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Reduced comments and design changes

This icon, known as the "feed icon" ...

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This entry was inspired by my buddy Ed Dunn. Thought it would be interesting to reflect on a recent post. It would appear that lurkers have not blessed him with courtesy of a comment as a method of showing appreciating for his work. He really has begun to share much more content over the past 2yrs. I had the pleasure of having him on my show on AG Speaks Episode 16. Heh, one day soon I'll add all of the social media links and also revise the RSS Feeds on my blog. Clearly, I have lost some of my readership due to my activity on other social media sites. Ironically, I had berated others for not understanding blogging or at least abandoning their blogs in favor of hosted social media sites.

Now, I would not advocate threatening your readers into de-cloaking or de-lurking as Dunn describes it. IMHO everyone has a right to peruse without feeling obligated to leave a comment. I believe that because people are trying to make money from blogging some tend to get offended by people not commenting. I suppose the effort and time it takes to publish a useful blog entry should be rewarded by a comment. I really don't worry about it very much.

When I published an average of 12-15 entries per month, I had a fairly good number of comments. I was also running a netcast, so there was a good number of visitors that simply wanted to listen to my show. Now that I'm down to 4-5 blog entries per month, I can understand the dearth of visitor comments.

As mentioned earlier, well positioned RSS feeds for all of my tertiary content will help readers re-connect.

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Blog Disclaimer As Per The New FTC Guidelines

Hmmm. I wonder how many folks will actually honor this edict. Personally, I know of several folks who only blog in an attempt to steer people to ads. Call me altruistic, but blogging is hard work. Nonetheless, I have always enjoyed it immensely. Methinks that micro-blogging and other forms of social networking are over estimated in terms of their contribution to the so-called erosion of traditional blogging.

As I've stated previously in this space, long after Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networking tools disappear the blogosphere will remain strong. This is particular true due to the fact that people wish to share their own form of journalism to keep mainstream news media honest. Although, there are countless crap blogs that resemble road kill (ie Blogspot), there are still countless others that provide useful information. Don't get me wrong, I don't knock folks hustling to get page views and people that love to see GOOG get richer with their ad revenue. I simply do not believe that there is any longevity in this model. Eventually this sort of revenue model drys out, and it really does not scale very well.

The following article is interesting, but I would call it a rule that cannot be enforced. I think the blogosphere will likely police itself. Garbage blogs eventually wither on the vines anyway. Remember blogging is hard work. Putting out relevant content discourages people that are looking for page views and ad revenue.
FTC Blog Disclaimer Guidelines

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Related Entries in Movable Type

Image representing Movable Type as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

If you have been a frequent reader of this blog, you might notice that I am now listing top 4 entries that could possibly be related to that particular entry. At this point a strategically placed small font header which reads "Possibly Related" would likely help my readers. When I made changes to my individual entry archive template, I neglected to add this useful header. Will get to this sometime this week. *Sigh* I digress.

Anyway, I am not using any special plug-in aside from the Brad Choate's venerable mtsql plug-in, which simply creates a means to extract or parse data from a mySQL relational database. Sorry postgres folks, I've not seen plug-in for anything but mySQL. Though, I imagine it would be possible to do the same.

Basically, you must setup a full text index within your movabletype relational database. Chad Everett also wrote a very helpful blog entry on this topic. In fact my index query was similar to this one..


ALTER TABLE mt_entry ADD FULLTEXT ( entry_title, entry_text, entry_text_more );

The MT mark-up language allows you to essentially data mine your previous entries and display them under the body of all new blog entry. That is provided that you modify the appropriate movabletype design templates. Apparently, I'll need to modify additional main index template in addition to the individual entry archive.

Because I have been blogging for nearly 7yrs, I have amassed quite a bit of content.
It is not easy to search for entries of interest. So, why not aid the reader in this process?
When I rebuilt my blog early last year, I removed several of the helpful stuff from the my main index template (ie netcast/podcast RSS Feeds, Flickr URL, and much of the other social network links) and in retrospect it probably was a mistake. So, this too will be restored quite soon.

Unfortunately, as I peruse my archives I see that the results are all over the map. Not sure why the quality of these so-called related entries are not consistently relevant.
My relational database full-context query consisted of keywords, entry title, extended entry text, entry text. I will eventually discover a way to add the tags which I have been using for quite sometime. I'll need to peruse my MT database fields to determine how movable type references this "tags" field. I'm clear that this information should also be in my full text index too.


