Blather BlogTalk

Blog Mitzva!

Fogi kindly mailed me 2 days ago with a link to the oldest post on this blog, reminding me that today is my Blog Mitzva: 13 years since I started posting stuff to the internet using a blog-type thing.

Reviewing the old posts tracks my convoluted route through assorted obscure publishing technologies, starting with Dave Winer‘s early public blogging platform (Edit This Page dot com, which couldn’t take the traffic even way back then, moving to blogger (hosted editing, but the results uploaded to my own site on via FTP), then back to a Dave Winer product, Radio (a local application for editing and uploading via FTP to my site). Once Radio moved to a paid model and I could no longer downgrade back to the free version, I installed Movable Type, a Perl CGI application that let you edit posts in the browser on your own server, storing them in a Berkley DB file, and “rendering” them to HTML files for presentation. This complicated setup got replaced by WordPress once PHP came to corky and too over web applications in general. And here I am today.

Reviewing the content accumulated in my blog over the years gives a somewhat sad picture. No essays or extended arguments, no fiction or poems, no reviews or technical articles. There was never much effort put into any of the posts, most of them are just odd links with a few words to pad around them, trivial notes, fragmentary documentation of my delinquent browsing, fiddling with software, percolating ideas for roleplaying games and general faffing about. Slim scriblets that fairly drown in the ostentatious blog adornments WordPress slathers on each (title! categories! tags!), like almond slivers sinking in rich cream. And even these bits, barely tweets are scattered over time, just 1,791 items posted over 4,745 days. Mostly, it’s just silence.

In short, a pretty accurate picture of my life.

BlogTalk Oddities

End of March Link Roundup

  • WordPress 2.5 is out, and it is very pretty on the inside. Some plugins break, in particular the livejournal crossposter, but I read there is a fix, so I’m posting to try it (PS: works for me). To make this more than a test, test post, I stick in some links what I have already tagged in my shared items or scuttle, but which I haven’t put in this feed.
  • Here’s a picture essay about the Oz books and subsequent derivative works and how, they kept getting darker until perhaps due to the success of Wicked, the dark adult deconstruction of Oz became practically its own genre. Sort of like Postmodern superheroes, except with ruby slippers.
  • Here’s a slew (that’s like a flotilla, except of stuff) of proposed and rejected ideas for Star Wars merchandise. Bantha slippers, anyone? Jabba the Hutt beanbag? Death Star Grill?
  • The Wikihistory link has been making the rounds everywhere, but, yeah.
  • Literary Divination, A Parlour Game is about creating Tarot readings for fictional or real characters using books instead of cards.
  • Yossi Gurvitz on Prof. Shlomo Zand’s book on the manufactured nature of Jewish history and the Zionist narrative (Hebrew). Though-provoking and some further exploration (or culture archeology axe-grinding) of the history of early Judaism, which Yossi has been ranting about recently.
  • Anders Sandberg is discussing the usefulness of love-potions, or as he calls it the neuropharmacological enhancement of love and why it is likely a good idea.
  • Kenneth Hite complains that theater isn’t bloody enough anymore, mentioning Titus Andronicus and the plays of Seneca, which I just recently read him mentioning in White Wolf’s Requiem for Rome book.
  • Finally, apropos “Earth Hour” (was that the blackening of Google you were on about?), here is Peter Watts all full of bleak and brilliant fury:

    Why, I’ll bet the reduced environmental impact from turning off those lights might even recoup a small fraction of the resources consumed to drive the massive multimedia extravaganza advertising Earth Hour.

    Oh, wait. There isn’t going to be any reduction in environmental impact. Not unless the world’s power-generating utilities decide to scale back the fossil fuels they’re burning to reflect a one-time, one-hour tick in the time series.

    Yes, I know. It’s only supposed to make “a statement”. It’s supposed to be a symbol. And what does it symbolize, exactly? It symbolizes “hope” — which is to say, our infinite capacity for denial


Excuse the RSS spam

I was quite happy to aggregate my two bookmarks feeds (google reader shared items and my local scuttle) into one widget on my blog, except that it was rightly pointed out that nobody goes to the web page, they just read the RSS.

So I looked for one of those WordPress plugins that can periodically create a post automatically from updates to a feed. WP-o-Matic looked like a good thing to use, except that (it turns out that) it converts every RSS item to a seperate post. The result: I click a link and spam my feed with 35 new posts, each a single link. Even worse, they all get automatically posted on Livejournal, and when I delete them from the blog, they don’t get deleted there – I had to go and delete them manually using the even suckier (for deleting) interface of LJ.

So, if your feed reader just got stuffed with 35 new posts from me, I apologize.


Dirt on your Journal

I noticed today that LiveJournal has joined the dark side, and has splattered those annoying snap preview pop-ups all over its site.

If you have a LiveJournal account, you can turn off this off for your entries and your friends page – in the menu, go to Journal > Settings and you’ll get to a page titled Viewing Options. Uncheck the option called Graphic previews to end this madness and make your journal fit for humane consumption. I’d consume your RSS and not bother you, but sometimes you post locked entries.

I hope LJ turn this off soon – I guess they made it on by default just to bring this feature to people’s attention. At least I hope so – I shudder to think people are actually clamoring for this travesty.

Update: A discussion of the Snap previews on the lj_no_ads community, where Anil Dash from SixApart writes Regular people on the web *love* Snap previews. [via Simon Willison]

BlogTalk Software and Programming

Greasemonkey *can* whap snap

Update on the Snap previews pop-up thing: I’ve come up with a (trivial) Greasemonkey script to disable those annoyances – I call it hover in peace (you can install it from that link if you’re using Firefox and have Greasemonkey), and it disables any javascript that is triggered by mouseover events, that is by hovering your mouse over a link (or anything else). It’s crude and indiscriminate, but effective.