Feed problems

Something is wrong with my RSS/Atom feeds. I’m not sure what’s up, but for some reason the feed does not have any content in the items even though the blog has updated content. I’m still trying to investigate the problem.

Define: Lazy Blogging

The act of maintaining ones weblog via proxy or more specifically, using an API feature from a remote service, such as the one from del.icio.us, to automatically post to your blog.

I’ve been using the daily blog posting feature of del.icio.us for a few years. It started out sparse, but admittedly the daily link dump has dominated my blogging activities (as you can see from the archives).

I’m sure my wife and friends can attest to how many times I’ve stated, “I need to blog more”, but the quick “select text”, right-click, “post to del.icio.us” is just too damn easy. Perhaps if I state my ambition more publicly it would inspire me to post more “manual”.

After maintaining this blog for over seven years I owe it to myself.

Nah… Lazy Blogging rules! I’ll do both.

del.icio.us.ly blogged

Much of my blogging these days has been taken over by the links and quick comments I have been posting to the del.icio.us social bookmarks manager. So I decided to completely mesh what I’m doing @ del.icio.us with my blog.

The integration process is actually fairly simple with the help of the experimental daily blog posting interface found in del.icio.us (@/settings/USER/daily). Basically, you enter the XML-RPC interface entry point from your blog, some user credentials and the process will deposit into your blog any links posted to your del.icio.us account in the last 24 hours — complete with extended comments and tags. Nice!

Much better than the feed splicing I have been utilizing with FeedBurner — although that is admittedly cool too.

Now, if I could find a mechanism to auto summarize the daily links into relevant titles for each post, instead of the standard ‘links for yyyy-mm-dd’ title template available now, I’d be delighted!

FeedBurner and Me

I decided to consolidate many of my XML feeds using the excellent FeedBurner service. The process was very simple using Matt’s straight forward tips on redirecting existing feeds to FeedBurner.

In addition, I opted to use FeedBurner’s Link Splicer to include daily dumps of my del.icio.us bookmarks into my main feed. So if you’re reading this via a news aggregator you’ll notice the post flow increase.

Over the past six or so months, I’ve found it to be faster to post quick annotations using my del.icio.us right-click context menu hack (shameless plug). So much of what I formally posted in my main blog now gets tagged and shared with del.icio.us. This is especially useful when I’m short on time.

Let me know if you’d rather have a separate blog-only feed option.

BTW, Due to DoS attacks I had to disable commenting and trackbacks on this site (again). So, send comments via email.

MT 3.01D Upgrade

Last night I decided to upgrade Movable Type to version 3.01D. The upgrade went very smoothly. I’m very impressed with the seamlessness the MT crew created with this upgrade. Overall the system feels much faster too.

I think the hardest part was backing up my current installation and database, which really wasn’t that hard.

I’m attempting to re-enable commenting and trackbacks, but I think I have to rebuild my site to get the TypeKey registration working correctly.

I may have to experiment with some of the older plug-ins I have running as well, but so far I haven’t encountered any show-stoppers.

Billy G’s Blog

The Seattle Times has an article saying Bill Gates may become a blogger (via Anil).

“Yes, the world’s richest man may start his own blog, one of those online diaries that have been the rage among techies for the past three or four years.”

As funny as it is to think of a secret Bill Gates Blog, I think it also sends a clear message to corporations at large that there’s viability in utilizing blogging to connect with customers, partners and employees.

Indeed, there’s nothing new here and MSFT is well known for coming late to the party, but when they do arrive, they make a strong showing. Even without the latest Billy Blog rumor, the visibility of a MSFT Blogging initiative is evident in the ever-growing list of Microsoft Bloggers.

Comment Spamming: Pointless Practice

I couldn’t take it anymore! Last night I took Burningbird’s suggestion and turned-off commenting on any post older than 30 days. I may turn commenting off entirely if this weekend is any indication of the logarithmic growth in comment spamming.

Comment Spammers… why do you bother? You’re not getting any extra PageRank points from your messages due to the external URL redirects MT 2.661 has in place. Plus, thanks to MT-Blacklist, your polution is trashed almsot as quickly as it’s posted.

So I can’t imagine your getting any value from this effort.

Even after I disabled commenting on old posts, the spammers continued to pound away at the server, yet nothing was actually getting posted.

Pointless (again).

However, this time I decided to let Apache help me rid the server of these digital cockroaches.

A simple .htaccess hack was in order.

I added the following LIMIT Apache directive, which applies only to the HTTP POST method on the mt-comments.cgi file:

<Files mt-comments.cgi>
<Limit POST>
deny from all

This effectively (and unfortunately) disables commenting for MovableType at the Apache server level.

I haven’t tested this thoroughly, but it should only disable posting, editing and deleting comments. If not, I’ll fix it, but for now I shouldn’t be getting anymore comments spam.

Command Line Frontend to MovableType

I must have missed this, but back in December 2003, Johann Schmidt released the latest version of MTshell, which as the subject says is a CLI for MovableType.

MTshell is a perl program which allows you to maintain your Movable Type blog from a command line prompt. If you’re a Linux/Unix user and run an instance of Movable Type on a server which you have shell access to you’ll probably be interested.”

I like it!

Product Blogging

I recently started reading Chris Pratley blog. Chris is the Microsoft OneNote Group Program Manager and it appears he has been publicly blogging for only a weeks. Yet in just a few entries, Chris not only provides unique insight into MSFT’s product development practices and techniques, but I also feel that the blog broadens the user community’s perspective of the product.

Specifically, you can also see how this type of public communication about a product (and an excellent one I might add) can spawn user feedback that will undoubtedly influence the product’s direction.

Of course, user feedback in a public forum is noting new, mailing lists, newsgroups et al, have been the venue for this fodder for many years.

However, I think the blog format enables a contextual history and candidness that seem to get lost in any of the aforementioned formats. Perhaps it’s merely the signal-to-noise ratio or the initial monolog-ish nature that a blog entry carries, but whatever ‘it’ is, I think more people in Chris’ position should follow suit.

As an aside, product blogging from the inside is nothing particularly new, Macromedia has been doing it for over a year as well as many-many smaller shops, but I think seeing Microsoft do it so well seems to legitimize the format to the point where Product Blogging or Service Blogging for that matter should be a requirement of any successful management team.

Dave Elections

Prognosticator Dave Pell of Davenetics and NextDraft fame is at it again, this time with Electablog (RSS feed too), which Dave describes as…

electablog provides a daily (and sometimes nightly) slicing and dicing of the mad dash that is America’s election cycle. Think of it as C-Span meets the Daily Show meets the little girl from Whale Rider meets Dennis Miller before he lost his mind.”

Dude! When do you sleep?

The Internet Never Forgets

The other day I was browsing through the Wayback Machine and discovered a number of four-year-old weblog entries I posted to my then homegrown blog tool. They weren’t earth shattering entries, but I figured I’d bring them back home.

So, after a few quick regular expression hacks I managed to format them for import into MovableType (complete way links to archived pages on the Wayback Machine)

Brewster Kahle, you rock!