology I found that I didn't find that much on Web about it. Aaron pointed me to Globsy, which is a php Gtalk bot framework for building Gtalk bots. I couldn't get it to work so I looked on the Web for something else. Didn't find much, but I found this bot called Google Talk: Conference Bot.

Conference Bot is an open source Gtalk bot written in Python. The conference bot was created because Gtalk doesn't have chat rooms — or multi-chat. When you IM this bot, the bot automatically sends your message to all of its contacts. It works like a chat room.

I downloaded it, ran it, studied it and tweaked it. It can be used as a bot for

I currently have it running on Gtalk. You can talk to it, but it doesn't say much, just says something back when you message it. It's IM name:

While I had it running and was checking it out with Aaron, some random person appeared in the conversation with us and the chat bot, someone Aaron and I didn't know and came from nowhere. The person had added the chat bot to their Gtalk account and started talking to us through it. After a little while of surprise, I realized what happened. The bot automatically notifies the Conference Bot website when it runs, and the bot IM name is displayed on the website. So this person saw the bot on that website and added it to her account and started talking to us. Pretty neat. Sara is her name. We talked to her for awhile and she told us about this neat AIM bot called Spleak. Pretty developed, the bot has it's own website, and even its own blog. Looks like lots of stuff to it. Talks with MSN and AIM messengers. IM name is just Spleak for AIM.

I talked with Spleak for awhile and one of the things she showed me was her collection of videos from YouTube. I thought the ping pong and idol videos were particularly really good. Spleak is a pretty rich chat bot, web-wise.
I was originally inspired to program the image editor that I made by a designer from My Digital Photography Network (, or My DPNet.

I gave it to and they're using it. There's a link to the editor with every big version of a photo displayed. Really cool!

Here's the image editor on My DPNet with a default picture in it.

Feel free to write comments!

I'm continually re-excited about the Web. Marc Andreessen started blogging a lot this month. Writing a lot of great stuff.

I'm reading the book Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. So I've been learning a lot about many of the great Web and personal computer start-ups, the people and venture capital. It's great, I love it. On Marc's blog I was particularly interested in his series of posts called "The truth about venture capitalists", 1, 2, 3. The third one in the series is a long view of how venture capital works and the history of how it has gone along and the current state of it. Amazing.

I love Dave Fletcher's blog. He's recently been writing and showing some of the best stuff.

I want to be in a position where I'm spending a lot more time and writing a lot more on my blog. So I'll work toward that. There is so much to point to on the Web and to talk about.

Here's my friend Aaron Parecki making music with a wii remote control. He played all the music with the remote. He's always doing amazing things with technology.

I made a group on facebook. A bunch of librarians signed up right away. It got me thinking, librarians like I think they really like RSS. I was talking to one of them and she said that lots of libraries use for subject guides. They use the RSS feeds of the guides that automatically makes. I can't get over I've used that service for years and just love it. I love the concept and feeling of capturing cool things on the web and then have it easily organized.

I've finished all the features that the web-based image editor has. It has some interesting features and some limitations.

Here's what you can do:

  • Upload images with a URL.

  • Upload images from your hard drive.

  • Resize images.

  • Rotate images.

  • Crop images. But after the first time you crop, rotate or resize you can't crop unless you click on the Orginal button. You can crop an image and then resize or rotate the cropped result.

  • You can save your image at any time by clicking on the save button.

  • You can remove an uploaded image by clicking on remove.

All image manipulation gets done on the original images uploaded (or the original default image) so it doesn't matter how many manipulations you make, it won't degrade the image.

You can create html links that when clicked automatically upload an image to the image editor. You can make image links or text links. For instance here's html that links an image to the image editor and passes the image's url to the editor for it to upload the image.

<a href="">
<img src="" alt="ceramic" border="0" /></a>


(Click on the image!)


You just put the image url into the image editor's url like so: