Archive for Blogorrhea

Quieter than I thought

This revised line appears in the WordPress admin under the “Comments” heading, following a brief session of spam disposal:

Alleged number of comments

Which implies that I’ve posted 1,303 comments. This is off by a factor of eight: some other counting mechanism lists my current count at 11,123. I have yet to detect a pattern to determine which ones are mine and which ones are “Mine.”

Comments (1)




Forever unbound

I have a little plugin called Blog Metrics which keeps track of the word count here; it goes back to the beginning of the WordPress database, the first week of September 2006, and as of last night it reported something like 7,351,000 words.

And yet:

I’ve decided I don’t have a book in me. I’m not sure I could sustain a theme for long enough to write a coherent book. Yes, I feel kind of bad about that; I have colleagues who have written books and I look at them and think about how that’s something that will actually outlast their time on earth and … there’s nothing like that for me; a couple years after I’m gone I’ll be forgotten.

Some of us, I aver, are forgotten without even being gone.

But taking the longer view, Christopher Hitchens once said:

“Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where it should, I think, in most cases, remain.”

And that word “coherent” surely would be my undoing. Sunday nights on Twitter there’s a gathering called #blogchat, and much advice is dispensed therein. I remember one night when the subject of tags was discussed, and one chap who might actually be making money off his site said something to the effect that “if your subject matter is diverse enough, you could support fifteen, even twenty different tags.”

At the time, I had twelve thousand tags. Then again, I’m not actually making money off this site.

Bonus question: Should Fillyjonk write a book? She’s got seventeen years’ worth of material to draw from.

Comments (5)




We used to write

Michael Bates knew us when, because he was there with us:

We are at least a decade beyond what might be called the golden age of blogging. By the mid-2000s, blog software was stable and accessible without requiring significant technical skills. Google had purchased Blogger, and clunky add-on features (remember comments via HaloScan? photo hosting via Picasa?) were integrated into the blog platform. WordPress emerged as an easy-to-use alternative with a creative user base. Individual voices proliferated.

But it was tough to organize all those voices and keep up with what people were saying. How could you keep up with all of the sites you might like to follow? For me as a blogger, it was important to know what other bloggers were talking about, as it would be fodder for my own blog.

Conversations across websites happened as one blogger would post an entry linking to another blogger’s writing; the software would automatically generate a trackback or pingback, creating a link on the other site back to the commenting article and notifying the writer of the original item. But unscrupulous website owners found the mechanism a convenient way to plant inbound links on other sites to boost search-engine page rank, and legitimate trackbacks were lost in a sea of spam, forcing bloggers to adopt a sequence of strategies to thwart trackback spammers. Most bloggers wound up turning off the capability as not worth the hassle.

“Pingback” is a WordPress-specific thing; however, it can be turned off at the sending end, and you’d never be the wiser. I get pings from exactly two blogs these days; all the rest are spam.

In the meantime, social media sites were growing. Facebook and Twitter provided convenient ways to follow a stream of news and ideas. Initially, these sites would show you everything posted by the accounts you chose to follow, with the most recent first. Over time, they switched to a curated approach, driven by the desire to generate revenue, in which an algorithm would determine which posts you would see, and in what order. If you wanted your Facebook followers to see everything you posted, you’d have to pay for the privilege.

Social media has also redirected and dissipated the energy that writers used to vent in blog posts. Once you’ve responded to some outrage on Twitter or Facebook, there isn’t the urgency to address the topic on your blog.

Without a readily-available RSS aggregator, and with social media giants filtering bloggers’ attempts to notify readers about new posts, it was harder to keep touch with what independent bloggers were writing. Bloggers saw their traffic diminish and with it the motivation to write.

Still, there are plenty of us out here who have run up ten or fifteen or even more years on our keyboards, and we’ll probably keep after it until we literally can’t do it anymore. (The number of sites I list as “in memoriam” is growing appallingly quickly.)

