Moving Closer Towards IndieWeb and Micro.blog

Over the last few days I've invested some extra time into getting 10Centuries and micro.blog on some rudimentary speaking terms. After quite a bit of guess and test plus a little bit of information from @manton, it's now completely feasible to have posts go from 10C to micro.blog … with just a little bit of configuration.

Cross-posting does not happen with every post, as it does not make logical sense to do so. A conversation on one network does not always translate to another, so replies will not be sent from 10C to micro.blog. In addition to this, the auto-generated "New Post" posts that announce when a new article is published to a blog will not be sent over. In the future these will be customisable decisions but, for the time being, they're global. In addition to this, posts published on micro.blog will not be read into 10C … yet. This is a preliminary step towards the next version of my platform, which will be based on IndieWeb principles, play nicely with other tools, and be available for download to people who wish to host their own content.

How to Set Up Cross-Posting to micro.blog

Setting up cross-posting to micro.blog can be done in as little as 3-steps:

  1. Open the Account page on micro blog
  2. Click the "Edit Feeds & Cross Posting" button (or click the link here)
  3. Add your 10C-powered website, with /socials added at the end

micro blog Account Page

This Might Interest You

When social posts are sent to micro.blog with a link to a URL different from the website address in your account profile, the link to that post will be added to the end of everything sent to micro.blog.

No Thanks

If you don't want to see this, you'll need to set your 10C website in the account profile. The rest will take care of itself.

This Might Also Be Of Interest

Would you like to have a "verified" checkmark next to your website on micro.blog? No problem. On your 10Centuries profile page, add your micro.blog username to the appropriate spot and press "Save". Then go back to micro.blog and save the profile again. This will force the service to check your 10C site, looking for the rel="me" link that was added to your blog after saving your profile.

Not The Easiest Process In The World

This is not at all an easy thing for most people, but I hope the process is understandable. As I get more feedback, I fully plan on simplifying this process even more. By the time 10Cv5 is available for download, I'm hoping it's down to just 2 steps1 or less.

One of my many goals for this year is to drastically improve 10Centuries and make it available for people as part of the IndieWeb community. By making these tools easier to use, I hope to lower the barrier to entry that keeps a lot of good people from trying to take control of their online identity.


  1. I could get it down to two steps by asking for the micro.blog app token, then having the 10C API coordinate with the micro.blog API and get things configured … but another day

Winding Down Feedburner

As promised earlier this month, FeedBurner will no longer be distributing any content from this site after tomorrow morning1. This decision came about for a few reasons, one of which being the sunsetting of the service later this year. Hopefully anybody who would like to continue reading the endless rambling that comes out on this site will move over to the new RSS address. People who choose not to update their RSS readers, which seems to be about 87 readers in total, will have one less site taking up space in their reader of choice every day.

Any Other Changes on the Horizon?

Believe it or not, yes. There are always changes on the horizon. I've almost completed migrating over a decade's worth of IRC logs into the Noteworthy database and will also have a short-link function integrated into Noteworthy to save a boatload of characters when sharing links. Depending on how long we are all still using Twitter, this could be quite important.

Aside from this … there won't be too many changes in the next six weeks. The goal is to use this time to polish Noteworthy for an initial release2 in August.

You can subscribe to my RSS here.

How To Handle Comments on an Evernote-Dependant Blog?

As with any new bit of software, there are always a few key functions that are left for "later" until the main elements are complete and working properly. In the case of Noteworthy, the list of delayed features has included RSS feeds, archive pages, other blog import tools1, and comments. Although the first two have been resolved, and the import tool left on hold for various reasons, the missing feature that has earned the highest number of questions involves the lack of comments on this site. Back when I started blogging in 2003, comments were the single-most important feature for me. The ability to communicate directly with people who took the time to read and respond to the posts seemed to be such an obvious requirement. Heck, I even made a post late last year to celebrate hitting the 3,000 comment milestone! So why aren't they here?

