pyesetz: (Default)
This blog is now hosted in Russia!  Как еврей, я уже знаком с предрассудками русских. Но, по крайней мере, они любят собак!

The new Terms of Service were presented as a modal dialogue with 2,900 words and a required click-through, which in sensible countries (not Russia) is considered legally non-binding because no reasonable person could be expected to have scrolled through that giant piece of text presented in a tiny dialogue box.  Also the new English terms assert that they are not legally binding because they are a mere translation of the new Russian service terms, which are the real ones.  I think the most objectionable new term is that LiveJournal may unilaterally change their terms at any time without notice and the new terms of service come into force immediately, even though no one knows about them yet (other countries have ruled that this is unconscionable and unenforceable).  So basically the English-speaking users of LiveJournal are being asked to GTFO.

This entry was automatically posted from DreamWidth, which reports that LJ people are switching to them in droves.  DreamWidth's computers are still located in the USA, which is another nasty country whose government thinks it has the right to demand access to customer data while also demanding exemptions for itself from its own laws requiring that customers be told when they've been hacked.  I could move my blog to my own server in Canada, but then nobody would read it.  As things are, *almost* nobody reads it.

The DW journal-posting page is less flaky than LJ's, but it doesn't offer a pop-up list of your tags, requiring you to type in their first few letters.  Many of my tags begin with Unicode characters that I cannot type!  But this doesn't really matter, as experiments I conducted years ago (back when LJ was cool) indicated that only one person ever clicked on any of my tags.
pyesetz: (stock)
Up 0.3%, vs 1.1% for SPY.  More details here.  If you really need to see this in your ƒ-list, someone who still has a paid LJ can add it as a syndication feed.  As of now, my stock blog has zero followers and no comments.

Blogger's Compose editor hates <p> and always converts them to <br/>, but this throws away the whitespace between paragraphs.  I've turned off the "Compose" function to make sure this doesn't happen by accident.  Without "Compose", previewing is very easy: just press Ctrl+Shift+P to see the preview, press it again to return to editing.  But be careful!  Ctrl+P without Shift means "publish"!  The preview always treats blank lines in the HTML text as <br/> even though I turned that off in main options; published posts display properly.  Looks like I'll be continuing to write my blog as HTML documents on my laptop and upload them only when finished.

Google's idea of "friends only" is that the entire blog is restricted to a list of named individuals who must be signed in to Google to see anything.  There is no concept of "locking individual posts".  But it's easy to "unpublish" an entry: just edit it and click on "Save as draft" to remove from the blog's front page.

Changing the publication date for a post doesn't seem to work.  The new date shows in the editor, but the main page shows the original date!

The "Export" function downloads the entire blog as one big lump of XML, without even the decency of linebreaks between posts.  Unlike LiveJournal, there is no way to download just the changes since last backup.  On the plus side, comments are backed up with their entries, rather than through a separate and poorly-documented process.

* * * * *

I finally upgraded to Opera 11.  Ick!  Everything that didn't work in 10.63 is still broken, plus new stuff.  I've basically stopped using it except for reading feeds. Flash is not working. Java is still not working. Feeds now insist on displaying the "mail" sidebar.

Opera formats my stock post wrong, with extraneous linebreaks in the table. Also extraneous breaks in the Company 𝔾 site header!  In 10.63 this problem affected only Bugzilla's site header.

Opera displays my stock blog's "Neuton" font wrongly (always bold, so the explicitly-bold stuff doesn't look any different).

Opera no longer displays "favourite" icons for websites.  Instead it shows a security icon that seems redundant with the padlock.

What is Opera ASA's problem?  They seem to have lost their touch.  I'm back to Firefox.
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
Today my profile-watcher told me that I now have 42 mutual LJ furiends.  Did I gain one or lose one?  Normally I would find out by comparing the latest update with the previous one in my "Trash" email folder—but I keep only 90 days' worth of trash and my ƒ-list hasn't changed in longer than that.

