blogging

Jul. 28th, 2011 07:16 am
mellowtigger: (Default)
Good news, Dreamwidth hopes to have photo service by the end of the year!

Bad news, Livejournal is experiencing another DDOS attack.  It doesn't explain the nearly week-long problems they've been having, so I suspect that troublemakers decided to take advantage of pre-existing issues at Livejournal.  What started out as other problems may now be solely the result of DDOS.

Because I couldn't upload images to Livejournal, I tried hosting them at Google+ instead.  It worked, but it wasn't nearly as easy as I'd hoped.  My frustration led me to submit a suggestion for a higher priority on image hosting here at Dreamwidth.  My suggestion was turned down for posting on their feed, but they did kindly respond with an encouraging message about their hoped-for service date.

I also submitted a suggestion for a cross-posting service from Dreamwidth to Google+ accounts.  I haven't heard a reply yet about that one.

mellowtigger: (snow)
2011 April 16Bummer. I just discovered that Dreamwidth has no photographs yet, so I had to upload this morning's snapshot back to Livejournal. *disappointed sigh*

Oh well.

We had above-freezing weather for the last 2 weeks, so all of the typical snow piles melted away.  The back yard was totally clear.  This morning, though, we have a slight accumulation.

I was planning to rent a tiller and get to work on the garden this weekend.  It seems rather chilly for that kind of outdoor fun, though.

Also, I'm seriously pondering the paleolithic diet.  I'll need to reconsider my garden for this year, though, if I do switch to it.  I'd have to give up all grains so I wouldn't be able to use my popcorn, corn, rice, and quinoa seeds that have already sprouted in my indoor garden. I could still save the quinoa for the leaves, but I don't remember ever seeing a recipe for cooked food using quinoa leaves.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Is there a way to set a default on my Livejournal blog that will automatically allow Friends to post but everyone else (Livejournal user or not) to automatically Screen?  I'm seeing a recent increase in spammers using my blog to post ads.  I delete them promptly, but I really dislike the idea of closing my journal to public comment.

worldmap 2011-03-08

Would this map have anything to do with the change?  I usually don't check my own profile page, but I did it this morning after deleting some more spam.  I had viewers from more continents than I knew about previously.  Did I somehow become popular, or is it just that spammers have infected machines in all these locations?
mellowtigger: (Default)
My bad! I mistakenly thought there was a bug in Livejournal privacy protections.

What's actually happening is that the web browser is storing Livejournal credentials in a cache.  When going to view anyone's RSS feed, the browser is also (behind the scenes) sending your userid/password.  As a Livejournal participant, you can then see posts appropriate to your security level.

If you open a different browser program (which has no cached credentials), you see an RSS feed that offers only Public posts.

You can view RSS feeds for any Livejournal blog using the instructions here:
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=149

You can even view RSS feeds only for specific tags.  If, for instance, someone wanted to subscribe only to my Furry Friday or Autism posts:
http://mellowtigger.livejournal.com/data/rss/?tag=furryfriday
http://mellowtigger.livejournal.com/data/rss/?tag=autism

This convenience is why I'm a big supporter of appropriate Tag usage on blogs.  :)

Dreamwidth

Apr. 9th, 2010 11:19 am
mellowtigger: (Default)
I may be switching this blog to Dreamwidth soon.  I dislike the idea of moving elsewhere, but responsiveness of the Livejournal server has become increasingly frustrating during the last 6 months or so.  (I'll consider myself lucky if I succeed in posting this text-only message this morning.  No Furry Friday post today with images, sorry.)

I hope Dreamwidth has a cross-posting function that would let me keep up with the community that has learned to find me here at Livejournal.  And an import function to help me port everything there.

Here goes my 2nd attempt to post this simple message...
mellowtigger: (Default)
If I wanted to read advertisements, I'd make Facebook my fulltime home.  I participate here (and pay my annual fee) to see the creative efforts of other people, not to become a target audience for advertising.
We're thrilled to announce the launch of Your Journal - Your Money, a joint program with Google AdSense that allows LiveJournal paid and permanent account holders around the world the chance to earn extra cash just by displaying ads on their journals.
- http://news.livejournal.com/117647.html
If I see ads showing up on anyone's posts, I'll defriend them immediately.  I'm not participating in this nonsense.
mellowtigger: (hypercube)
I think I've found a way of modifying existing LiveJournal features (plus adding 1 new feature) to encourage more public participation in journals while still allowing extensive (better, I'd say) control over access and the blocking of griefers.  This idea is specific only to LiveJournal and does not really apply to other journal sites.