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Twitter experiment ends

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Some of you have alerted me to the fact that my twitter account has been suspended. Actually, I learned of this last week. Apparently, the twitter admins erroneously labeled my account as a spam generator. It appears that all of my followers and subsequent content has been expunged.
The truth is that after I'd reached the 1,000 tweet milestone, I was ready to close the account anyway. I seem to get more value out of IRC than twitter. The sole purpose of the experiment was to engage with other like minded folks interested in F/OSS and also spread my personal brand. BKAEG..

Obviously, I'm annoyed but not surprised, as I am in essence leasing space on their servers. One of the biggest problems I have with these social networks is that you really don't own any of the content you generate. At any given time you can be victimized without probable cause.

So, I have submitted a complaint through the appropriate channels and I will have to wait. However, this experience has prompted me to open and indenti.ca account, which essentially is an "open" variant of twitter. I'll see how that goes.

More on this at a later date.

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Foray into Drupal

Drupal

Image via Wikipedia

As most of you know, I have a special affinity for MovableType. When I began blogging consistently it was MT 2.64 that pried me away from Blogger. Because I had some familiarity with Perl scripts, and the fact that MT provided well written codebase which rarely provided attack vectors for nasty script kiddy vulnerabilities (save the comment script server load debacle), I have used it exclusively since 03'. I've heard too many horror stories about WordPress installs being compromised, I have no desire to fool around WP.

So why the Drupal exploration? Partly curiosity and the fact that Drupal has a colossal user/developer community. You really cannot ignore it. Actually, I would venture to guess the Drupal install base has doubled in the past year. Likely in large part to the evangelism of Acquia, but also from community groups (ie Lullabot, showmedo, Mustard Seeds) which provide incredibly helpful instructional videos and netcasts. Clearly MovableType could benefit from the same type of how-to documentation. Don't get me wrong, much of things I have learned about MT came from stubbing my knuckles and a great deal of reading. Nonetheless, a video or podcast archive makes less mundane tasks much easier to accomplish. Anil if you're reading this please take notes.

Another powerful aspect of both of these modern blogging publishing engines are modules (Drupal) and plugins (MovableType). I really enjoyed the large variety and uniformity of installation that Drupal afforded me. For instance, the basic path for installation is the
../sites/all/modules.. Very simple to unpack tarball or zip archive and copy them to path. Very clean indeed.

One constant annoyance in installing MT plugins, is that the path structure seems to be random depending upon when the plugin was written. Some of the older plugins require that you copy the payload of the tarball to /tmpl /lib /cms /extlib very irritating. I would suspect that as plugins become more 'centrally' controlled that this sort of problem will disappear.

I have two current MT projects that hang around around like an unpaid bill. Action Streams and similar entries. Action Streams will help me reclaim my content that is strewn about the many social networks that I frequent. Similar entries will help readers easily move between earlier entries that are related to some of the current content. I understand that I can create similar entries by creating a mySQL query. Cool very cool, but the technique isn't very well documented. This sort of complexity could be minimized by a simple video. Hell, in the spirit of Open Source, once I get it done, I'll make a screencast and share it with Six-Apart. Once again, don't misunderstand me, one of the allures of MT is that it is the proverbial "thinking persons" publishing engine. It forces you to understand the powerful template tags to offer a much more customizable experience. I'm still learning
template tags and widgets (new to MT4.0).

Although, Drupal is built atop PHP I have not really needed to know much PHP. I did run into a bit of a snafu with installing it via c-panel. I simply dropped down into the commandline and resolved all difficulties. The Schema module even allowed me to interact directly with mySQL database schema, very slick. I'm sure there is probably some sort of mySQL plugin available for mySQL interface, but its use probably isn't captured in a video. I'd likely have to Brad Choate's or Bryne Byrne Reese's blog. I believe MT could really grab more of the install base if they could harness and really foster a community of open source thinking developers, which could help usher in the idea of extensibility and backwards compatibility. Accomplishing this would cement MT as the "people's champion".. Right now I think Drupal has control of this mythical title. Methinks MT has made tremendous strides to embrace community led evangelism. Anil is living proof of this point. 6A just needs to go that last mile.. I'll have more thoughts on this later.