Well … to be completely honest, this is something I plan on resolving shortly. I've been testing some Disqus integration and will have something ready for people to use in the not-too-distant future. One of the tricky parts has been to properly migrate all of the old comments in a way that works with Noteworthy. WordPress and Noteworthy have some very different ways of organizing and identifying posts2, but this should be done before too long.

A lot of popular bloggers have eliminated comments from their sites in a bid to block trolls from wasting people's time and database space, but nothing of this sort needs to be done on this blog. Aside from some ultra-patriots in East Asia or angry foreigners in Japan, the majority of people who have left comments have generally added value to this site rather than diminished it.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback they've provided so far on Noteworthy. There has been a lot of interest in this blogging tool and, while it's not quite ready for general use, it's coming along incrementally.

Update: 2012.02.12 @ 4:00 PM

I've just implemented the Disqus commenting system on here and exported the 3012 comments from my old WordPress database. I'm sure there will be some hiccups between the two systems, but it should be good to go for the most part. Now on to the Twitter integration …

Quality vs. Quantity

Seven years and six-hundred-thousand words, all contained within 1,488 posts. If you had asked me back when I first started blogging what I would be doing today, that younger version of me would have probably said something that would have been proven wrong less than six months later. That said, here we are, and I've decided to take a completely different track with this site; more specifically, it's time for a reboot. New software, new content and all that jazz.

Over the last few months I've been thinking a great deal about what it is that I'd like to do with this site, and the answer is very simple: more of what I was doing before, but with a lot less crap. Some of the posts this year have been nothing short of awful. This is still true despite the number of revisions that have been made to many of the articles. It has to stop. This website is reached by typing my name into a search engine, after all. The last thing people should associate with my name is garbage writing. So here we are, a clean break from the past with a brand new web site powered with some simple blogging software that I've written.

This is what I want people to think of when they see my name.

Another Neice, Another Disappointment

Today I received an email from family that would usually be considered good news for most people but, in my case, is a stark reminder of failure. My recently married brother is now a father. His wife gave birth just a few hours ago to a healthy and happy baby girl. This is, of course, good news. I wish them all well. That said, this makes me the last person in the family over the age of 17 that does not yet have any children.

 

And it's not for a lack of trying. Just what does it take for two adults who have consciously chosen to start a family to actually do so?

Noteworthy

Earlier this week my development web server went down for the first time in a while, though the underlying problem was essentially the same issue that I've been having for years. My personal website is hosted on the development server, and it's running the most recent version of WordPress. WordPress received a rather large spike in traffic around 5:05PM, which caused it to freak out, consume all of the memory, choke memcached, and start swapping. All of this activity starved MySQL of resources, and the whole thing came crashing down.

That's what I get for running a WordPress site on a server with just 512MB RAM.

All is not lost, though. Backups are in place, and not a single byte of data is lost. Yet, as I examine the issue in more detail, I'm left wondering if WordPress is really the tool I want to continue using going forward. Don't get me wrong. WordPress is a pretty decent tool to rapidly set up a website and get ideas out in to the open … but is it the best solution for people who self-host?

I have a production server which is where the majority of my customer websites are hosted. None of these sites use WordPress, Joomla, or any of the other open source packages that are available, though. They all run on Midori Lite; a simple platform that I created a while back to rapidly serve up web pages, files, and just about anything else people want to put online. It is still a little rough around the edges, as I'm the only person that uses it, but it's a decent tool that allows for a great deal of customization1. So, if Midori Lite is good enough to host dozens of sites on a single install without requiring all sorts of caching backflips like WordPress, why the heck aren't I using it?

Well … truth be told, it was never designed to be a blogging tool or even a CMS. It's designed to serve mostly static sites with dynamic content being served up via JavaScript and a back-end API. There is no rich administration panel like there is with WordPress. There is no way for visitors to write anything back to the database. It's a very, very closed system. Because of this, I've decided to fork it and make something new: Noteworthy.

