A bit too often

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 4:35 | Posted in internet, Web tools, WordPress | 4 Comments

I guess the new WordPress dashboard is not too bad and I am eventually going to get used to it. Once I do, I may even think it is better than the old one which it replaced an hour and a half ago. I was just getting used to that one.

This is where the problem is. It takes time to get used to a new interface.The older you are the longer it is going to take.

While I appriciate the efforts of the WordPress team to create a better user interface, I have a modest request. Could we please stick to this one for a bit longer period? So that it would not be changed against another new dashboard as soon as I get used to using it.

I accidentally started to type this post to another blog of mine which it was not meant for. I thought I had navigated to this blog but I had not. Navigating between blogs seemed to be easier in the old dashboard.

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Happy birthday, me!

Monday, January 7, 2008 at 18:16 | Posted in Blogosphere, Personal, WordPress | 7 Comments

Right at this moment at 18.16 this blog celebrates the two year anniversary of its birth. The first post was made on January 7th 2006 at 18.16 local time. The current post is number 913 to be published so I guess I have gotten used to the WordPress platform by now.

I never expected this blog to be a “best seller” in the international blogosphere and that did indeed not happen. The total number of page views at the minute of the exact anniversary is just slightly above 77.000. The best day ever was May 11, 2007 with 1576 views which is the same as more popular blogs may have within less than an hour. Nevertheless, this blog has somehow managed to gain some authority in Technorati.

The most read single topic is connected to the German TV comedian Atze Schröder a.k.a. Hubertus Albers. On a more serious note, my posts about the German blogger Moni being intimidated by Transparency International Deutschland still get quite a lot of hits, much thanks to TI-D’s disputed lawyer and ethical council Jürgen Marten who appears as a frequent search argument googled to land at this site. The most recent top post is from January 1st this year: Bhutto: Osama bin Laden murdered. As I was wondering why this particular post was so popular I found the explanation in the high Google ranking of the post.

While the blog as a whole is far from being a top hit, it has brought me lots of contacts allover the World. My posts have been more or less regularly read and occasionally referred to in all continents of the Globe, possibly with the exception of Antarctica. The number of good people my paths have crossed with thanks to this blog is too large to post names but I guess they know who they are. Thank you all!

The blog has been a channel for me to post uncensored about loads of topics that the traditional media is either uninterested in or would not publish without major editing. It has also brought me motivation to keep in touch with a larger scope of issues and events than I may otherwise have had my eye on. That brings me closest to a New Year resolution I would ever announce: this blog is never going to be a single issue blog.

My sincere thanks to all readers, be they regular, irregular or one time visitors. Special thanks to everybody who has bothered to write a comment. And a very special thank you to Akismet for having cleaned off 108.168 spam comments.

A WordPress tag bug

Thursday, December 27, 2007 at 13:23 | Posted in Web tools, WordPress | 4 Comments
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There seems to be a bug in WordPress tags involving tags beginning or ending with the “S” sign. If I try to tag a post with “christmas” it displays as “christma” and the tag “singapore” displays as “ingapore”. The “S” at the beginnig or end of the tag just disappears while an “S” in the middle shows.

Not a big deal but somewhat annoying.

Edit: The bug seems to be selective. I tried to tag this post with “bugs” and “tags”. Only one of the finishing “S” signs was eaten up.

Video posting button and other Vodpod goodies

Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 6:05 | Posted in Blogosphere, gadgets, internet, linux, ubuntu, video, Web tools, WordPress | 4 Comments
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On The Air TV reminds me of what I discovered yesterday about Vodpod’s video posting button which can be installed as a Firefox extension and used for posting in WordPress blogs. The button as such is cool and works perfectly. I tested it to make a post in my Finnish blog. It has hitherto only been possible to post videos hosted by YouTube, Google or Dailymotion in WordPress.com but this button practically opens all borders.

