< <journal "^\d\d\d\d-\d\d-\d\d.*Web">
> <journal search tag:web>
Stuff about the world wide web (WWW): Structure, history, weirdness.
OK, so apparently I need to look my site’s setup again. I hate these sysadmin problems. I would love to not worry about security issues, trusting my GNU/Linux distro to simply do the right thing. But it can’t upgrade my sites SSL setup. Currently the architecture does no allow that. Each site has config files, each site has its own certificates.
I should probably automate this in some way.
Today I saw two posts on Google+ I found interesting. In the first, Rob said that he would like to finance a zine in order to get all the news but not “the Internet”. I said that back when we all just had websites and used ftp to post new stuff the Internet was a peaceful place!
I wonder about browser extension that hides all the comments, everywhere. I think those are the source of all grief. Yes, it’s sad! I know of the Herp Derp extension for YouTube. I’m sure there are others!
In another post, people were discussing how we react to provocative posts by others. What if they disabled comments? Are we happy because it saves us from wasting our energy? Are we incensed because the medium implies that we’ll only post what we’re also willing to discuss? That’s certainly how I feel! For myself, this is my daily Google+ challenge: not to post any political stuff. For if I did, I wouldn’t want to read the counterpoints. I still feel the need to rant, though! What to do? Because I also hate posts where I cannot comment, I don’t want to post and disable comments. My solution is to keep the political stuff on Twitter. There, I retweet a lot. Or I’ll write a few well chosen words, add a link and post it. If I’m interested in reading the opinions of others, I can follow them on Twitter and read the stuff they link to. Perfect! I remember people saying that 140 characters was not enough. But now I’m seeing that on G+, having more characters doesn’t improve the experience of politics and religion.
I’m trying to figure out how to use mod_cache. The following in my
VirtualHost section doesn’t seem to make a difference. The wiki is still getting invoked.
CacheEnable mem /wiki/feed/full/RPG MCacheSize 100000000 MCacheMaxObjectSize 1000000
(This RSS file is about 99k.)
The wiki is logging these requests to a file and I’m requesting the URL from the command-line using
curl. Hm, must investigate later.
Tried adding this:
CacheEnable mem /wiki/feed/full/ MCacheMaxStreamingBuffer 1000000
Tried replacing it with:
CacheEnable disk /wiki/feed/full/RPG
Giving up. Damn you, mod_cache.
I’ve been using Chrome for a day now and this wiki doesn’t look as good as it does using Firefox, on Windows.
Something about the fonts is not making me happy.
Googling… Stackoverflow has something about webfonts, anti-aliasing, and a note that 37 will fix this. I guess I hadn’t used Chrome in a long time. Let’s see whether an update fixes this.
Restarting… I am not impressed.
Adding Symbola to the site and to the CSS.
Fiddling some more. Increased the font size. Getting rid of Arial Narrow or whatever it was for header and footer. Getting rid of bold for the moment and replacing it with small caps. WTF am I doing!?
Unhappy… Noticia Text by JM Solé? Should I use the webfonts from the Google network or serve from my own server? More traces being left behind…
sfnt2woff to convert ttf files to woff. The files are significantly smaller, now. Using Noticia Text and Symbola by George Douros (for the smileys). Everything seems to work on Chrome. Now anti-aliasing for the header and footer looks a bit crummy on Firefox (Windows). Wow. Such pain.
At home… Things look pretty good on Firefox (OSX). Oh well. I think this is going to be the new look for a while.
Hop on the time machine!
My server has fail2ban installed.
Ever since I installed fail2ban, it showed no activity. Until now. Weird!
Is this due to the Shellshock vulnerability? First public disclosure 2014-09-24, activity starting 2014-10-06. It’s weird, though. I thought Shellshock would involve bash scripts as CGI scripts, called via Apache but these failures are ordinary SSH login attempts as seen on /var/log/auth.log:
Oct 13 11:49:38 alexschroeder sshd: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=22.214.171.124 user=root Oct 13 11:49:40 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 126.96.36.199 port 3462 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:43 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 188.8.131.52 port 3462 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:45 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 184.108.40.206 port 3462 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:45 alexschroeder sshd: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=220.127.116.11 user=root Oct 13 11:49:50 alexschroeder sshd: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=18.104.22.168 user=root Oct 13 11:49:51 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 22.214.171.124 port 4067 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:54 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 126.96.36.199 port 4067 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:56 alexschroeder sshd: Failed password for root from 188.8.131.52 port 4067 ssh2 Oct 13 11:49:56 alexschroeder sshd: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=184.108.40.206 user=root
Bin wieder am Rumstudieren wegen sozialen Medien. Politisches Zeug und so passiert bei mir vor allem auf Twitter, aber die bringen immer mehr so Facebook Ideen. Grössere Grafiken war ja OK, aber jetzt gibt es immer mehr Werbetweets und neu wollen sie auch beliebte Beiträge von fremden Leuten einblenden, oder gewisse Tweets ausblenden, eben der ganze Scheiss, der hier auf Facebook auch passiert. Und so frage ich mich natürlich: Was gibt es für Alternativen?