Comments (1)




That’s how it works

I had to review 1823 posts recently, so I know where Gagdad Bob is coming from:

Yes, I’m actually doing it: I’ve been undertaking the distasteful task of reviewing each post from 2005 onward, and am finding it to be a mythic combination of the Sisyphean and Augean: in other words, like pushing a vast stable full of excrement up a steep mountainside, only to watch it roll back down and inundate me under a steaming pile of verbiage.

I must have skimmed 500 or so, and am definitely not finding what I’m looking for. Of course, it would help to know what I’m looking for, but I’m waiting for the search to reveal its object. If I knew what I was looking for, I’d already have it, now wouldn’t I?

Don’t look at me. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

Comments (2)




Worst titles of 2018

Comments (3)




Pronounced “fffp”

Okay, it’s not really pronounced “fffp.” However, it did have me emitting strange noises yesterday:

The current stable release is 7.3. (Weirdly, 7.0 is considered “old,” but 5.6 is still supported. There never was a 6.x release.) After finding where the toggles were, I have updated every site under my control to 7.2.11; the host tends to be conservative in its adoption of fresh versiuns.) Memory usage is much the same as it was under 7.0. We’re using FastCGI because, well, we can.

Comments




What you see is what you hate

I run four WordPress sites, not counting the backup blog, and after my first experience with Gutenberg, WP’s vaunted new editor, I switched three of them back to the “Classic Editor,” which now requires a plugin. So I can relate to Warren Meyer’s plaintive wail:

WordPress 5 changed to an entirely new editor where construction of a post that historically just involved typing now involves pasting together a series of blocks that have to be added, for example, just to have quoted text. Am I missing something?

This seems ludicrously more awkward than the original editor, which I immediately switched back to by downloading and activating a plugin for that purpose. My guess is that this functionality is aimed at the large number of folks who use WordPress as a content management system for building websites and not for actual bloggers. I am guessing that content management for website design is actually a much bigger market for WordPress than blogging, and so development is focusing more on that market. Maybe someone needs to fork WordPress for a version track focused on traditional bloggers.

Someone needs to put out a “Fork WordPress” T-shirt. And I suspect that just about everyone who doesn’t work for WordPress parent Automattic will hear “Gutenberg” and think of “movable type,” by coincidence the name of the platform which dominated blogdom before the rise of WordPress.

Comments (7)




Don’t read the stats

This might even be more imperative than “Don’t read the comments”:

Early in the week, I was receiving an unnatural amount of hits from Google. I was trying to determine what created the visits, but without any results. Whatever the reason, it was a little unnerving. Such things create a feeling of apprehension, since it made me wonder if the Google Mafia was in the process of electronically breaking my leg. That, and creating the hope of it becoming an ordinary occurrence.

I can remember when the actual Googlebot would leave its signature on your server logs. But that was from the Don’t Be Evil days.

Now suppose it were an ordinary occurrence. What then?

If that happened, I could monetize my blog, retire to the mountains, and throw empty beer cans at pesky squirrels.

A consummation devoutly to be wished — unless, of course, you’re a squirrel.

Comments (1)




She didn’t read it

The email began this way:

I just came across your post, Practical Tips to Reach More People on Social Media, and I noticed that Klout has recently been shut down.

Now really, does that sound like one of my titles?

I mean, begging for links is bad enough, but this is a sign of a botched shame-ectomy.

Comments (2)




Three million

That’s how many people have visited this place over the years, though several have actually been here more than once.

Comments (1)




Pick a name and stick with it

You’ve run a blog for seemingly all your life. Now your life is changed, and not for the better. What to do with that blog?

Comments (1)




Long live the archives

I was not expecting to relive those wondrous days of 2005 today, but here we are:

Yes, the link still works. I have my rules.

Comments off




18 years of grind

From the 23rd of June, 2000:

There comes a point in the life of every Webmaster when s/he wonders out loud, “Why am I doing this?” In my case, it was about the third day this site was up. And while it has been relatively well-received during the four years of its existence, by which is meant that no one has sent me any live explosives just yet, the possibility of stagnation constantly lurks and occasionally even looms.

