Category Archives: Weblogging

Teehan+Lax on Medium

Medium LogoTeehan+Lax Weblog: “There weren’t many traces of our prototype in Medium, but that was pretty understandable—it had evolved into a very different product. Ev explained that he felt there was a need for meaningful writing on the Web. There wasn’t a place for people who wanted to write something more substantive than a tweet. Blogs, while better for long-form, required a certain savviness to get up-and-running. Successful ones required constant care and feeding and typically focussed on a single subject matter. New ones lacked an audience. He went on to say that people sometimes just have one thing to say about a subject, not something every day or week. This is what Medium would solve for.”

Teehan+Lax is a world class design shop, very talented, and Ev Williams is a visionary, put the two together and you get a great experience, you get Medium.

Weblogs are a dime a dozen, like this one, and most of them are pretty bad, like this one. Medium is a new form. It gives real writers a place to create. I like that. I’ve been reading random articles, from random authors, on Medium for a few weeks now and I really enjoy it. I like the writing and I like the design.

I will never have a place on Medium, and that’s ok. It’s a place for real writers and as a reader I very much enjoy it.

Infected WordPress Installation

Zombie GirlWell, it looks like this site has managed to become infected with the “WordPress Pharma Hack” and I can’t seem to get rid of it.

If I can’t get rid of it soon I will abandon WordPress all together. I wish I could figure out why this has happened, but I just cannot see why.

I’ve followed this Pearsonified article on how to remove it, but I couldn’t find anything on my site that matches his recommendations. In the meantime I’ve removed every template and plugin I don’t need. I’m now using the default template, no other templates installed, and I’m down to a small set of plugins. I’m going to disable a bunch and see if that makes any difference.

My Tumblr Wish List

If you don’t wish to read the ravings of a mad, static weblog publishing, fool, just leave now. If you are curious to hear what I’d like to have from Tumblr, stick around. It’s not actually that much.

Hosting

I know I can host my domain at Tumblr, but that’s not what I’d like. I’d like to have Tumblr push content to my domain. Blogger did this for years, and I’m not sure any other, centrally managed, publishing system does this today? Blogger stopped publishing via FTP a couple years back. That’s what prompted me to move to WordPress, I wanted to have the content published at my site. The big downside to WordPress? It’s all dynamic, but we’ll get to that later.

How?

What if I could install a bit of software on my server that Tumblr could use to publish to by box? I’m not sure what the downsides are to FTP publishing, but obviously it’s not such a great thing or Blogger wouldn’t have shut it down, right? What if I could install a REST service, created by Tumblr, that had one simple endpoint, publish. Basically that publish method would accept a payload of an RSS feed, main page, and the archive page. Pretty simple. What’s the downside? I’m not sure, but, I’d imagine, there are some.

Static Publishing (A.K.A. Baked Weblog)

The other thing I’d really love to have is a static publisher, or as Brent Simmons calls it, a Baked Weblog. Why should content always be rendered from the database every time the site is hit, or cached by Tumblr’s hardware? It makes no sense. Why not publish a static HTML file to a location and load that? GASP! The nerve! Static HTML? Yes, static HTML. There’s nothing wrong with it and it would be just fine for my uses.

Upside?

Tumblr gets an enormous number of pageviews per day. Of those how many are actual pageviews for a weblog and not the user’s Dashboard? I’d imagine most of those are for the Dashboard, which could be offloaded by using an RSS reader and creating your own “Dashboard”, but I digress. I’d imagine having weblog content published to another domain could be good for Tumblr’s overall reliability. No more creating a page each time the weblog is hit, no need to update and maintain a cache of the weblog when it’s been updated. I’m not sure how many people would opt for static publishing, but I could imagine quite a few might enjoy it.

You’re Crazy

AHHHHHH!Yeah, I know. This is one of those things I harp on all the time. It’s not something Tumblr would ever be interested in doing because it could potentially decrease their pageviews per day. Why? Because the weblog would no longer be hosted on their hardware. You avoid the middle man, and go right to the source.

But, but, but…

I like Tumblr, I really do, but I’m not sure I’d like to put all my content on their servers. I don’t mind composing and storing it there, as long as I can get it out, but I’d really like to have the final published text on my box. Then again, who knows, I may take that plunge and go whole hog with a Tumblr weblog. Our oldest daughter, Haileigh, has a great Tumblr based weblog, and it’s served her quite well.

There. Nothing will come of it, but at least I got it off my chest.

Posterous, writing on the wall?

Sachin Agarwal : “Hi- I’ve been emailing the support link for help RE the 100MB limit for a few weeks and haven’t gotten any replies. Does anyone do support anymore? Trying to figure out if there is a way to increase my total allowed uploads for the preschool blog I started to share photos/narrative with families of children I teach. Love the interface/look/functionality but not feeling the 100mb limit! help! thanks,”

This is a comment from the announcement of the Twitter acquisition of Posterous. I couldn’t find a permanent link to the post, so you’ll have to scroll to find it.

