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August 29, 2005

Yes, it's broken

movabletypo is down. There's little we can do right now but wait. Many apologies. We are exploring alternatives for the future as the new host has some stability issues.

May 18, 2005

Spam notes

movabletypo folks: apologies for the rash of recent spam. Movabletypo and had been doing so well recently that I had gotten complacent. Most of the damage was done by one computer, but I am noticing that more are making it through the filters. I've updated to MovableType 3.16 so I can tryout SpamLookup, which is the latest tool in fighting comment spam. It is still in beta, so I want to test it out for a couple of days before I give it the green light for movabletypo. Hopefully all will go well and the nasty spam people will go away once more.

February 1, 2005

It has begun

Brace for impact: movabletypo just got hit with its first wave of trackback spam. Some of you may have noticed by a deluge of e-mail this morning. Trackback spam is a bit more insidious: MT doesn't make it as easy to see and cleanup trackback spam as it does comment spam. If this attack continues, we may have to turn off trackback on older entries.

Update: I ran David Raynes' mt-close script on the movabletypo installation to turn off trackback on older entries. I'm sad to see a feature like trackback crippled like this, but as an e-mail conversation this morning pointed out, with sites like technorati as well as Bloglines' citation search, trackback is not as necessary these days.

December 28, 2004

Technical difficulties over at movabletypo

Movabletypo is down until tomorrow -- apologies to those who are unable to exercise the blogging itch.

On a separate note, Happy Birthday pqbon!

October 18, 2004

Technical difficulties everywhere and are having some technical difficulties right now. If you notice pages not loading or whatnot, we are trying to fix it.'s are being caused by a firewall upgrade necessitated by Windows XP SP2 breaking my previous firewall, while movabletypo got a little too worked up about that Red Sox victory last night and is a bit hung over.

August 16, 2004

Thank you Jay Allen!

MT-Blacklist v2.0e (emergency release) is out! It's installed on now and I will be putting it through the ropes to see how well it does. It comes just in the nick of time as it seems that the spammers have caught up to my latest attempts to foil them and have been leaving loads of spam in the past 48 hours.

I have long said I would upgrade movabletypo to MovableType 3.0 when MT-Blacklist comes out, but I will have to amend that statement slightly. The features I saw in the soon-to-be-release 3.1 are significant (no more individual archive rebuilds!), and this emergency release of MT-Blacklist will not be compatible with 3.1. So, my current thinking is that I will bite the upgrade bullet with MT 3.1.

Update: MT-Blacklist has made me aware that the same spammer has now made 200 failed attempts (and rising) to spam my blog. Surely there has to be a better use of bandwidth than 200 hits against my site in only 2 hours.

So yes, MT-Blacklist is working quite well (with some minor non-feature-related bugs).

July 1, 2004

Systems at 75%

The feed aggregator has flown over to its permanent home at movabletypo. Sorry for the interruption in service, but from now on things should be much more stable. No more random DSL interruptions, etc... so I hope you enjoy the not new, but more stable feed aggregator at movabletypo.

The real is still lying in a helpless heap, but most of it's functionality has been temporarily transferred here, and the temporary server lets me play around a bit more nimbly as it doesn't have to rebuild 1300 entries.

June 8, 2004

Updates on registration, MovableType 3.0

Now that the comments snafu seems to be fixed, I want to address some of the questions that were raised on the poll.

I'm testing MovableType 3.0 here because I want to see whether or not it's worth installing on As a side note, I do not intend to require people to login into TypeKey, though due to positive response I will be providing it on this site. I also do not intend to moderate comments, as I have found that this is actually much more time consuming than deleting spam; it also inhibits discussion.

Installing MT 3.0 on movabletypo will require me to buy a license. However, between my 50% discount for being a beta tester, and discounts for donating to them in the past, the upgrade to 3.0 will actually be free.

Despite the free upgrade, though, I may be inclined to not upgrade movabletypo in the short term. There are two major reasons:
1) They haven't solidified the final licensing yet. I want to get the most bang for the zero buck.
2) Comment spam. With MT 2.x, I can use the Blacklist plugin to eliminate comment spam on all of the movabletypo blogs with a single swipe. Unfortunately, Blacklist is currently not compatible with MT 3.0, and won't be for some time. Granted, it appears that there is actually very little comment spam on movabletypo, but those matters are often only a question of time.

If you desire the better comment management tools, then I could be swayed to upgrade sooner, or if really essential plugins come out for 3.0 that would be of great benefit, then I could also be swayed, but the current release doesn't really add much in the way of new features.

June 7, 2004

Poll for MovableTypo folks

This is a question for people that are being hosted on MovableTypo: to what extent are you seeing comment spam on your site? I have seen comment spam there in the past, but none recently. I do not know if this is due to the protection mechanisms in place, or if you all have been diligently removing the spam when you see it. If you could give me a quick comment to estimate the rate at which you see spam, I would appreciate it.