Last thought.. Now that I've compared albeit briefly my experiences with Drupal and MT.
I thought it would be cool to share the unofficial theme music for MT and official Drupal theme music (by Jeff Robbins)..

I think Anil's re-mix is a bit less folksy and it incorporates snippets of Asterisk;-)

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Styles - Site renovations

Anil Toasts MT

Image by Jamison via Flickr

I've finally refreshed all of the system templates. Essentially updated the old MT 3.x to MT 4.x system templates. Some of you have correctly pointed out that several (if not all) of my archive files had been broken for quite awhile. The truth is that I am not a styles whore, that is I do not find building CSS very interesting. Nor do I care much for themes. I'm an engineer who is more interested in the data and facts. In fact, if I could simply serve up a site that could happily be rendered by a lynx browser I would be happy indeed.

Theming and all that shyt never tickled my fancy, probably because it takes more time than I have at the moment. Publishing platform not withstanding, I tend not to care much about style points. I never blogged because I wanted to share pretty images with you ;-)

Nonetheless, I now have rebuilt the templates and dirify all previous entries.
Soon, I will also institute re-Captcha to address the random but annoying spambots. A number of very cool plugins now help me power the MT 4.x site. My diabolical plan is to "take back" all of my content which is strewn about the global interweb. Active Streams happens to be another very powerful tool that Six-Apart has unfurled and included for all movabletype properties.

After I have "re-claimed" my content, you'll begin to see most of integrated on the blog. Sorta like a one-stop shop for my social networks. After all this was how it was designed to be. I built my social network from the blog, as most of these other so-called web2.0 sites didn't exist when I began blogging in '03.

As time permits, I will continue to make the site more readable primarily for the odd occasion when people actually abandon their feed reader and scan the page outside of the RSS client. Perhaps, I'll even get adventurous and grab a different 3-column theme. These days, I did grow tired of the dark theme that I've had forever.

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Housekeeping - Cleaner Style Sheets / Rebirth

I've finally gotten around to fixing some of the broken style-sheets that have plagued my site since I upgraded to MT 4.2. To be clear there is still much to do, and I'll likely be working on this effort well into 2009. Nonetheless, I will be able to publish thoughts again and leverage the powerful new features of this much improved blogging publishing engine.

Never have I been confused as style nut, I never really stressed over how the blog looked. All I ever cared about was the data and the value/accuracy of the data shared. Some folks change their blog style-sheets like underwear, I have too many other more pressing matters in my life.

Besides, I'm an engineer/ geek technical person who doesn't give a damn about appearances. Just the data :)

I can't wait to begin using Action Streams, so that I can aggregate all of my micro-blogging content and begin to take advantage of the 'brand' which is BKAEG.

Will certainly share it as stuff develops. The nuff wayward netcast, err I should say not wayward, but certainly neglected netcast. For the record, 'AG Speaks' is alive. Despite those who might think otherwise. I do have some guests lined up and will shock the world with more insightful dialogue. I just need to finish setting up my shiny new Slamd64 workstation and upgrade my Asterisk PBX box.

So thx to everyone for your support and interest. Especially those that continue to subscribe to my RSS feeds.

Random Shots

I intentionally let a month elapse since my last entry, as I was determined to upgrade my publishing engine and make some radical changes to the style-sheets.
Though the publishing engine has been upgraded to MT 4.2, I'm still playing around with styles. It does appear that some things are broken, as I am not able to preview the styles from the MT 4.1 Library. Below are the errors that appear when I attempt to pull in styles to review.

Error loading themes! -- {"error":null,"result"......
Additionally, I get a very nice core dumps caused by mt.cgi. I suspect these problems are created by a broken Image::Magick or Perl::Magick module. Once I get all this sorted out I'll share all of the sordid details. I can already appreciate the improved features and more sophisticated underpinnings of MT 4.x. It is magnitudes better than earlier versions of MT.
More on this later.

-rw------- 1 xxxxxx xxxxx 20426752 Oct 10 17:06 core.1000
-rw------- 1 xxxxxx xxxxx 25075712 Oct 10 20:04 core.14385
-rw------- 1 xxxxxx xxxxx 19509248 Oct 10 17:49 core.20653
-rw------- 1 xxxxxx xxxxx 25513984 Oct 10 14:51 core.25901
-rw------- 1 xxxxxx xxxxx 24383488 Oct 10 14:00 core.29407

Anyway, I'll be spending much of the day at the Ohio Linux Fest. I'm looking forward hanging out with my fellow geeks, and talking about FOSS. I expect to meet TLLTS guys and perhaps even Dave Yates and Chess Griffin.