However, I have not been able to discover a way to install this gadget to Firefox under Linux Ubuntu. I am sure somebody will soon enough invent a way to do it if it does not exist already. I am now able to use the button only in my Windows partition which is not bad when I work with my own footage. There are several reasons for me to work with my videos under Windows. But if I detect a clip while doing my regular work under Ubuntu, it would have to be damned good if I wanted to re-boot.

Fortunately, though, I am not totally dependent on that button. I registered to Vodpod and soon enough detected that I can collect footage from just about anywhere, both my own and that of others, and store it at Vodpod. And even more importantly, I was able to store the URL’s of my blogs in WordPress.com, my user ID and password to make automated posts from the Vodpod interface to my blogs.

This means that I do not necessarily have to re-boot to Windows as I can post footage hosted anywhere to my WordPress blogs regardless of the button. So I just need to log in to my Vodpod account to collect a clip hosted, let us say by On The Air TV, and post it right here. And it appears here as a clip hosted by On The Air TV.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is cool.

Edit: I was able to install the button after upgrading to Ubuntu 7.10.

Slow today

Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 23:41 | Posted in internet, WordPress | Leave a comment

The WordPress.com server has been particularly slow throughout the day. There have been occasional short outages as well. At one point I detected a notice about “unexpected maintenance”.

My apology to everybody who may have experienced trouble trying to access my shameless remarks. I am certain that the WordPress.com team are going to get it sorted out soon, whatever it may be.

Update (Sunday evening): Barry explains the problem in WordPress.com forum. Some server maintenance was performed during Sunday morning. At this moment things seem to be running more or less as usual. However, further access problems may or may not occur during the night (in Europe) and Monday morning as further plumbing may have to be done.

WP blocked in Turkey

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 22:06 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, WordPress | 1 Comment
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This post can not be seen in Turkey at the moment, nor any other post published at WordPress.com. Matt publishes a letter he received from two lawyers in Istanbul, Kerim Kalkan and Ceyhun Gökdoğan, representing islam creationist and holocaust denier Adnan Oktar. The lawyers write that all of WordPress.com has been blocked in Turkey by order of Gaziosmanpasa Civil Court of First Instance.

The reason of the measure seems to be this blog and others allegedly created at WordPress.com and elsewhere by Edip Yuksel. The lawyers claim that they contacted WordPress.com on several occasions before seeking the court order:

We have applied to you to remove the unlawful statements regarding my client Mr. Adnan Oktar (who is the author of the books written under the pen name Harun Yahya) in your blogs. The number of our attempts to inform and warn you regarding these defamation blogs must have been at least twenty, many times through your support page, a couple of times to your legal department and we even sent a regular mail to Mr. Matt Mullenweg. Most of our attempts were unanswered.

Since I do not understand a word of Turkish I am in no position to judge whether or not the targeted blog (or this one or this one for that matter) are defamatory or not as the lawyers suggest. The little I have learned about the ideas of their client Mr. Adnan Oktar does not motivate holding a high opinion about him. In fact, I find his ideas most disgusting.

Defamatory or not, blocking a large blogging platform because of a handful of blogs is out of every proportion. This incident reminds me of the Indian government’s ill-adviced operation last year to censor all blogs hosted by Blogspot.com. A number of tools and proxy servers were set up to provide access to the blogs.

Since WordPress.com is far from the only, albeit a very large, free blogging platform in the World, this attempt of censorship is a failure from the very beginning. Trying to shut up a million plus bloggers does certainly not promote Turkey’s bid to integrate with EU. Not that I would have given it much hope anyway.

Edit: The lawyers finish their letter to Matt as follows:

WE DEMAND YOU TO REMOVE AND PROHIBIT ANY BLOGS IN YOUR SITE THAT CONTAIN MY CLIENT’S NAME ADNAN OKTAR OR HIS PEN NAME HARUN YAHYA OR VARIOUS COMBINATION OF THESE 4 NAMES.

Gosh, do they not know that screaming is extremely impolite? I guess that makes this blog their target as well. I am going to write about Adnan Oktar whatever I like although I am not in the least interested in him. And I am certainly going to oppose any demands to close my blog.