Da wäre mal App.net – aber die haben in ihren Terms of Service eine schreckliche Passage drinnen: “You agree to defend, indemnify and hold us harmless from and against any and all costs, damages, liabilities, and expenses (including attorneys’ fees, costs, penalties, interest and disbursements) we incur in relation to, arising from, or for the purpose of avoiding, any claim or demand from a third party relating to your use of the Service or the use of the Service by any person using your account, including any claim that your use of the Service violates any applicable law or regulation, or the rights of any third party, and/or your violation of these Terms.”
Grauenhaft! Aber eigentlich wäre es cool: Kostet $36/Jahr und hat dafür garantiert keine Werbung und ein vernünftiges Business Modell.
Dann meldet sich mein Sinn für freie Software und flüstert: Wenn ich schon wechsel, warum nicht auf GNU Social? Zum Beispiel bei Load Average oder GNU Social Deutschland? Und so bin ich am Pröbelen…
Auf alle Fälle muss man sich keine Illusionen machen: Die allermeisten Freunde folgen einem ja nicht zu neuen Medien. Man muss einfach dort neue Freunde finden. Das muss ja eigentlich gehen! Ich bin da optimistisch.
Über mein Rollenspielhobby schreibe ich übrigens vor allem auf Google+ – irgendwann sind die Leute von Twitter einfach massenhaft ausgewandert. Das war ein seltsames Phänomen.
Wer schon dort ist, sagt Hallo! 😜
As far as I can tell, there is App.net and GNU Social (formerly Status Net).
App.net offers a Twitter-like experience, API access, and no ads but it costs. The free option offers, 500MB of file storage and following up to 40 accounts (plenty to get started). Upgrading costs $36/year, which is an OK price but I pay just $25/year for my Flickr Pro account… The default client you download, called App.net on my phone, also gives you a totally confusing non-Twitter experience involving Broadcast. I had no idea what this was and switched to Riposte.
Then I discovered the following passage in the App.net Terms of Service:
I don’t think I can use this service! Specially considering this:
Remember the abominable, cruel and unusual punishment called Three Strikes? No thank you! If I can choose, California is unacceptable.
So what about the alternative? That would be GNU Social. Now I need to decide whether I want to install my own instance or whether to join an existing server. For now, I’m kensanata on Load Average, one of the existing services.
Wohoo, I upgraded the webserver for alexschroeder.ch from HTTP to HTTPS. You should have been redirected automatically. Munin and Monit are still working. Page editing still works. The config file has been updated so that all the links should point to HTTPS, now. 👍
I’m expecting load average to go up. We’ll see how it goes. Perhaps I’ll have to upgrade my virtual host package…
|Kallobombus||Running||[1.46] [1.52] [1.29]||62.7%us, 1.8%sy, 0.0%wa||20.4% [107256 kB]|
Update: A day and a half later, it seems that we’re OK.
Graphs by Munin.
Update: Moved Campaign Wiki to HTTPS as well. 🐧
Recently, I wrote the following on Google+:
Sometimes I feel like the constant chatter of social media is reducing my creative output. While I’m on G+ or Facebook or Twitter or IRC or even reading and answering mail, I’m not producing things. Somehow my education taught me to value so many other things over the talking about things. The creating of things. The reading of books. Hiking. Perhaps this devaluation of talking about things is not a healthy attitude. In addition to that, there’s the lingering doubt about my willingness to do these other things. If I did not have computers to connect me to all the people out there, would I really be doing these other things, or would I just play on my console, or sleep, or eat?
When it comes to role-playing games, for example: I see all those great pictures people are drawing, and great tables people are writing, and I nod my head and scroll down, and read and nod, and—whaaat, game in 2h and no prep!?
It’s totally true that I don’t see myself as a lone creative person. I need discussion, mutual enthusiasm, a little competitive outdoing, sharing, positive feedback and all that for my creative endeavors. Unfortunately for me, social media provides this, as well as backbiting, acerbic commentary, put downs, cynicism, banter, cat pictures, ranting, and more. I haven’t found a way to control this extra information, however. I need some to feel the bonds of humanity, to experience friendship and joy, to build that social net that will help me when I’m down, talk about my feelings such that I don’t bury them deep within me, but it also distracts me, takes away my ability to focus, allows me to procrastinate… So I think I need a structure like The G+ Hour or aggressive filtering, or a change in lifestyle to find a way out. No longer young enough, when my desires exceeded my ability to digest it all, not yet old enough, when hopefully my wisdom will put it all into perspective automatically…
There was a huge disturbance in the force, recently. D&D 5 got published and Zak Smith and the RPG Pundit were credited therein. One of the posts summarizing the issue I read was On the D&D5 Credits Controversy by Gary N. Mengle.
