Several things online have made me happy today, most of them related to the previously mentioned DreamWidth project.

Firstly, when designing the site navigation structure, they used a card sorting usability test to get it right, and came up with this navigation scheme, based around a design by [ profile] grrliz. I've used my LJ OpenID to login at the site, and while it's superficially similar to Horizon, it just makes sense. I was stoked about this project just fromt he basic ideas behind it, that they're actually following usability and accessibility guidelines? Yowsers. I uploaded a userpic. I was asked to provide "a description for visually impaired users". Userpics will get proper ALT text. If that means anything to you you know this is cool.

Secondly, they've got what appears to be a top notch comment importer:
When I import, your comments will be assigned to the OpenID you made them with, which means you take control of them if you want )
Such a simple, simple thing to do, but apparently beyond the ken of most other import tools I've encountered.

On the subject of importing or backing up, remember when I promised I'd write a backing up how to? Well, I never did. Don't really need to now, (my preferred online backup option) has upgraded their importer and launched Even Easier LiveJournal Migration. Seriously, you create an account, go to 'import', and follow the easy instructions. Mine is here if you want to bookmark it somewhere in case of LJ dying unexpectedly, I'll be turning off the search presence over there, don't want it to look like a mirror. Thanks for the heads up [ profile] foxfirefey. SRSLY people, you can mark the whole thing as private "your eyes only", just make sure you've got a copy of your journal, just in case?

Lastly, a completely non geeky post. I post a lot of anti-religion stuff when I'm in a ranty mood. I know that not all religious types are crazy bigotted loons, but idiots like Christian Voice tend to spoil it for the sane majority. Today, I got another reminder, several people linked to:

The Life and Opinions of Andrew Rilstone: An Immodest Proposal

Go read it. Really.

Anyway, my importer has finally finished, so time to shut down the PC. G'night all
The first is just utterly off the wall weird. The Secret Origins of Clippy tells us how MS patented all those bloody talking paperclips. Most scary:
Read the whole patent, and you’ll see that Microsoft put immense effort into the technical logistics of implementing Clippy. He wasn’t the spawn of a moment of temporary insanity; he was the result of a vast amount of cold, calculating effort.
I know that there were some that really liked the damn thing (when I was in the office for my first post-graduation job, one of the senior accountants proudly showed me how to change the appearance from the paperclip to a different cartoon), but for the most part? No, just no.

Second story is a lot more scary. What happens when your webhost pulls the plug? I'm fortunate that LiveJournal has an easy backup/archiving system that is interoperable, I know that I can transfer all my contents for the last 41/2 years to a Wordpress or similar install, as long as I have a recent backup. What happens if LJ goes down, permanently, when my most recent is old? Got a Wordpress install? How often do you backup? Using the .com? Got a backup?

If you're using something like Blogger, you're probably fairly secure, Google is, after all, massive. But it's reliant on advertising revenues. Such revenues go down during economic difficulties. What happens if they can't afford to keep their free service going? Do you have a backup?

AOL remain one of the biggest online brands. They just shut down Hometown and did very little to let existing users know, and from what I've seen there was no easy export tool.

How secure is your website? How much of the effort you've put into it do you want to keep? Back up people.
So, after procrastinating for ages, I decided yesterday to get around to installing the most recent versions of Wordpress and play around. But life got in the way, good job I waited really, as they released version 2.6 today so I've been playing with that. It's good, it's so very very good. If you're currently using Google's Blogger service, now is very much the time to think about switching and getting set up on your own domain and server[1].

Specifically, I've updated Warlord TaKtiX[2]. What had previously stumped me was complete in 10 minutes, and done better than I thought possible )

The posting interface is clean and quick, they've done other cool stuff and really beaten LJ and Blogger down a peg or two )

I approve. I really do. I may dig out the old crossposting plan again. Maybe. Definitely play with the idea anyway—so looking forward to working on this for proper paying clients.

[1] I can assist/do the work for this, and while I haven't worked out a pricing structure yet, it'll be fairly cheap because, y'know, it's me...

[2] The revamped game is due for release any day now (Individual Starters and Demo Decks available for download on the official site). stuff for Laurence and players )
K, I've mentioned several times, and I've had my 'replacement' site set up for ages anyway. But, y'know, other things to do, etc. Never had the impetus, or the reason. Well, guess what? LJ have deleted a bunch of accounts again )

The law in the US is fairly clear on the point though, they had little choice )

So I'm going to use my upgrading hosting package to set up my own site )

Anyone wanting to help out welcome )

So, beta testers useful when I've got it installed. Others thinking of jumping ship and self hosting+cross posting also welcome. Others using Wordpress for other things are invited to help out the codebase, suggest useful plugins, etc.

I've been putting this off for two damn long. [ profile] eclexys and [ profile] johnwordsworth both prove you can maintain an LJ as well as a WP powered blog, and there are many plugins that could make lives even easier for them.

[1] I'm exhausted anyway, didn't sleep at all well last night, so I'm not going to Inferno this evening, I've been ill on and off all week so I'll stay in and relax.

Oh yeah, they've made the Message Centre almost usable, although the removal of links to pages beyond the first is annoying.
  • El Reg reports that you can now rent people to join your protest in Germany. Potential protesters get paid, but aren't obliged to agree unless it's something they agree with. Hmm, attack on the principles of democracy, an example of 'everything for sale', or a simple way to motivate otherwise apathetic activists? Let's face it, if you were going to be paid to turn up at the next Parliament Square protest, you might actually do it, right?

