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?
After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.
After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.
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 <email@example.com> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 [↩]
Apologies if you are one of the few brave and foolhardy souls who still subscribe to my daily newsletter. Your email contained a bunch of gobbledygook links today. Some background: before Twitter and Facebook, there was a social URL-sharing network called Delicious. Users of Delicious shared snippets from webpages, which is sort of how I still use Twitter1
Delicious was, and still remains, integrated with Google’s long neglected RSS engine, Feedburner. In other words, if you subscribe to my email newsletter, or use my blog’s RSS feed, you see Delicious links, Flickr images as well as occasional actual blog posts like this one merged together. But2 yesterday I started using a new RSS reading app. NetNewsWire has been my RSS reading app of choice since 2002, but it is feeling increasingly neglected, without much integration into the web services of 2015, so I purchased a competitor, Reeder, and lo-and-behold, posting directly to Delicious is an option! If I can press a button and post to Delicious, I’ll use the feature more frequently. With NetNewsWire, posting to Delicious meant logging in the site, copying and pasting the URL, copying and pasting the snippet, adding tags – about the same amount of effort would yield an actual blog post. With Reeder, I just press a button, and if I want, add tags. Much simpler. Except as I discovered this morning, the Delicious post gets mangled somewhere between Feedburner and Reeder. Basically, the URL is not properly formatted and looks like
Here are the five snippets I wanted to post, but didn’t have the stamina nor time to annote/respond to. One snippet I did manage to later turn into a blog post, but I’m including it here anyway …
The Great Controversy: Ben Carson, Ellen G. White, and Seventh-day Adventism
Ben Carson has famously said that a Muslim who wishes to become president of the United States must “reject the tenets of Islam.”
But what about members of his own church — The Seventh-day Adventist church? Must they reject its doctrines in order to become president?
The SDA church was co-founded by Ellen G. White, who was its original leader and prophet. She is to Adventists what Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, and Muhammad are to Christian Scientists, Mormons, and Muslims, respectively (not respectfully). And her book, The Great Controversy, corresponds to Science and Health, the Book of Mormon, and the Quran. And it fully deserves to be among them, as one of the the worst books ever written.
Someone should ask Dr. Carson if he believes in Ellen White’s prophecy in The Great Controversy with regard to the “big role” that the United States will play. Specifically, is the United States the two-horned beast that speaks like a lion of Revelation 13:11?
If so, he should renounce that belief (along with the rest of White’s “prophecy”) before anyone should consider voting for him for president.
Björk on Iceland: ‘We don’t go to church, we go for a walk’ Björk used to walk across the tundra singing at the top of her lungs. John Grant left America for its rocky grandeur and Sigur Rós’s music captures its isolation. What is it about the Icelandic landscape that hypnotises artists?
Cornel West tears into hypocritical “sister Clinton” while filling in for Bernie Sanders at an Iowa BBQ “Democratic socialism isn’t some kind of alien element. It’s organic and indigenous in the history of this nation.”
West turned to Sanders’ main opponent for the Democratic ticket, claiming that “we have to be honest about our dear sister Hillary Clinton — when it comes to my gay brothers and my lesbian sisters, one year, she says ‘marriage is just male and female.’ A few years later, she says she’s ‘evolved.’ I say, ‘I’m open to evolution.’
“But there’s certain issues that should cut so deep,” he concluded, “that you don’t need to be a thermometer — you can be a thermostat!”
The Velvet Underground – see the video for Some Kinda Love (live) The new Complete Matrix Tapes box set is a brilliant insight into one of rock’s greatest bands – and we’ve got this track from the set
This Friday sees the release of The Complete Matrix Tapes, bringing together all the recordings made of the Velvet Underground at the San Francisco venue on 26 and 27 November 1969. Heard in their entirety, the recordings are revelatory – you get to hear wildly different versions of the same songs, Lou Reed chatting and joking with his audience, and a rock band exploring the limits of their performance – right up to a 38-minute version of Sister Ray.
While most of the 42 tracks on the four-disc box have been heard before, nine are exclusives. What’s more, the tracks previously heard on The Bootleg Series, Vol 1: The Quine Tapes were in nothing like this level of fidelity. In a world of box sets packed with unnecessary fillers, this one is anything but.
The actor will star alongside Harrison Ford in the sequel to the sci-fi classic
he offered this fairly long-winded account of where Deckard has been living following the events of the original film:
We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film. We always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ – what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling – you can see for 20 miles. No fences, just plowed, dry dirt. Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up. It’s a bit like Grapes of Wrath, there’s dust, and the tree is still standing. By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilizing this ground. You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage. And now a spinner [a flying car] comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks, the doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in the cottage, opens the door, sits down, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder – a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison’s side. The cottage actually [creaks]; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else – you’ll have to go see the movie.