feeds and readers

It took me a bit longer than most, but I finally started using an actual feed reader for my blogsurfing activities. Up until a few months ago, I’d just been reading blogs through my list on blo.gs. However, my list of regular reads had grown since I started using the service, and I realized I was missing posts. blo.gs lists things in order of which one most recently had a new post. So, blogs that don’t update too often get pushed off the top by sites like Boing Boing that update 30 squillion times per day.

So I started using Bloglines, reading the feeds instead of clicking over to each blog in a new tab. Much faster, much harder to miss stuff you don’t want to since it tracks which posts you’ve seen.

Les Orchard makes a good point in his review of the new Google (feed) Reader:

Anyway, what I look for in a feed reader is how well it enables speed skimming: I’m going to ignore 70-90% of what I see in feeds, so I don’t want an aggregator which helps me carefully and methodically pick my way across the headlines.

I realize this is exactly why I like bloglines for reading the big blogs .. blogs with a high post count, but where I only care about a fraction of those posts. I scroll’n’scan through a day’s worth of posts, middle-clicking on anything that catches my eye.

The other feedreading method I’ve been trying lately involves rss2email and the IMAP account on my server at home. Posts get converted to individual emails which I can then read from Thunderbird on any of the computers I use. I lose the scannability factor, but it works great for the blogs where I normally read every post. ( sidenote: I picked rss2email because there it had a Debian package – “apt-get install rss2email” .. lazy me 🙂 )

Since I got around to using feeds, I was finally motivated to make my own feeds useful. I added one from Feedburner that mixes in my del.icio.us links and Flickr photos along with the regular blog posts.
woo. And according to the “Analyze” tab on Feedburner I am currently my only subscriber 😉


running wordpress now .. yay! major design change too, but only because it was easier than squeezing the old look into a WP theme .. still adding things. And I need to get AIM blogging working yet again 🙂

update, 5/23/2006: for some reason, this post was attracting all the comment-spam .. so I’ve disabled comments for this post 😛

AllResearch.com and webclipping.com can bite me.

Along with the new host, I finally got around to installing some web stats software .. and by install I mean I clicked the “Install Webalizer” button on the host’s management page .. sometimes it’s nice to do stuff the easy way 😉

Anyway, I’m looking at these stats .. and one single host has accounted for nearly 70% of the traffic (>200 megs of it) and 40% of the hits. Holy crap! About every 4 seconds (!?) I get a hit from rss.allresearch.com with a user agent of "Mozilla/4.0 (WebClipping.com)". And if just grabbing all of spoon.cx in less than a minute wasn’t bad enough, they’re fetching each page multiple times .. in the same day .. not the front page of the blog or anything, but the archives, pages which haven’t changed in years, literally! Some of these pages they fetched 100 – 200 times in the last 2 days!

So this new host also has the ability to block IP’s .. that address again was rss.allresearch.com or For now, this is faster than telling them their crawler is broken, assuming they don’t already know (which I bet they do) and that they care (bet they don’t) .. At least I get a chance to try out that new nofollow tag 😉

new server

spoon.cx now lives on a new server! it’s on a Virtual Private Server with westhost.com. Looks like most of the blosxom widgets are working again (removed a few, added some other stuff .. like my recent flickr photos).

Starting to get some pictures back online in the gallery .. switched to Gallery for the new server — a VPS doesn’t give all the control of being root, so a php program was a bit easier to get working than Apache::Gallery and all its prerequisites. Still working on getting mailing lists set up for some different domains also hosted on the new account. also thinking about switching blog software again .. WordPress looks interesting, or I may switch back to MT

in other news, played some Munchkin and Escape from Elba … wheeee


Making some changes .. all the silly doodads and blinkenlightzen on the right side of the page won’t be working until I get a chance to reinstall all the perl modules and plugins they depended on. So you’ll have to go a few days without knowing my exact whereabouts or the last song I listened to 😉 Also, the wiki and picture gallery have gone on vacation.

Attention comment spammers

(and human readers of this blog)
Comments are now disabled. Enjoy!

Just took a peek at the comments left on me blog since the last time I deleted all the spam (a little over a month ago), and wow .. there were over 3000 comments added to almost 800 posts (out of the total 1140 entries I’ve made).

Some stats:

  • 1376 comments came from one IP address .. that’s over 40% of the total spam.
  • The top 20 spammers accounted for about 85% of the crap (about 2800 comments).

I could go on and on about how much this pisses me off, but I’ve wasted enough time. agh.

So I’ve turned off comments until I have time to deal with this properly. Old comments are still there, and will be visible again someday after I’ve deleted all the pink gooey canned meat that’s now mixed in with the real comments. I know there are already several ways to fight comment spam, but I just don’t have the time right now to find one I like and make it work with my current setup. I s’pose I should’ve done this after I deleted the first round of spam.. oh, well. Meanwhile, if you have an actual comment, email me, blog it, link back here, phone me, aim me, whatever .. i’ll find it and manually add it or link back. Yeah, I’m sorry, that sucks, but I’m sick of deleting the crap. Besides, people have stopped commenting here anyway 😉

Link Harvesting

Just commented on Jeremy Zawodny’s post URL extraction from email .. might as well post my thoughts here too:

I started doing something similar a few weeks ago: I have a procmail rule that greps URLs out of emails from people I know (to avoid the spam) and turns them into posts in a private blog. I also grab links that I send or receive through AIM or ICQ or IRC (using aimsniff and dircproxy) and turn those into linkblog posts as well, but in separate categories. I should probably condense all that into a nice package and release it sometime .. 🙂
Also have a javascript linklet (one of the few bookmarks that I copy to all
the computers I use) that lets me directly add and categorize whatever
page I happen to be viewing.

So when I’m trying to remember where on the web
I saw something, I load up my linkbin page and use blosxom’s search function.

He takes it a bit farther — tie it into del.icio.us and let other people categorize/tag the links for you. That’d be nice…


the amount of comment spam i’m getting is just stupid .. hadn’t noticed any until a few months ago. found some, deleted it, didn’t come back for a month or so .. now, like 3 days ago i went through and deleted a whole bunch and a new batch is here again today .. so i really should fix this permanently. probably turn off comments (or add some screening) for the old comments, since that’s where the spam shows up .. never on the new posts, just the old ones.

Wiki’s and Textile

I started using Instiki on my laptop at work to take notes .. actually, I’ve been using it as a replacement for spiral notebooks, since I’m on my third one this year. Trying to kick that pen and paper habit. I knew a wiki would be great for this, but Instiki is especially nifty: easy to install (download, unzip, run), has a built in webserver (no apache needed), and uses Textile

So the side effect is I’ve gotten used to Textile, so I had to install the textile blosxom plugin.

Downside(s) to instiki so far: doesn’t save the wiki pages as plaintext files like Kwiki does .. maybe Kwiki has a textile plugin?

Nono, you’re doing it backwards..

Lots of people have their blogs configured to add a little icon next to a link
if it takes you somewhere off their site. This icon (usually a little arrow or
something) is omitted when the link takes you somewhere else on their own
site, such as a previous post. This seems kind of silly to me, since most of
the links in blog posts are about other sites, not the blogger’s own site.

What’d be actually useful is if there was an icon telling you the opposite
— “hey, this link is self-referential”. You don’t need to tell me about
if it’s an external link, that’s what I initially assume all links are. But if
a given boingboing post links to a previous boing, an icon telling me so would
be nice .. I rarely follow these links, since I probably already read that post
.. the icon would save me the “trouble” of mousing over the link to find out.