1) expand the Tag system
One reserved tag will always be public, and another reserved tag will always be adult.  Users are free to create any new tag that they want.  Perhaps limit the number of tags that free accounts can use.  The existing tag system is very robust and needs no significant programming changes.  All posts, however, must have at least one tag.  The default tag is always public.

2) consolidate the Friends/CustomGroups system
With all posts tagged into appropriate subjects, it's now easy to introduce the concept of invitations, which is the permission system that each user can modify to control their journal.  You can set a default for your journal, and you can also set a value specific to any user account for your readers.  There are 2 logic protocols on permissions.
ALL except taglist
NONE except taglist (public cannot be excluded as a journal default but can be applied to individual user accounts)

The ALL setting is inclusive, but the NONE setting is exclusive.  This is important for deciding permissions when you make a post with multiple tags.  So, for instance, suppose you have a journal with the following tags:
public (required), adult (required), recipes, workplace, sexcapades, unicorns, poems

You can set your journal default to ALL except sexcapades.  Other people will have permissions to see all of your tagged posts except for those in the sexcapades category.  If you're a public kind of person and post a story with BOTH public and sexcapades, then the inclusive ALL setting will mean that since one category (public) is permitted then the whole story is permitted and viewable by readers.

You set your journal default to NONE except public, recipes, unicorns.  In this case, the exclusive NONE setting will mean that a story with multiple tags will use the most restrictive permissions.  A story posted with BOTH public and sexcapades tags will have one restricted tag and therefore the whole story is not viewable by readers.

You can mix-and-match settings.  Your journal default can be ALL, but then your mother (or an annoying twit) signs up and you can set individual user permissions that are more restricted.  Poor mother, for instance, can be granted NONE except public and recipes, and she'll never even know about your sexcapades category.  She will see only public and recipes, exclusively, with no other tags seen.  As long as she's logged in as herself, LiveJournal will not show her the other public posts that you make, even though you made them available to everyone as your default (in this scenario).

encouragement:
Using these 2 methods, give writers an extra feature if they've included the public tag on their post.  Give them the ability to create a custom url name for their post.  So, for instance, instead of being post number "286714.html" in their journal, it could be "vacationphotos2009.html".  A small feature that encourages public participation.

3) introduce a subscription system based on the tags that you are permitted to see (replace the Friends page)

Suppose a journal has used the following tags that the author has made permissible (using the system in step 2 above):
public (required), adult (required), recipes, nanowrimo, workplace, vacation

I've browsed all the available-to-read posts and decided that the only subjects by this person that I want to be notified about are the recipes and nanowrimo posts.  I subscribe to them.  Now they show up on my subscription page, just like the Friends page does now.  The other public posts are still out there, and I can see them if I go directly to the user's page, but only my subscribed topics show up on my "new posts page" with my subscribed topics. 

It's a reader's own filter system, diverting only selected topics to their attention.  It can be even more powerful with an "ALL except taglist" and "NONE except taglist" option.  With this system, a user could collect only recipes.  They could build their LiveJournal experience to show them only topics that deal with issues like animal welfare, a political party, or poetry.

4) introduce a rating system for judging users (like what is done on Slashdot using karma scores):

If people have "scores" from -5 to +5, then it's very easy to add further permissions.  A journal owner, for instance could Block posting for anyone with a score of less than -2.  Additionally, they could Screen postings for anyone with a score of less than 0.

Anonymous users automatically get a score of -1.

When you Friend a person, you friend them at a rating of +1 to +5.  Doing so means that, regardless of what their karma level really is, they are treated as having that score when trying to post into your journal.  I suppose an alternative could introduce ratings of -5 to +5, allowing the concept of Enemy to also be used.

encouragement:
Scores affect the ability to write into all journals, either in public or private tags.  Users can have their scores judged/modified, though, only in public posts.  This restriction encourages public participation in various journals, but it still allows people to create their own private community of Friends.
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
I just typed up a reply to a public post, and then LiveJournal informed me that the user has set their journal to Friends-Only posting.  (Why couldn't I have been warned when I clicked the Reply button before I spent the time writing up the note?!)  I may have to make a new review of my subscription list ("friends") and start removing names that are primarily non-public.  I've tried to avoid adding names that do this kind of stuff, but everyone is compartmentalizing their lives so much that I consider the practice far beyond a reasonable tactic any more.

Most of the accounts I've subscribed to are queer folk, and they of all people should know how poisonous it is to sequester a part of your life into safe closet territory.

