When I started these writings 4 years ago I wasn't aware of anyone else writing about the software side of chemical informatics. The sites I knew about were science oriented. And I haven't paid much attention to what's going on in the field. I knew about nodalpoint in bioinformatics, and Useful Chemistry, but didn't track them that closely because, hmm, I'm not sure. Perhaps because I thought they weren't program-implementation-y enough, or since that since I don't use a blog aggregator it's hard to read all the blogs, or .. I don't know.
Because of the Sheffield conference I reconnected with a few people, like Noel O'Boyle. I've discovered that I've missed quite a few interesting blog postings by other people, and people I know. So I downloaded NetNewWireLite2.1 and am doing a closer mind-meld to the chemosphere. "Mork calling Orson, come in Orson."
Mmm, I don't like NNWL2.1. I like reading all the posts in one page, not like a 3-pane email reader. It's like I'm using a tiny window to see all of the enties. I tried Safari's RSS reader before but never got the hang of it. Trying it again now I think it's just ugly. The display is flat, and every feed looks the same. Fonts and images and sidebars are part of the context that helps me figure out which blog I'm reading.
Maybe I'll just put all of the sites I read in a single bookmark collection and use "open all in tabs" option. But that's too annoying because several of the chemical informatics blogs are only rarely updated. Like mine.
Okay, NewsLife seems close enough. I'll go with that for a while and see what happens. ... It's been a day now. The rough edges aren't worn away. For example, it can't autosniff the feed URL when I give it the URL for the main page, the highlight on the feed list in the left sidebar doesn't change when the article I'm reading changes, I can't see the URL for the link I'm about to click on, and there's no way to prefetch all of the images for a given blog. Grrr...
Now that I'm reading all these feeds, perhaps I'll be posting more curmudgeonly posts. Like why I don't like InChIs, LSIDs or RDF. Nahhh, that's so boring. :) Especially in the LSID/RDF space as there's nothing new to add to that debate. It's now called the LSID wars. My input on that debate was from a few years ago, which Stephen Chervitz incorporated into his position paper Semantic Web for Data Interpretation & Integration: Lessons Learned from Scientific Publishing and the Distributed Annotation System. Gotta find something new to be annoyed about!
Andrew Dalke is an independent consultant focusing on software development for computational chemistry and biology. Need contract programming, help, or training? Contact me
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