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Ma.gnolia's downfall (updated)

I write this post with a very heavy heart.

ma.gnolia's logo, fadingIn case you missed this, the fantastic bookmarking service Ma.gnolia has put up a scary warning on their homepage announcing that their platform was brought down due to data corruption and loss.

Hopefuly when you click that link, you'll see the usual Ma.gnolia beautiful homepage... but most likely, you won't.

The fact that the wording on that open letter is so careful not to commit to any date or feed any hope of total recovery, outright scares me. It's like they're preparing us for the worst...

The problem is... I've grown to love ma.gnolia. That's right, love. I've never liked It demo-ed the social power of the web, but it was fugly and messy from the start! When I started using a website to store my bookmarks, I fell for Ma.gnolia. Few other websites made me feel as warm inside, just by using them. Not only they had a better experience, but they've always been more than open to new trends and technologies (openid, eaut, microformats, etc.) but they also treated the users very warmly. Something I never saw from!.

So it's not surprising that I feel something very close to what you feel when you lose a harddrive with very important data, because in the end, the result is pretty much the same. Loss of data.

I'm refraining from hoping there will be a full recovery just so I won't be disappointed. I actually have a theory that involves sql injections and a loose policy on backups, but... we'll leave that for some other time.

The good news is that since I setup my lifestream to republish my ma.gnolia bookmarks, I managed to salvage 263 bookmarks. The oldest of them is from August 2007. Not that bad.

Whatever comes out of this fiasco, it has certainly taught me a valuable lesson. Treat the data you put up in the cloud as you would treat an external drive. Back up ma.gnolia (*insert new bookmarking website*) to and SAPO Links. Keep a local copy of all the Flickr photos and upload a copy to Photobucket and smugmug.

Of course I'm not gonna do this overnight, that's why services like tarpipe are very well positioned to bring this to the average user with the least amount of effort. All I have to do is create workflows that put my content on more than one place. If Amazon, Yahoo! and SAPO all fail at the exact same time... we're probably being invaded by Aliens or something, so losing your online content might be the smallest of your problems.


Alcides reminded me to include a few examples of workflows that could achieve this. Here they are.

  1. Workflow to submit photos to Flickr, Photobucket and 23hq. (possible now)

  2. Workflow to submit links to, ma.gnolia and SAPO links. (fictional workflow)

Happy 0b11111011001

Just want to send wishes of happy entrance in 2009 to anyone who might read this.

This year, 2008, was easily my best year so far, in various aspects, so I hope I'm not pushing my luck by hoping that 2009 be even better.

As far as resolutions go, I'll:

  • try to blog more
  • tweet less
  • and hope to advance a few projects I have brewing.

In review, 2008 was a great year, filled with great music. Kings of Leon and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. (best name for a band, ever) take the top spots on my shortlist.

As for movies, I'm going to have to agree with pecus, Into the Wild was the best movie I watched all year (it premiered in 2008 in Portugal, so it counts). Followed by TDK and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

And that's a wrap! :-)

Codebits 2008 - We'd like to thank the academy...

Codebits projected on a wall
Photo by Pedro Cavaco

SAPO Codebits 2008 has come and gone... and let me tell you, what a 3 day experience it was.

Let's start from the beginning.

My talk

I was up very early in the schedule, so I gave the talk, Microformats - putting together the pieces of the puzzle (roughly translated title) on the second slot of the first day. It was nice being able to stop worrying about it very early in the event.

From all the feedback I've gathered, right then and there and also later on the web, I think it went very well. It's nice seeing people saying:

The truth is that I’ve already heard a lot about microformats, but I’ve never had the chance to search and read something more detailed about it. (...) So, now that I caught some interest in Microformats, I’ll soon be applying them on my web projects.
Rogério Vicente

If you want, take a peek at the slides at my last post or view them on slideshare (they're in Portuguese, though).

I handed out a few stickers, but if you want some for you, either ask me or create your own at Moo
(created by Brian Suda).

Other Presentations

The fact that some talks I was interested in were at the same time, presented the usual difficulties.

Which talk should I go to?

The ones I liked best were:

There were a few others I missed but I'll try to watch them as SAPO start releasing the videos (yes, there will be videos).

Coding competition

Right. Since this was heavily inspired in Yahoo! Hackday, the highlight is the coding competition.

This year I teamed up again with my pal Pedro Eugénio and we implemented a basic prototype of an idea we had during the event. Little did we know what was in store for us!

Here's the pitch.

Who's In?

We thought that one feature that was lacking on all major analytics packages was being able to see what your users were actually doing on your websites. So we wrote a little demo that captured the mouse movements and mouse clicks of each user and played it in the admin area (using comet, which was our first attempt at using it), all merged into one replica of the website.

This would allow site owners to perform usability tests on users without affecting their behaviour by telling them they're being tested. Also, client support can use this to provide some remote assistance on-the-fly with no setup required. There's a whole bunch of use-cases for this, really. And some of them might actually pull some money behind it.