I understand wanting to make a Friends-read-only post every once in a while, to discuss something potentially illegal or otherwise harmful.  But must EVERYthing that some people write fall into this category?  Thought #1: You really need to consider moving to email if you want to eliminate every aspect of webpages that risks disclosure of some super-secret information that would ruin your life or someone else's.  Thought #2: Maybe you shouldn't be posting stuff like that anyway, if it's really so dangerous for someone else to read.  Consider reorienting your life to spend more time on productive and explorational topics instead of secretive harmful things.

I expect people to correct me if I state something that's WRONG.  If the rest of the community is really so delicate that they don't want public commentary, then perhaps a static webpage would be better (or, again, consider email).  It really undermines the learning opportunity of a social site to retreat into these little corners, disallowing public reading, disallowing public commenting.  I have all anonymous posts screened on my journal, but I approve all the ones that seem like legitimate users (instead of spam attempts).

If what you post here could ruin your job, then attend to your livelihood and stop posting stuff that could threaten it!  If what you post here could ruin your friendships, then attend to them and stop posting stuff that could threaten them!

I'm very disappointed in the LJ population ("community" would require use of quotes) at the moment.  I want to live as a whole person in a whole world.  I don't want to live in a world that's segmented, compartmentalized, and ghettoized.  So grow some gonads and own up to the kind of world that you're actively creating.  Which kind of world will you be a part of?

LiveJournal deserves writers who make public posts that are searchable by web crawlers like Google, so surfers can find other people with opinions and information on topics that concern them.  LiveJournal deserves writers who open their posts to everyone, so that subscribers have an opportunity to read followup opinions by other subscribers.  You never know who you'll meet online... but locking posts down is a way to ensure that people don't meet each other at all.

archive now

Jan. 6th, 2009 07:07 am
mellowtigger: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jpeace points out this article about LiveJournal laying off the majority of its employees without warning.
http://valleywag.gawker.com/5124184/the-russian-bear-slashes-a-social-network

Here is the FAQ entry for exporting information.
http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=8

I was going to try the LJ.NET downloadable client, but it requires .NET 1.1 which apparently won't install on Vista.  (I tried, but Vista complained.)  Anybody have other suggestions for programs that they've used successfully?

So.... what's the next blog service that the Bear crowd will be moving to, assuming that LiveJournal plans on closing its doors and servers? I've long been impressed by the writing I could find at blogspot, but a spammer took over my name there before I could get to it, so I won't be finding a home there. *sigh*

edit1: recommended archive programs so far...
http://fawx.com/software/ljarchive/ (Windows)
http://www.mp3vcr.com/ljsec/ (Windows)
http://antennapedia.livejournal.com/266462.html (requires Python)
http://ljbackup.yamnet.co.uk/ (Windows)
http://www.ljbook.com/frontpage.php ("LiveJournal and this service are currently under heavy load.")

edit2: [livejournal.com profile] ogam mentions that there is a user buyout effort underway at [livejournal.com profile] ljuser_buyout .

edit3: [livejournal.com profile] theamazingjosh reveals a page with confirmed information about the layoffs.

edit4: [livejournal.com profile] artfldarknbuzzd points out the official Livejournal announcement.  They say that they are planning for the "long-term success" of the site.
mellowtigger: (Default)
My year-long experiment ends today. I sometimes choose activities to do for a year at a time, to see what I can learn from them. One year it was celibacy (too easy/natural for me, and I learned almost nothing from that year), one year it was honesty (also too easy/natural, but I learned that the difficult thing is to make sure that a person understands what I intend to convey), and this last year it was journaling.

For some reason, I tend to start these experiments in December, usually around Winter Solstice. What I learned from it this time is that I still have lots of room for improvement in writing to make my points clear. I realized a few months ago that I had been talking a lot more than usual at the weekly Bear Coffee event, and I attribute that change to my writing here. I kept up-to-date on various issues online, and then when I was around people it was like I had a script prepared so it was very easy to jump into topics that I had already been pondering. That side-effect is very useful, and it was unexpected. I had expected my writing here to help prevent me from "unloading" long diatribes on poor recipients by email, and the experiment was a success in that regard too. I did break that bad habit (mostly).

I expect to stop posting daily now, although I don't know what kind of frequency I'll settle in to keeping. There are still thoughts that I ought to try describing, but I may settle into the old rut of waiting for a "person of import" (boyfriend) to talk to about such things. That doesn't happen, though, so thoughts may just remain unexpressed.