Comparing my "Friends" list with my "Mutual Friends" list, I just can't figure out what the change is.

*sigh*  I need some new friends.
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
LiveJournal recently launched the My Guests page which tells you who has been reading your journal.

I don't like it.  It states with excessive clarity that my journal is a pile of crap that nobody reads.  My Guests is supposed to show "the 100 most recent visitors this month" but I see only 18.  The service was just announced, yet somehow 12 of my 18 visitors have already figured out the secret incantation for hiding their names???  I realize that furries tend to be [livejournal.com profile] furrtive but this is ridiculous!

[livejournal.com profile] aethwolf, [livejournal.com profile] atomicat, [livejournal.com profile] carol_kitty: Welcome, furiends!  Thank you for visiting!

[livejournal.com profile] jordan179: Thank you for commenting!

[livejournal.com profile] sleepy16: I don't speak Russian well enough to talk to you and I don't really want to read a journal that consists mostly of kitteh photos.

[livejournal.com profile] rantasarus: Hi there!  Is my journal interesting?  I have no idea why.

p.s.: Yes, I realize that pre-launch recording of visitors was "spotty" and things will probably improve next month.  But by then most furs will have opted out so it still won't do me any good.  I would like to see how many hits the RSS feed for my journal gets, but that's a paid-only feature and I don't want it enough to pay for it, so I can't have it.
pyesetz: (sozont)
I don't really have a website.  I used to have Furtopia, but I messed up and my account was frozen.  I used to be a paid member here at LiveJournal, but I had to cut costs.  For a while it seemed I didn't "really" need a website since I could just embed images directly in journal posts, but LiveJournal recently (and silently) stopped allowing that.  As usual, they didn't reply to my support request, so I'm left guessing as to why they did it.  My guess: it allows people to not buy LiveJournal memberships because they don't really need the ScrapBook® feature!  If that is really the reason, the new owners have flushed [livejournal.com profile] brad's original raison d'être for this site and I should avoid paying them on principle.  That's too bad because I really liked the (poorly-documented) RSS feed of friends-only posts.  It was my favourite paid feature.

A few months ago I created a Google Sites website.  It seemed like it might fill the bill, although the documentation for how to write JavaScript for it seemed rather complicated, so I put off learning more about it.

Last night was the beginning of Rosh Hashanah.  Since "Mr. Bear" and I are both Jewish, I generally make a show of not doing any paid work on major Jewish holidays.  What to do instead?  I worked on my Google site.  Problem: it is difficult to figure out how images stored in Google's File Cabinet (example) are to be hot-linked from other websites (example — can you see the laptop photo?).  In general, it seems that Google Sites is too concerned with preventing you from doing things that will make Google look bad and not concerned enough with ease of (re)use.  Also, their Terms of Service allow them to delete your site at any time for any reason or no reason.  Hey, if I didn't care about long-term storage or customized programming, I would use Imgur!

So I restarted another old project: find an ISP.  I wanted
  • Server physically located in Waterloo, Ont. (since we have plenty of connectivity here);
  • Runs Linux so I don't have to learn another operating system;
  • Offers ssh shell access so I don't have to learn another "website control panel";
  • Virtual Private Server technology so I can get root access even with "el cheapo" shared hosting;
  • PHP and MySQL for custom programming (which is what initially attracted me to Furtopia);
  • About $7/month, which is what WestHost used to charge for this feature-set (but they're in Utah, the cheap plan is now $9 and doesn't include ssh anymore).
Last night I found lots of ISPs that had *some* of these features, but none had *all* of them.  And reading through HostSearch was depressing; so many of these hosts have gone out of business after posting their ads.  Consider AroundKW:  They're based in Waterloo, but apparently their server is in Florida.  No Linux, no ssh, and minimum $12/month.  Other people offer Linux for as little as $2/month, but almost nobody dares to offer ssh (which would be suicidal for a Windows-based ISP to offer, due to lack of security).

