Running a web site in 2014

I recently did some work on the back end of my web sites. I consolidated all the individual WordPress installs into a single multi-user one, cleaned up the database to free up disk space, and slimmed down the number of plugins. I’m taking advantage of Automattic’s Jetpack plugin to provide functionality that previously required a bunch of third party plugins, including: Markdown support (including in comments) “Like” buttons for social network sharing Mobile device support Push notifications when someone comments Comment login via social networks E-mail subscriptions It wasn’t long before I got some mild negative feedback: My changing the login system meant that some comments got flagged as spam which shouldn’t have been, so I had to go in and unflag them.

Google Reader alternatives

So, Google decided to kill one of their most useful products: Google Reader. If you don’t use a feed reader, well, it’s a way you can subscribe to one or more web sites, and collect headlined summaries of what’s published. You can then sort, browse and filter the summaries, and click through to the articles that interest you. In short, it’s the only reasonable way to keep up with more than a handful of web sites.

Web developer humor

I reminded one of our content editors that we needed a text version of a diagram on an alternate page, to meet accessibility requirements and support screen readers. So he created one, by laying the information out in a pretty table.

FotFM: The Domain Name System (DNS)

Once upon a time, back in the ancient history of the Internet–before the 1990s–domain names were carefully controlled and regulated. A single organization controlled each top level domain. If you wanted a domain name, you had to meet their requirements. Often the policies enforced were quite picky. If you wanted a .uk domain name, you were required to actually be in the UK, for example. If you wanted a .org domain, you were required to be a non-profit organization.

EBD defined

I find to my surprise that I’ve not posted here before about EBD. So, here goes… Over the years I’ve noticed that people who are exposed to Emacs for an extended period of time become unable to use other software. I don’t just mean that they refuse to use other text editors; I mean that they cannot tolerate any non-Emacs interface for any task. They read news in Emacs. They read their e-mail in Emacs.

Web journals in a nutshell

If writing gives us satisfaction, we are likely to end up writing for definite periods each day even when we have little to say. The hanging on to an empty form is almost natural since it is the form only that we can control and stage. There is, of course, also the unconscious assumption that once you stage the form, the content will come to nest in it of itself.

Aggregate this!

Tom Tomorrow has his panties in a bunch over the outrageous behavior of Internet users. He was shocked this week to discover that some people were reading his published web log using special purpose web log browsing software (aka “news aggregators”), rather than the software he wants them to use (a web browser). Worse still, the miscreants were skipping the ads! Quel horreur! It rather reminds me of the CEO of Turner Broadcasting, who declared that skipping TV ads using fast forward was “stealing the programming”.

…and another thing:

Back in the 90s, the folks at WIRED decided that the web was so fundamentally new and important that it needed to have a capital W, even though nobody capitalizes things like radio and television and boring old books. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations who should know how to recognize bullshit nevertheless adopted WIRED’s style diktats wholesale into their own style guide. Hence in journalism, it’s not uncommon to see capital Ws all over the place in articles about the online world.

Welcome to Adobe GoLive

If you search Google for “Welcome to Adobe GoLive”, you’ll get a ton of matches for web sites which were set up by people too incompetent to change the default text in the GoLive web site template. Ironically, the current #1 match is a web site containing cracked serial numbers for Adobe products.

I don’t think so

Just in case you’re one of the few people not yet driven to install ad-blocking software by the plague of huge ugly flashing ads… You might like to know that the Internet advertisers have decided that the reason their ads aren’t working is that they’re still not big and annoying enough.