As far as this post is concerned, I’m not so much interested in the peculiarities of this affair, I’m more interested in how we could get here. I think the key to understanding the causes of the problem are to be found in this comment by Zak Smith on a private post on Google+:
I was reading the comments on a public Google+ post by Rob Donoghue. The question being discussed was how to disengage from a hurtful discussion. Viktor Haag had just provided an example where person A said something, person B contested it and asked for proof and person A decided to disengage. Now A is angry and feels assaulted by B, and B is angry because A simply left the discussion instead of offering a fair discussion of the accusations. Anna Kreider then offered a different example where person A said something ambiguous (“I have mixed feelings about a thing”) and person B then attacks A for saying all sorts of things they felt this implied while A keeps maintaining that they never said any such thing. So now I started wondering. Why do these things happen? Rob Donoghue said: “Causation is complicated and multi-faceted, nuance is critical and perfect information is impossibly rare. Discussing something under those limitations requires trust and good faith. They must be entered with an interest in finding insight, not right answers.” I think that’s a good position to start with, but it doesn’t explain the vitriol that I’ve been seeing. The rest of this post is the comment I left on Rob’s post…
I can’t help thinking that part of “The Internet Problem” of communication spiraling downwards (as has been the case ever since flame wars erupted on USENET) is the inability of ordinary people to perceive the Internet as a very public space. In the old days, it was hard to say something in public. You basically had to find a publisher and print stuff. It could get heated if you stood up in a town hall meeting and said the wrong thing. But these days, anybody with Internet access can speak in public, and they—we, all of us—are unaware that “there be lions.” We are unaware that public speaking has always come with a distinct understanding of our freedoms and the limits thereof, and of the potential consequences. There’s defamation (libel, slander) laws, copyright laws (intellectual property, digital copying and distributing), and these laws are there to offer recourse for the most problematic aspects—but they don’t offer recourse for most of our actual problems. Our actual problems are often much smaller. That’s how I explain what has been happening: Person A tells their friends that they really don’t like what B has said and done (and they use strong language because they have strong feelings and they feel amongst friends) and person B says “you can’t say X on the Internet in public, to damage my reputation for ever and ever!”
Now, if person A feels that their reputation is being attacked in public, it’s only natural that they want to defend themselves. In public, there is no disengaging from such a discussion because person A has the support of the law. It’s the law that says person A can defend their reputation. If person B then feels harassed because they are being contacted by phone or they are receiving letters to their physical address, then they need to understand, that as far as the law is concerned, there is no difference between life “online” and “real” life. The law only cares about defamation.
To provide you with a different example. I run a site and it attracted spam. One of the links posted linked to a Swiss site. I made fun of them and because this other site is ranked highly by Google, my statements were soon the number two hit for the company’s name. I soon got contacted and told to take it down or face charges. Do I feel they are spammers? Yes I do! Did I take it down? Yes I did. There was no way to disengage without going to court or retracting my statements.
Given that speaking in private and speaking in public has such different consequences, and given all the various ways in which we are now able to publish our thoughts, and given our lack of practice, I think these conflicts are unavoidable, every now and then.
Were you taught about copyright, defamation, and all those laws in school? I sure wasn’t! I was taught to type. I was taught to open my mouth and I was not told about the foot I was soon going to put in there…
I don’t know how to resolve this. I think we need to develop cultural norms to handle this, and we aren’t there yet. I want to talk to my friends like I want to. I want to reach out to strangers and make more friends, and talk to them. The Internet makes this possible. I’m always on the verge of forgetting that so many things are in public, in writing, apparently forever. I may make troubling mistakes. The Internet makes this possible, too.
When it comes to publishing on the Internet, we had to develop cultural norms. Does Information want to be free? How will be pay game developers? Journalists? How will we make sure that our computers will do what we want instead of just doing what their vendors want? And we aren’t there, yet. When it comes to speaking on the Internet, same problem. How do we curate our circle of friends? How about the shades of publicness, social media friends, lists, circles, groups, communities? How do we make sure that our statements will not stand forever and ever? How will we read the deep history of people we talk to, hire, befriend, marry? We aren’t there, yet.
What I took away from all those years on the Internet was being more careful about what I said. At first I felt like a coward. Afraid of comments on my own blog, I was. Then I felt like a hypocrite, wanting people to be open, wanting to feel free, but not ranting like I used to. Was I betraying my ideals? These days I take a legalistic approach. I tread lightly because I’m in public. If I can’t stand the heat after nailing my blog posts to the church door, I’m not going to post. Yes, it’s sad. I will still rant and rave amongst my friends. But online, my friends aren’t Google circles and Facebook friends. Even though the audience appears to be limited, there is no intimacy. This communication is not ephemeral. It’s basically in public.