What to do? I thought it over for less time than I probably should have, and decided that what dustbury.com was lacking (apart from personality, tastefulness, and utility, but that’s another story) was a sense of immediacy. Pages got updated when I got around to them; some things got lost in the shuffle. And while I have no problem blaming some of this on the vagaries of the workplace — at best, long hours make for short tempers — at least one of the tailbones needing a suitable kick was my own.

Thus, Version 7 (you’re soaking in it) introduces my Sort Of Blog, a way for me to get some stuff on the table without regard to the semi-regular Vent schedule or the ongoing necessity to update the other sections. Most of the existing pages will continue as before, though minor design changes will be forthcoming here and there, and the usual sporadic updates will continue to take place, as the saying goes, When I Get Around To Them.

Given the general looseness of the term “blog,” I realize that I could just as easily have claimed the right to use it from the very beginning, though I persist in thinking that a proper blog should perhaps be updated more than four times a month; not everyone needs to do this daily, but somebody does.

And apparently that somebody is Your Humble Narrator, who put that up in the summer of 2000 and has had at least some sort of update literally every day since then, a span of 6,575 days. Obviously this can’t go on forever, because I can’t go on forever; but for now, it’s not even slowing down.

Comments (4)




Webmaster fail

In an effort to address the occasional moderation issues and such, I came up with the brilliant idea of opening up registrations, in the expectation that a registered, logged-in user might be able to bypass having to fill in name/email address/URL if any by the comment box.

At the time, we had 27 users, three of whom are known to be deceased. (It has not been required to register to comment here for most of the last ten years, and I will not start requiring it now.) Over three weeks, we added two thousand users, every single one of which appears indistinguishable from comment spammers.

So I’m dialing back to those days of yore by restoring a previous user list. If I’ve inadvertently deleted your nonspam account, please advise.

Comments (5)




Weird scenes inside the pyrite mine

There were a couple of folks whose every comment here, irrespective of content, was winding up in the moderation queue. I let this go by until the number of them doubled one week.

I’m not quite sure what to do about it. Perhaps they’ve tightened the little routine that compares incoming email addresses with a local blacklist. (Yes, I do have a local blacklist, containing the names of people who are dead or just dead to me. If you have to ask, you weren’t on it.) In an effort to test this notion, I have cleared out every name in the blacklist. (A few IP addresses remain, but matching an IP address is tricky, especially an IPv6 address, which all of those are.)

I will report back if any results are obtained.

Comments (3)




Ah, sweet Missus Ree

Remember when Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, was just a blogger?

That was then. This is, um, wow:

I note in passing that Drummond’s Wikipedia page is about three times the size of Pawhuska’s.

Comments (1)




Upgrade this, pal

Last night I had just left a comment over at Fillyjonk’s place, and somehow hit the dreaded Wrong Button. A popup of arguably greater than normal hideousness appeared and lectured me on my “outdated” browser: Pale Moon 27.9.0, released 17 April 2018. Apparently I inadvertently tried to invoke the Blogger editing platform, and they’re not prepared to support this ancient artifact (more than two weeks old!) on said platform. I’d complain to Google, which owns Blogger, but Google’s remedy for any and all such complaints is to switch to the pertinent Google product, in this case Chrome.

Comments (1)




Subject to burnout

While sorting through the archives, I found this item from 2006:

Well, they tried it last year, anyway, and nobody seemed particularly embarrassed, so let it be known that this is the 2nd International Co-Ed Nekkid Blogging Day, and while there are some things I have to do today with actual clothes on (shudder), today’s posts will not be among them.

To my knowledge, there wasn’t a third, and of the eleven blogs I cited as participating, only three are still up and running. Two of the three are run by women.

Be grateful I don’t have a webcam.

I have one now, but I think it’s gotten about four minutes of use in the last four years.

Comments (6)




Unlike yesterday, which was Thursday

The Instant Man proclaims an open thread:

Instapundit name-checks Rebecca Black

And since snow and sleet are due here soon, here’s the party girl herself looking all warm and such:

Rebecca Black warms it up

Then again, according to the archive, this shot dates from 31 December 2017.