But lo and behold!  HostMDS offers Linux, ssh, PHP+MySQL, hosting in Waterdown Ontario (at least it's in-province, but they claim it's in Toronto?), and only $6/month!!!  Their Terms of Service are reasonably clear ("A website is considered using 'Excessive amounts of resources' when it monopolizes the resources available using 10% or more of system resources for longer than 60 seconds.") although it seems wrong to me to mention "Canada" and "DMCA" in the same paragraph.  Sorry, Stephen Harper, nobody but you wants a DMCA here in Canada!

So I tried signing up for their basic starter "Unlimited" plan.  Things were going fine until I got to the page where it said "To protect against fraud, we will now call the phone number you gave.  Enter this PIN when prompted.  Click HERE to begin the call."  But it was 1 AM and I had sleeping children!  Today I managed to get the signup process restarted to the point where their computer did call me and I entered the PIN and also the voiceprint of my name, but the transaction still didn't go through because it had already been "cancelled".  I tried a complete do-over, but then it wouldn't give me the hostname I wanted because "this name is already in use at HostMDS; cancel your other website first" but the name isn't in use and it shows in my account as "cancelled; status FRAUD".

I sent email to their sales department, but it's the weekend and they probably won't reply until Monday.  And then Rosh Hashanah will be over.

So I had to think of yet another thing to do that wasn't paid work and wasn't 8 boring hours of chanting Hebrew in a synogogue.  I started cleaning out my email inbox.  I actually managed to get rid of 10% of the oldest entries (down to 371 now) before thinking of something else to do instead: write this post!

UPDATE Sunday 20 Sept.: Heard back from HostMDS sales.  The "fraudulent" signup evaporates after 24 hours.  So I signed up again and asked for a new phone call—which failed because Wifey was on the phone to her mother!  Oh well, guess I'll try again tomrrow.
pyesetz: (Default)
Today, LiveJournal changed the profile page.  Now it says at the bottom that they own a copyright (presumptively, for all text on the page) and that they have retroactively owned said copyright since 1999.  Has anyone read the terms of service recently?  [livejournal.com profile] brad (back when he owned the company) said that people who post things own the stuff they post (which is why he was always a little iffy about the copyright on comments—are you gifting the recipient with your copyright or merely granting him permission to host your words on "his" page?).  Other social-networking sites have occasionally claimed ownership of user-contributed text, but generally they back down when they realize how much customers dislike that.  Remember customers?  You know, the animated wallets who keep the site running?

Thankfully there's nothing on the profile page that I really care about, except the dog-photo.  I own the copyright on that photo.  I inherited that copyright from my late brother, who captured this image of our family pet many years ago.  The image is "too small for copyright protection" in the United States, but what is its status in Russia, home of our new LJ overlords?

Scab!

Mar. 20th, 2008 11:59 pm
pyesetz: (Default)
XXX
Ceci n'est pas un test du Système de Diffusion d'Urgence.  Il s'agit d'une entrée dans le journal posté le Jour de "Pas de messages en Journals".  Vous voyez, aujourd'hui est le jour où tous les supporters Clinton sont censés aller sur "grève" à DailyKos. Oui, il ya quelque chose dans l'air ces jours-ci, ce qui conduit à de multiples appels à des grèves inutiles.

(Sorry about the above.  I don't actualy speak French.  Hungarian phrase-book sketch!)

