For a week now, I’ve been exploring the open source social media network #Mastodon1. Elon Musk is destroying the usefulness of #Twitter, firing staff, whining, and seemingly proceeding without a thought-out plan. I haven’t deleted my Twitter accounts, yet, but I’ve started deleting DMs, downloaded my Twitter archive, deleted the official Twitter client from my iOS devices2, unfollowing accounts, blocking accounts more quickly, yada yada.
I’ve had a Twitter account since 2007, and have been a heavy user of it ever since, for good or bad, I’m not sure. I learned a lot, but also wasted some moments that could have been more productively spent.
Anyway, Mastodon seems like a viable replacement, at least so far. It isn’t the same as Twitter, and there are some things that I wish worked differently, but all in all, worth continuing to use. I’ve had more actual conversations at Mastodon than I have had recently at Twitter, perhaps because there are less people using Mastodon. Or because it is set up differently than Twitter.
Mastodon stats from yesterday:
+5,384 in the last hour
+96,257 in the last day
+593,606 in the last week
If you want to follow me over there, use this link.
Brief note: was meddling in my WordPress Dashboard today, and noticed that the Jetpack plugin wasn’t activated anymore. Tried to reinstall, and was told by WordPress that I couldn’t install Jetpack because the folder already exists.
Hmmm…probably related to the Auto-Update feature, but who knows?
updated to add, logged in via FTP, deleted Jetpack, and reinstalled. No idea what caused the error, but doesn’t matter, chartreuse is my jam…
For the faithful and/or lazy who still get periodic email from this humble blog, I guess we’ll have to find other means of distribution, as Feedburner1 is deprecating certain features, including the email-of-new-posts feature.
Starting in July, we are transitioning FeedBurner onto a more stable, modern infrastructure. This will keep the product up and running for all users, but it also means that we will be turning down most non-core feed management features, including email subscriptions, at that time.
What FeedBurner users can expect
For many users, no action is required. All existing feeds will continue to serve uninterrupted, and you can continue to create new accounts and burn new feeds. Core feed management functionality will continue to be supported, such as the ability to change the URL, source feed, title, and podcast metadata of your feed. Basic analytics on feed requests and the ability to create enclosure tags for MP3 files will also continue to be supported.
So what is changing? We are turning down most non-core feed management features that help you optimize and publicize your feed, e.g. email subscriptions, Browser Friendly, and Password Protector.
I’m not sure what I’ll do to replace this functionality. Or when. I suspect there are other tools I can use, but I don’t know what they are, yet.
To be honest, I’m pleasantly surprised that Google is keeping Feedburner at all!
WordPress is really pressing their new-style editor, called the Block Editor. I can’t say I’m very enamored with it, at least in its current iteration. I find the Block Editor gets in my way more often than it is actually useful in creating a post.
Maybe I’m just used to using a 3rd party blogging software (namely, MarsEdit)? Maybe I need to use Block Editor more?
My websites were flagged by my webhost as containing malware yesterday. After a little back and forth with them, I decided that I would fix the problem myself to save on the hard costs of hiring an expert. The sites in question1 had been hacked sometime in July, but the hacker’s payload was simply a proof of concept – the hacker created a file called lol.txt on each folder on the root level of my server.
Since I’ve been a customer of this particular webhost for nearly 15 years, there was a lot of extra folders left over from various projects that I didn’t need anyway. I took the time to back every single thing to my local hard drive, and then deleted thousands of files.
The malware was installed as a .php file in the directory /wp-includes in two different websites with a WordPress installation. I could have simply nuked all the WordPress files with the exception of files found in /wp-content but I was curious if I could find more traces of malware. I didn’t have anything else more pressing to accomplish today.
Eventually, I cleaned up all the miscellaneous debris left over from Blogger days, lo so many moons ago, and even delved into my Moveable Type installation from the Golden Era of Blogging. All clear, if clunky.
If you have a moment, take a gander at urbanseens.com or my photo blog to see if they are ok. My webhost gave me the all clear, and restored my sites to the internet.
Being told you have malware is like someone accusing you of having lice or a STD or something”
Why not? Maybe Google will help my site get slightly more traffic? In the golden age of blogging, I got 20,000 to 30,000 visits a day, with occasional spikes up to 70,000. That sort of traffic is long, long gone (didn’t help that I stopped posting frequently, and generally became a lazy blogger, also the industry changed, Facebook and Twitter became channels of communication, yadda yadda), perhaps I can recapture some of that magic?