A content theft or a WordPress feature?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 2:04 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, WordPress | 13 Comments

I tend to get somewhat itchy each time I see my blog posts republished in full length somewhere. Even if there is a link back to my original post, it smells fishy when my creation is obviously being used for seeking commercial profit. The fair thing to do would be to just publish a brief quote and refer the visitor to read all of the post where I posted it.

There are no Google ads visble at Wpfind.com but most of the links at the site (those that my text is supposed to attract the visitor of the site to click on) look suspicious indeed. It looks even more suspicious that the site presents itself as a WordPress search engine designed to help users of WordPress.com:

Wpfind is a way of allowing the millions WordPress users to rapidly search WordPress including their blogs and friends blogs from one simple and easy to use interface. The secondary aim was to make these blogs very easy to spider by search engines so users journals can achieve more popularity and a higher readership.

There is even a link to a blog hosted by WordPress.com which is said to provide information on “recent progress on development”. Interestingly, however, clicking to that link produces a familiar error message referring to a violation of WordPress.com terms of service:

A WHOIS query to the site does not quite look like it would be ran or even endorsed by WordPress.com. So maybe the good folks of the WordPress team should have a look at the site and take appropriate measures. I have norhing against contributing to genuinely useful projects that actually benefit the community but I have quite a lot against plain content theft.

So which one is it? A search engine targeted at one site would not sound like an effective idea especially if it needs to publish the whole post, using a whole page to publish it as it returns “search results”. Just think of how consuming it would be to harvest search results to a popular query at Google or Technorati if they used the same method.

Veryangel.cn steels from bloggers

Friday, July 20, 2007 at 18:42 | Posted in Blogosphere, crime, internet, WordPress | 3 Comments
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I just noticed another incident of blog contents theft. This blog post I wrote in December 2006 has been copied and pasted into http://www.veryangel.cn/1034/use-the-freeking-condom-more-shameless-remarks-by-larko. No permission asked, not even a reference to the source. All of the “blog” seems to be stolen contents pepped up with Google ads, of course.

A WHOIS inquiry shows that the domain was registered just a few days ago and they are already busy steeling food from bloggers’ tables. The registrant organisation looks something like this 上海澳凯信息技术有限公司 and the registrant name is 徐光寅. I guess that would make it somewhat difficult to sue them.

My constructive suggestion (i.e. freedbacking) to the WordPress.com team is to block these contents thieves from access to WordPress.com blogs. My constructive suggestion to 徐光寅 would be to stop steeling my contents at once. Also, send me all your money and an I owe you where I can fill in the numbers.

A funny downtime notice

Monday, May 21, 2007 at 15:41 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, Web tools, WordPress | Leave a comment

We have not had practically any downtime here in WordPress.com for ages. Especially compared with last year, the servers’ performance is outright brilliant. But small mishaps occur with every site. That goes together with being present in the web.

A short downtime was experienced a moment ago. I very much appreciate this funny downtime  notice. And I especially appreciate that the site was up and running as soon as I had saved and uploaded this screen shot, i.e. within a minute or two.

Deniz Yakut is a thief

Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 1:42 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, spam, WordPress | 2 Comments
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A while ago I wrote about a jerk who has set up a robot to monitor and steal contents from blogs around WordPress.com. It looks like just about every post in blogs hosted by WordPress.com eventually end up being displayed together with Google ads at http://ultravb.com/arsiv/.

When somebody steals food from your table, you would want to know who the filthy bastard is, at least. Which is exactly why I WHOISed the domain ultravb.com:

So, Mr. Deniz Yakut in Izmir, Turkey, I wonder how you are going to feel if you detect that your bot stole this post as well. Mr Deniz Yakut, you are a filthy thief! Shame on you!

Edit: Yes indeed! He stole this one as well. 🙂 http://ultravb.com/arsiv/deniz-yakut-is-a-thief/

Another blog contents thief

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at 18:06 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, spam, WordPress | 10 Comments
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There is another thief around whose robot monitors and steals posts from allover WordPress.com. I am not linking to this bastard but the URL is http://ultravb.com/arsiv/. The dude calls himself Webmaster Arşivi.