Apache 2.2 breakage

In case anyone cares, my hosting provider recently upgraded its webserver to Apache2.2.
*Sigh* Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of the change until the site went down. The root cause seemed to have something to do with my .htaccess file. Apparently, Apache2.2 server seems to expect and not .
More specifically the following appeared in the Apache error logs. ->
Expected but saw

I have no idea why Apache 1.x resolved this syntax without any problems. In fact, I had been using this syntax for several years. Nonetheless, the problem is resolved. If any of care to educate me on the complexities of Apache 2.2, I'm all ears..
I'd be happy to share this info w/my faceless admins :)

LinkedIn Family

I'd like to welcome all of my newest readers.. Not sure what new feature has been added to LinkedIn, but I seem to be getting a huge amount of traffic from my profile. Feel free to drop a few comments while your here, always great to get new perspectives.

Also, in my last netcast I mentioned that I am now accepting audio comments via SIP. If you have comments about the show or anything else, you can Call me via SIP. Of course you'll need SIP capable client (not Skype), Ekiga, X-Lite, etc..

Site for sore eyes

Six-24 has been re-incarnated. It is good to see that Courtney is back in the saddle again. I missed seeing that CF bot in my logs.
Hmmm. Maybe he'll be willing to talk about the hiatus?

Meanderings

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Today I'll participate in another Tang Soo Do seminar conducted by the President of our federation, Kwang Jang Nim Saul Kim.
Eventually, photos and videos from my 3rd Dan testing will be uploaded to the usual places. In truth, I have exhausted my alloted disk space on my webserver. It could be time to begin looking for another hosting solution. I really need at least 1GB of space. Much of the space is occupied by my netcast content. The high quality ogg audio files are quite large. I am considering using a service like libsyn to host the ogg audio, I would then finally be able to have a permanent ogg feed.

Additionally, my MT publishing engine is very long in the tooth and it is time to upgrade. However, I won't upgrade until I get the disk space resolved and the feeds corrected. Perhaps, I'll get to this in the next couple of weeks. I do have a show episode (AG Speaks) in the cue, but I simply must sit down and do the post-processing.

We'll see how it turns out. I have just been pre-occupied with self-imposed deadlines that seem to slip on a regular basis.

First Digit Flip

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Pops recently celebrated a milestone. The surprise party went over very well and and it was fun for all who attended. How could this have been achieved without the Internet? Shifting gears..
I have been planning a major overhaul of this space. Modern CSS facelift and for better navigation and improved readability. If I can steal a couple of hours for self, I may actually get this done during the holidays. More on this the next few days.

MT 4.0 beta review

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Below is a review I shared with the MT developers, as part of the MT4.0 demo.
If you're a MT geek, now is your opportunity to push for a few features.
According to Anil, they are really listening this time. Maybe I can convince my "geek" bloggers to come back to the MT platform. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the source code is open now.
I don't believe it is GPL'd tho.

Thus far, MT 4.0 really looks impressive. I have only played with the demo version and it really looks great. The admin styles sheets and added collaboration functionality seems to be much improved.

I'm still looking for a simple way to add 3-column styles sheet. The demo did no
t seem to include that particular format. Additionally, I would love to see MT4.
0 add semantic web support.
That is, FOAF and incorporation of del.icio.us, technorati, and MT built in tags
. To date, all of the tagging services are separate entities, so you typically end up having to write and manage this attribute in three different places. Certainly, not ideal.
I would like to be able to add tags to my entry and then generate a tag-cloud that would be inclusive of _all_ of my semantic attributes. The APIs for del.icio.us and technorati are all wide-open, so this should be possible.

In MT3.3x there seems to be a distinction between keywords and tags. I hope this
line is blurred in MT4.x. IMHO, this should be transparent to the user. I don't believe del.icio.us or technorati understand the difference. Why should I ?

I would imagine that I have regurgitated much of what others have *requested* regarding semantic tools. Anyway, I _know_ you guys are on the right track, this release is mad tight. I'll continue playing with the demo. Thx for slinging a great product, the effort is much appreciated.

