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Category: Weblogging

Notes: 2022-11-23

Recovery from covid continues. Allow me to express the sentiment that wearing a mask is a very small price to pay for avoiding literally three weeks of reduced capacity, one week of which was complete downtime.

I installed an ActivityPub plugin for WordPress, so if you’re a Mastodon person you can effectively follow this blog at @Bryant. This works very well for me, because it means I can easily put my longer-form permanent thoughts here and everything I post on my main Mastodon account ( can be transient.

Tim Bray has an excellent article on practical uses of the blockchain. While he was at AWS, he was tasked with being part of a group that looked into whether or not AWS should provide blockchain services. Spoiler: they found no use cases that require a blockchain over a database. Distributed ledgers (which do not require blockchains) are handy.

The Man of the Hole is an absolutely wild story. He was an indigenous native of the Amazon rainforest whose tribe was wiped out by Brazilian settlers sometime after 1970 or so. We don’t know what his name was, because Brazil successfully avoided disturbing his solitary existence for over two decades. He died this August. I can’t imagine how lonely his life must have been, but apparently he knew there were people keeping an eye out for him and I guess he never showed signs of wanting contact. Read the article. The Wikipedia page also seems pretty good.

Interesting Rian Johnson interview (by Walter Chaw, who is great). I liked what he had to say about the meta-textual layer of an all star cast: what expectations does that create in the audience?

I want to invent a tabletop RPG mechanic around the Go First Dice. Follow the link for a deep dive, but the summary is that it’s possible to number four 12 sided dice such that when four people roll them, there will never be a tie and every possible ordering of the results is equally possible. In other words, everyone has an equal chance to roll highest, second highest, third highest, and fourth highest. (Second place is a set of steak knives, of course.)

Phew. Lots of backlog today.

I knew that Lagos was one of the biggest cities in the world, and growing fast. I did not realize that it’s the east end of a 600 mile stretch of coast that’s quickly turning into a megapolis.

Tech Note: JournalPress Plugin

This is very obvious in retrospect: the reason my WordPress to Dreamwidth crossposting stopped working is because Dreamwidth made security changes and as a result you don’t get to use your password for the API any more. Good change! If you cluelessly don’t pay attention, though, your WordPress plugin will stop working.

Solution: go to the Mobile Post Settings page and generate yourself a new API key. Easy.

This is a very light excuse for a weekly post but man, this week was kind of disfocused for various reasons.

Brief theory

Come to think of it, what I’d like to see in comment spam detection next is this algorithm: whenever three comments are submitted within an hour, and all three contain the same URL, add the full hostname in the URL to the spam filter list and notify me.

Yeah, it’s open to denial of service, but it’s a weak DoS in that anyone who’s denied service can get around it easily by not posting URLs with that hostname. And there are significantly more spammers than there are people carrying out DoS attacks on my comments.

Mission to

Ranchero Software released the beta of MarsEdit the other day. My preliminary feeling is that it’s nice and slim and practical. As Ginger has noted more than once, ecto is kind of getting increasingly bloated. The latest version, 2.0, has a WYSIWYG editor that isn’t quite there yet, and it’s all about autoformatting for you, and so forth — and I don’t really want my weblog editor to be a RTF editor. Sure, I can switch into a simpler mode, but why should I buy into all the overhead?

However… on my system, my ecto process is currently running at 14.55 MB and my MarsEdit process is running at 33.42 MB. That’s with this post typed into both of them. So we’ll see; they’re both in beta and they both have time to slim down a little. (I have enough memory; it’s the principle of the thing.) In the meantime I’m going to use MarsEdit so as to give it a workout.

Hm, it just posted this as a draft. That’s not what I wanted…

History of support

Dave Winer, 3/23/04:

The Cluetrain says we should be more open and communicate. I’ve bought into that. So have the Trotts and their investors. If they have to walk on eggshells in order to communicate, they’re going to do less of it. So try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and try to work with them. I will too, overlooking how they’ve treated me in the past, because it’s good for the community for us all to work together.

Dave Winer, 5/14/04:

Six Apart announced new pricing for Movable Type and hell breaks loose. The users are acting as children, saying somehow they didn’t know that eventually Six Apart would charge for their software. I knew they were going to charge, why didn’t you? I can say this because I’m not a customer (I do use their software, but I didn’t pay for it) and I’m not them. But I’ve been where they are and it sucks. No one’s perfect. If you use their software, you owe them some money. If you don’t like the price, don’t use it.

Dave Winer, 5/21/04, on Six Apart’s pricing:

Editorial: It’s lame to charge for weblog software based on how many weblogs you make and how many authors there are. A weblog isn’t that big a deal. Manila lets you make as many weblogs as you want with as many authors as you want. Today’s modern $2K computer can manage thousands of weblogs. Charge a fair price and don’t fuss over how many blogs they make or how many people edit them.

Dave Winer, 6/14/04, on transitioning sites:

There are several commercial Manila hosting companies, including Thomas Creedon maintains a list of commercial and free hosting services. If you want to have your site hosted more cheaply, consider the possibility of forming a co-op of some kind.

Anil Dash of Six Apart, 6/15/04:

We’re also interested in offering TypePad as a hosting service for those who are transitioning their sites. I’ve got a good idea how to do a lot of the tech, but if people can lend insights into a more open way to export and import these sites, I’m all ears.

I’d love to see someone document the process of migrating (from any tool to any other, really) in order to help us all focus on making this better for users in the future. I’d volunteer myself but I’d rather it be someone neutral who’s interested.

Dave Winer, 6/23/04:

One difference between what happened to SixApart and what happened to me, is that I came to their defense, and they joined the mob. I’ll still come to their defense in the future, when I think the community needs moderation, but I won’t forget what they did, trying to hustle new business with the people whose sites were stranded.

Price point

Six Apart took another crack at Movable Type pricing. It’s a lot simpler. For non-commercial use, you can pay $69.95 to get up to five authors and unlimited blogs, or you can pay $99.95 to get unlimited authors and unlimited blogs. They’ve also fixed most of the license issues.

For me, this license and this pricing scheme work. I’ll be upgrading sometime soonish, most likely. I expect there are still people for whom it won’t work, and I think that’s a perfectly rational decision too.

Fight spam with

The only thing I really don’t like about MT-Blacklist is that I have to fiddle around and cut and paste URLs and click a lot when I want to mark a comment as spam. This is mostly my own fault for using an old CRT-based mail reader, but still. So I wrote a little script that takes an MovableType comment email as input and runs MT-Blacklist on the comment. Now, whenever I get comment spam, I pipe the email alert to this script and the comment spam goes away.

This works for me. It may not work for you. No warrantee, etc. Test before using. Requires the CPAN modules WWW::Mechanize and HTML::TokeParser.

Ecto fixed

Full kudos to Adriaan Tijsseling, who tracked down my ecto bug (as bitched about earlier) and will be fixing it in the next version. In the meantime, I skillfully avoid the bug by not using the Text Only option for the toolbar. The fact that he kept track of who was having the problem and let me know personally about the fix wins points with me.

Shaking out cats

Jon Udell has a very good article about using Bayesian techniques to categorize blog postings. I think this is rather interesting, because I keep meaning to try Bayesian filtering on (alternately) Usenet and my mailing lists. The difference between me and Udell is that he went out and did it and got paid for writing about it.

Now that he’s pointed me at the right tools, I may try this on Usenet. Bwah hah ha.