Title photo
frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 17 Nov 2016

Disqus -- thanks for fixing your Admin interface

I use Disqus a lot. For work. I mod HUNDREDS of comments a day on a few dozen sites, and the Disqus Admin interface had been making that task very difficult in recent months.

But sometime during the past week, Disqus updated its Admin interface on the web, and it is much easier to moderate the comments.

Things were broken and now they are fixed. Thanks, Disqus.

Tue, 22 Dec 2015

Own your social entries, create them from any device

The ideal is a free, open, federated social-media platform like Identi.ca or Status.net, but even those services, when run by others, are subject to a certain bit rot. They're here today, but will they be tomorrow?

We live in a world of mega-services like Twitter and Facebook. Multi-billion-dollar important companies. And in our zeal to communicate, we spend hours creating free content for them in exchange for free service.

Still, they offer value. If the few people we want to share our thoughts with also subscribe to a given service, there is value. That's how Facebook grew.

On Twitter, I can tell you that having 900 followers does not provide a lot of eyeballs for my tweets. I'm lucky if 40 people see them. Twitter is all about the now. A tweet's sell-by date is maybe a half-hour after it's created.

I think short, social-media-style updates are valuable.

But I want them to be my own. I have that, pretty much, when I create them through my blog and distribute to social-media services from there.

From my laptop, I'm about 90 percent of the way there. I'd like sharing links to be a little more automatic. Like on mobile devices. Android has "intents." Apple has the same thing, but I don't know what they call it.

And mobile is the place where I have the furthest to come.

If I were using WordPress, I bet the WP app for Android (and iOS, too) hooks into "intents" and allows link sharing.

But I don't use WordPress.

My Ode blog works off of a traditional filesystem on the server. There is no database. Create files, and with a few tweaks and pokes, you have a live blog entry.

I don't want to go back to a database. Flat files on a server is not just Ode's but every static-blogging tool out there's killer app.

So what I need is a mobile app that hooks into "intents" to allow link sharing and produces the files I need, gets them on the server and does what I need to make those files appear on the live site.

It shouldn't be too difficult. (Famous last words.)

It's what's driving me to learn Java and Android development. That and everything else.

Having a problem to solve and making something to do that. What could be better?

Thu, 09 Oct 2014

So I'm totally into Reddit right now

I recently started looking at Reddit, and I'm enjoying it.

It's more like Slashdot than not. The biggest difference is that on Reddit, it's easier for anybody to post a "topic," and actually see their post on the live site.

Thu, 06 Mar 2014

Buffer's Awesome plan makes it way more usable, but I'm not in a position to part with $102 right now

I have tweeted a bunch and written some, too, about Buffer, the web and mobile app that allows you to space out your social posts and reposts and have them released at specific times during the day.

Having Buffer "baked in" as a browser extension is a killer feature.

As a user, my company has gone all in for Buffer. We are a subscriber. A business can part with much more than the that the Awesome Plan costs for a year. a year is something most businesses scrape off the bottom of their boots on a slightly wet morning.

Read the rest of this post

Wed, 26 Feb 2014

If this appears on Twitter an hour after my last Tweet, it works.

If you see a link to this post on Twitter an hour after my last Tweet, my IFTTT-Buffer timed blog RSS-to-social setup is working.

Using Buffer and If This Then That to automate RSS into Twitter at regular intervals

Sure it's better to script everything locally, and I bet that piping RSS to social media at regular intervals is more than scriptable, I started using Buffer a week or so ago to spread out my Twitter posts in the event that I do a bunch of them at once.

Mind you, this hasn't yet happened. But it could. And I'm testing the service for my day job.

For my personal sites, I've been using dlvr.it to automatically feed blog RSS to Twitter (and occasionally Facebook). But while dlvr.it theoretically CAN dribble out posts at timed intervals with it's new (to me) "Q" feature, use of RSS with Q requires a paid subscript to dlvr.it. Again, for the day job this is something we might consider (if anybody but me was a dlvr.it fan), but I'm not that crazy about the paid options.