I considered closing the year with a week-long event of posting my results to the memes that seem so common online. The only one that seemed truly intresting to me, though, was the Life Experience Test. And it was interesting only because I disagreed so strongly with the results. By its estimation, I've lived a rather bland life. So, I thought I should close the year with a review of a few things I have done in the course of my life that seem noteworthy (to me):
  • I've listened to the ants and lived in their perspective for a brief time.
  • I've looked into a nuclear reactor and seen the beautiful blue glow, truly a wonder of nature to behold.
  • I've rebuilt my mind from rubble when it was necessary to survive.
  • I've faced discrimination at work, losing one job and having my work hours slashed (from 40 to 15) at another because of the "gay" issue.
  • I've turned away money that I didn't deserve.
  • I've been called "the boy who gets the cats to play with him" by an old woman who watched the feral cats at her home in the desert.
  • I've watched a tornado, from a safe distance.  I've played in the rubble left by a mega-tornado from years past.
  • I've done the impossible, (1) asking for help to (2) borrow money for gasoline to (3) drive far away to (4) visit a stranger, just to quell the aching need to fall asleep in his arms as soon as I arrived. A "stretch" is insufficient to describe the significance of the effort.
  • I've had my life in jeopardy twice that I know of, threatened by homophobic bullies.  The police got involved with the suspected Klansman.
  • I've tested the integrated circuits that went into medical scanning equipment by thumping them hard in a magnetic pulse hammer and then listening to them with a microphone to detect any rattling of loose wires inside them.
  • I've heard angel(s) singing, briefly, once long ago. (Singular?  Plural?  Hard to know the difference from the sound.)
  • I've looked at writing for a full minute and not recognized what any of it was, even though I knew it was supposed to be English.
  • I've assisted briefly (and quite ineffectively) the World Oceanographic Circulation Experiment (WOCE).
None of that stuff registers on the Life Experience Test. I just figured I should mention. ;)

Now it's time to go do tech support at the Animal Humane Society.  I hope that I feel up to continuing the Furry Friday effort in the months ahead.  I like those posts.
mellowtigger: (Default)
The chat last Friday spoiled me.  It reminded me of my first time around at college when I would hang out with the grad students and talk about all kinds of interesting things.  (One compliment granted to me in those days, "I forget, Terry, that you're just an undergrad.")

I've been wanting more of that convo lately and found myself trolling online forums (fora, yes) hoping for updates to read, returning to them in as little as 5 minutes, far too short a time.  How's that for obsessive?  I've thought once or twice during the last few days that a boyfriend would be nice for a captive audience, too.  I've even considered resubscribing to a Bear site or two, though I haven't yet succumbed to the temptation.

Altogether an unusual urge for me.  I'm hoping it'll pass soon.

p.s.  It's strange... I seldom do the back-and-forth chat even here on Livejournal.  I notice that other people try to respond to people who take the time to reply to their blog, but somehow I tend to just leave things be.  I dunno.  More practice needed (by me), I suppose.  *laugh*

Is it rude on Livejournal to not reply to replies?  I could make the effort to respond if I knew that it was expected.
mellowtigger: (Default)
Okay, I'm new to posting blogs, so I've never really paid much attention to livejournal utilities.

birthdays: Just today, I discovered that you can view the birthdays of everyone on your friends list at http://www.livejournal.com/birthdays.bml. I don't usually celebrate trips around the sun at my birthday, but other people do so it's a nifty little convenience to have them all on one page for easy viewing.

photos: Somebody produced a webpage that let's you view photos used in recent livejournal posts. It's a nice way to surf into other journals that you otherwise wouldn't encounter, though many of the ones I've visited have been in Russian. Just go to http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/livejournal-pictures.php.

eeeevil: The gematriculator is a site that someone wrote to read any webpage and generate a numerological evaluation of its sanctity based on the values of the words found in that page. Enter your blog url at http://homokaasu.org/gematriculator/.

My (quite disappointing) rating, as of this morning:
This site is certified 25% EVIL by the Gematriculator

So are there other livejournal-specific utilities out there that I should know about?  I plan to subscribe here as soon as I'm employed again.
mellowtigger: (Default)
I've never wanted my own blog.  I signed up here just to help keep track of others' entries that I would read during slow times at work.  I recently had the bright idea, though, that maybe taking my random thoughts and throwing them into the electric wind might help to keep me from deluging someone by email when I try to send a friendly note instead.  (My emails have a way of growing out of control.  *laugh*)  I suppose my final decision on the matter will be obvious after a few weeks, depending on whether any new posts show up.  *grin*

Unrelated:  Why does the Livejournal spellchecker not recognize the word "blog"?  Or "Livejournal"?  *boggle*

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