Improv'd Daily! (elzr)

wed9may2007—19w129d35%— 00h16m00s—0utc

In computing, the second-system syndrome is a form of sophomore slump that describes the tendency to design the successor to a relatively small, elegant, and successful system as an elephantine, feature-laden monstrosity. The term was first used by Fred Brooks WP in his classic The Mythical Man-Month_^ WP, AM^.

Wikipedia, Second-System Syndromeeffect

Y’know, I remember reading about the syndrome in Brooks’s book with a smug confidence that it would never happen to me. It did. Imagery was by many accounts a pretty cool thing, but then I tried to outdo myself with its successor, Domburi, and, many, many ineffectual months later, I must admit that I’ve only weird sketches and weirder code to show for my time.

Which doesn’t mean that I’ve given up. It means that we need a new strategy. The all-or-nothing, hail-mary, next-big-thing, under-wraps-until-perfect approach was doomed since the beginning. (I really should have known better.) So the new strategy is to get it all out. As rough and soon as possible.

I’m calling it “Improv’d Daily!” and it is akin to beta-hood WP — in that it indicates that the website is still under developement — but it carries the all important mantra of radical incrementalism: every single day there will be at least one new, stand-alone, non-trivial improvement for the website. It won’t be earth shattering every day but it shall always be interesting.

I’m starting the meme with this very blog, which is supposed to be my online self and yet still lags far, far behind of what I want from it. (-Domburi will be up in a couple of hours.- Domburi up.) This very post will be updated daily with each day’s changes starting now and I have several new goodies to kickstart the kaizen:


  1. Related Posts section added (when viewing an individual post). Posts are related the more tags they have in common and the more rare those tags are.
  2. List of comments (accessible from the right sidebar, at the bottom of the Recent Comments header)
  3. New URLs: http://elzr.com/articles/YEAR/MONTH/DAY/TITLE becomes http://elzr.com/posts/TITLE, which is shorter and sweeter. You don’t need to remember a post’s date now and, what’s more, if there’s no post found with that TITLE, Google comes automagically to the rescue.
  4. Left sidebar redesign: new headshot, shorter description, just email (putting my phone # up there was always a bad idea, that phone-call confirmed it), new format for the archives.
  5. Collapsed “for:” tags in a post’s tag list. Much clearer. Tags are also now ordered alphabetically.
  6. Lots of tiny improvements all over. Like the orange bar atop a single post — neat, huh? — or icons for search (a magnifying glass in the searchbox) and for favorites (a star in favorite articles).


  1. Crappy day: a minor, bureaucratic improvement to the website became a nightmare. Blog crashing on and off. Domburi will have to wait until tomorrow.


  1. Blog back!
  2. Section Cache!: the recent list (favorites, posts, comments), the tags list, and the archive are now cached, making the website much, much faster.
  3. List of all posts (accessible from the left sidebar, below the Archives header)


  1. Save to Del.icio.us, Reddit, Digg, and Stumble Upon when viewing an individual post.
  2. Tag Cloud!
  3. js-less Improv’d Daily! Ok, this may not sound like much but it’s important and cool. I use ALA’s CSS Sprites technique.


Obsessed Domburi fiddling. Sorry.


  1. Fixed broken Tag Cloud links (Thanks Aaron!)

16/May/07 — 20/Jun/07

Big, humongous gap — or vacations — or depression bout. Or all of them together. See chronicle on Domburi’s Improv’d Daily.


  1. Old URLs redirect to URLs to keep with the migration announced May 8. http://elzr.com/articles/YEAR/MONTH/DAY/TITLE now really becomes http://elzr.com/posts/TITLE.
  2. Sidebar Redesign: new picture, new welcome copy bared down to its barest Basic English WP essentials, new webapps added to webapp section, new, much better descriptions for most items in the sidebar.
  3. Daily Improves section in the sidebar for you to keep handy track of my progress — or lack thereof.
  4. Minor CSS fiddling — like a new, bigger size for small caps type (it could be hard to read at some resolutions and some platforms).
  5. New 404 page, that is, a new page to aid you when you type in an address that can’t be found. Try it now with http://elzr.com/this-address-is-wrong/. Thanks Aaron!
  6. New title for homepage. Since the delta thing is already obscure conceit enough, I decided to convert seconds into more humane time units. 8,321,231s delta is now 96 day delta.

    Delta, btw, means something like the divergence (the difference) that has come to pass between two different times, one of which is usually the present — so when I say in this blog’s homepage title that there’s a 96 day delta I mean that I haven’t updated it in 96 days, i.e., me and my digital self have had 96 days to go our own separate ways. This wonderful sense of the word comes from Charles Stross’s Accelerando.

  7. Unified search into a simple URL, http://elzr.com/search/QUERY, which currently carries a personalized Google search of elzr.com but will eventually change to Domburi. This new unified interface allowed me to finally create a YubNub command for the blog: try elzr (see its man page) at every input box that speaks YubNub.
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