May 03, 2004

BBH mentioned in a Chinese forum

I was wandering through our referrals section of our stats page for last month and came across an interesting entry.

Check out the second post.

Any one better at translating Chinese than Altavista is?

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 11:40 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

Thunderbird tip

Have you ever had trouble with Thunderbird disconnecting while Thunderbird is trying to move the email to the sent folder? The second entry from the bottom of that forum conversation has the answer to the problem.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 01:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2004

Article on Open Source issues

First Monday recently published an article on some of the issues plaguing Open Source software projects.

The article points out some that I've noticed before in my work with various projects, but it also honed in on some underlying thinking that seems to be the root cause of many of the problems.

Most of these problems are the same issues that commercial software development companies face, but in the commercial world, there's a necessary user base to keep things in check. The mandatory income stream is one of the problems Open Source projects have sought to avoid. However, there doesn't seem to be the same necessary accountability.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2004

Linked Word URLs

The Linked Word Project is an online Bible application built by BJU's Web Technologies department. It allows users to search the KJV, link to passages, and cross link to Strong's Concordance entries.

The project was originally built from a bunch of generated HTML files. It worked well enough, but the design was hard coded into each file, and updating was beginning to look like a daunting task.

When we began the project we did a lot of research on different Bible technologies available. During our search we came across OSIS. OSIS is an XML vocabulary for "marking up" (as in markup languages) the Bible and other related texts. Using OSIS gave us some abilities that we wouldn't have had with other applications or databases.

One of the key features we focused on was creating user friendly URLs. The idea was to design the Linked Word Project in such a way that people could easily link to Scripture without having to copy and past the URL. They could simply remeber the structure once they learned it and link to any section of Scripture.

The book abbreviations we used are the standard abbreviations set down by the OSIS Project.

Here's an example:

Can you guess where that goes? 8o)
It's a lot better than Bible Gateway's linking:

Not quite as user friendly.

With the Linked Word you can also do ranges:

There were/are plans to incorporate multiple versions and languages. The URLs would then become something like this:

for languages:

for translations: (same just more specific)

The underpinnings for that kind of URL structure is already there. It wouldn't take much to extend it. Just need the other translations/languages added.

Hopefully the easy URLs will be a help to people needing to link to passages in e-mails or applications. At one time there was also a plan to have the web site offer OSIS versions of the verses simply by adding a ".osis" extension on the end. From what I can tell, that's still in place. I don't know if the markup is up to date or not. We used OSIS 1.1 and OSIS is now in 1.5.

Try adding ".osis" to the end of your URLs if you'd like to see what's behind it all. 8o)

In the future I hope the univeristy continues to expand the project. It was one of the projects I enjoyed most, and one that seemed to have the greatest possible return on investment.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 10:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

More on MVC

The WARS Architectural Style

Haven't read this yet, but it looks promising. Would it work for PHP?

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 01:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Quick thoughts on MVC

Beyond MVC: A New Look at the Servlet Infrastructure got me thinking about the MVC design pattern again.

Of late, most of my work has been with PHP-based Open Source projects. Each of them incorporate different design patterns. Most of which prove to be frustrating at some level.

Having worked with Cocoon, I remember well the advantages and disadvantages of an MVC like structure. The concepts talked about in the article helped put some pieces of the puzzle back into place.

I'd been hoping for an MVC focused PHP framework, but after reading the article I'm rather glad there isn't one. There does need to be some framework though. At least, I'd like to have one.

The DataSource, Action, Workflow concept would carry over fairly well. The ideas are cementing themselves in my mind, and there are some definite conclusions on the horizon.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2004

XML for Friends

XML and technologies that use it have always inspired me. When I created Ben's Friends my plan (which still holds) was to create an actual "friends" network. Not long after began the process with Moveable Type I came across FOAF.

At that time FOAF had just begun and was very much in its infancy. Today, it's a bit farther along.

You may have noticed the small (but growing) "Stickers" section at the bottom right of HatShop. One is to get the best standalone browser available and the other is for my (currently minimal) FOAF file. Lord willing, I'll be developing it further and helping the rest of the Ben's Friends family create some as well.

Now, single files about relationships are great, but what if you wanted to record the relationship between the author of a document and the people in it? Or maybe you'd like to link the names of people mentioned in your online photo album to more information about them, but you wanted people to know what relationship you have with the person of that name? It's all possible using XFN. The XHTML Friends Network is really just a standardized way to record relationships in the "rel" attribute of an <a /> tag. It's a solid concept and will likely contemplate FOAF well.

Lord willing, Ben's Friends will be using them both in the future. For now, enjoy the ideas. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 08:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


This morning I ran across some scum in the guestbook of one of the Mambo sites I frequent. Paulo, the owner, is a good template designer. I e-mailed him about the scum and he removed it promptly. In his reply, he sent me a free copy of one of the templates he normally sells (Peek Sys Blue).