Update EatLiver.com got mad at me (dunno if a human was in the loop) and now displays "Visit EATLIVER.COM to view this picture".  I've written some snarky words about image leeches in the past, so I guess I don't have a leg to argue with.  Go here to see the image with Google Ads, etc.
pyesetz: (Default)
Go ahead!  Flag it!  I dare ya!  If I get banned, I'll just move to GreatestJournal.  You can't build a wall around free software!  (Thank you [livejournal.com profile] brad.)
Explicit Adult Content:If you are a female furry, there is a greater than average chance that your body has PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome.  This syndrome causes insulin resistance (which makes you fat).  It also increases androgen levels, causing masculinization of the brain (e.g., an interest in games like D&D).  Worst of all, your ovaries have difficulty releasing eggs.  In order to make a baby, you might need to take noxious drugs like Clomid and have your boyfriend copulate with you on a strict schedule dictated by your doctor.  And if you want to know more about my sex life, just ask.
Offensive ContentFundagelical Christians are worshipping Satan, whom they call "Jesus".
Hate SpeechEveryone who voted for GW Bush in 2004 is an enemy of the free world.  On an unrelated note, Death to Infidels!
Illegal ActivityI would like to buy a lockpick, which is illegal in Canada.  Will anyone sell me one?  Also, I'd like some instruction on how to use them.
Nude Images of MinorsMy icon photo is of an unclothed dog.  All dogs are legally minors.
pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
So I wrote up an entire entry about what this journal looks like in Russian, with example sentences translated to Russian and back from my "Norman Mailer" post.  Then I accidentally hit the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key combination, which terminated my X11 session.  "No problem," I thought, "LiveJournal has auto-save".  So I logged back in and restarted Opera, which helpfully asked "restore previous windows?"  Yeah, why not?  Well, I'll tell you why not: Opera returned to the journal-update page with all the text missing, which LJ then auto-saved, erasing my post!  Sometimes too many programs trying to be helpful at the same time is not a good thing.

The post wasn't really all that good, so I guess I won't bother recreating it.  Still, it was fun telling Google to translate "unless you don't pay" and having it come back "unless you pay", which sort of fails to carry the meaning across!


Will LJ ban me if I don't mark this entry as "teens+adults only"?  It contains the words "crazy sex" and "fucked", which are objectionable, but it also contains images of senseless violence, which apparently aren't.
pyesetz: (Default)
Be sure to click here for your free extra week of paid LJ time as compensation for last week's power fluctuation.
pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
[livejournal.com profile] loganberrybunny discovered a bug in the LJ tagging system.  Usually, uppercase letters in tags are forced to lowercase, but not if your tag contains *any* non-ASCII characters.  Hmm... how can we subvert this bug into a feature so tags can be properly capitalized?  You can rename your existing tags at the tag-management page, which is not well-advertised.
 
1.  Add an invisible (zero-width) character to end of tag-name.
This would be perfect, but I can't find any zero-width characters that are reliably invisible in all browsers—they all seem to produce some whitespace.  Why can't anyone implement web standards exactly as written?  Snarl grumble gumble...
 
2.  Use a nonstandard hyphen character.
By replacing a hyphen in the tag with one of these alternative hyphens, we cause the tag to contain a non-ASCII character without changing its appearance much:
‐  ‑  ‒  –  —  ―  −  ﹣  -
This works, but there's little overlap between my tags that have hyphens and those that should have capital letters.  I changed “LJ-workings” to “LJ‐workings”.
 
3.  Use capital letters from other alphabets that look like English.
I grabbed my copy of the Unicode 4.0 manual (also available online) and looked for characters similar to English uppercase.
Α А Ꭺ,  Β В Ᏼ,  С Ꮯ Ⅽ,  Ꭰ Ⅾ,  Ε Е Ꭼ,  Ϝ,  Ԍ Ꮐ,  Η Н Ꮋ,  Ι І Ⅰ,  Ј Ꭻ,  Κ К Ꮶ K,  Ꮮ Ⅼ,  Μ М Ꮇ Ⅿ,  Ν,  Ο О,  Ρ Р Ꮲ,  ,  Ꭱ Ꮢ,  Ѕ Ꮪ,  Τ Т Ꭲ,  ,  Ѵ Ꮩ Ⅴ,  Ꮤ,  Χ Х Ⅹ,  Υ У Ү,  Ζ Ꮓ
Unfortunately, the level of similarity depends on what fonts are loaded into your computer, so some of these might not look good at your end.  Also note that Q and U are missing from this list (Q is unique to Latin-derived languages?  U is an italic form for И in Cyrillic).  But I used them anyway.  See the results on my tags page.
 