Comments off




How to mark a blogiversary

Something like this would do the trick:

[Y]esterday marked 13 years of blogging here at Fat in Indiana. I wrote my first mediocre post on March 22, 2005 and 5982 posts later we have this mediocre one. Some things do not change. That comes out to an average of … I don’t know, probably pretty close to one a day. I’m not a math whiz. More to the point, it doesn’t matter. I write the drivel. You read the drivel. We have our roles to play.

Actually, it’s about 1.26 per day. As drivel production goes, that’s definitely prolific.

Comments (7)




The dreaded Google Eye

Rob O’Hara draws some unexpected scrutiny:

I received a message from Google, informing me that some of my blog posts had been flagged for linking to known sites containing malware. Whenever Google contacts you with news of this nature, you are forced to react, quickly, before they remove you from their global directory. After scouring both my own site and the site I was linking to I could find no hints of malware or debauchery.

Sensibly, he decides to pull the not-really-offending posts, just in case. Then down comes the other shoe:

In the process of this, well, process, WordPress got confused and decided some of these old posts from several years ago were in fact new again, and sent out email notifications along with Facebook and Twitter updates. Sorry about that. Those in charge of update notifications have been sacked.

Insult to injury.

(This is not the dreaded Google Eye.)

Comments off




Unkindly host

Datechguy has apparently had it with his current Web host:

The return of my blog from GoDaddy’s exile is still pretty new and the first thing I’ve noticed is the drop in daily traffic… In the world of the internet being away for a week can have a crippling effect It’s going to take a while for the people who stopped by daily to discover I’m back and for bloggers to figure out there is something to link to again. That’s been the most discouraging part of the entire exercise. I still remain amazed at the level of indifference to my situation, particularly from the people I spoke to vs those I chatted with, but when your ratings as an employee are measured by raw stats vs actual customer satisfaction it’s not a surprise. In the 7 contacts I had with the GoDaddy people I encountered a single person who conveyed to me the idea that they really wanted to get me back up and running, but apparently such efforts risk the ire of others who might be forced into effort and thus are not popular.

So he’s hunting for a new host:

I’m going to find a company to whom my business, small as it is, means something.

I can’t say as I blame him. I’ve heard kind words for GoDaddy from some; I’ve heard them reviled by others. Maybe it depends on getting the right tech-support person.

Comments (2)




The lid gets hammered down

Tumblr’s explicit-content rule, as revised last summer:

I marked my blog as explicit. What happens now?

Now you can be sure that only suitable audiences are seeing your content. Blogs that are marked explicit are kept out of search results for people in Safe Mode. Anyone viewing your blog on the web will have to be logged in (with safe mode off) to see it.

Not sure enough, apparently. Beginning too soon, Safe Mode will be the default:

Tumblr sent an email to all users over 18 years of age who hadn’t already turned safe mode on, reminding them that the feature exists. The message doesn’t explicitly state that the setting is turning on by default; only that Tumblr wants to “make sure everyone has the chance to try it out.”

This is, of course, disingenuous as hell.

The site’s been a “complete loss” for adult content creators, Bacchus said, ever since Tumblr made it so that blogs flagged as NSFW were no longer indexed by search engines or Tumblr search anymore. “All this [Safe Mode update] does is make adult content even less visible INSIDE the walled garden that adult Tumblr has already become … Tumblr is dead media as far as I’m concerned, from an adult-industry perspective.”

Robert Stacy McCain, chronicler of the Tumblrinas, must be notified at once.

Comments off




The replacements are never as good

Fillyjonk has toiled 16 years in the blog vineyard, apparently without regret:

[B]logging kind of died off (though some have suggested it’s coming back, as people weary of Facebook’s idiocracy and the all-visual-no-context of Pinterest), but I’m still here.

The Blogfather himself, Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, coming up on 17 years, appears to be in agreement:

I think that the old blogosphere was superior to “social media” like Twitter and Facebook for a number of reasons. First, as a loosely-coupled system, instead of the tightly-coupled systems built by retweets and shares, it was less prone to cascading failure in the form of waves of hysteria. Second, because there was no central point of control, there was no way to ban people. And you didn’t need one, since bloggers had only the audience that deliberately chose to visit their blogs.