Microblogging

Finally wilted under the pressure..
Tried my hand at Twitter. We'll see how long the thrill lasts..

Content AutoDiscovery - Blogging 101

Had a great conversation with an old friend. He is new to the idea of community within blogosphere. One of his objectives is to drive traffic to his site, so that people could benefit from his very compelling story of Brand You.

The discussion brought me back to the days when I began to blog. Hmm. I suppose my path was very much like many others. Cut my teeth on Blogger, outgrew it after roughly 100 entries. Essentially, I wanted more control over my content, and there was no good reason to be lazy. So I migrated to the Movable Type publishing engine. I have been using MT for awhile, and since I am a creature of habit I have resisted the move to WordPress. I also like to occasionally beat on my chest and speak my clout. Since certain tasks require some thought on the MT platform. Heh, I am ok with that, after all I am Linux user ;)
What is interesting though.. Many of my geek friends moved to WP roughly two-years ago. Most of them left due to the licensing issues associated with MT. So it was likely altruism not a technical shortcoming.

Is it wisdom of the crowds? Not sure, in fairness to Six-Apart I believe their organization grew very large too quickly. Perhaps they focused too much attention on lowering the barrier to entry for new bloggers, that they unknowingly neglected their core constituency. It seems that MT 4.0 will be a convergence or sharing of the goodness of all of the 6A tools (ie TypePad, Vox, LiveJournal). All of these will finally trickle into MT. So says Anil ;) Better support rich content management, themes, etc..

Quick Bits

Finally bit the bullet and have begun publishing ads. Struggled with this for quite awhile, as I did not wish to disrupt the content with random or unrelated ads. I now have affiliate membership with Amazon, Google and Yahoo. My desire is to have ads which are closely related to the published content. I have not yet incorporated these changes into all of my templates.. Some work needs to be done to the style sheets. I will likely go to a 3 column style in the very near future.

Regarding popular content. It seems that my Diva entry seems to get heavy traffic ;)

Bloglines Musings

I only wish I had the virtual celebrity of some people. Bloglines has always been my favorite, on the rare occasion that there have been outages they have not created serious problems for me.
Not sure if there is a benefit to switching RSS readers on a regular basis. Perhaps I should begin a running list of the most preferred RSS reader features?

My Dearest Bloglines (by Jeremy Zawodny)

How does one improve their blog..

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This post was inspired by James McGovern @ Duckdown. He has requested constructive criticism.
Though I rarely view the site without use of my trusted RSS Aggregator Bloglines, I can easily provide the following feedback.

Here are my 5 pet peeves


  • Overuse of images
  • Choice of Blogger Publishing Engine
  • Hotlinking of Images
  • Infrequent replies to post

Here are my 3 Praises


  • Great Insight to SOA
  • Humor
  • Technical conversation on Enterprise Architecture

Lastly, I do find the content to be thought provoking. It is great to see that he is passionate about his industry and is very interested in meshing Open Source into Enterprise Architecture.

MT Tags vs. Technorati Tags

Not sure what the difference is between them, but I'd sure like to easily aggregate them. It really seems as though you're duplicating matters.. Typically the tags that I would use would be identical to the Technorati tags. I would also suspect that the underlying technology is still the same XMLRPC?

If I'm wrong, perhaps one of the MT developers can explain it to me..

Housekeeping items

Finally got around to upgrading my MT publishing engine. Though, I have heard that rebuilding the backend database can be fraught with peril, it really was a fairly painless procedure. I made sure to backup the entire mySQL database. phpmyAdmin is a really helpful application. Thus far, all of my customized templates work as desired. I've not yet tried StyleCatcher, it seems as though 6A borrowed some functionality from its TypePad codebase.

I will restore trackback utility and monitor the traffic, my assumption is that they security and stability is much improved over the earlier MT publishing engines. It seems that erroneous trackback pings are now silently rejected without putting an unnecessary load in the webserver.

In search of Flickr Pro

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Anybody flickr users out there? I've outgrown my gratis flickr repository. Is there a kind soul who wishes to sponsor me for a Pro account? I've got more pics to share but the gratis account is capped at 200 photos.

BTW: I'm in Ky for another day(the Louisville one). Got a couple pics to share from my recent trips.