February 22, 2004

For those of you who want an icon on

Multiple people (two), have asked me how to have an icon next to their feed on I initially put a guide up here, but I decided to move the entry over to
- Everyone: Guide: Adding/editing your own icon

February 18, 2004

Feeds Project: Update IV, "Powered by 1010 Aggregator"

This is possible the first useful application of the 1010 aggregator. The front page of is now powered by aggregator so that you can see all of the recent community blog entries listed there. The best part: it works just like a blogroll; you only have to had to add a single line of HTML to incorporate your feeds (see extended entry).

I'm really liking this, because it is a good counterbalance to some of the weaknesses of MovableType:
- no need to rebuild your MT page to see the latest feed updates
- all the work is done elsewhere
- your pages rebuild just as fast as they did before

Also, you can use CSS to change the appearance of the feed so that it matches your site.

The next thing on deck is to get it to display comments, which I've had code for but have still not integrated because of other pressing issues.

Continue reading "Feeds Project: Update IV, "Powered by 1010 Aggregator"" »

Site redesign for is getting a slow face-lift. You can now see the most recent posts from members on the front page of the site. I am still figuring out the best way to also inline 1010/pqbon/meta/kwc/bp on the front page as well (it's a tad bit harder).

As you can see, the new face-lift includes user icons. honeyfields - you're gonna have to send me one of your own creation, given your mad Illustrator skillz :).

BTW - the icon for is picture I took of monks making a mandala. Somehow, I figure this was appropriate, even if our entries only disappear into the archives instead of forever.

February 14, 2004

Feeds Project Mockup

I wrote most of the code that I will need to retrieve comments from Xanga and Movable Type sites (LiveJournal coming soon), though I haven't actually put it into the feed aggregator yet. For now, I leave you with a mockup, which uses a trick I learned from Jon Udell that uses CSS to insert photos for commenters. This is a nice effect (yes, I stole the idea from LiveJournal), as it helps me find comments by people I know pretty quick. The mockup was done by hand, and I stole all of the comments from a popular thread on metamanda's site.

The central idea with this mockup is that the comments appear according to when they were posted. This has pros and cons. On the plus side, it lets you see new comments really quickly, which is the central purpose.

It has the disadvantage that the comments are removed from context; it's harder to follow the conversation thread as it's occurring. I'm not as concerned with this as:
1) you can (and should) go to the actual entry to see the full comment thread
2) most people post comments in reply to the entry, not to another comment

Here ya go: Feeds Mockup. The mockup borrow's images from kottke for the quotation marks, which I will replace as soon as I have access to Photoshop, though I will borrow/steal the concept.

Comments are much appreciated on this. If you are offended by me using your photo from orkut to accompany your post, let me know and I'll remove it.

February 9, 2004

It's official:

The MovableType folks seem cool with the name, and I'm happy because I was already becoming attached to it:
- Everyone: It's official

February 5, 2004

Community MT server coming to life

I kept talking about doing a community server, and, at last, it's actually breathing a bit of air. Granted, the breaths are more gasps right now, but with a little bit more CPR it should be healthy and on its feet. The final motivation came when I was talking to my friend Kenji, who was about to setup his own Web site. Both he and redchilipepper will be the guinea pigs for this, when everything is finally ready. The rest of us (pqbon, meta, and myself) will sit on our vanity domains and watch, as the following experiment demonstrates:

For now it's called, but the name will change as soon as I pick one from the list, or someone comes up with one that's absolutely brilliant.

All this happened with a ton of help from bp, who provided:
a) the server
b) apache config
c) mysql config
d) daily backup scripts

My biggest concern with a community server was making sure that the data was properly backed up out of the mysql database, and it turns out bp's server already has a rsync script running on it, that, with a bit of modification, should take care of the task quite easily.

So, in other words, I pretty much did nothing. And bp, I owe you a case of beer, or beer alternative.

February 2, 2004

Trying to come up with a good domain name

As pqbon and I have started to become a movabletype hosting service, I thought it would probably be appropriate to come up with a good community domain rather than the vanity domains that he and I both have. Problem is, I don't know what to call it.


vanity-project (has to have hyphen)

hmm... how did meta's domain end up on that list?

Feed Updater III

Fixed some easy bugs in the updater. Some of the layout bugs have been fixed, and I also fixed a bug in a third-party date parser I was using. I also added a link at the bottom that lets you reload your profile, and all the LiveJournal feeds get to look hella cool with their own profile images.

