iTunes podcasts

I’m just pulling down some podcasts for my drive to Queensland (which starts tomorrow). I’m really astounded that the iTunes podcast tool doesn’t support resuming failed downloads. Seems to me to be an essential part of a tool like that – quite frustrating, especially when you hit a problematic file – I’m on my third attempt downloading a longish podcast – each time it starts from square one, chewing up bandwidth and wasting time…

Robert Fisk

Miguel di Icaza has been mentioning Robert Fisk a lot lately (Barry was the first to put me onto him, linking to an article on his long-abandoned blog – hint, hint). A week or so ago I checked out a lecture recording or Robert speaking in LA. This was enough to prompt me to buy his latest book, The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East.

I’m only two chapters in, and it’s a lengthy book – fun holiday reading 😉 – and I’m hooked. A very good read so far. Miguel has posted some thoughts on the chapter on Iraq, and points to a part of chapter 11, on the 1917 invasion of Iraq.

Although different in topic and tone, it reminds me a lot of Absurdistan by Eric Campbell, in terms of Fisk’s recollections of being a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, launched in 1979.

Sound Studio

One of my favourite Mac utilities (I don’t use it heaps, but it’s invaluable when I do) is Sound Studio, which shipped with some Macs a little while back. I just stumbled across Freeverse who develop the app. I’ll be checking out version 3 soon…

hCard and hCal

After the we05 conference I was pretty interested in the hCard and hCal microformats.

So far I’ve incorporated both formats into various sections of the WWF-Australia website – some specific examples being our contacts and events pages (although there are others scattered throughout the site).

In theory I love the idea of microformats – the ability to provide semantic value to HTML elements in this way is very appealing at a conceptual level, but I’m starting to question the practicality of this approach.

One of the things I need to be able to provide to the staff here is some form of WYSIWYG editor for maintaining the content of the site. There are very few people in the organisation that are fluent in HTML, so this kind of editor is pretty important. It strikes me that using a WYSIWYG editor pretty much rules out the possibility of incorporating microformats in our editable content.

One alternative is to only use these microformats for structured data, where the templating system of our CMS outputs structured data using microformats to provide the semantic value. While this is easily doable (as demonstrated in the examples above), if you are relying on a templating system to output the microformat content, why not just create an alternate template for iCal or vCard and output the format directly?

The only other thing I’m thinking of is RSS feeds, and being able to embed microformat content into the entry content. This has potential benefits in that subscribing services can parse out that information from the entry payload, but again, given the points above how much value is actually provided? Why not just provide iCal or vCard content directly?

Another aside: if I’m wanting to embed an event in an RSS feed, do I need to re-add the title to the description of the feed? Or is the title assumed to be the title of the event?

If anyone a) can grok what I’m on about above and b) has any thoughts, please drop me a line. I’m going to have to make a few decisions regarding the CMS administration tools in the next few weeks and this may have an impact on some of those decisions. Thanks 🙂

Timely: Marc Canter is talking about the concept at syndicate [via Doc Searls]

Static lines for homeless

Community voice mail [via Evhead]

Community Voice Mail provides free, 24-hour nationwide voice mail to people in crisis – connecting them to jobs, housing and hope – a deceptively simple concept with extraordinary impact.

I’ve heard of a similar service here in Australia – can’t remember the name. From memory (which is slim, obviously, they also provided a postal address). Anyone know of the Australian service?