  • Right then, Life On Mars I've heard many many good things about this show, and then today [ profile] mng linked to loveandgarbage who was linking to this awesome trailer for the next series, which shows the main characters as if they're in Camberwick Green! How cool is that? I hate to do this, but The Sun has the best version of the promo picture. So, maybe I should've bought the DVD box set in the January sales for £20 after all? Ah no, Sendit has it for £16 and Choices for £14. Bargain. Now if Mike had any decent image manip software, I'd be iconning myself up, they're so cool.

  • Now, I read about this on [ profile] roughtype a few days back, but have been busy/net deprived, but Wikipedia has implemented rel="nofollow" for all outgoing links. This is a BAD BAD THING. Now, whatever we think of Google the corporation, Google the search engine, and specifically the PageRank formula, is essentially democracy in action. The readon it works is because it aggregates all the links out there and figures out which are the most popular (and therefore useful) sites. rel="nofollow" is there for webmasters to say that they don't trust a link, or they don't want to vote for it. By putting nofollow on all its outgoing links (in a spurious and useless attempt to fight spam), Wikipedia is effectively both denying other sites their votes (and opting out of the democracy), but also asserting clearly that their content is untrustworthy, cannot be guarnateed and they don't want to give legitimate credit.  That last links to a Wordpress Plugin that I'll be putting in next time I update, and from now on I'll be nofollowing any links to Wikipedia that I make, and I urge others to do the same.  If they want to opt out of the Google democracy, they should do it both ways (as, for example, [ profile] daweaver's The Snow in Summer already does) and say they don't want inbound links either.  Of course the real issue is linkspam in the form of blog comments, and of course disreputable Search Marketers who do things the bad way, as Tim described one company to me, a bunch of spamming twunts.
  • Last up (for now) Wordpress 2.1 is out, which means [ profile] lj2wordpress should be kicking start a little more, I need to catch up with some things, and reply to a few emails, but this particular project looks like it'll have real legs.  After all, Livejournal is slowly dying.  Journal Press will rock.  Hopefully.
Oh, for those not scrolling back again; I've got a place to live in London, start moving in Saturday.  Comes with wireless broadband and all bills included, which will be nice.
Right, yesterday I posted that top 100 films of the first 100 years of filmaking meme. It appears that many of you have yet to see the film at #1. It was bad enough that [ profile] grrliz hadn't seen it, she posts more about films than she does about Harry Potter and web design, but you lot? You're supposed to be cultured people damnit!

Look, here's the deal. Citizen Kane. When the BFI's Sight and Sound calls it the best film ever every decade for four decades in a row, that ought to tell you something, right? Even the Americans finally got the right idea eventually. Gah!

[Poll #900871]

I dunno, I thought a few of you might possible have seen it...

In other news, my plans to rehost the journal elsewhere proceed apace, the more I use Wordpress the more impressed I am, and the [ profile] lj2wordpress project has given a number of useful plugins (especially LivePress). For now though, it'll be somewhere to host the CV et al. Need to style it, but the upload crapped out on me a bit too often for me to be in the mood today. Car's in the shop as well, hopefully might be back on the road tomorrow...
I'm getting a lot of comment notifications at the moment (post on the latest 6A mess ups at [ profile] lj_biz to follow), but, well, this is impressive:
Hm, i don't know this site and ... don't cry :D! Get paxil Here! All about paxil. Get paxil Here! All about paxil. PLAY PAXIL NOW! CLICK HERE! ALL ABOUT PAXIL! Compare paxil prices and save $$$! Click Here! PLAY PAXIL NOW! CLICK HERE! ALL ABOUT PAXIL! Call me !
On a post I made at the end of August. It's quite blatently a spam comment made by an automated Bot, but for some reason there are no actual links there. So, um, I'm going to leave it in place for a bit.

Now, one of the drawbacks of running, for example, a Wordpress blog over an LJ is the spam comments. But if LJ is going to get them as well? That's another reason in its favour down. Of course,t he way the weekend announcements were handled also not points in their favour. Again, more to follow...
Two things. Livejournal this week launched their new ESN system. I love it, I can track comments on interesting posts, and getting everyones new userpics in one little bit of the site is just cool. That's not the topic. When Brad launched it, he described it as "non-stalkery", and I agre, it's not. On that discussion (in [ profile] news here), many people commented that this was good, and compared it favourably to the new Facebook stalking features. Now, I don't use Facebook, it's only available to students, and, well, much as I'd like to be again, a) I'm now working and have no money and b) they wouldn't take me back in. So what, why do I care?

Well, because people can at times be stupid. Y'see, the new, controversial, Facebook features? Don't tell you any information you couldn't already find out, and could be switched off anyway. If you're on Facebook, or know someone who is, spread this link around, as those making a fuss seem, on what I've read, to need a great big slap for not actually getting what public, private and "social network" actually mean.

The utter cretin’s guide to privacy on Facebook

Second point. I'm playing around with a WordPress install on Voting TaKtiX. Ye gods it's good. So very very good. It's so much easier to use than Blogger and LJ. Importing all my old posts from NLE was so easy. Wait, I said my old posts. It even managed to recognise Paul as a user, and set him up as one, automatically, without me telling it to. Now all I need to do do is figure out how to style it (there are some good features on The Slant that I like the look of), go through the archives and categorise every post of note, get everyone linking to NLE to update their blogroll, shut down NLE formally and invite the other new authors in. All I need to do. That's about a months worth of spare time all on its own. Why didn't I do this a month ago?

Oh, because I thought installing software on my webserver would be difficult. D'oh!
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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