This site is actually using the Noteworthy fork right now, and it's showing some promise overall. The way it works is simple. I write a post or a page in Evernote, save it to a specific Notebook, and it's automatically published to the blog. If I want to eliminate a blog post, I just delete it from Evernote. Done and done.

There are some limitations, of course, but this system is proving to be incredibly versatile so far. One of the things I love most about this system is that, should it be opened up for others to use, applications already exist on all of the major platforms for people to write blog posts and share them with the world. Also, because the content is all written in Evernote, people always have full control over their content. Want to kill the blog but keep the content? Simply move every page and post to another Notebook. Want to make the last few years of recipes available for the whole world? Simply move or copy the note to the appropriate place.

Posts are sorted according to the Created tag, and can display the last updated timestamp if desired. Tags are carried forward and shown. Source URLs are displayed in the post credits. Even GPS locations can be recorded and displayed. Since the body is completely written and stored in HTML, it's dead simple for people to make custom pages and formats, as well as pass along formatting in just the way they want to see it. No, the formatting isn't nearly as versatile as it is on WordPress, but it will get there with time. There are always solutions going forward.

The plan is to use Noteworthy for the next few weeks or months and see how well it performs overall. Depending on people's feedback, I'll consider releasing it so others can put their notes and ideas online in a simple fashion. The problem, though, will be differentiation. Why does the world need yet another blogging platform when an Evernote sync function can just be written into WordPress or some other open source platform?

The answer has a lot to do with my underlying beliefs when it comes to software. Software should be lightning quick, use minimal resources, and get the heck out of the way. People shouldn't even realize how easy it is to work with Noteworthy … and that will be the ultimate goal.

From 4-bits in 40 Years

Forty years ago today Intel made available the world's first commercially available microprocessor, a 4-bit slice of silicon that ran slower than most of the digital components found inside the cheapest of dollar-store digital watches. With this, the 4004, the world was forever changed and we have all the technology that we see today.

The story goes that Japan's Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation1 approached Intel to design and construct a dozen processors for the Busicom 141-PF. Engineers Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin, and Stanley Mazor got to work and came up with a 4-bit microprocessor employing 16 pins and running at a whopping 740kHz … or about 0.000740GHz. I never had the opportunity to work directly with a 4004, but instead cut my digital teeth on one of the predacessors; an 8088 processor running at 8MHz.

It's hard to believe just how much has changed in the 40 years since the commercial release of the 4004, as we now find microprocessors with much more horsepower in everything from super-computers to running shoes. Did anyone in 1971 truly imagine even half of the world we live in today? Probably not … the stuff we take for granted would be passed off as absolute science fiction just ten years ago, let alone forty.

Although a great deal has changed in the four decades since Intel released the first commercial chip, I look forward to what is yet to come. Hopefully by the time I retire computers will have enough power and intelligence to take good care of us …

Canada's Prime Minister Is Not a Canadian

Canada is a nation known around the world for it’s insanely polite inhabitants, endless supply of coffee shops, and incredibly clean wilderness. However, aside from the retail beverage chains, the rest of these preconceptions are completely false1. Despite the country’s 224,466 square kilometers2 of protected park space, enough virgin territory to house each and every one of the planet’s 7-billion inhabitants in Tokyo-like skyscrapers should the need arise, the leaders have done more to destroy Canada’s environmentally-friendly image than anyone before them.

Stephen Harper, the current farce of a leader, has decided to forgo balanced budgets and environmentally responsible platforms in lieu of a retrofitted military and big subsidies for the oil industry. This strategy will undoubtedly win him some votes with the gun-toting, gas-guzzling crowd … but what about all the promises made years ago to protect the environment and meet the targets laid out by the now-abandoned Kyoto Protocol? More than 60-billion dollars have been allocated towards the military retrofit over the next few years, while 200-million has been gutted from scientific research and monitoring of the environment.

