Should You Use Google's Ajax Libraries API for Hosting?

Thanks to Jesse, I decided to read up on Google‘s Ajax Libraries API, a “content distribution network and loading architecture for the most popular open source JavaScript libraries” (their words). In simpler terms, Google will host some of the most common JavaScript libraries for you, such as jQuery, prototype, and MooTools (my words).

The immediate benefit is not having to host it myself. That’s cool. I don’t use a lot of JavaScript, but as you probably know, I’m a fan of offloading things to other people when it can save me the hassle of doing it myself – FeedBurner (now another Google property) is one of the most famous examples of this. But I’m not sure if JavaScript will work in this arena. First and foremost, because I use so little of it, I’m not sure if it really matters. Only 30K or so on my individual archives (such as this one). Even if every visitor I had to the site downloaded the pages fresh, instead of caching them, and every page that I had had those pages – a virtual impossibility, since they don’t use themselves – we’d only be talking about 1GB per month or so. That’s hardly worth the effort for me – though it may be for you. But what about the user experience? Maybe that is worth it.

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Is the Fix (Unofficially) In on Television "Game" Shows?

A decade-and-a-half ago, the movie Quiz Show gave some of us younger pups (no comments, please) insight into the world of corruption amongst game shows like that we had never seen. It was the story of Charles Van Doren, the pretty boy who was given the answers on the game show 21, and how he walked into the living rooms of America, only to be taken down in a scandal like the world had never seen – mostly because television was so new at the time. It’s really amazing that game shows ever recovered. It’s likely the only reason that they did recover is that generation is gone (not gone, gone, but gone from watching).

The new generation grew up on a different batch of shows – reality shows – and now it seems like there may be more trouble brewing. The first season of the rehashed American Gladiators saw contestants apparently about to survive The Eliminator toss the rope just as they made it to the top of the daunting Travelator. The second season saw the events lengthened, but then a contestant with part of a leg missing had the very same Travelator turned off so he could complete the course (a nice gesture, but you get the point). While early competitors on American Idol get tossed for forgetting their lines, the final performance last night appeared to have white lines scrolling at least twice – surely they don’t want the final to be blown by contestants forgetting their lines, but that seems like an odd move by producers. Finally, the obviously superior David Cook (sorry, Archuleta) tanked his performance – so is it all just a scam?

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Keyshawn Wins Best-Dressed Award (Really)

A couple of weeks ago, Keyshawn Johnson did his second round of broadcasting for the NFL draft, and I mentioned just how bad it was. To be fair, it was a bit better than it was last year. For someone who appears to totally lack the ability to shut his mouth, when the cameras are on and rolling for hour after hour of incessant coverage, Keyshawn totally clams up. It’s like he just becomes a different person.

What’s even more amazing to watch is that he is totally and utterly upstaged by Mel Kiper, Jr. of all people. Now this is no slight against Mel Kiper, Jr., mind you, but for the last thirty or so years, he has done next to nothing except pick apart the draft. He barely goes outside. Understandably, on draft day, he is surely an imposing force. But for Keyshawn Johnson to be intimidated by a guy like Mel Kiper? That’s almost impossible to fathom. Yet he is. Last year, perhaps – it was his first year at the desk. But it happened again. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t make it back for a third year. Regardless, this year Keyshawn decided if he couldn’t out-talk Kiper, he’d out-dress him. It apparently worked.

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Schoolhouse Rock Live!

Of course, now that I mentioned that we hadn’t been to see a show for a while, we see a couple of them in a relatively short period of time. After Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz left us feeling less wicked and more blah, we decided we needed something a little more peppy.

A few years back – in fact, just after I moved to Charlotte – I had gone uptown to see the traveling version of Schoolhouse Rock Live!. It just so happens that my wife had asked me about it, since she noticed that it was being put on by the Children’s Theatre, so we decided to go see it.

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Converting RightFields to CustomFields, Now with SQL Goodness!

Back in December, I put together a script for converting RightFields data to CustomFields. This was mostly for me, but I had a few people request this sort of thing, and I had grown tired of doing it by hand, since I’m inherently lazy. There were two problems with this script. The first was that it didn’t do data stored in custom SQL datasources. Unfortunately it was just too hard to figure out. That’s not to say that I couldn’t make it work, but I wasn’t able to do it in an automated fashion.

The second problem was that it left out a few people who had some data that they might want: Namely those with data stored in file fields (usually a file name, such as that you might use for an image). These fields can be somewhat complex, but if it’s just a name, then it’s not typically a problem in converting the data. So it may be okay to convert it. Still, you should probably be aware that a one-to-one conversion of this sort does have some potential pitfalls. The most common was that CustomFields doesn’t have an upload option, but you also can’t do things like extra file path information. So if you decide you want to convert the filename, you should be aware of these potential downfalls. It’s better than nothing, however.

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