Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thing #12 - This is How I Roll

I liked Rollyo, and created a little roll that allows me to search Instructables and WikiHow for how-to kinds of things. I have to say, though, that I'm not that enthused. I think I prefer to search more directly on my own.

What I'd really like is a way to create a custom Google search using some of their sooper sekrit tags. My favorite is allintext:, which looks for your search terms only in the body of the page, ignoring titles, headers, footers, etc. It's surprising how much more targeted my results get with that in my search.

For more on digging into Google's guts, read the first few chapters of the book Mining Google Web Services. Great stuff!

LibraryThing, or angst, agida, and depression

As you can see by the timestamps of my last two posts, I've been stopped for a bit by the LibraryThing Thing. This is not because I have any kind of aversion to it. In fact, I'm an early adopter (see who paid for a cheap lifetime membership back when LibraryThing was in its infancy. I even have a repurposed CueCat scanner that I used to scan in ISBNs for awhile.

The thing is, I'm pretty frustrated by the whole concept of online book tracking right now. A couple of years ago, I started keeping track of what I read. At first, I was doing it on paper, but I soon realized that I wanted to share it with others, so I started tracking in Outlook and blogging monthly about what I'd read.

That has fallen by the wayside somewhat, but I'm looking for a very specific solution to meet my need. I don't want to go into too much detail and bore you, but essentially, I want to use my BlackBerry (since it's with me all the time) to do the tracking, but I want a site like LibraryThing or GoodReads to end up with the data so that it can be shared with others and sent out to Twitter, Facebook, and my blog. Unfortunately, it looks more and more like nobody has done what I want, so if I want it, I have to do it myself.

In a nutshell, then, thinking about LibraryThing leads to me thinking about object-oriented programming in Python, which is something I will have to teach myself from scratch if I want to do this. And then I get depressed thinking about how much work I'll have to put into this to get what I want out of it.

Anyway, that's my long-winded way of saying I know LibraryThing. It's great! I just wish it would do something it wasn't designed to do. :-)