Dave Winer and his TinyUrl thoughts

Dave Winer has been talking about TinyUrl and some thoughts/issues he has regarding their service. Basically he says that we are subject to them going down, having troubles or even ceasing to exist. While all good points, he suggests that publishers should run their own url shortening service.
I have some simple thoughts on that too… Your service might break as well or be subject to similar shortcomings. There is the ability to do this in Apache with redirects, etc. and it’s a common thing that is used in a lot of software to make url’s pretty. I know that CMS’s do this such as Drupal and Joomla, etc., so….
But what if you did something a bit different Dave…? What if there was a standard way to create a shortened url as your own service? Why would this be good…? Well, if anything ever broke, it could be re-created with ease. It would also be a standard that developers could implement and grow on top of. For example, I might run a url shortener, but get tired of it and want to hand it off… with that, I could hand it to Dave if need be. It could be on my end, or it could be a service.
So what I am thinking, and this is just off the top of my head, thinking out loud so don’t flame me about it and tell me I’m an idiot, is this…. What if this was something like passing the filename (file_name.php or .html, etc.) through a hash (MD5, etc.) and using a phrase, maybe the website domain, to hash it? Then maybe it’s added to an Apache redirect or a .htaccess file doing the redirect… That way all shortened url’s would be unique, you could change servers and re-generate the redirects consistently, etc. or another machine could do this all for you if you wanted it as a service. Just some thoughts to chew on…. 🙂

New York Times River of News

I am addicted to Dave Winer’s “NYTimesRiver“. It takes all of the RSS feeds from the New York Times, grabbing them every couple of minutes, and puts them in chronological order, newest first. Like I said, I’m addicted. I use the service on my iPhone constantly, and not just when I’m bored, etc. I find it a great way to check up on the news and what’s going on in the world. And the format is great for mobile devices (I do wish he would get rid of the image at the top though, it takes up space and interferes with the news… and anyone with half a brain would realize that this is perfect for mobile devices!)
One problem though… I don’t see it updating as it has in the past. Is it broken Dave…?
Update: Dave sent me an email about it (also posted a link to my site, thanks) which read….

Yes, but your timing is good…

And Dave says he’s glad it’s “missed”… :-). I’ve been using it since day one and I don’t know what I would do without it. NYTimesRiver.com as become a staple in my news reading life!!!!
I think maybe I’ll get him a gift for all that he’s done for the community. Maybe and EVDO router just in case his LAN goes down again…?

I Have Been Invited to Join SAG!

While most would first ask, “What’s SAG?” Out here in the whacky world of “What can you do for me?” and “Who are you sleeping with, excuse me, ‘do you know’?” and let’s not even forget about my favorite, “What do you drive?”… ugh, I mean Los Angeles everyone who wants to be someone knows that SAG is the Screen Actors Guild. The Union! It is a right of passage for all aspiring “talent”!
I think I did it for varying reasons, wanted to do it for a while, but I did it. I got my third voucher the other week, and today I got the letter. The letter says, “call us, pay your dues, we’ll give you a card :-)!”, then…. But I did get my card for a reason, so you might see or hear me one day…?
In the mean time, when I pay may dues in the coming weeks, and actually get my SAG Card, I’ll write more about how and why I chose to do this. Until then, know that I am about to have a “moment”…. excuse me! (method acting is tough in text!!!! think me, over dramatizing the whole thing (but isn’t that just me?), back of my hand to my forehead, suddenly vaclempt, scurries off left….)
Sag Letter2