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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Wed, 20 Dec 2017

The Twitter 'like' symbol is a ❤ and should be a 👍

One thing that bothers me about Twitter is that the 'like' symbol is a ❤ when it should be a 👍. I think a heart means "love," and a thumbs-up means "like." A heart is often too strong for "like," especially in the kind of things that come up on Twitter.

I'd even be open to "like" and "love" with 👍 and ❤, respectively.

Mon, 31 Jul 2017

How does IFTTT make money?

I was wondering how IFTTT makes money. They are certainly not shoving a subscription model down anybody's throat.

Quora user Aaron Disibio says that aside from all the investor money they have been getting, they have a paid Partner Platform.

This is a test of IFTTT blog entry posting.

This is a test of IFTTT blog entry posting.

I created two IFTTT applets for social and 'other' posts

I now have two IFTTT applets, one to post on Twitter ONLY from my blog's dedicated "social" directory (posting the post body instead of title and URL) and another to post to Twitter from everywhere BUT my "social" directory (posting the traditional title and URL).

The social posting applet was easy to create -- and I probably did this very thing when I was looking at IFTTT a couple of years ago when I started creating social posts in the /updates directory of my blog. It was the other applet -- the one that excluded a single subdirectory (or WordPress tag or category, both of which are represented as a subdirectory in RSS).

Dlvr.it made this easy. There is a field for it.

For IFTTT, I hacked together some quick TypeScript to filter out what I didn't want.

Is it working? I'm still testing the applets, and I'll have to add a bit more code and explanation before I make them public. I'm already thinking (in my brain) about how to boil them both into a single IFTTT applet, which is a lot more elegant than having two.

Now I remember: One of the reasons I chose dlvr.it over IFTTT when I first implemented these automatic social poposts in 2015 was that in-text links from dlvr.it displayed with their text, while the same links over IFTTT displaed with shortcode text, which can make the post unintelligible because the text that carries the link can be kind of important.

Update: My TypeScript/JavaScript isn't working.

My IFTTT social-post applet works

I created an applet on IFTTT that takes a subdirectory of my blog feed (using RSS out of the blog) and generates a social post on Twitter.

By "social post," I mean something different from the usual automatic post to Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or any other social-networking service.

The usual post features a title and a link back to the original item.

But a "social post" is just text. It's the "body" of the entry and neither includes nor needs a title or a link back to the original blog post. It can include links if they are part of the post body.

When I started doing this -- dedicating a subdirectory of my blog to social posts, I experimented with both IFTTT and dlvr.it, going with the latter (if I remember correctly) because while I was able to create my social post out of a dedicated subdirectory in both services, only in dlvr.it was I able to simultaneously post the rest of my non-social blog entries to Twitter without worrying about double-posting the social entries. In other words, I set up the "main" dlvr.it action to exclude my "social" directory (I use /updates).

Note: In WordPress, you can set this up using a dedicated category or tag, each of which can be fed to any of these services with RSS.

Now I look in dlvr.it, and I can't see what I did to "exclude" the social feed from my "main" feed. Maybe that code got purged and dlvr.it knows not to double post.

I'm still looking in on it.

Anyhow, my reason for moving away from dlvr.it is the service's new limit of 10 posts per social account per day. Especially when doing quick social-style updates, it's easy to go over 10 posts per day. And while I can't criticize dlvr.it for trying to monetize their service with a monthly fee that removes the 10 post limit and adds many other useful things, it's just too much money for a non-revenue-generating web site like mine.

IFTTT (aka If This Then That) can probably do what I'm "asking" it. I just have to figure it out.

dlvr.it limits free users to 10 posts per day

I don't log into my dlvr.it account very often, though I use it continuously to send the output of three blogs to (mostly) Twitter and (a little bit of) Facebook.

I needed to tweak one of my "routes" on dlvr.it, and I logged in this morning. I found out that as of June 1, 2017, dlvr.it is imposing a 10-post per day limit per social profile.

Dlvr.it users can avoid the limit and unlock the rest of the social-posting service's goodies by subscribing at the rate of .99 a month.

