Things to Do

My productivity dipped, not surprisingly, after a bout of food poisoning coinciding with the brief lull preceding the start of the fall television schedule prompted me to buy an Xbox 360. In an effort to get back on track, I’ve compiled a to-do list, of sorts, to jump-start my flagging… something.

Finish Video Server series.

I got off to a good start with my series of entries on ripping and encoding files for my iTunes/AppleTV video server, but I’m sort of stuck on what was to be the final entry- adding meta-data to the files to make them pretty. It comes down, in part, to not being sure how to distribute a couple of accompanying scripts. They’re too long to post as part of the entry, so they’ll need to be archived and put up for download as a tar file. The real sticking point, though, is that they need more documentation, and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.


Moving to was far simpler than I’d hoped, but that was only the first step. I need to reduce the complexity of the site, removing the ill-conceived user-centric directory structure for public facing content, and making everything function privately. In other words, go back to a log-in to use the tools model, and decide after the fact what is publicly accessible. The model is great for complex social-networking type sites, but since I don’t hve much interest in doing that, the complexity is making everything else three times more difficult. While I’m in there, I also need to streamline the database access and see if I can come up with a way to benchmark the capacity of the site. It would be nice to know exactly what kind of pounding the codebase could take.

Implement OpenID on

I was driving back from Sacramento one night when I had a revelation about how one might implement decentralized centralized user authentication for Websites. When I started looking around to see if anyone was doing what I was thinking about, I found that the guys at were doing almost exactly what I had thought of, though there were some issues with the implementation at the time. I carefully weighed my options, and rather than using my copious free time and obvious genius to get involved and fix the perceived problems, I think I elected to watch TV and play video games. Eventually the sxip technology morphed in OpenID, and, for the most part, it seems to work. I implemented one of the early incarnations of the library for the code, and for all I know it still works, but I’ve been less successful finding a good WordPress plugin. One guy seems pretty close, and if he hasn’t released a stable version by the time to get around to working on this, I’ll try playing around with his beta.

Unit testing and monitoring

One of my chief goals is to build a codebase I can use for rapid development of new sites. I had two sites in mind when I started, and one of them,, I already built before realizing that it wasn’t very exciting and not something I had any desire to work on long term. However, that doesn’t mean don’t want to it stay up and running. Since it’s running on the same alpha code that runs, there’s a very real chance that any changes I make on skedevel will break precautionmail, and it’s unlikely I’d notice it for weeks, since, let’s face it, precautionmail is boring, and there’s not a lot of incentive to make sure it’s working properly. Therefore, I need to implement some sort of functionality to monitor that the major functions of the site are working correctly, beyond just some sort of simple pattern matching HTTP check (though that would be a good start). Since fully testing the site involves logging in, writing a message, and verifying that it was delivered after a preset period of time, there could be some fairly major engineering involved.

Find a new WordPress theme.

When I first implemented WordPress, I liked the default theme, and I thought that most people using WordPress would change the theme- thus rendering my site, using the default, kind of original. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but I have decided that it’s always lame to use the default. Even I were the only one in world doing it, I would still be lame, because using the default is lame almost by definition.

One Response to “Things to Do”

  1. Daniel Says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Things to Do, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.