Virtual Friendships

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Often the subject of 'e-pals' comes up. I have always enjoyed surveying the blogosphere and tapping the various stories therein. I strongly believe that the Internet can actually bring people closer together, not separate as some would argue. Actually, I have physically met and virtually met some very interesting people through blogging and other social networking mediums.

In truth, I'd be in favor of participating in more meet-ups and such, as it always great to actually talk to people. Taking a page from the Nuwere text..

Pardon the Interruption

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The site was down for roughly 50hrs, due to an attack on my trackback system. I have since disabled this feature. Once I've upgraded my MT publishing engine, I will again activate this feature.

// Begin Rant:

While we're on the subject of site management, I have not had very many outages, nonetheless, they are very frustrating. I suppose the rub is the idea of zero notification of an issue.. As it often said, communication is paramount. It would be nice if the datacenter admins would communicate directly with the patron or at least alert the third-party reseller of a potential server load issue before simply suspending an account.

After the twenty-four hours, and chasing down a third-party below is the rationale for account suspension. While I know that when you manage several accounts on a disk whose server hosts several virtual domains, you can ill-afford a rogue process consuming precious resources. Obviously, it could bring the server to its knees. All I would ask is a courtesy msg, to empower the user to take the appropriate action to resolve the matter.

End Rant //



At the time of suspension our servers load average was a very unstable: 20.0. After suspending the account the servers load average dropped quickly to its normal, stable range of 1.0-4.0.

Please work with the script providers and/or website developers to make the scripts more shared-resource server friendly. Until then the site will continue to have its web access disabled.

Processes snippet:

PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
31375 x 16 0 17976 14m 1912 D 99.9 0.4 0:01.57 /usr/bin/perl -w mt-tb.cgi
31376 x 18 0 17032 13m 1780 R 99.9 0.3 0:01.58 /usr/bin/perl -w mt-tb.cgi
31377 x 18 0 17700 13m 1812 R 99.9 0.3 0:01.56 /usr/bin/perl -w mt-tb.cgi

Insider Commentary

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I figured it would be just a matter of time before a larger subset of Google headz would blog publicly. Perhaps they would create something similar to Channel 9. Better yet inquiring minds want to know about the trials and tribulations that is the Summer of Code. It prolly would make a great reality show ;)

An Inside View From a Google Employee

Unwanted Image caching

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It appears that the people have spoken, and Google no longer caches images. I have been embroiled in a battle against bandwidth thieves, who would link to various images from my domain.
I routinely make subtle tweeks to my .htacess file to thwart their efforts. Additionally, I typically review my access logs for new unwanted activity.
While reviewing my access log, I noticed that there is a persistent image cache on Googles servers.
For instance I usually find the following:"
http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://bkaeg.org/blog/foo.jpg&..." While at first glance, you'd think I'd be happy that I've got Google juice.. However, upon closer inspection it reveals that people are using the very large image cache as a means for hotlinking. Though I don't directly suffer a bandwidth penalty, I'm quite sure Google takes the hit. Moreover, I would imagine that some people would not desire this sort of behavior.

Well, it appears that Google has discontinued or at least suspended the cache all together. You may recall that there used to be links that point to cache of defunct websites. Even the 'images' links on the Google search engine have a far different behavior. The image cacheing has been suspended or at least discontinued for the public. I'll have to tip my hat to all the people who complained about this annoyance, and even give a knod to Google for finally listening.

Now if they'd only do something about the crap splogs coming out of 'blogspot.'

Update: Apparently the caching difference was particular to my machine ;) Wishful thinking indeed.

last.fm

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Finally got around to adding my last.fm banner and profile in my About section, so now everyone can discover my musical tastes. Not that you probably didn't know already ;) The idea of last.fm is very simple, as you play your prized collection of audio files, an instantaneous update of your musical genre is constructed on a community site. What essentially happens is that you create a social network based upon your listening tastes. Understand that this isn't yet another P2P swap meet, but instead you can find people who happen to like your style of music. Pretty simple concept.

Anyway, since I've been using Amarok 1.4 beta, real-time updates to the 'Recent Tracks' section are now possible. Bounce with me...

Citizen Journalism

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I recently made my first contribution to citizens journalism. Recently, I contributed some of my flickr photos to NowPublic for an article on Hybrid Vehicles.

It seems that rising fuel costs have not only caught the eye of the blogosphere, but the some of the auto industry as well.