He did, however, make the mistake of pinging to one of my posts so I got his IP 88.255.127.232. Apparently, this clown sits in Turkey. My suggestion to WordPress team is to block all traffic from him.

Edit: Just as I expected, the jerk has even stolen this post: http://ultravb.com/arsiv/another-blog-contents-thief/

A load of spam

Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 6:32 | Posted in Akismet, Blogosphere, spam, WordPress | 2 Comments
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A massive spam attack has been in progress for the last 24 hours or so. As usual, Akismet has caught the most entries but has also unfortunately let through quite a lot of them. Comments passing the filter arrive in series of three or four. The contents in each of them are similar: the usual “compliments” for a good site and an invitation to visit theirs. Oddly enough, no links are included.

This suggestion to the WordPress.com team is to be considered as freedback, i.e. free and constructive feedback. I can also be used for the benefit of anybody hosting their WordPress blog in own server. The suggestion is to ban the following IP’s:

207.111.173.119, 66.255.131.10, 82.154.176.105,203.131.132.78, 83.211.70.187, 209.208.69.150, 219.76.145.244, 59.93.195.227, 213.190.195.105, 82.195.156.186, 82.127.82.85, 122.21.0.49, 74.138.28.190 and 202.248.88.165.

Please hurry because they keep coming in as I type.

Edit: Also IP 66.212.222.74 belongs to these spammers.

My living room

Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 3:36 | Posted in Blogosphere, internet, WordPress | 2 Comments
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I like to think of my blogs as my virtual living room. The people visiting the blogs, i.e. reading them and dropping a comment every now and then, are guests in my living room. I am happy and honored that so many good people want to return to my living room and discuss the topics of the day with me and my other respected quests.

Respect is an important word here. I respect that my quests may agree or disagree with me. I respect their right to express their opinion. Even if we do not agree on issues, I enjoy having a discussion with my quests, just as I would in my real living room. Most of my regular guests would indeed be welcome to have a drink or five in my real living room and develop the topics discussed in the virtual living room.

If somebody in my real living room were to develop an aggressive tone and even go so far as to express a physical threat against me, I would obviously throw them out at the least. Such a person would also not be welcome to visit my home in the future. If they actually threatened to kill me, I would consider contacting the police.

Every blogger has some experience of trolls and other guests not behaving with respect in their virtual living room. I am happy to say that – apart from spam robots – I have not had such a bad experience in many years.

For many years ago I did not have a Swedish blog but I did post articles in Swedish on my site larko.org. I had a mail form for feedback which sounds like utmost stupid today but at that time spam robots were not so eager to harvest mail addresses in the web. The few comments I received through that mail form were mostly to the point and I would have had no problem if they were spoken in my real living room.

One day I received a message through the mail form which could not be understood as anything else but a threat on my life. I was naturally shocked first but I soon calmed down concluding that somebody in a provincial town in Central Sweden would not bother to seek me up and actually try to kill me. That town is where the IP placed the person and I did send an e-mail to the local police, just to be on the safe side. I have never heard a word from the police but more importantly, not from the stalker either.

For years ago I was also stupid enough to post my then mail address and cell phone number to the web. I did not receive much spam and no bad phone calls at all but a troll, incidentally also in Sweden, performed a nasty identity theft on me. Using my contact credentials, the person posted racist and otherwise abusive comments in guest books and forums allover the Internet.

The nuisance lasted for a couple of years. A particularly unpleasant experience was when the webmaster of a native American tribal site would not believe that I did not write those comments until I happened to be on line at the same time with the troll and was able to leave enough IP tracks to place me in Helsinki while somebody was posting under my name in Stockholm. The person was just minutes away from being caught. I did have a very good co-operation with the owner of the web café the bastard regulary used for posting.

