Stuff about the world wide web (WWW): Structure, history, weirdness.
Ok, what is it? I think this morning I got Echofone, Delicious Bookmarks, and Read it Later. After three or four crashes I disabled all extensions, and I haven’t had any further crashes. What gives?
I like the functionality of Delicious Bookmarks. I really do. But I remember that this piece of software has given me grief before. Is that it? Again?
I’m going for a binary search and activating half my plugins:
Wish me luck.
Update: Activated all other plugins except for Delicious Bookmarks and Echofon.
Update: Aaah! A new version of the Delicious Bookmarks plugin? I guess they found that bug, eh? Trying…
The RPG Bloggers Network admins are stepping down. They are looking for people to take over.
Here’s how I used the network.
I use Google Reader to read my favorite blogs. There are websites and applications that offer the same service. This not something the RPG Bloggers Network does.
My solution does exactly that: RPG Planet doesn’t do categories, nor does it do fancy RSS feeds. But it publishes the blog homepages, the blog feeds, and an OPML file that you can import into your own feed reader.
Here’s how I would solve the problem:
I think the setup where the list of subscriptions is controlled by a wiki is great.
If the wiki itself is not important, then I suggest we just follow @robertsongames example and use blogspot. His RPG Bloggers built using Blogspot is sweet and looks good on an iPhone, too! It’s simple, it’s free.
I’m a big do-ocracy fan.
Reading about 100 messages discussing membership fees, hosting arrangements, bylaws, voting schemes – that just gives me a headache.
A big benefit of a democracy is that – while cumbersome – it allows you to rule a country where people can’t just simply opt-out. If opting out is trivial, we don’t need democracy, simpler tools will work. A Swiss association is a form of self-government used by the FIFA and the ICRC. But even that is way too much overhead for an aggregator of blogs!
There are many blog aggregators out there. It’s easy to do. It’s easy to host. It’s not worth a penny in membership fees. It’s not worth hours of discussion. A solution on the level of Stuart Robertson’s Blogspot site is super easy. All the talk on the mailing list right now is talk about an idea that is super easy to implement.
Adding a wiki to control a planet might be interesting for those of us that wish for a more active participation.
I’ve sent a proposal with the above when I heard of the Revised Plan of Action!
Gaaah! Now that I read through it again, I see some glaring mistakes I’ve made…
Update: Also read ChattyDM’s side of the story. I think he’s right – I also don’t like taking crap, specially for a service I’m providing for free. I guess in the wiki world we have identified a lot of patterns that will hopefully help us all deal with this kind of stuff. Who is a DifficultPerson, the problems of RadicalInclusiveness, how providing the RightToFork allows us to practice ModerateInclusiveness, the importance of a CommonCause, trying to apply SoftSecurity, etc.
I have this little script called leech-detector that I run on log files every now and then:
aschroeder@thinkmo:~$ leech-detector < logs/access.log | head 126.96.36.199 2654 11K 9% 8.7s 200 (86%), 404 (7%), 302 (2%), 304 (2%), 301 (0%), 501 (0%) 188.8.131.52 1055 14K 3% 22.0s 200 (91%), 304 (2%), 404 (2%), 301 (2%), 302 (0%) 184.108.40.206 979 20K 3% 23.7s 200 (96%), 404 (1%), 301 (1%) 220.127.116.11 868 12K 2% 26.7s 200 (85%), 301 (9%), 404 (3%), 302 (1%), 403 (0%) 18.104.22.168 413 15K 1% 56.1s 200 (50%), 304 (41%), 301 (7%) 22.214.171.124 293 18K 1% 78.6s 200 (76%), 304 (7%), 301 (7%), 404 (6%), 302 (2%)
So, what do we have? Using whois on them:
I guess that assuming 20% search engine traffic is still a good estimate.
