Archive for the 'blogs' Category

Up and Running with WordPress

Welcome to the all new Distracto, now running WordPress! My old Movable Type installation had been broken for a while, and I’ve been really growing to like WordPress recently. I’d also been meaning to switch Distracto’s web host for a while, so I took the opportunity to get it all done at once. Phew!

I managed to get all of the old entries imported into WordPress, and made sure all the old permalinks still work, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable differences, other than the slightly modified design.

Having a working blog platform again will mean some (slightly) more regular updates. In fact, there might be some exciting news in the next week or two. Stay tuned. ;)

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What is it with blogs and cats?

A post by lilliebet got me thinking about something I’ve often considered before… Why do so many bloggers feel compelled to post pictures of their cats? It doesn’t really annoy me as much as baffle me. Are all these people graduates of the Wil Wheaton school of blogging?

Anyway, I was curious as to how many of these there actually were, and I smelled another Google query coming on. The last one was pretty well-received, so maybe you’ll like this too:

Google for people who blog pictures of their cats

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Never fear, Distracto is here!

In keeping with the theme of this weblog as it seems to be evolving, I have adopted a new blog title: Distracto! It’s literally the story of my life. :)

There’s a new domain name to go with it, too: distracto.net. All future updates will go there, so be sure to update your bookmarks (yeah, both of you!). I’ll link the RSS/Atom feeds so that existing subscriptions don’t break, but your best bet is to start using the new domain name.

I’d write more, but I just started thinking of something else. Hey, that’s why they call me Distracto!

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Weblog Comment Spam

As weblogs continue to grow as a medium, its enthusiasts are unfortunately faced with the dark side of that popularity. That’s right — spam. Now that only the most creatively-crafted spam makes it through the average mailbox’s filters, how ever is the more vapid virtual vendor to attract attention? Well, they apparently start taking advantage of less mature technology to make our lives miserable in a whole new way.

In a trend that extends their pattern that started with email of taking a new, exciting, open means of communication and trying to ruin it, spammers are forcing weblog authors to take action to prevent their pages becoming filled with crap. Comments add a unique flavor to blogs. They allow readers to participate and feel some ownership. Anonymous comments, where allowed, create still another dimension. But when you allow just anybody to add whatever text they want to a public forum, you’ll inevitably wind up, as I did this morning, with pages full of ads for free online poker.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good card game as much as the next guy, and heck, dealing with comment spam makes me feel like I’m one step further toward becoming a “legitimate” blogger! But this is the wrong forum for it. So what’s a guy to do? You can go the Slashdot route and simply allow anonymity but create a mechanism for self-regulation. Or you can go to the other extreme (a la boingboing) and disallow comments completely. In both of those examples, that choice largely defines the feel of the entire site. And neither really works well without a huge base of readers — let’s face it, my DSL provider’s not particularly nervous by the amount of traffic this weblog gets (who did that poker company think was going to see their spam anyway?).

So while I had tried for a short while to embrace the freedom that comes with anonymity, if you want to comment now you’ll have to register with typekey first. It’s not too tough — give it a try. If there are any real people reading this, I’d love for you to say hi and let me know you’re there! And if you’ve ever had to deal with the same problems, let me know how you solved it.

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