Gratitude is a wonderful and very inspiring thing.
Thank you, Paulo.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 13, 2004

Mozilla Firefox

Get Firefox
Mozilla Firefox - The Browser, Reloaded

Firefox is the new name for the stand-alone browser formerly named Firebird.

I was planning on writing a blog about this new release as soon as I found it, but I decided to hold off and do a bit of testing with it myself first.

Out of all the Firebird/fox releases this one seems most like a preview release. In the past, I've been able to forget the fact that the browser I was using was considered "pre-release." This time, it's a bit more evident.

Firefox improves on the Firebird code by adding an improved download manager, an installer, and better bookmarking, among others. The download manager is nice, but also seems to be the source of most of the new bugs and crashes. It's hasn't crashed on me "a ton," but it did jump ship a few times when I had just begun to use it.

The first thing I would do after downloading and installing it (which I still recommend doing) is to change the download manager settings. You can do this under Tools | Options | Downloads. The first setting to change is the default download location (unless you like your downloads on your desktop). The other setting I changed was to keep the download manager window open after downloading (just personal preference).

There has only been on rendering bug that I've found. If you visit BigBlueHat or Fast Company, you may notice that the rollovers in the navigation no longer work. Or if they do, they tend to get "stuck." I'm not sure what's made that happen. I let the Fast Company design know, and I'll probably file a bugzilla report in the future.

So, there's the skinny on the fox. It's a nice piece of software. Worth the upgrade. Nice new logo too, btw. Be aware that there are a few bugs, but that *should be* expected with prerelease software even though it hasn't been to date. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 11:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 06, 2004

Cross Browser JavaScript : DHTML Libraries and Applications

There are some very impressive (and potentially handy) pieces of JavaScript code for doing site layout and navigation across multiple browsers. The author of these little JavaScript apps has (with help) strung a number of them together to make an in-browser windowing system.

x-desktop could be very useful in the future. It's not nearly as developed as the old used to be. Sadly's business model wasn't the best and they never got it off the ground. It would have been nice if they had open sourced the code they'd written. Who knows where it is now. Probably rotting or overwritten by the new CEO of what ever company bought them out. Very sad.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LindowsOS from Google

Google has helped Lindows with a very nice deal. You can download the Developer's Edition of LindowsOS 4.5 for free.

LindowsOS is a Windows alternative. It's very user friendly as far as desktop Linux operating systems go. Which would explain the lawsuit levied by Microsoft over their use of a "Windows" like name.

From their web site: " is not endorsed by or affiliated with Microsoft Corporation in any way - in fact, we don't even really like them because they are suing us."

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2004


Open Source seems to be coming of age. Not only that, but the "Open Source Business Model" actually seems to be feasible these days (and a lot less of an oxymoron).

Phil Taylor a lead Mambo developer and Christian in the U.K. has begun working with the ListMessenger developers to create a Mambo edition of their product.

Until today, I hadn't even heard of ListMessenger. In my very quick look through the demo and features list, it seems like a great entry level e-mail list management system. The interface is excellently clean and organized (something very rare in Open Source).

BBH will more than likely begin using at least the free version of ListMessenger (happily we can because their wonderful people who have a great license for their code). In the future (when Phil is done), we'll probably offer the Mambo version to our customers.

This has been on exciting morning. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Web Developer's tool(bar) belt

Last night in looking for something completely different, I ran across a handy dandy little extension for Mozilla and Mozilla Firebird. The Web Developer Extension by Chris Pederick seems to have a lot of promise.

If you're at all interested in web development or design or if you're just plain curious about what goes on "under the hood," I'd suggest grabbing a copy. It's free. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2004

dotProject 1.0.2

dotProject 1.0.2 is an Open Source project management system. It hasn't been around that long. BigBlueHat started using it at version 1.0.1.

It's a great place to start for project management. The developers are good at keeping their community informed, and they make new releases every two or three months.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 09:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 19, 2004

Fire stirring

Odd combination.
(10 sylable haiku). 8o)

Sorry for the "haiku." 8o)
Hopefully I'll get back to writing some serious Japanese poetry again in the near future.

Currently our life is full of things wich I'll be blogging about more in the Family, Life, or Faith categories. 8o)

For now, I'll stick with my current web technologies excitement.

The Lord has brought a good number of projects our way recently. Most of them are just in the planning stages, but all of them look promising. We've got a huge project that should be nearing completion very shortly (special thanks to Mark C. for making it all possible). So, all-in-all the Lord has been providing a great amount of inspiration in the mundane-money category.

In the less mundane, but still very earth-bound arena of technology there have been a good number of inspiring tidbits recently.

ZenCart is a recent branch (new software created from old code) off of osCommerce (a project with great promise, but a slow future). Now that ZenCart is on the horizon, the promise for Open Source commerce systems is very much on the rise (at least as far as I'm concerned).