One of the programs that will suffer from these cuts is the Ozone Monitoring Network, which was responsible for finding the first ozone hole over Canada this past spring. Without proper monitoring of the ozone layer, people will be more susceptible to skin cancer and more of the sun’s rays will reach the troposphere, contributing to global warming. This hole above Canada will also play a key role in the further depletion of the Arctic ice sheets, raising global sea levels, desalinizing the ocean, and leading to even more cases of extreme weather and animal extinctions.

But perhaps this is exactly what Harper wants.

By cutting funding to the groups that are responsible for pointing out the damage we’re causing in the world, people are less likely to hear many negatives about the endless pollution of the atmosphere. When the Arctic ice sheets are gone for a few months every year, very lucrative shipping lanes will be opened up. This will result in a small economic boom in the north. Of course, with more ships traveling through the Northwest Passage, the highly-toxic fuel extracted from the Albertan Tar Sands Projects will be in greater demand, pushing up production and increasing the size of the ozone hole. The Canadian military will be called in to police the area and keep Denmark away from more islands, which will put those new warships and planes to good use. Then, when the military says that the new ships are working just fine but a few more are needed, Harper (or his replacements) can point to the previous “successes” as justification for the huge expense.

The circle of life is completed!

I understand that the government wants to do everything it can for “the economy”, damn the consequences, but there should be limits. Why risk the future of millions of people for the sake of earning billions of dollars? Perhaps I answered my own question.

Canada Needs Conservation & Scientists

The ozone monitoring project falls under the umbrella of Environment Canada which has had its annual budget cut from just over a billion dollars to 854-million, a 20% cut. As a result, over 750 people (10% of the workforce) have been told that their jobs may be in the line of fire. Unless a bunch of managers take this opportunity to leave, the organization will be too top-heavy to remain functional. It’ll be little more than a shell of its former self, contributing little for the millions it receives, making it all the more likely to be downsized or cut altogether in the future.

Twenty years ago, Canada was championing the climate change conventions. Now we barely have a voice.

Scientists have lost funding and lost hope. They’re leaving the country in droves. Non-Disclosure Agreements galore are being made part of funding requirements to ensure people doing real science don’t talk to the public or the press about what’s really happening without first running it past the government. Canada, for all intents and purposes, has become China. Sacrificing the future health of its people and neighbours for the sake of dollars and cents today.

I only hope that the opposing political parties get their acts together to put together a solid platform with politicians worth voting for, because nothing is going to change so long as the conservatives have a voice.

A Question From the Audience

Another question was waiting for me today …

Hey. How come you go days without posting stuff then release a bunch of stuff that's backdated?

This is probably because I usually have a bunch of drafts saved in various states of completion and post them with the originally-planned posting date. It's not like I'm intentionally trying to have something written for each and every day of the year1.Fact of the matter is that I typically run out of steam while writing, which is something that I do a great deal. When I'm not writing on here, I'm writing for another blog. When not on there, I'm writing for work. When not writing there, I'm coding … or Tweeting. When not coding I'm writing in a real paper book to practice Japanese kanji. Writing is ultimately the thing that I do for the majority of the day, every day. It's just not something that's done all in one sitting.

Time For an Upgrade?

I'm Over Capacity!

Something odd happened earlier today that took me by surprise. It seems that my recent post asking if Japan should ditch the role of Prime Minister caught fire. I'm not sure where the traffic was coming from, yet, but it brought my web server to a crawl for almost an hour. Since this is just a personal blog, I don't host it on anything that'll cost more than it's worth but it would be nice if the darn thing responded when people asked it for a few hundred simultaneous pages or so. As a result, it looks like I'll have to make this site a little more prepared for the occasional rush it might receive.

Sad thing is that I talked a bit about this just yesterday.

My apologies to anyone who tried to visit between 3:08PM and 4:04PM.