And I’m still here. I have maybe a third of the traffic I had at peak; I don’t expect ever to see another month with 25,000 visitors, which used to be the average around here. Then again, I used to have about 150 feed subscribers; now it’s a thousand or so. (Curiously, I’ve averaged about 2.5 comments per post for well over a decade now.)

Comments (2)




Vamp and revamp

I suspect anyone who’s run a blog for more than a week and a half has received stuff like this:

I got a spam email from a dude the other day who told me how great my blog was. Then he offered to write it for me. I guess his message was “you are good, but I am better”. If this drivel was written by someone else, it wouldn’t be my blog anymore, would it?

I fully acknowledge that better writing would help the place. It might drive up readership. An editor would be a significant improvement. While we are at it, a template change and pruning of the blogroll would spruce the place up too. A pay raise for the writing and custodial staff would improve morale. Perhaps new iPads and laptops for the research department are in order. How about pretzels and cold beer TGIF parties?

But no, what they really want you to do is to download some highly-dubious utilities. Or worse.

Comments (1)




Worst titles of 2017

Comments (1)




I have no idea how it went

A little warning came down the pike last week, and they followed it up yesterday:

We recently alerted you to an impending operating system upgrade of your individual VPS instance on the host machine, “iad1-vshost221.”

The day of your upgrade has arrived! Within the next few hours we’ll be upgrading your VPS and its host machine from Ubuntu Linux version 12.04.5 LTS (also known as Precise Pangolin!) to 14.04.5 LTS (aka Trusty Tahr!).

If you have more than one VPS and aren’t sure which one is on this host machine, you can check the Support / Data Centers page in your DreamHost Panel.

The upgrade will be done in two phases. First, we’ll upgrade your host machine, which shouldn’t take longer than an hour. Once this is complete, we’ll begin sequentially upgrading the VPS guests, which may take up to 25 minutes. Keep in mind, this means there are two separate periods during which your VPS (and websites) will be unavailable.

In most cases, you won’t need to do anything to prepare for the upgrade. Just kick back and let us handle the tough stuff!

LTS, in Ubuntese, seems to denote a stable release that will be supported for long periods of time, which would make sense in view of the fact that they’re replacing a 2012 version with one from 2014.

And I didn’t even notice it happening.

Comments off




You know, this just might work

Patrick adds a new recurring feature — at least, I hope it recurs — to The Lost Ogle:

30% of The Lost Ogle’s site traffic still comes directly from search engines. The rest comes from either direct traffic or social media. Depending on what’s going on each month, the terms are all over the map. The top search engine results are usually “The Lost Ogle,” “Lost Ogle” and “Emily Sutton Married.” We also get some weird, odd and semi-strange ones. To steal an idea from the pages of Dustbury — the O.G. of the Oklahoma Blogosphere — we’re going to highlight some of those (that we feel comfortable publishing) at the end of each month.

Of course, I think this is a swell idea — if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have done it 617 times already — and TLO gets enough traffic to virtually guarantee some seriously wacky stuff in any given month. The first month’s collection was satisfyingly weird.

And this does explain why several people at 42nd and Treadmill were addressing me as “Mr. O.G.” on Friday.

Comments (5)




Speedblogging

Apparently someone keeps track of these things:

I’m at the low end of the scale, and have been since more or less Day One, but the full article throws this measurement at me: “The average blog post is 1142 words long.”

If I have 1100 words handy, I’ll get four, maybe five posts out of them.

Comments (1)




How is this even possible?

McG explains his most recent online change:

I’ve never heard of a hacker inserting malicious code on a purely static web page. Maybe it’s happened, but I’d have a hard time imagining it could do him any good.

It’s happened here, once, to one of the old Movable Type pages that were left in a static state after the fall of 2006. What happened: someone weaseled in through some unknown method (FTP?) and pasted a bunch of spam links at the bottom of the page. I didn’t notice it for some time; all I know is it happened between May 2015 and October 2016. Eventually I deleted the whole page and pasted the actual content into a WordPress post. (With the original comments, yes.)

Comments (6)