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March 31, 2008

Random Sunset Photo 2

sunset photo
Goodnight March!

Continue reading "Random Sunset Photo 2"

Posted at 7:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2007

So where did blogwise go?

I noticed the other day that one of the larger blog directories,, seems to have gone bye bye. The domain's still registered, but resolves to and the most recent cached pages I can find in Google are from late April. Is it an... ex-directory? Seriously, what the heck's happened there?

Posted at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2007

Kinja Tags

I happened upon the Kinja page for this weblog (they haven't updated the URL, despite the 301 redirect, but that's not uncommon - Technorati have it listed twice) and noticed that Kinja pages seem to have a list of links along the top to subjects related to the blog they're indexing. The list of links for mine reads:
search - yahoo - conservative - featured - google - gossip - media - new york - open source - security

From what I can gather from Kinja's help pages, these are tags applied by site users, so it appears someone there thinks my weblog is New York related... Maybe it's because I've written about Moby a couple of times? And what does "featured" mean?

Most of the others I can see, but "conservative"? I hardly ever write about political stuff! #drwhochat, an IRC channel I've hung around in forever, has a rule about no political discussion because they never end well, and that's a rule I've brought over to here, because I really like avoiding flame wars.

That's a very confusing listing.

Edit: I contacted Kinja and they've corrected the URL on the listing - cool! Thanks, guys! :)

Posted at 9:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2006

So many people are blogging these days

Why, just the other day another of my friends announced he'd started a blog. And then today I discovered that Tom Baker has one albeit a temporary one. So far as I know, he's the first to have a "blog" though, Colin Baker has a newspaper column which is roughly the same thing, but in a different medium.

Who's going to pop up with one next? :)

Posted at 7:46 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

MT Disgruntling Me

A number of things about Movable Type are still bugging me.

  1. I upgraded to version 3.31 the other day, and it was still really horrible to do. Why do there need to be so many library files? Why does the directory structure in the zip file seem so bizarre? Why can't I download a zip which doesn't have all the dynamic stuff (which I don't use) in it?
  2. The switches to notify keep switching themselves off for no apparent reason. WTF?!
  3. No static paging option for category archives (there's a plugin to do this in a dynamic fashion).

I've been thinking of writing a plugin for paged archive files forever, but the learning curve for writing MT plugins is daunting.

I'd like to switch to Wordpress, but this is why I'm not:

  1. The back-end is still fugly (not really much of an issue as there are plugins to fix this).
  2. I'm not sure if Wordpress can keep the filenames of the posts the same. If it's smart it can.
  3. Still no static publishing option.

The last one is a bit of a hurdle for me. Why does Wordpress depend on accessing a database server simply to construct content which rarely changes?

Posted at 8:59 PM

January 3, 2006

Comparing Movable Type and Wordpress

One of the things I've been meaning to do for a long time now is upgrade the TSV Editor's Weblog to use a decent blogging package rather than the software I'd whipped up myself (which did little more than let the blogger add an entry). As Movable Type's licence only allows for one user, I opted to install Wordpress.

Installation is a lot easier than MT. Wordpress has almost a third of the files to upload, and they're all in the proper directories in the zip file. It's therefore just a matter of following the brief installation instructions to get started.

I wasn't as impressed with the back end. It doesn't look as elegant as the MT backend. The "dashboard" which is the welcome page you get when you log in is cluttered with news from the Wordpress development blog (MT shows titles from their blog only, and tucked away at the side). That said, the only one who's going to be looking at the back end is going to be the author anyway.

The page for adding an entry is very nice with the advanced options hidden until you click on the appropriate title (I had to google to find out what a "Post slug" was though). I also like the concept of using the blog software to add "pages" too (I.E. HTML pages which aren't actually blog entries).

Prefilling the links list with links to (I presume) the Wordpress developer's blogs was a bit cheeky though!

I haven't yet looked at how easy it is to create skins for Wordpress - that will be the next step, so I can make the Editor's weblog look like it's part of the site.

Posted at 9:16 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2005

OB Google BlogSearch post

Google BlogSearch was launched today.
I suspect most of the blog search searches will be for terms relevant to bloggers (blogging software, spam, current events, etc). I was amused to find I'm top ranked for Operation Overlord, despite the entry in question being a review of an Unreal Tournament map and not much at all to do with the World War II event, but as most searches for information on Operation Overlord are likely to be conducted on the main index, I doubt it'll matter. The most interesting thing is the freshness of the results (sort by date and you'll see how long ago the latest post was made).
Feeds don't block robots
LiveJournal allows users to block their journals from being spidered, however as their URLs are in the form, they can't use a robots.txt file to selectively block journals. Instead they use the meta robot tags on each page. Herein lies the problem: there's no supported way to add meta tags to rss and atom. End result: Google has indexed a bunch of journals which the owners wanted kept out of the index. This was a problem previously with other search engines like Technorati, but Google has a much, much higher profile... A reminder that noindex tags are not a guarantee no one will find your entries.
Technorati 1, Google BlogSearch 0, IceRocket 0.5
says Eric Rice. But I'm sure Google will be doing plenty of tweaking before they take blog search out of beta...

One thing I noticed searching on the blog search with Firefox: When I click on a link and get redirected to the end page, FireFox is displaying Google's [G] favicon on the tab and in the URL bar instead of the favicon for the site. Odd bug there.

Edit: Google are working on the LJ problem.