Read the rest of this post

Wed, 29 Jan 2014

There a 'fediverse' out there waiting for you

I feel for Evan Prodromou, creator of Pump.io and Status.net before that -- both software platforms for his vitally important Identi.ca social network, which started as a free, open Twitter-like service when one was badly needed in 2008-9.

Running Identi.ca under Status.net required a whole lot of resources, and Evan was doing it for nothing (I think). Then he wanted to change everything about the software and hardware running the identi.ca service and did. So Identi.ca lives. But Identi.ca is not as feature-rich as it was when Status.net was the software behind it.

What's missing from the Pump.io version of Identi.ca for me are a search function and the tags and groups features of the original Identi.ca. I also miss being able to access Identi.ca in most mobile clients, especially Mustard. The new Pump-powered Puma -- with development led by Macno, the same developer who created Mustard -- is coming along, as is the desktop Pumpa client. Like Pump.io itself, neither client is terribly feature-rich at this point.

But what I miss most is the community of the original Identi.ca. I'm not sure how much of that community has scattered since Pump.io, but it sure looks like a lot.

Things that are great about the Pump.io-powered Identi.ca are the ability to do so much more in posts -- more than you can do with Twitter and the original Status.net-powered Identi.ca. But I've found that short Twitter-like posts work for me. It's all about the people ...

I like pump.io's Identi.ca, and I really like Evan. He's given a lot to the community in the form of the Identi.ca service itself and both of its platforms (Status.net and Pump.io).

Today I got a nudge from somebody (ironically via Google Plus) that there's a big #fediverse movement out there centered around the Status.net software.

Read the rest of this post

Fri, 08 Nov 2013

Google knows how to get you

I don't get on Google+ all that often. But I was going through my mail today and got a notice about a post from a few weeks ago. I went to it and made a comment.

Further down in my G+-related mail, Google offered me this personalized URL: https://plus.google.com/+StevenRosenberg. In true land-grab fashion, I took it.

Will this make me more likely to use Google+? It certainly won't make me less likely to do so.

Tue, 16 Jul 2013

From the Guardian: We want privacy from the government, but we're open-freaking books on social media

An interesting piece from Lindsey Bever of the Guardian: We want privacy from the government, but we're an open book on social media: There's outrage about the NSA's 'spying' on citizens, but many of us are willing to share our personal lives and locations daily

The short version: Corporations know your every move because you're letting them track you. It's more like science-fiction-come-true than not.

Personally I don't let Twitter track my movements (though the Android app does ask), and I don't allow tracking in most any app I use on my phone.

But Google probably knows where I am due to data being sent from the Android device itself. We clearly need a way of anonimizing our web activity, especially from mobile devices that have tracking via GPS and cell towers pretty much baked into their hardware and firmware.

Thu, 21 Feb 2013

This social-media post was generated out of my #ode blog http://bit.ly/Vx4RHw

I'm experimenting with a feed out of this Ode site whose sole purpose is to originate and archive my posts to social-media services such as Twitter.

Ideally I will be pointing the RSS of a specific subset of posts either at Twitter directly, or at http://dlvr.it, and the only things I will be posting to social networks will both originate and live here.

This is a "push" system that doesn't gather any responses to these social-media postings, but I could always gather and repeat that history here, provide a link to same, or just forget about it and be happy having my "original" posts contained within this portion of my Ode blog.

Later: The super long URL in the header ran right out of the box, so I used bit.ly to shorten it.

The link referenced in the title is the URL to this very entry: http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog/social/posts/2013_0220_twitter_out_of_ode

Even later: problems with this method include: The link doesn't track from the blog to Twitter. Instead the Twitter post goes back to this blog entry. That might not be so bad -- Any link I want can be at the top of the blog post, and the reader can go from Twitter, back here, then to the outbound link.

But it would be better to at least have the flexibility of originating a Twitter post with a unique link and pushing that to the social-networking service rather than a link to a blog post. There is probably some way to do this with the Twitter API (and maybe even the Twitter-related Perl modules). Something to think about.