Being practically a nobody in the large context of the global blogosphere, I can only imagine the extent of troll and abuse a real blog celebrity would have to face. The author of Creating Passionate Users blog, Kathy Sierra, has certainly gotten more than her share of abuse. Explicit threats on her life and sexual violence against her have been posted in a multitude of web spaces, apparently by more persons than a few. Quite understandably, Kathy is scared as hell:

I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

I am afraid to leave my yard.

I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

Need I say that Kathy Sierra has all my sympathy on her side and the persons intimidating her get all the anger and contempt from me that they deserve? Those bastards have gone way over the line and should be held accountable although I would normally not endorse prosecuting somebody for what they wrote in the web. This is not free speech but a coward act against somebody who excercised her right to free speech.

While I understand Kathy’s fear and frustration, I can not agree with one of her conclusions:

I do not want to be part of a culture–the Blogosphere–where this is considered acceptable. Where the price for being a blogger is kevlar-coated skin and daughters who are tough enough to not have their “widdy biddy sensibilities offended” when they see their own mother Photoshopped into nothing more than an objectified sexual orifice, possibly suffocated as part of some sexual fetish. (And of course all coming on the heels of more explicit threats)

This sort of behavior is certainly not accepted by the large masses of bloggers and it is not considered to be the price of speaking up that one gets severely intimidated. That is flat wrong and the blogosphere needs to say so.

More importantly, if these web space terrorists manage to scare Kathy to step aside and shut up, they will have reached exactly what they wanted. So the message from my living room, both real and virtual, to Kathy Sierra is the following: do not give up! While I may not agree on everything you have written, it is important that you wrote it. In the name of free speech I hope that you soon recover from the shock and will be able to return to writing your blog.

I am particulary happy that WordPress.com has promptly taken action against one of the sites apparently dedicated to this coward stalking action. The site (mentioned in Kathy’s post) now looks like this:

I am happy to have most of my blogs hosted where trolls and stalkers are not tolerated.

Updated to Firefox 2.0.0.3

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 20:09 | Posted in browsers, firefox, linux, ubuntu, WordPress | 3 Comments

Firefox 2.0.0.2 was released for less than a month ago but it was already time to say goodbye and upgrade to 2.0.0.3 (release notes here). As “usual” by now, I have Robitaille to thank for giving notice. Since my memory is not what it used to be and memorizing terminal commands is not the most effective way to use that limited resource, I am posting here as a reminder to self that this Ubuntu tutorial has the easy way to install the latest release of Firefox.

Just as last month when I upgraded from Firefox 2.0 to 2.0.0.2, all bookmarks, plug-ins, passwords, log-ins and stuff like that were imported without a problem. With one curious albeit harmless exception. For some odd reason, WordPress.com logged me out. I never log out anywhere (except my bank account) when using my home computer but apparently WordPress does not recognize the cookie after update. No big deal, I can live with logging in about once a month if that is how often Firefox is going to be updated.

I noticed a feature in 2.0.0.2 which was not around in 2.0. It is the spell checker being automatically active whenever I type something in any web editor. This is of course nice when I write in English but being a multi lingual user who writes in four or five languages, it looks sort of funny when just about every word is underlined with red when I am out of lingua franca. I do not bother to search a way to switch the feature off, though. It is not like writing in one language for hours, I keep switching between them all the time so the spell check can just as well be there.

As long as updating is so smooth and easy, I do not mind doing it this often. Having the latest release is not only cool, it may even some time in the future spare me from getting in serious trouble.

I am not spamming my own blog

Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 22:15 | Posted in Akismet, Blogosphere, spam, Web tools, WordPress | Leave a comment

I just discovered a funny bug with WordPress and Akismet. As I was trying to post a comment in response to a reader’s comment, it did not appear in the post. The comment had a hyperlink in it. I checked out and detected that Akismet had caught my own comment as spam.  I posted it while logged in.

It is naturally fine that Akismet is in the alert to keep spam out of my blogs. However, it is not likely that I would be spamming my own blog. Of course a blog is by definition spam in the good sense of the word so the owner of a blog should by all means be allowed to spam their own blog as much as they want to.

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