I had a good discussion with daveXtreme on his smart bookmarks thread about aggregators, and more specifically, different techniques for informing a person when a comment has been added to a thread. daveXtreme's smart bookmarks suggestion is a browser-based solution, where the browser itself would change the appearance of bookmarks based on how recently they've been updated. It's a good idea, but it's also one beyond my abilities.

In our follow-up discussion, daveXtreme mentioned:

What I'd like to see in LJ is a special tab or something to switch between "Post view" and "comment view." Post view would work as normal, with newer posts appearing at top. Each post would have a little button I could press (or something, implementation would have to be worked out) that would add it to Comment view. Comment view posts would move to the top of the list whenever a new comment is added to them ("thead bumping") so that I can track discussions I'm intereted in.
This made me think more about different ways of displaying comments within the aggregator, as well as ways to indicate that you wanted to subscribe the a thread. I had been thinking mainly about the bookmarklets route for subscribing to comment threads, but I now realize that there are a lot of possibilities for including the subscription process on the aggregator page itself. I think there needs to be both, as it seems that the sites I comment on aren't ones that I would include in the aggregator (I use bloglines for my newsreads). The possibility of having separate posts/comments view also seems interesting, though, even in the posts view, I think I would want to see comments, but perhaps only the last n.

Another thing he proposed was:

Going with the Smart Bookmarks theme, this could happen outside of a webpage in a sidebar or drawer in your browser. You'd have a "My Threads" folder that would refresh whenever a new comment is left. This would have the advantage that a server wouldn't have to build a new page for each person's particular aggregated thead views.
I hadn't thought about doing a "mini" sidebar version of the aggregator, but now that I think about it, it would be very easy. As new comments are added, you would see a note in the "mini" view indicating this, with a link to the full comment/thread. Mozilla even has a feature where you can set a bookmark to load in the sidebar instead of the browser.

January 20, 2004

Feeds Update III: Feeds! Feeds! Feeds!

**update**: removed dead links

Implemented profiles finally, though the work is only half done. The code is finally starting to look a little more mature, but the todo list seems to be growing rather than shrinking. Here are some sample feeds:

My Feeds

1010 Authors Feed

Comics Feed

January 19, 2004

Feeds Project Update II

Some more updates to the Feeds Project. I still don't know what brought it to a grinding halt, but hopefully it won't happen again.

I made a couple other changes that should make the interleaving nicer. Most of the comics now interleave properly, and I changed the format of feeds.txt. If you look at feeds.txt you can see how it should be easier to import livejournal or xanga stuff.

I also shrunk the feed window to one week. It still astonishes me how long even 1 week is, so to spare my server bandwidth I might shrink it more.

Later this week I'll add in user profiles, so that you, too, can have your own feed list if you like. This is targeted mostly at MT people, as the current rigging is easiest that way. If you would like your own feeds list, post a comment below.

bp points out that bloglines already does a better job of feed aggregating, though that's not really a target for this tool. This is mostly meant to replicate the xanga/livejournal feed aggregators, which are better at promoting conversations across multiple blogs, whereas bloglines is good at allowing you to follow news sites.

January 16, 2004

Feeds Project Update

The 1010 Feeds Project made some gains today. Added in support for LiveJournal (RSS 2.0) and Xanga (decrepit RSS), so they should interleave in nicely as well.

Also, added in another feature such that the servlet loads the list of feeds from a URL, in this case, I had to do one more thing in MT to make this useful, which was to add a new index template and set "Link to file" to be "feeds.txt". This useful feature of MT allows you to synchronize the template to a file on the filesystem. A corollary of this is that you can use this feature to edit nearly any darn text file you have on your server.

The end result of this is that I can log into MT, edit the Feeds template, save, and then watch as my feeds are updated.

I still need to add in support for separate profiles, so that people can have their own customized "conversations."

Update: The feed aggregator is currently gummed up. Will have to debug it tomorrow (Tuesday) to see what's up. In the meantime, some more todos:
1) get comics feeds working (comic image + guess date)
2) include "Post Comment" for LJ/Xanga/MT if possible
3) attempt writing an mt-friends.cgi that allows you to list LJ/Xanga/MT friends
4) get site images working
5) write an example stylesheet
6) post the code

January 15, 2004

"Friends" report

metamanda started playing around with RSS aggregation on her site, which reminded me that she got me a book called "Spidering Hacks" for X-mas at my request. I figured it would be a shame to put that to waste, so I've put together a program that periodically goes out to other sites and collects their RSS feeds. It's still in the development phase, but you can view a test run of it here:

1010 Feeds Project (disabled)

Still to-do:
- UI for adding/removing feeds
- allow different users, with different RSS feeds/user
- CSS stylesheet to make it pretty

Although the to-do list is short, it's pretty much the hard stuff that's left, so who knows if I'll get to it :).