There's this concept that's very popular these days. Social networking web sites. I've always been intrigued by the six degrees of separation idea so I joined Facebook and I've given it a try. Result: yawn.
Of course I realize everything depends on who you are, how your social network works and so on, but for me the Facebook experiment has only proven to me what I already suspected: I'm not "social enough" to care about all my friends' teeny weeny little issues and expressions. I don't have many friend added (35 at this particular moment) but already at this low number I get terribly uncomfortable after reading too much personal goings-on. And I'm not interested in everyones' top-lists, what IKEA furniture they would be or which of the characters in the Muppet Show they resemble the most. I'm not going to use Facebook much until something changes.
Twitter is another one of the more trendy sites and services. This is very chaotic and most of the stuff posted there is utter crap. But there are some interesting people to follow and I do my best at following the tradition and contribute with my junk: My Twitter feed. More seriously I kind of use and view twitter as chatter around the coffee machine at a virtual office. You can select who to listen to. You can say whatever you feel like and the ones who might care could be reading it... The good part - for me of course - being that I can stay all geeky and techy and avoid that facebookish stuff I don't like. Oh, and if you're a friend in this manner, do tell me so that I can follow you!
LinkedIn is different. Here's a site with a different goal and perspective, and keeping in touch with people I've been involved with professionally is a totally different matter. This makes a lot of sense to me, and it's actually proven to pay off - several times. I believe me being a contract developer of course also make me value having a large network to reach out to so that I keep getting myself interesting assignments on a regular basis! My LinkedIn page.
How many readers are there of my blog, being no frills hard core tech oriented and all?
The stats are pretty clear: there is roughly 200 visitors per day on the actual daniel.haxx.se/blog site. The main RSS feed is requested 600 times per day, but the blog entries are also mirrored and read on advogato.org and fnoss.org as well.
Since I started blogging on this site I've done 383 posts (before this one), which makes roughly two posts every three days on average.
I'm using one of those fancy WordPress plugins on this blog that makes use of gravatar for the avatar images that appear next to your name when you post a comment. So if you comment here on daniel.haxx.se and want to see a fancy personal image next to your wise words, skip over to gravatar.com and put up a picture of you that then will be associated with your email address.
This system does not reveal your email address to any outsider, as the avatar is received from their service simply by sending a oneway hash of your address.
This isn't really anything new here, it's been like this for a while but I figured I should explain it better to the few who might not have realized this yet...
There's yet another blog aggregator on the internet now, and this time it's fnoss.org which includes blogs from a bunch of "Nordic" (I would assume that means people from the northern parts of Europe) people writing about free software and related matters. I am one.
My blog is since previously also seen in the advogato aggregation.
This of course makes my blog get more read but like the rss feeds it also makes it harder for me to know how many readers/visitors I have since it's all distributed. Not that this number matter very much anyway...
When I got to work this morning I immediately noticed that one of the servers that host a lot of services for open source projects I tend to play around with (curl, Rockbox and more), had died. It responded to pings but didn't allow my usual login via ssh. It also hosts this blog.
I called our sysadmin guy who works next to the server and he reported that the screen mentioned inode problems on an ext3 filesystem on sda1. Powercycling the machine did nothing good but the machine simply didn't even see the hard drive...
I did change our slave DNS for rockbox.org and made it point to a backup web server in the mean time, just to make people aware of the situation.
Some 12 hours after the discovery of the situation, Linus Nielsen Feltzing had the system back up again and it's looking more or less identical to how it was yesterday. The backup procedure proved itself to be working flawlessly. Linus inserted a new disk, partitioned similar like the previous one, restored the whole backup, fixed the boot (lilo) and wham (ignoring some minor additional fiddling) the server was again up and running.
I just wanted to drop a note saying that the biggest explanation for the silence and slowness of my blog the last couple of weeks have been my ongoing vacation, which is still going on for another two weeks.
Of course things are happening still, but due to my lack of computer time right now I tend to prioritize actually working with those things rather than posting here writing about the stuff I do/read/fix.
The Rockbox Steering Board vote is over, results will be published soon (spoiler: I'm voted in as one of the members). There's a curl release coming up for August and we still have a few outstanding issues to fix. More on these topics later!
There's no secret I've had my share of gripes with WordPress and here comes two more:
I can't upload images at the moment! I run the "plain" wordpress package in Debian testing and when I try to upload an image using the fancy new ajax way in 2.5, it just sits there for a while and it seems it receives the file but I don't get the UI up that I believe I should get when the upload is completed... so I can't confirm the upload etc so it instead it gets discarded!
I'm suffering a bit from trackback spam so I installed a plugin named Trackback Validator to help me reduce the manual work of denying them. It seems to work rather well so far in that I now no longer have to mark very many comments (trackbacks appear as comments within WordPress) at all, but the annoying part is that even though the validator unvalidates the trackbacks I still get information mails sent out to me about them! I've now also enabled the Akismet plugin so let's see what happens. Of course simply disabling trackbacks is an option that I'll use if this doesn't work good enough.
A funny side-effect with installing and enabling Akismet was that all of a suddent I could access comments previously marked as spam, and thus I could undo the damages from my accidental mark-as-spam-hiccup the other day!
While playing around with plugins, I also installed a gravatar plugin that shows gravatar-images for users on comments, and I installed a plugin that will automatically set my timezone correctly even when DST changes - which WordPress can't do by itself!
Then all of a sudden when I poked around (too much) I managed to somehow ruin the background image I use a the top of all pages on my blog. Somewhat I got a gradient there instead, which indeed is what the theme supports (the theme I use is of course a standard one but I have done some minor edits of it). Took me a while to manage to get rid of the gradient and get back image back... I had to resort to editing the PHP file for the theme!
Blah, so I get a large amount of spam comments and trackbacks to my blog and I go over them and mark them as spam regularly. They don't appear on the site, they just end up in my attention queue and I need to deal with them and take care of the occasional "true" comment as well.
When I do this I press the Awaiting Moderation () link (assuming I have fifteen comments awaiting), select them all and then press Mark As Spam and I'm fine.
Right now I managed to error. I didn't press the awaiting link and then I had the list of all comments shown and since there were many comments I got to see the last 20 comments or so. I selected them all (all comments on that page) and marked them as spam. Whaaaaaa. Pain! That was not very clever! Several legitimate comments now went down the drain and...
There's no way to restore them, there's no undo the deletion, there's no "oh wait these aren't spam really" way.
Grrrr. So guys, if I removed one of your comments you should know that I'm sorry. I really am. I'll try to improve...
So the big fancy (and often ridiculously stupid) Swedish IT news site idg.se opened up a "blogging" portal, and in there we find an at least semi-interesting open source blog named Open Force. Contrary to linuxworld.idg.se, it doesn't look exactly like they just suck out all the news from slashdot, linux.com and linux today and translate them to Swedish.
But of course the author (Niklas Andersson) is but a journalist and not an open source contributor, why I fear it may very well keep up with the rest of idg.se anyway.
I'll try to keep an eye on it and give it the benefit of the doubt for a while.
Update: it should possibly be noted that "Open Force" - despite the name - is written entirely in Swedish.
I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry but out of no particular reason that I understand, my WordPress installation has started to speak French to me! At least all controls/popup-texts in the text editor are no longer in English! I don't know any french, but luckily I know most of these things already without actually having to read the labels. Like this "insert link" example:
(Update: I guess I could mention that this is a plain Debian Unstable installation, and most of the thing is still in English. It is just parts of the UI that went French.)