I wonder if I should add back Google Ads? I never see them myself because I use a tracker blocker, but if they are irritating, it isn’t worth it for the amount of money it could bring in, especially if my daily traffic is less than 1,000 visitors a day.
I have a bunch of half-written posts saved in MarsEdit’s “Local Drafts”. I’m assuming I never posted them, but it could be an error on MarsEdit’s part. I’m too lazy to search to see if these have been previously posted or not, instead I’m just going to hit send.
The plan is just to let my station run for a while, as I’m playing music in my office pretty much all the time, whether or not I’m there, or sleeping or dancing on the grave of my enemies.
About the only annoying thing with using a free service is that twice an hour I have to play a two minute track that I had to change the artist and title to “Advert:”. From my understanding, the SHOUTcast server overlays advertising on top of these tracks, depending upon the country. If you are in a country where they don’t display ads, you hear the music, but in the US, you’ll hear some ad. I’m using “Funky Nassau (Part II)” by The Beginning Of The End on the LP “What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977)” and also Ry Cooder’s “Seneca Square Dance” from the soundtrack for The Long Riders.
Currently, I’m playing three tracks at a time from LPs that I’ve read about at the Pitchfork website. I made a big playlist of all their Best LPs of the decade, and added other albums that I first heard of on their site. Stuff like Cal Tjader, Superchunk, Sex Pistols, Bootsy Collins,Miles Davis, Camera Obscura, Dukes of Stratosphear, Bob Dylan, Fela Kuti, Big Star, Talking Heads, etc. etc.
Typical stuff for me, in other words. I frequently play entire albums in sequence too, if that’s your thing.
For the last year or even longer, I’ve periodically received email from strangers purporting to be fellow bloggers asking me to update old posts with a fresh link to their content. I’ve maintained a blog for a long time,1 thus I have lots and lots of posts and pages of posts by date and by category. I’ve always gotten “spam” comments, Akismet has protected your site from 1,571,626 spam comments but these new requests baffle me. Before the blog format was commodified, and commercialized2, I received lots of daily traffic, but I haven’t been a high traffic blog for a while now. I’m confused by this new, frequent request to update links – it isn’t as if Google ranks links from me highly these days.
This new category is labor intensive, so doesn’t seem as if it created by a bot.
Emails such as this one:
You’ve had a couple of emails from me recently, but I’ve not heard back.
I wondered if the resource was of interest, or is there someone else I should contact instead?
I’ve included my email below for reference.
On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 8:36 AM, Paul Turnbull <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: Hi,
I appreciate you’re busy but I wondered if you had a chance to check out my earlier email.
I’ve included a copy here –
On Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 8:48 AM, Paul Turnbull <email@example.com> wrote: Hi,
I noticed you mentioned http://www.bikethedrive.org/ in your post, and just wanted to give you a heads up that I recently wrote a blog post you might like. It’s a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on how to choose a bike according to science, that details 10 factors to consider and is packed with tips and advice.
If this is something you’d be interested in, here is the link to the blog post: jenreviews.com/bike/
This is completely free and if you like it, all I ask is for you to link to or share the article on your site. In return, would love to share your post with my newsletter subscribers and followers on social media.
Either way, keep up the great work!
Here are some of the raw email headers for reference:
I’m skeptical of the motives of these requests. Why would someone request an update to a page which is a month’s worth of blog posts back in 2005 (or 2006)? Why not the specific individual post? In a moment of weakness, I responded to one earlier this year requesting money to make these links. That particular emailer didn’t reply again.
As I mentioned before, I do still frequently get automatically generated “spam” comments, ones like:
“Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it”
which links to proxieslive (dot) com/free-proxy/ etc
Those kinds of spams are irritating, and clutter up my blog’s databases, but they are obviously generated by bots, and not hand-crafted emails.
These new super-targeted requests are strange. Did some SEO eBook suggest reaching out in this way as a means to increase traffic? Or are these Spambots 2.0?
longer if you include even earlier years when I hand wrote crap on my webpage without a CMS [↩]
by organizations like Huffington Post and the Gawker enterprise, for instance [↩]