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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Snoopy's RSS Hell

by Ken Newquist / November 1, 2007

I've been fighting the good fight against RSS bugs in Moodle 1.8.2. The problem isn't actually with Moodle, but with Snoopy, the PHP class that emulates as a web browser and which Magpie RSS library uses to fetch the feeds.

It seems that the current version of Snoopy has some issues with redirected URLs. It has trouble following 302 Page Moved messages and has an annoying habit of putting the port number into redirected URLs. While it's not technically wrong to do this, not every web server thinks that the urls and are the same (strange but true).

Case in point: The Wall Street Journal. The following feeds involve redirects (apparently served through FeedBurner, so I'm betting any feed using FeedBurner would have the same issue):

Radio Active #58: Chess for Kids, Geek Dads, D&D 4E

by Ken Newquist / October 31, 2007

On this episode of Radio Active, I discuss my daughter Jordan's sudden desire to learn chess and my approach to teaching her, contemplate the impending arrival of National Novel Writing Month, check out the Geek Dad Podcast and Simian Farmer blog and offer some thoughts on the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Spreadsheets with Open Office

by Ken Newquist / October 28, 2007

After a few days of working with Open Office's word processor, it was time to turn to the spreadsheet. I don't work with spreadsheets much at home, but I do have a few specialized uses for them. One of those is a campaign manager for my Mutants & Masterminds campaign – I use it to track past, current and future events in the campaign. Each entry has a column for event name, date, weather, type of event (e.g. blog post, crime, super activity) and a brief description.

The Great iMovie '08 Crash Fiasco

by Ken Newquist / October 27, 2007

One of the reasons I bought my MacBook Pro was to get back to digitizing some home video and experimenting with video podcasts for Nuketown. Unfortunately, Apple's iMovie '08 video editing app isn't cooperating.

Every time I hook up my Canon ZR70 up to the MacBook Pro and try to import audio via iMovie '08 (version 7.01, build 506), it crashes after importing one or two minutes of digital video.

This was disappointing to say the least, and I immediately started searching for an answer. I found a bunch of people having the same problem:

Game Day: Mighty Mutations, Hero Blogging, Agents of Freedom

by Ken Newquist / October 26, 2007
Book Cover: Freedom City Variant Cover

It's been a while since my last Game Day column, partly because of a crazy amount of work at home and job, but also because I haven't been gaming as much as I'd like – I've missed two sessions in the last month, and will miss another next month.

Haphazard schedule aside, my Mutants & Masterminds campaign is proceeding nicely. We're up to Issue #3 of Infinity Storm and the heroes are starting to settle into their roles. They've saved the city from a mastermind's weather machine, helped put down a prison riot, and – as of tonight – have earned themselves some much needed downtime.

Radio Active #57: Nanowrimo, Kit Bag, Crisis on Finite Macs, Unquiet Desperation, Halo 3

by Ken Newquist / October 22, 2007

On this episode of Nuketown Radio Active, I become an uncle again, contemplate a Crisis on Finite Macs, geek out about Halo 3, look ahead to National Novel Writing Month, listen to the Unquiet Desperation podcast and the geeky Secret Agent internet radio station and consider the merits of a geek dad kit bag.

Getting the Show

There are several ways to get the podcast:

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

by Ken Newquist / October 21, 2007

November is coming. And that means so is National Novel Writing Month. In years past, I've watched and read as my friends fought their way through it, some succeeding, some failing, all glorious in the pursuit. I've sat, thought, considered and ultimately come up with one excuse or another not to do it. There's always next year, I told myself, I don't have time for it now.

Now it's next year. And I'm going to do this.

The Open Office Experiment

by Ken Newquist / October 20, 2007

Open Office is a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Office. Based on Sun's Star Office, Open Office has been around for a number of years, and has proved fairly popular with the geeks, particularly those who dislike being beholden to Microsoft, Apple or any other proprietary software developer. It's the predominant office productivity suite on Linux, and comes bundled with distributions like Ubuntu.