Actually, when grouping by user agent instead of the IP number using bot-analyze, we get an even higher number. Apparently the Microsoft bot is distributed over various IP numbers so that it doesn’t show up in the list above:
aschroeder@thinkmo:~$ bot-analyze < logs/access.log | head ---------------------------------Hits-------Actions Total 29979 100% 0% --------------------------------------------------- msnbot 7437 24% 1% Googlebot 2817 9% 0% robot 950 3% 3% Exabot 137 0% 2% robots 49 0% 0% qihoobot 26 0% 30% MSNBOT 22 0% 0%
That’s a full 33% of my hits for search engines. Then again, I pay for bandwidth and not hits. Should I rewrite this to show bandwidth?
I wonder how bigger sites handle it. Perhaps I could decide that 3% hits is enough, and therefore serve a 503 Service Unavailable response for 10 in 11 bot requests? In order to implement this, my script would still have to start up, however, eating CPU cycles and disc access.
Or is 33% a sign of bad design decisions I made? Am I sending the bots around in loops, changing the URLs all the time, making them think they have discovered new pages they have not indexed, yet?
Here’s what I did:
Problems I am noticing right now:
I feel weird using the Microsoft Exchange Server protocol.
I added a a feed to the English diary pages excluding the RPG category to the metadata of this site. As far as I can tell there’s still the occasional German page that slips through. Let me know if you find so that I can try and improve the language filter. To be honest, it is very primitive – basically I count matches for the following regular expressions:
\b(the|that|and|why|what|you|it|one)\b – three matches and the page is considered to contain English text.
\b(der|die|das|und|oder|eins|zwei|drei|vier|ich|du|er|sie|es|den|dem|des|ein|eine|einer|eines)\b – three matches and the page is considered to contain German text.
If a page is not identified as English or German, it’ll match any language filter and get shown. Thus, German pages that are too short for three matches, or German pages that contain some English book titles matching the other regular expression three times will still show up in the feed.
I’ve switched from BlogLines to GoogleReader some time ago. I’m happy with it. Recently it added some sort of recommendation mechanism. I don’t get it. Some people are recommended to me. Some people seem to be regular readers. What’s going on? I have no idea.
Gah, HCoop is having problems. Apparently we’re in need of a machine upgrade. This doesn’t seem like it’s going to be over soon. I also have an account at Eggplant Farms. In the past, Eggplant Farms’ performance has been really and Community Wiki suffered. I started looking for an alternative and created Campaign Wiki on HCoop. And now the tables are turned, Eggplant Farms is stable again where as HCoop is failing. I guess I need to move Campaign Wiki back to Eggplant Farms…
A friend gave me Saturns’s Children by Charles Stross to read. I’ve read and liked CharlieStross in 2006 and 2005. I subscribed to his blog, liked, and I don’t remember why I unsubscribed. I returned to the blog today and decided to resubscribe. One of his articles linked a blog post by ClayShirky: Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable. I also used to read Clay Shirky in the past. He wrote excellent essays. Still does. I recommend the article Charles linked to.
Newspapers are going the way of the Dodo.
Let me just add this:
Update: I finished Saturn’s Children and really liked it.
I used to install the Firefox add-on Adblock Plus and block all those blinking and moving images. There was enough motion on my screen to give me motion sickness or cause an epileptic seizure! The animated graphics annoyed me a lot, anyway.
But now I remembered to look for an alternative: Visit about:config and set image.animation_mode to once.
It doesn’t help against Flash, though. For those animations that continue to annoy me, Adblocker is still but a click away.
Yesterday I decided to try the switch from BlogLines to GoogleReader, again. I find the interface quite confusing. I expected my subscriptions to be at the center of things, bit as I keep using the site I find that the items my “friends” are sharing dominating my reading experience. I did not find an easy way to exclude them. Even if there is a way, I am astonished at how hard it is to find. I also note how tricky unsubscribing seems to be. I apparently I need to do that in my settings. I’ll try for a while longer, but for now I wonder whether the Gmail user interface engineer would do the same. Or if it is the same guy, what his thoughts were. I don’t doubt that the Reader is a software masterwork with all the asynchronous stuff going on. But the user interface takes some getting used to. Plus: I use the mobile interface for Gmail and Google Reader in addition to the usual web interface. Both need to be useful.