My Rental

Slushy Road
Originally uploaded by super_structure.

I took my truck in yesterday to have some service done (minor recall crap). The dealership gave me a rental for the day, which turned out to be a Mazda 3. Okay, it’s not Ferrari or anything, but much nicer than the broken down Ford Focus they gave me last time. Anyway, it’s a really nice little car. Very sporty. It even has manu-matic shifting (or whatever Mazda calls it) like my truck. Unlike my truck, it has red & black interior with carbon fiber trim. The dash is all submarine-sytle red lights. Even thought it’s a small car, I thought it was very comfortable. It did feel like large bumps might make it take air pretty easy, though. Unsettling for a guy who usually drives small sport utility vehichle.

Speaking of which, they had to replace the trim-work on the A-pillars of my vehicle. Come to find out they didn’t provide a whole lot of padding in an accident. Of course, isn’t that what seatbelts are for? Anyway, the problem is, on a Freelander, the A pillars are already pretty massive and this didn’t really help. They now have a sort of aerofoil shape to them, which is larger and far more dangerous looking than the origional trim. I didn’t think to ask the dealer if I could keep the old plastic… Oh well.

Firefox Plug-ins And Searchable Markup

Today, I’m working on a Flickr search engine for FireFox. Why hasn’t someone done that already? Well, for one, Flickr isn’t really set up for external searches.

Flickr

Today, I’m working on a Flickr search engine for FireFox. I was really surprised that no one had thought to create one yet, give Flickr’s huge popularity. Okay, maybe I’m more of a fan that your average Joe (or Jane), but it does seem to be pretty hip with the kids. Anyway, these little search plug-ins are really pretty easy to write and they are extremely handy.

That being said, when you look at the code from a search from Google, you’ll notice little remark tags before and after each search result item:

<!--m--><a href=http://www.jasoncoleman.net/>super_structure | <b>Jason</b> <b>Coleman</b></a><br><font size=-1><b>...</b> And The Coal Men — singer Dave <b>Coleman</b> and cohorts Dave Ray and <b>Jason</b> Hitchcock [yada, yada, yada]<!--n-->

As you can imagine, those little remarks containing m & n make for very nice search strings. The set of search results for each page returned are also bound in similar remarks, with a & z (get it? From "a" to "z".). Yeah, anyway, most of your other sites don’t contain such luxuries (like, say, Yahoo). Flickr, sadly, has even less. The results from a tag search at Flickr, such as "cameraphone" don’t contain any deliminators to speak of. Of course, the idea here is that you just use part of the mark-up as a text string in your search for where an item begins and ends, but that doesn’t work so well. Of course, the natural markup would be <li> & </li> (Flickr uses <p>, which is the same for this argument), but alas, that’s no good when you add a class, id, or style which contain " ‘s (quotation marks). The problem is that those " ‘s truncate your text string prematurely. (Also, Firefox doesn’t seem to understand using &quot; in this context).

All this being said, I’ve submitted my little code to the Mycroft people at Mozilla, so maybe it’ll be up there soon. You can download the file right now from me, and just stick it in the \Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins\ directory and restart Firefox. You won’t have an icon just yet for Flickr. They like those to be downloaded from their site, as opposed to just any old place.

I think that Google’s use of the remark tags as deliminators is a pretty nice little feature that 99.9% of users never know about, but can benefit from because of features like the toolbar search in Firefox. If you happen to have installed the sidebar search, and have my Flickr search, then doing a search on a term in both Flickr & Google simultaneously will show you the benefit. Google returns results just like the Google page. My Flickr plug-in only returns the thumbnail (non-hyperlinked) and the creator (also, non-hyperlinked). I had found a way to include the title of the photo, but then the link for the result went to the creator’s "photostream" and not the individual photo. Is there a way around all this? I’m sure, but I’m not a good enough code writer to do it. Plus, I doubt most people even know about the sidebar search, let alone use it.

Up next, a search plug-in for Wired News!