Posted at 9:29 PM | Comments (2)

September 8, 2005

OB Weblog Birthday post

Yup, this weblog is one year old.

El mucho excitement.

Posted at 6:35 PM

August 26, 2005

Movable Type 3.2 Review

So far, I'm liking it. Once my browser realised it had to reload the stylesheet, the CMS looked very nice. They've put a link to the trackback management page on the main menu finally, and done some very nice stuff... The multiple catagories dropdown is a lot easier to use. It also looks like they've added some new anti-spam measures and the MTSpamLookup plugin comes with it (I haven't touched the plugins directory yet because I wanna evaluate the new version first). Hopefully everyone upgrading MT will install it. We'll see how the anti-spam features go, anyway.

The plugins aren't listed on the main menu any more though, which is a bummer (and for some reason MTBlacklist is no longer giving me a link to configure it (not supported? Plugin protocols changed?)). If you look in the "extras" directory, there's a plugin for Open-ID, which is best explained by the linked site.

Also it took about an hour for me to FTP all the files up to the server and put them into the right directories. That's still a really painful way to update, despite the touted easiest upgrade ever. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong?

Posted at 9:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2005

When does "next" not mean "next"?

I'm having an odd problem with Movable Type - when I first save a new post, it has a superfluous link to the "Next Post", which actually links to the first post I made. This looks odd, since someone will spot the post on Technorati and click on the next post link, only to end up on my first post (which is now slightly inaccurate, as LJ have implemented categories, as per my previous post, but I digress, often and at length, in fact).

As I say, this happens when I save a new post. If I go edit the post and save without changing anything, the useless "next post" link vanishes. Typically, no one else on the Interweb appears have have had the same trouble.

Must be something odd in the coding of MTEntryNext which causes this...

Posted at 7:58 PM | Comments (0)


So LiveJournal (and soon, presumably, all LJ based sites) finally has categories. Sort of. They elected to call them Tags and have users enter them as free text when creating/editing entries. What you end up, therefore, is a flat hierarchy of catagories... Now all they need is a way to apply tags to multiple posts at once, so I can go back and tag the first four seasons of Voyager reviews...

I'm unsure whether LiveJournal posts will start turning up on Technorati, mainly because LiveJournal doesn't currently have a way to ping any site other than Technorati does have a page to manually ping them, but whether it'll recognise LJ-style tags is open to experimentation...

I attempted a ping using my LJ, but nothing turned up on the Star Trek: Voyager tag. That may simply be because I have my LJ set NOINDEX.

Now they need trackback too... :)

Edit: Yes, LiveJournal posts are now turning up on Technorati!

Posted at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2005

Blocking Spammers part X

Not content with using mt-blacklist to block spam comments, I decided to be proactive. This involved whipping up some .htaccess rules and scripts to catch and block spammers before they even got to the spamming stage. It works quote nicely - the script catches them when they enter, delivers a 403 error to them and bans their IP address from the weblog.

And then the traffic to my weblog decreased by 50%. Yes, 50% of the traffic to my weblog was spammers. That's just sad.

Posted at 10:28 PM | Comments (4)

April 4, 2005


I can't say enough good things about Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist. Using Brad Choate's MTSQL plugin and some code from the forums on Jay's site posted by TweezerMan, I've added the current count of blocked spams in the right-hand bar on my weblog's index page. It only updates when I post an entry, but at the moment I can see it's reading 3583 spams blocked. The number will rise once I post this entry, of course, because at the moment some plonker is attempting to trackback spam me and MT-Blacklist is blocking them all. Thanks to Jay's plugin, I'm spending less and less time cleaning up after spammers.

Someday I'm going to invent a plugin which interfaces with MT-Blacklist and, when it receives a spam, causes the spammer's computer to explode, then gives them 15,000 volts to the gonads. Then I shall become very rich with donations from grateful bloggers. Huzzah!

Posted at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Still getting spam

Now that I've more or less gotten on top of my comment spam (with MT-Blacklist's invaluable help) I seem to be getting more trackback spam.

All of the trackback spam I've received has had HTML-style links in the excerpt. I'm now wondering if I can safely block any such trackback - Six Apart's Trackback specification doesn't say whether the excerpt is allowed to contain HTML, though it does say the excerpt will be truncated at 252 characters, which would cause havoc if at that position there are tags open. Unfortunately MT-Blacklist doesn't (currently) have any way to selectively filter a string only on Trackbacks and not comments. I may drop a suggestion in to the author. :)

Posted at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Bribery always works

I wasn't getting any people joining up with BlogExplosion with me as a referral. As this can earn you more traffic, it's a desirable thing to have. At the time, I also had 1600 chips on Blog Shares, and BS recently introduced "Missions" which allow you to set a task for people to perform and award them chips. I created a mission to get people to join up with BE with a 500 chip reward.

End result: I had 30 people sign up with BE with me as the referrer. Eight people didn't actually activate their account, but I hadn't made that a condition of the reward, so they got their chips anyway. Only about 16 people actually collected their chips - a couple who didn't seemed to be confused about how to enter the mission. I left a note on the mission when I closed it to the effect that anyone who still wanted to claim their chips could message me and I'd happily fork them over.

BlogExplosion's a good service, but it's a pity the nature of using it to surf encourages you to only spend 30 seconds at any particular blog in order to earn as many credits as possible.

Posted at 8:31 PM | Comments (2)

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