4.  Use lowercase letters from other alphabets that look like English.
Not good.  Depending on available fonts, these letters might appear more or less similar to English.  It looks really bad to have a differently-styled letter in the middle of a word; better to have a strange style for an initial capital letter.
 
5.  Úse Ŕandom Áccents
Sorry, no.  I want approximately-correct appearance for my tags.
 
This post was brought to you today by the letter Ѣ and the number 1010².  Additional funding was provided by this and other local PBS stations.
pyesetz: (Default)
Marginal poetry: Bye, Bye, Miss American Lie Joke.

So I added my high school and colleges to LJ info, but I don't see anyone else on those school lists with a name I remember, and certainly nobody will recognize my name, so it seems rather pointless.

Data errors:
   [livejournal.com profile] mishathepenguin says he attended NNHS in Newtonville MA, which (I happen to know) is exactly the same school as NNHS in Newton MA that four LJ'ers say they attended.  As far as I know, every school in Canada > Ont is a duplicate of a school in Canada > On.  I have never visited Hamilton ON, but I suspect that the four users signed up for Mohawk College actually attended the same school as those three claiming allegiance to Mohawk College of Applied Technology in Hamilton Ont, and the school called Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology in Hamilton ON (zero attendees so far) is probably the same place also.

Tags!

Jun. 17th, 2005 02:50 am
pyesetz: (Default)
I'm an early adopter, for a change!  LiveJournal announced less than a day ago that they're now offering categories ("tags") for journal posts.  I would have preferred that they worked on a USENET interface, but tags are better than nothing.

So I slogged through my journal, adding tags everywhere.  Four posts couldn't be edited using the "tags" button, but I was able to tag them use the "edit post" button.  There is apparently no way to get a list of the tags someone else has used for their journal.

This useless post has been brought to you today by the letter 'Q' and the number 0, which is the number of dollars that the US government wants to spend on educational TV next year.
pyesetz: (Default)
Unlike other blogging sites, LJ does not allow you to capture the "referer" (the page the user clicked on to get to your journal).  My journal is now getting about 8 hits a day, probably mostly from Google, but I have no idea what search-strings people are using because I can't see the referers.  Other bloggers, such as [livejournal.com profile] bitchphd and [livejournal.com profile] respect_otters, mention off-handedly that they read their logfiles and see interesting queries they can then comment on, but I can't do that because I'm on LJ.  Maybe I should move to a *proper* blogging site?

Behold!  I have written journal.php, which displays a reflection of my LJ but with referer-logging.  For example, here is the reflection for the post you're reading right now.  A hidden link from my Furtopia homepage to journal.php/calendar should cause my entire journal to be indexed under that URL.  Meanwhile I've set my LJ-info to "block spiders from indexing this journal" so all searchers must come in through the reflection.  Now I have to wait two weeks (for the changes to percolate through to Google's cache) and then everything should be just peachy!

Another advantage: Google recognizes LJ as a blogging site and displays only the journal name, not the matching text, for search-hits in journal pages.  Google does *not* recognize Furtopia as a blogging site, so matching text will be shown for hits on my journal.  Ta da!  The Internet shall obey my command.  I hope.
pyesetz: (Default)
Today I discovered that LiveJournal no longer allows question marks in filenames referenced by <img src="..."> tags in entries.  Oh yeah, that makes me feel so much safer!  Of course that meant all of the photos in my journal suddenly became invisible.  I just went through and changed all 26 occurrences of such <img> tags in 20 different posts:
  Was: <img src="http://pyesetz.furtopia.org/photo.php?file=sukkah.jpg">
  Now: <img src="http://pyesetz.furtopia.org/photo.php/sukkah.jpg">
Net effect on security: zilch.
pyesetz: (Default)
Recently I posted this support request, then started looking through the other requests.  So far the LJ support system has received 397,737 requests, of which 1,101 are still unclosed (but only 657 are listed here).  All but 104 are believed resolved and awaiting confirmation from the original requestor.