A Few modifications

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Couple of additions. I added a couple of new headers on the right side navigation menu.
Some of people have told me that it is difficult to find my blog feeds.

We'll I've added the Syndication header to help mitigate the confusion. Secondly, I also included a RSS feed podcast chicklet.

Last but not least, I've added a WML/WAP link for all of WAP enabled cellphones. If you're phone is WAP enabled, you should now have an easier time reading my blog entries.

Security Advisory

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It seems that script kiddies are taking advantage of 'randhtml.cgi' perl script that comes bundled with MT. The perl script simply does as the name suggests; allows you to embed random HTML strings into your blog entries. If you have this executable script in /cgi-bin, and it is not critical for your site, I'd suggest that you remove it. At the very least 'chmod 600', as it seems to have been targeted for mischief. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that some clever mind wanted to embed some weird HTML footer on some of my archive pages using a bit of PHP include file trickery. It seems that the footer would force a windows metafile injection, which redirects to some strange website. I wasn't to concerned about the .wmf injection, as I don't run a M$ OS( I believe that there is a patch to protect against the metafile injection vulnerability). However, it was annoying that .wmf download request.. Bottom is that these kiddies are looking for artificial page hits.

Splogs and bots

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There seems to be no end to the constant barrage of blogspot spam blogs or 'splogs' as described by Mark Cuban. It seems that I must modify the rules within my .htaccess file almost daily. These splogs play havoc on your bandwidth. Ain't know free lunch here. Yet another reason why I despise blogspot and consider it to be the scum of the earth. If I could simply get the datacenter to drop blogspot traffic from their router I would be very happy. The only problem is that there is that 1% of legitimate traffic (I happen to correspond with a couple of those blogspot types). Google really needs to tighten the reigns on the proliferation of these ghost accounts.

WAP Enabled / Podcast

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I've just made my site WAP compliant, so you can view the entries via your mobile device. I've not yet added a WAP and podcast chicklet on the navigation menu. I'll get to it eventually.

Yes, I've finally completed my 3rd podcast.
Once I figure out what is wrong with my feed, the audio will eventually be hosted by Odeo.

My Odeo Channel (odeo/752e2321a592e842)

Web 2.0

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I am very impressed with the latest push to educate people on the virtues of Web2.0; however, I'm concerned that most people will not understand its importance. Tim O'Reilly did an excellent job in his attempt to offer up an indepth comparison between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0.

Hell, the vast majority weren't aware that there was a Web1.0 and its methodology. Well, I suppose that I'll do my part in the education. The basic premise is the idea of dynamic, open, and collaborative platforms that become hightly extensible over time.

The days of static circa 1992 websites are pretty much done. However, as I scan the blogosphere I still see way too many complicated designs that are simply just too busy. Simplicity has always been my theme and foundation. Typically, people just want the data. If you make it too difficult to read and allow others to share and extend your message(or refute it), it is very likely that they will not spend more than a few minutes at your site.

Now that we have a proliferation of CMS tools, the barrier to entry is almost nill. As a result, one needn't know anything about W3C standards, much less basic HTML. So, there really needs to be a set of ground rules that help make sense of this stuff.

At the end of the day, all we really want is the data... Isn't that the reason you surf the web?

Web 2.0 Architecture - Galbraith

Social Bookmarking

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Recently discovered the world of del.icio.us, an effort to improve discovery of relevant links using Tags. I'll attempt to make an analogy to better explain the concept. For those of you who are familiar with graffiti or graff writing, the term 'tagging' (aka bombing) was an artistic expression of the artist. What they were thinking at the time or what moved them. They used spray paint or alcohol and carbon paper to express their views artisticly. So, if you 'tagged' the 5 train while in the railyards and it rolled from Dyre Ave (Bronx) to Franklin Ave (Brooklyn), you've instantly spread your story in three boroughs.

Latest craze in pop-culture

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Not sure if I really care too much about this one, but I understand thousands of kids are getting connected to this third-tier social network. As I discussed in an earlier posts, schools are beginning to ban these sites and are aggressively disciplining school children who use these sites.

I suppose the threat of pedafiles will always be a concern regardless what sites youngsters choose to use. My biggest gripe about myspace is the crappy pages that most people make with them. I gather this is because most of the authors have never built a website before and these sites present a minimal barrier to entry.

The MySpace Generation

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