If you're interested, watch the screencast we used during the 90 seconds and see the picture of a visual enhancement we did after recording the video below.

a screenshot of our project

We thought the idea was great and as we shared it with everyone who was kind enough to hear us, we started getting very positive feedback... namely from Bruno Pedro, Pedro Melo, Nuno Mariz, etc. That's always a great motivator. Also, Bernardo Mota helped us a lot with his experience with client support. Thank you all for the help.

Well... The best was yet to come, as this little demo granted us the ___th prize! (we were so taken by surprise that we didn't actually remembered to ask which prize we got! It was either 6th or 5th, I think.) 4th place I couldn't believe it! We won a prize!! And what a prize it was! We each got a brand new Macbook, a motorola Q 9h and 2x books. I grabbed one that I've been wanting ever since I saw Ann McMeekin presenting at <HEAD>: Design Accessible Web Sites. Pedro got a huge bible on Ajax. Awesome (the Eddie Izzard kind of awesome) prizes, I tell you. Great partners Codebits has. ;)

So thank you all who helped us, the jury for supporting us and now, we're off to find out the best way to get this online ASAP. I'll keep you posted.

One wish for 2009, though... I hope to see a lot less (or... none?) projects presented that were not developed within the 24 hours. There were still a good deal of projects that were clearly developed outside codebits and just used them at the competition... I know it's not that polite to critique if you're one of the winners, but the whole spirit of the event is to see what you can come up with in 24 hours...

So kudos to everyone who did their stuff at the event and as far as my favourite projects go, well, here's a list.

  • Crowdbeats
  • CloudStream
  • Myusic
  • Blog game

Organizers and participants

A last word to the organizers, who happen to be the company where I work at. Well done boys. It makes us proud to be part of the family with such a stunning event.

Also, I met a good deal of people throughout the 3 days and let me tell you, it feels good to see so many people getting together around the common interest, technology, and still be able to have a good time, laugh, sing, play, etc.

It's a proof that when it comes to geeks, there's more than meets the eye. ;)

Microformatos - juntando as peças do puzzle @ Codebits

Here it is, the presentation I just gave at Codebits 2008. English-speaking readers, I'm sorry but the presentation was in Portuguese...

Feedback more than appreciated.

Also, I forgot to say I'll be hanging out with cheatsheets during the hacking competition. On top of that, I have some moo stickers to hand out. Ask me for them... I'm also looking for more stickers, so if you have some, let me know.

Happy hacking, folks.

Codebits 2008

This post will be written in Portuguese, since it's a local event. It's heavily inspired by the Yahoo! Hackday, but if you want to know more, please, leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer.


Logótipo do Codebits 2008


Estamos naquela altura do ano. Altura do Codebits! O ano passado, a primeira edição garantiu um lugar especial no coração de geeks por todo esse Portugal. Pelos pequenos teasers que foram sido lançados no Blog do evento, este ano ainda vai ser melhor!

E claro, não podia deixar de lá estar. Cá está o meu perfil na Intra do evento. Graças ao Celso, aquilo está carregadinho de XFNs e hCards. :D

Este ano, fui convidado a fazer uma workshop sobre um tema que me interessa bastante e que não deverá ser surpresa para quem lê o blog — microformatos. Na altura tive receio de ficar marcado como "O gajo que não se cala com microformatos", mas uma vez que nunca fiz nenhuma sobre este tema num espaço público (ambas as vezes foram formações internas), aceitei o convite.

Aqui fica a sinopse publicada no site do Codebits:

Os microformatos têm-se vindo a afirmar nos últimos anos como uma peça vital no futuro da web. Dada a sua facilidade de implementação e o aumento do suporte destes formatos em várias frentes, há cada vez mais sites a produzirem conteúdos com estes formatos embebidos.

Nesta workshop iremos dar uma introdução ao conceito, uma visão geral dos formatos mais predominantes e mostrar várias formas de os consumir _hoje_ na web.


Vai ter por base a apresentação que publiquei há umas semanas, no entanto, foi alterada para estar mais próxima da realidade do codebits. Para além disso, foi actualizada com algumas novidades que sugiram entretanto. Também irá incluir uma série de exemplos e possibilidades para talvez despertar a imaginação dos participantes e poderem assim criar projectos para o concurso do Codebits que tirem partido da miríade de microformatos que existem por essa web fora.

Ora tomem lá um sneak-peek:

um preview da apresentação

Se tens dúvidas ou críticas sobre os slides que publiquei, aparece e coloca questões!

Até lá? ;)

Mal posso esperar pela edição de 2009. Ano passado: quadrados. Este ano: cubos. Próximo: hipercubo? :D

Aaaaaand.... we're *hic* back!

"Back? Where did you go??" — read on, you'll know in a minute.


I've had a couple of websites hosted at PowWeb since 2005. Even tough I had had other hostings before that, their plan really looked promising, at the time.

For the first year, everything went smoothly. After that, the lack of SSH and their poor handling of a few issues I had with my account really started to bug me.