I like Posterous, it took a while, but I warmed up to it. It’s trying to compete with the hipster juggernaut, Tumblr. That is quite the uphill battle.

I really do hope Twitter does something interesting with the Posterous platform. It would be nice to see some sort of tie in between the two. This comment leads me to believe it’s going to go the way of the dodo bird.

I still think it was a talent acquisition, but I hope for more.

I’m doing it wrong

A wonderful boquet of flowers.John Moltz: “Anyway, here we are. Don’t worry, though, it’s cool. I’ll tell you my secret: send your wife back to work. That’s what I’m doing. If you don’t have someone you can send back to work or they’re already working and you still can’t quit your job, then I don’t have any advice for you.”

There’s the key to going indie! Send your wife back to work!

Why didn’t I think of that?

Twitter Eats Posterous

Twitter LogoPosterous Blog: “Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.”

Twitter Blog: “Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.”

What to make of this? Twitter bought development talent, not a web logging platform. My guess is they’ll mothball Posterous. Look at the language in the two posts above. Words like “We’ll give you notice” and “For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service” don’t give me much faith in the continued operation of Posterous as a platform.

I could be wrong? Maybe Twitter will move their weblogs to Posterous and continue building the service as a competitor to Tumblr, maybe the service will be shuttered?

Microblogging is Weblogging

Reuters [Anthony De Rosa]: “The difference between the two is that microblogs tend to rely heavily on short bursts of information: links, photos, videos and brief messages. Blogger fatigue gave way to sharing smaller, less labor intensive bits of content.”

In the wayback, before the time of Twitter, Tumblr, and Posterous, we had what were referred to as weblogs, or blogs for short (a word I absolutely hate.)

When I started my weblog in 2001 I’d post small, less labor intensive bits of content, like pictures, links, and brief messages. My weblog looked more like my Twitter stream looks today. Go look at the archives, you’ll find many examples.

Anywho, I find all the talk about weblogging being dead, tiring. It’s alive and well in late 2011, and I’m sure it’ll continue to thrive in 2012. It’s just doing what everything else does, it’s evolved.

Dear Posterous

A wonderful boquet of flowers.I’ve been using Posterous for a while now, as an alternative stream. I post pictures to Posterous indirectly through Instagram and text through ping.fm, on occasion. I have a couple other weblogs that use Posterous exclusively, but I can’t quite move this weblog to Posterous, yet.

I have a couple requests. I believe these would get me a long way toward having the weblogging solution I’m after.

Request #1

I’d like to have the option to publish static HTML to an FTP site. A fully baked weblog. Why? A better question is, why not? I want a weblog minus a lot of dynamic content, it’s all about the content, the text, the post. I don’t need my pages rendered every time my site is hit. I’d like to generate static HTML when the “Publish” button is clicked. I was a Blogger user for years because of that feature, until it was removed. I’d love to see this feature.

Request #2

Give me different archive options. This request goes hand-in-hand with my prior request. If I move my weblog from WordPress to Posterous I need to make sure I don’t break links to my old posts. My posts are archived by YYYY/MM/DD/post, which, according to Posterous support, is not possible today. I asked support to pass that request to the development team. I hope it makes it out of the backlog.

That’s it. I believe, with these two changes, I could move my weblog to
Posterous.

Fingers crossed.

OPML as Open Graph?

Transformed Visio VDX from OPMLIn 2002 I did a little experiment. With a little help from Dave Winer I generated a Visio VDX file from OPML. It was pretty straight forward. The idea at the time was to create a web service that could create a pretty picture of your connections to other weblogs and crawl those connections to create, you guessed it, a graph representing all your connections. Obviously I never finished it.

The reason I mention it is Facebook has done it, but it’s behind closed doors. It’s a Facebook thing. This is something the entire web could benefit from. What would it take for someone to create Open Graph as an open standard for showing relationships between sites? Facebook has an Open Graph spec. How can that be opened up?

It’s Your Identity, DUH!

ReadWriteWeb: “Not only is Facebook becoming too central to our online discourse – it’s becoming too crapified to even be useful. We have a social media problem, and the time to turn back is now. And the answer isn’t regulating Facebook.”

Some folks will never understand the importance of their brand. Using Facebook as your primary platform is a huge mistake. You need to drive people to your website, and your branding, not to Facebook’s pre-selected blue and their crowded layout and takes the attention.

If your brand is important to you invest the time and money to create your own presence on the web. It’s every bit as important as any activity you’ll do to build a successful business.

Use Facebook and Twitter as connectors, nothing more.