Of the 104 pending requests, there are four besides mine that are complaining about comments disappearing from old LiveJournal posts.  Those four are all dated a week ago.  Unfortunately I cannot see how many *closed* requests there are on this topic.

If we assume that 3% or less of users affected by a problem will actually complain, this implies that there are hundreds (at least) of journals that have lost comments on old posts.  Yours could be next!  If you care, you might want to try backing up your comments.  Unfortunately, there is no nice-and-easy way to do that.  LJ offers only the export_comments.bml system, which makes it quite difficult to match up the comments with the posts they attach to.  Alternatively, you can also save the comment-received emails that LJ sends you, although several times recently there have been glitches where these emails were not sent for a long time or were never sent.

One of the things I like about LJ, which I think affects the kinds of posts that people want to make here, is that it still retains the feel of the "overgrown college-student hobby project" that it started out as.  Now that LJ has been sold, it might start getting more professional and that feeling may fade.  Disappearing comments are par for the course in a large evolving software project, but I'd like to know whether the LJ staff will own up to the existence of this problem.

Meta-comment about topics: When I started this journal, I had originally planned for each post to be on a different subject, but quite often I have ended up making two consecutive posts on each topic.  This is my second post about the workings of LJ.
pyesetz: (Default)
Doomsday is coming soon!  For those who haven't heard, LJ's founder [livejournal.com profile] brad has finally admitted that he did sell out LJ to the MovableType people.  He did this for a very understandable reason—he would rather write computer programs than run a business.  Still, there are some worrisome elements in his announcement.  Let me prime the rumor mill with these between-the-lines implications that I see in his text:
  • The most immediate noticable effect is expected to be that LJ will "get prettier".  This suggests that we will never get the USENET-style interface that many have wanted, as it would divert people from seeing the new glitz and the spamvertisements that Brad says will never come.
  • Paidmember prices are not changing in order not to "anger people unnecessarily".  I predict that the price will go up after six months.
  • The new Terms of Service will be less user-friendly and more lawyer-friendly and you will be prohibited from posting until you agree to them.  This may imply a general clean-up of LJ to be more lawyer-friendly.  Perhaps everyone's favorite communities, like [livejournal.com profile] show_your_cock and [livejournal.com profile] show_your_pussy, will be banned by the lawyers as too legally risky to allow.
  • LJ will be mass-suspending the journals of people who seem to have been lying about their age.  Be sure to back up your journal in case this random scourge gets you!
  • "We feel that there's a lot of synergy between our two companies and we both benefit from this relationship by bringing a lot of value-add to the table.  By focusing on our core competencies we can continue to provide robust, turn-key, industry-leading solutions while also lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to our valued clients."  Brad claims that this text is "gibberish" but he said it anyway.  What it seems to mean to me is that LJ will be following SixApart's lead in rachetting up prices on their products.
  • New additions to LJ will no longer be open-source.  Future enhancements to LJ will be closed-source.  No one will be able to see all the hacks the FBI will insist that they add in order to track the journals of suspicious persons.  Brad will be insisting (at least for awhile) that the "infrastructure guts" remain open-source, but the new "pretty" software will be hoarded.
So what can you do about this catastrophe?  There are some things you really should do:
  1. Back up your journal!
  2. Back up the comments on your journal!
  3. Back up your user-icons and pictures!
  4. (Paidmembers only) Enable the option that sends you emailed copies of any comments you make on other people's journal.
This has been a public-service announcement.

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