I like getting dlvr.it for free, though I understand that the service needs to make money. And for "commercial" users, .95 a month is nothing. Even the "Agency" rate of .99 a month is nothing if you're managing dozens of feeds and social accounts.

But for the casual amateur user like myself? Just like with the Washington Post, which coincidentally also charges .95 a month, I see tremendous value in the service but would be much more comfortable paying a month. What I'm saying is that my price point is , not , so these two services are currently not getting from me. They are getting /home/public//cgi-bin/ode.cgi.

We live in a world awash with /month pricing models, and if you're using 10 of these services, it really adds up. Maybe I'm super-stingy, but my price point is what it is, and I have the feeling I'm not alone. But also, I'm not running a business. But I get the feeling that a lot of these services could make it up in bulk by lowering the resistance to subscribing along with their price What I'm saying is that my price point is , not , so these two services are currently not getting from me. They are getting /home/public//cgi-bin/ode.cgi.

We live in a world awash with /month pricing models, and if you're using 10 of these services, it really adds up. Maybe I'm super-stingy, but my price point is what it is, and I have the feeling I'm not alone. But also, I'm not running a business. But I get the feeling that a lot of these services could make it up in bulk by lowering the resistance to subscribing along with their price.

Thu, 17 Nov 2016

Disqus -- thanks for fixing your Admin interface

I use Disqus a lot. For work. I mod HUNDREDS of comments a day on a few dozen sites, and the Disqus Admin interface had been making that task very difficult in recent months.

But sometime during the past week, Disqus updated its Admin interface on the web, and it is much easier to moderate the comments.

Things were broken and now they are fixed. Thanks, Disqus.

Tue, 22 Dec 2015

Own your social entries, create them from any device

The ideal is a free, open, federated social-media platform like Identi.ca or Status.net, but even those services, when run by others, are subject to a certain bit rot. They're here today, but will they be tomorrow?

We live in a world of mega-services like Twitter and Facebook. Multi-billion-dollar important companies. And in our zeal to communicate, we spend hours creating free content for them in exchange for free service.

Still, they offer value. If the few people we want to share our thoughts with also subscribe to a given service, there is value. That's how Facebook grew.

On Twitter, I can tell you that having 900 followers does not provide a lot of eyeballs for my tweets. I'm lucky if 40 people see them. Twitter is all about the now. A tweet's sell-by date is maybe a half-hour after it's created.

I think short, social-media-style updates are valuable.

But I want them to be my own. I have that, pretty much, when I create them through my blog and distribute to social-media services from there.

From my laptop, I'm about 90 percent of the way there. I'd like sharing links to be a little more automatic. Like on mobile devices. Android has "intents." Apple has the same thing, but I don't know what they call it.

And mobile is the place where I have the furthest to come.

If I were using WordPress, I bet the WP app for Android (and iOS, too) hooks into "intents" and allows link sharing.

But I don't use WordPress.

My Ode blog works off of a traditional filesystem on the server. There is no database. Create files, and with a few tweaks and pokes, you have a live blog entry.

I don't want to go back to a database. Flat files on a server is not just Ode's but every static-blogging tool out there's killer app.

So what I need is a mobile app that hooks into "intents" to allow link sharing and produces the files I need, gets them on the server and does what I need to make those files appear on the live site.

It shouldn't be too difficult. (Famous last words.)

It's what's driving me to learn Java and Android development. That and everything else.

Having a problem to solve and making something to do that. What could be better?

Thu, 09 Oct 2014

So I'm totally into Reddit right now

I recently started looking at Reddit, and I'm enjoying it.

It's more like Slashdot than not. The biggest difference is that on Reddit, it's easier for anybody to post a "topic," and actually see their post on the live site.

Wed, 05 Mar 2014

Buffer's Awesome plan makes it way more usable, but I'm not in a position to part with $102 right now

I have tweeted a bunch and written some, too, about Buffer, the web and mobile app that allows you to space out your social posts and reposts and have them released at specific times during the day.

Having Buffer "baked in" as a browser extension is a killer feature.

As a user, my company has gone all in for Buffer. We are a subscriber. A business can part with much more than the that the Awesome Plan costs for a year. a year is something most businesses scrape off the bottom of their boots on a slightly wet morning.

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