Mambo Open Source CMS
Mambo held promise before. With the release of version 4.5 it's potential grew. Phil Taylor (a UK based Christian Mambo developer) has recently increased his efforts to create great Mambo components. As far as anyone knows, he's the only full-time Mambo developer. He often reminds me of C.S. Lewis's comment about the "what if the leading science text book were written by a Christian?"

Callisto CMS
And the find for tonight, a virtually forgotten Open Source project called Callisto. Why another CMS? Callisto (from what I've seen) offers some things that Mambo could benefit from. The project is very much in its infancy, and as mentioned before, lacks development and developers. Michael Nachbaur, the core developer, recently posted on the SourceForge forum for his project that he would be returning to it soon.

Callisto is based on another seemingly forgotten Open Source project called AxKit. I'd looked at AxKit in the past because it held similarities to Cocoon (a project that still impresses me). AxKit is based on Perl rather than Java which means it can be hosted easily since it doesn't need the Java Run-time Environment (which in turn saves money on hosting). I haven't tried Callisto yet, and it's been awhile since I attempted to mess with AxKit (I'm extreemly new to Perl). Both projects hold promise if they can only find enough developers.

Lord willing, this inspiration will continue. There is of course plenty to be done in every corner of the globe (and basement), but we've got to start somewhere. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 07:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 31, 2003

Competitive Advertising

Has anyone noticed how some web sites are using Google ads to "market" their competitors? At first I thought this was strange. Now it seems like some gorilla-anit-marketing.

Googld ads are pay-per-click, right? So, if I advertise my competitors and people visit the site, then my competitors have to pay for the click. True, they'll be getting traffic they wouldn't have had otherwise, but many of those clicks will be from people who are already loyal to your site/product and just be curious about other companies.

Maybe it's a leap to think the companies are advertising for their competitors just do use up their ad dollars, but that seems to be what's happening all the same.

For some example sites check out MamboPortal and SourceForge.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2003

Thunderbird 0.4 Released

Thunderbird 0.4 was released on the 5th of December. If your using a previous version you'll definitely want to upgrade. If your not using Thunderbird yet, you should be. 8o)

If your upgrading, check out this page after you download 0.4.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 08:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 06, 2003

Inbox Irony


And it's happened twice. 8oP

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 02:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2003

Poetic Interfaces

Like good poetry, a well designed interface makes promises.

In a poem, if each third line in the first two stanzas include something about snow peas, then the last four stanzas probably should too (unless you have an extremely good reason for leaving them out. The same is true with interface design.

If you begin to use the color orange as a background on some buttons, you'd best stick with it so the user doesn't get confused or frustraited. This holds true through out the entire design. Make sure your deviations are justified.

Just thought you all should know. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 09:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Interesting search idea - A Keyword Map For the Whole Internet

Nothing ground breaking really, but it's interesting. It leverages the keywords of the referrer (the page your coming from when going to their site) to generate a list of related sites.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 10:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2003


Any body out there interested in signing up for SunCom mobile phone service? I've been a member for over a year (special thanks to the UnPlan), and now have the change to refer a friend. If anyone out there's interested and you sign up using my referal code, we'll both get a $35 service credit (according to the coupon I got last week).

If your interested, feel free to let me know.

P.S.: The coupon's good until November 30th, 2003.

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 09:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 16, 2003

Netscape (the company) is Dead

Well folks, it's finally happened. AOL has had enough fun courting the techies for a time (they did a horrible job of it I might add). After their recent deal with Microsoft for a 7 year IE contract it's not too shocking that they dispanded Netscape yesterday. They've even taken the logos of the building.

Happily for the browser world, the Mozilla Foundation was created. That means there is still hope for the future of the Web.

The battle's thickened a bit.

Back into the fray I go...

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 11:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Too many options, but not quite enough

I'm hunting for a Web Content Management System. I'm finding that it's a lot like buying a house or a car. There are trillions of choices, and many of them are good. I'm still looking for the one that's the perfect fit (right price, well built, expandable).

The difference between buying a CMS and buying a house is that I plan on reselling the CMS I find. I hope to customize it for each of my customers so that it fits there needs. Eventually, I'd like to by selling CMS's too.

If there are so many CMS's, why in the world would I want to join the throng? It's probably the same reason many of the other people started their CMS's. I'm having trouble finding one that meets all my needs (or at least gives me the ability to meet my needs when I have more time and money). I'm pretty sure that the one I build won't meet everyone's needs, but I hope it comes close. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 11:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 07, 2003


Well folks, it looks like I made the cut. 8o) I get to be a TypePad beta tester!

I've been using Moveable Type since early last fall. I've set up a number of blogs for some friends, and have recently (as time allows) been digging into customizing the blogging experience.

I've read a bit about SixApart on their blogs. I've been inspired by their work and their quick and steady progress into the web world. Ben and Mena have done a marvolous thing by bringing web publishing to the rest of the world. I hope Tim Berners-Lee is proud. 8o)

Posted by TheIdeaMan at 10:20 AM | Comments (4)