May 2007 Archives

So, SixApart made some incredibly stupidunfortunate business decisions about Certain Types of content yesterday. Lots of blowback all over the place; I first saw stuff on Warren Ellis’s site (this is his final word as I write this) and then Elf Sternberg posted (and there have been subsequent posts from Elf on the same topic). From what I can see standing on the edge of the community, seems like a lot of people are poised to up and move elsewhere.

Here’s the thing: this is the downside of the “user-generated content” “revolution” — it’s way too easy for somebody else to pull the plug on you with little to no notice. It has its own set of issues, but the next step up the Internet food chain — buying your own domain and getting it hosted somewhere — is a lot more resilient to this particular type of disruption. The problem is that the feature set of LJ isn’t, as far as I know, really available in a form you can use in a “hosted” fashion.

That’s where we come to the idea. It seems to me like, given that OpenID is mature and getting some traction, it should be possible to come up with some reasonably simple CGI that ties together some basic blogging functionality, some RSS pull/display capability, and a bit of access management, and bicketyBAM, instant distributed LiveJournal-ish-like thingy. The key here is that there aren’t any centralized servers where this runs, you’ve just got a whole bunch of people with CGIs on their own hosted domains and all the community interaction happens from the CGIs talking to each other, using OpenID to handle all the authentication/authorization issues. The real beauty is that, since LiveJournal supports OpenID, taking your existing LiveJournal community with you shouldn’t be a big deal — which was a concern for Elf and I bet for a lot of other people. Pair this with a tool that scrapes your old content out of your LiveJournal and dumps it into the new system, and you’ve just made it possible for people to jump off the LJ wagon.

One of you crazy college kids that just got out of school for the summer pick this up and run with it, okay? First version doesn’t have to be all that pretty, just has to be good enough to spread around and demo the idea for people; once that happens I don’t think you’ll have a big problem with contributors.

Firefox is wanting half a gig of RAM. Time to dump some of these tabs…

And now I’m magically back down to only 20-odd open tabs, and I’m using all of those…

Best error message evah: “you don’t exist, go away!” That’s what glibc tells you if your account information happens to get deleted from /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow while the system is still up and you’re logged in. Tends to freak out the average user; don’t ask why I know this.

Feeling pretty random…

If you can’t remember whether you’ve had your third cup of coffee yet, you probably haven’t had your third cup of coffee yet.

I get a lot of email. You probably get a lot of email too; most everybody I know thinks they get too much email — but “a lot” means different things to different people, so trying to actually quantify things, get some numbers, is interesting. (Well, it’s more interesting than dealing with most of my email…)

I archive all the “important” mail I get, for a very broad definition of “important” — so, no spam, no completely automated stuff unless it reports some sort of interesting error, but if a person sent something out and I got it, I keep it. My archiving scheme is per-month; I used to do a much more elaborate folder-based thing but around the beginning of the year I converted everything over to the “put it in a big pile and let search figure it out” method popularized by Gmail. Another advantage of this method is that it’s easy to get a feeling for how much mail you get — just check the message counts in your archives.

Here are my “work” and “home” counts for year-to-date (May is as of the time of writing, so about half the month, approximately.)

 HomeWork
Jan44717181
Feb26555747
Mar30999248
Apr25686833
May14722781

If you average out the first four months of the year (and assume a standard 30-day month), I get about 100 mails/day at home and about 240 mails/day at work, or around 350/day total. And that’s not total email, that’s just the fraction of the stream that I need to actually read and decide to reply to or act on.

How much mail do you get?

Talked to TheMom. Spent a majority of the day trying to calm down TheBaby; she’s starting to cut teeth and not liking it too much. Work/life balance not so much at the moment; need to work on that.

Today is Free Comic Book Day; please consider taking a child in your life (of whatever age) to get some free comics….