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Beware free things!!

Old content alert!

Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Always happy to have people read my stuff but just thought I should point out this post is years old. If it's about technical stuff there is a possibility that it is no longer relevant, if it's a bug report/fix I'm hoping that it should now have been fixed.

Of course if this is what you're looking for and it does work then great, just don't say I didn't warn you...

Just a quick one but after the two days I have had at work (I thought they would be nice and easy but was very wrong) I just wanted to say something about the use of third party services and open source software projects and that is BEWARE!!

We all know how cool things like the Technorati microformats search and vanilla forum software is, I for one got very excited and thought up a number of projects that would utilise them to make my life easier and also look like some kind of web genius but after both of my projects have fallen over on their arse I am feeling rather down in the dumps.

I had marked up our University events calendar all in lovely microformats and had planned to provide a link which would send each events parent node through the Technorati search feed and produce a lovely .ics file that could then be placed into our Outlook calendars to act as a personal reminder; instead of visiting the website all is needed is to wait for the even alert to jump up on screen – great! I launch it on Monday, the Technorati search engine decides to fall over and I end up looking like a Muppet because its not working and I had to pull the service (a nice bit of display: none did the trick). There is also a number of issues I have with the Microsoft integration of microformatted data – I have never imported a vCard correctly into my Outlook contacts list and had all the embedded data (mostly email addresses) transferred and the ics files it produces seem to have a problem with the time format used….

I had also wanted to pilot the use of Vanilla Forum, I had planned a day (yesterday) and was extremely excited to see it up and running on the boagworld forum – I thought it would be a nice easy install; it so wasn’t and even our server people have no idea why its not working (which leads me to think that it never will do :<)

So yes - even though you see things working all over the web this is no promise that it will work for you so don't put all your eggs in one basket in the assumption that it will do. It seems that while they may say that it will work on every server in the world there are no guarantees. What a way to start of a holiday :<

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  • Neil Crosby

    A fairly standard saying at my old workplace was “It’s not free as in beer, or free as in speech – it’s free as in crap!”

    So, there you go :) Hope you have a good holiday, mate.