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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, 05 Mar 2014

I get more traffic from LXer.com than anywhere else

I almost never look at the traffic on this site. I don't have Google Analytics on it. I haven't bothered to install Piwik, though I'm very interested in the project.

My shared host offers AWStats, and every once in a while I take a look.

I was prompted to look by Jim Lynch's article, Why You Should Delete Your Facebook Account.

Like Jim, it turns out I'm also not getting any traffic from Facebook. Maybe two views a month. I get a little more from Twitter, but nothing earth-shattering.

Read the rest of this post

Tue, 04 Mar 2014

Why blogging shouldn't be replaced by Facebook -- Dave Winer's view

If you're not following blogging and RSS pioneer Dave Winer, you should be.

Here are some recent, important (yet short) Dave Winer posts on blogging and social media's evisceration of it:

A blog post has lasting value. A tweet stream is more ephemeral, it can evaporate almost instantly.

The blogging tools developers aren't giving the users anything new and/or interesting to do. ... Since when does a software category survive without introducing new stuff every so often?

Okay so people who used to blog now prefer to post their observations on Facebook for the immediate interaction of it. I know what they mean now that I've been using Facebook for a few months. Hearing the likes and the comments is a kind of Pavlovian reward. It's true, I know the feeling.

People like Facebook because when they post something there, they get responses from people they care about.

Fri, 03 Jan 2014

From ReadWrite: Online Privacy: We Are The Authors Of Our Own Demise

Online Privacy: We Are The Authors Of Our Own Demise by Matt Asay. The subtitle: We used to pay with money. Now we pay with our private data. Will we regret it?

Fri, 20 Dec 2013

Twitter: The open web

Fri, 22 Nov 2013

Keeping a filesystem in sync across two or more servers and local machines, Part 1

You'd think the solution would be easy and ubiquitous. Here's what I wanted to do: My personal blog run with the Perl-based Ode system. Ode doesn't use a database. Instead it stores its entries as text files in "normal" directories on the server.

I wanted to have exact copies of everything in my Ode documents directory on my local computer and the server. And I wanted the freedom to add to or modify anything in this directory on either side (server or laptop) and have everything track on both machines.

Many of us use Dropbox (or Box, or SpiderOak, or Google Drive, or ...) to both back up some or all of our files and mirror them on other desktops and laptops we happen to use.

But what if you want to keep a filesystem in sync across any number of servers and desktops and laptops without using a third-party service?

My first thought was, "I'll just use Dropbox. Certainly there must be a way to use Dropbox on my server/VPS/shared-hosting. Nope. No. It doesn't work that way.

My second thought was, "Holy shit, Dropbox is missing out on a whole lot of revenue and screwing its users besides."

Read the rest of this post

Mon, 02 Sep 2013

Always back up everything

This guy lost it all when he didn't backup a decade of web content: http://www.craiglockwood.co.uk/

Tue, 16 Jul 2013

I never used Google Reader, but now I'm using Liferea, and it's changing the way I read the web

I've spent plenty of time generating RSS feeds as part of my day job, but I spent very little time consuming them.

I never used the now-dead Google Reader.

But all of the news of its demise led me to look into the idea of an RSS reader and what it could do to make the web more manageable.

That happened. I took the easiest route as a Linux desktop user and installed Liferea.

It's a great application. I've pumped in about 30 feeds of varying heft, and I can confirm that an RSS reader is a great way to read the web.

Wed, 10 Jul 2013


From https://tent.io/:

Tent is a protocol that puts users back in control.

Users should control the data they create, choose who can access it, and change service providers without losing their social graph.

Tent is a protocol, not a platform. Like email, anyone can build Tent apps or host Tent servers, all Tent servers can talk to each other, and there is no central authority to restrict users or developers. 

Tent helps you keep all your data in one place that you control. You can choose a hosting provider or run your own server. If you want to move hosts later your data and relationships come with you.

Sounds pretty good to me. Here's more about it. You can try it here: https://tent.is/

Later: Looking at both of these sites, I can see using https://tent.is/ for traditional microblogging (Question: Can I feed it RSS?), but I'm not at all getting the bigger picture.

Marco Arment on why Internet lockdown is bad -- and happening all over again (and yes, that means Facebook is today's AOL)

Marco Arment: http://www.marco.org/2013/07/03/lockdown