When the yearly invoice was approaching, I really wanted to move everything elsewhere, but I ended up staying simply because it was too much of a trouble. Didn't want to move the whole set of websites, since, if I recall correctly, it was during some busy busy weeks.

But come on... this is 2008, the 21st century! No one should have their websites hosted on hosts they don't like. That's why this year, I got off my ass and moved everything to slicehost. Yes, I'm finally free of PowWeb! And that makes me smile.

Moved from powweb to slicehost

On the table, I had mediatemple's (gs), slicehost and gandi. I decided to grab a slice and see how it goes. I'm on a monthly basis, so if I want to pick up and leave, I will. And yes, I know they were just bought by RackSpace. I'm an optimist.

With the total control over the machine, comes a lot more work. Since I've never worn the admin hat very seriously, some of you might have felt a few *hiccups* on either one of my hosted domains:

If you find something out of place, it's either a glitch in the Matrix or I've overlooked something.

Give me a shout, will ya? Thanks.

BarcampPT: The end of the tabula rasa users?

A week ago today I was arriving from a weekend spent amongst the Portuguese geekdom. I attended my very first Barcamp, in Coimbra. So, in the spirit of the event I prepared a talk about something that have been on my mind recently.

Instead of repeating the presentation about microformats, which is nothing more than an attempt to push adoption of microformats to increase semantics on websites, I decided to look at it from a different angle and show how you can muster the value of semantic content, available TODAY on our users' other websites/services.

If you're interested, check the presentation below. I gave the talk in Portuguese, but since there were so few slides, I translated them to English.

Feel free to give some feedback in the comments below.

read on about: BarcampPT: The end of the tabula rasa users?

A quick one for the geeks: z-ceiling bookmarklet

While debugging yet another IE6 rendering issue, I noticed one thing in the CSS my good friend Billy wrote. He also uses astronomic z-indexes to make sure it's on top of every other element on the page. Since webdevelopers are human as well and not elephants, we need some help.

That's why, while developing a fancy pantsy webapp, I wrote a handy bookmarklet for Firefox that shows the maximum z-index on the page.

So, here it is, just drag it onto your bookmarks toolbar:
(or like me, the bookmarklet folder in the toolbar)


Let me know if you run into some bugs or if it fails to pick up any element. Worked for me on Firefox 3, but should work on other browsers as well.

(the code of the demo I used at barcamppt is in the oven, should be ready soon.)

Google Chrome - Something's not right...

Unless you're literally living under a rock, you've already heard the commotion about the big announcement on the interwebs today: Google released an OS and named it a "browser" mvalente.

It includes V8, the javascript virtual machine and — lo and behold &mdash WEBKIT.

So you can guess my surprise when I opened my own site and I saw this:

Chrome, failing at CSS3

What you're seeing there is the comparison between Safari 3.1.1 and Google Chrome, running inside VMWare. I have ClearType enabled, so I have no idea why border-radius has no f—— anti-aliasing!!

Also, where's text-shadow??


Google Chrome has got to be using a very stale version of Webkit... because it FAILS at basic CSS3 stuff!

While it's enough to mop the floor with IE 6, 7 and 8, it's not enough to bear the name of "webkit".

Apart from that, it's impressive. Hope everyone using Windows grabs a copy. Dad, I'm not looking at you, stick to Firefox! ;D

Hellboy 2 made me fear for The Hobbit

Let me just state upfront that I LOVED Pan's Labyrinth. Despite not being a huge fan of (the) comics, I caught Hellboy 2 this past weekend, majorly because I wanted to test Guillermo.

Last thing I had heard about The Hobbit was that it was going to be a Guillermo del Toro project... and that made me uneasy. The work he had done with Labyrinth, sure spoke volumes as to how boundless his imagination really is. But it spoke nothing of his ability to adapt a 50 years old literary masterpiece that has been loved and cherished throughout the decades - by adults and children alike.

Before watching his latest movie, I caught a making-of in which Mike Minogla, the creator of the comics, mentioned Guillermo was always the one who kept adding new stuff to the story.

That worried me.

Comparing two creatures from hellboy and pan's labyrinthThe creator of Hellboy is not only alive and kicking but also a part of the project! Guillermo had the nerve to kept adding stuff into HIS story?? How would Tolkien stand a chance? Things didn't look good.

If you add that to the similarity between all del Toro's monstrous creatures - which you can see on the picture on the right; the top is from Hellboy 2 and the bottom one is from Pan's Labyrinth - things are definitely not looking good for The Hobbit, are they?

That's what I thought when I came out of the movie.
(I actually liked it.)

At least until I came online and searched for news about The Hobbit.

The GOOD news

Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro writing Hobbit themselves, not only that, they're teaming up with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the same gals who aided Peter "The Hobbit" Jackson put together the pretty outstanding adaption of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

There. I can sleep at ease until 2011.

That shot in Hellboy 2 when they enter the "earth", sure had some resemblance with the Misty Mountains... hadn't it?

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