Thursday, December 23, 2004

Six Apart and MT-Blacklist

Comment spam attacks on Movable Type weblogs are straining servers at web hosting companies, leading some providers to disable comments on the popular blogging tool. The issues are caused by bugs in MT, forcing publisher Six Apart to recommend configuration changes while it prepares fixes. The server load issues have affected "a number of web hosts," according to Six Apart's Jay Allen, and are "especially evident in shared hosting environments." Allen said the problems are tied to two bugs that cause Movable Type to rebuild posts even when no pages are being changed, allowing comment spam attacks to tie up server resources. Six Apart is promising a fix within 48 hours. - NetCraft


I would also like to thank and recognize my employer Six Apart for not only making these last two releases a part of my job but allowing me to make it a priority over other extremely important items related to Movable Type product development. What a great company I work for. They hate comment spam too. - Jay Allen


Jay mentioned somewhere before that when he was hired to work at Six Apart, it didn't automatically mean that MT-Blacklist was one of his priorities. But given all the bad press that Six Apart has gotten in the last few weeks over the issue, and the fact that at this point MT-Blacklist is the only effective solution most of us have discovered, if Ben and Mena want to have a product for Jay to be Product Manager of, it only made sense.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Yir-Caricatures!

I was looking all over for someone who did Online Caricatures the other day. I couldn't find one. Fortunately, though, my brother knew of Yir-Caricatures! I plan to order something from them very soon.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Viva la Japonesa

I just got an e-mail from Mochi Kagami, proprieter of
Viva la Japonesa. He is the first Blogger user that I have seen who customized a version of Kubrick for his site. He also pointed out to me a problem with rendering in IE which I will be looking into.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

My Space

I created my first MSN space back in the days of the Japanese Beta. This new space is a lot nicer. But I have to wonder what Phil will think?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Freedom to Blog

Shelley Powers is upset with Marc Cantor over his betrayal of a Confidence. Up until now, I have been largely indifferent over this whole Product Placement argument. But I am firmly on Shelley's side.

The single biggest reason that the Internet has changed everything over the last ten years is not that it is world wide. Printing Presses have been around for centuries. It is not that it is immediate. Television has had global satellite capabilities since the late 1960's. It is the fact that it is low-cost.

Never before have so many people been able to say so much to so many others so cheaply.

The powers that be don't like that. The fact that a bunch of people saying what they think could say what they thought without answering to anyone (or even getting dressed) troubles them. They are trying to strike back. But even as they replace old faces with new ones, the new ones are still utterly out of touch.

I have a real job. Where I do real things. And get paid real money. And a very small portion of that money gets spent on some of the blogging that I do. I don't need Big Media or Old Media or some Marketing Executive to tell what or what not to write. And I won't.

Two last things: One way I judge CMS systems is by the quality of their websites. Marqui is not the worst I have seen, but it certainly doesn't inspire any confidence in me.

And if you can't think you can't afford to blog for free, try Blogger. If that isn't inexpensive enough, maybe you need to ask yourself if you actually have something to say.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Sebring Historical Society

The Sebring Historical Society is the place to visit when you are looking for the history of Sebring, Florida. Be sure and give check out there site.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My Polling Place


My Polling Place
Originally uploaded by michaelkpate.
I didn't go inside (didn't need to since I had voted early) but there were certainly a lot more cars there than I had ever seen. Note: you can't see the alternate parking lot which was also full.

This is the official view from the Supervisor of Election's website.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Kubrick 1.2.6

I am trying to decide if the update makes any difference with the template I am using.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Another Weekend, Another Hurricane

First Charley, then Frances, Now Jeanne. This has been quite a hurricane season. We are opening the shelter around 3 pm this afternoon. Should be another fun time.

Friday, September 17, 2004

BlogThis for Firefox

Phil Ringnalda has an updated BlogThis for Firefox which came in handy when creating this post.

Kubrick Rules

I decide to try a new look for a little while. It may be a bit familar to fans of Michael Heilemann's Kubrick. If you would like to do something similar, be sure and check out Kubrick for Blogger.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Treo Test

This is a test post from my Treo to see if I set this up correctly.

Gimme Shelter

One of the duties of my job is to be a Red Cross Volunteer. Even though I have been there 5 years, I have never actually had to do it. And an oddly-timed communication outage apparently meant that I was excused during Charley.

This time, things are different. I will be one of 5 people operating a shelter at South Florida Community College from noon today until a project noon on Monday. As long as my cell phone works, I will try to remember to post periodically about the experience.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Returning Home to Blogger

At one time, it would have seemed inconceivable but it seems to be a fairly regular occurence of late.

So, why did I change back to Blogger, a piece of software that I had written off about a year ago? Here is the story. - Steven Cohen

Here's to a new home with an old friend. - Tony Steidler-Dennison

That’s it. That’s why I love Blogger, it’s easy and fun. - Sonny P.


I wonder how many more would do it if Blogger offered an import function?



Saturday, August 07, 2004

The King is Dead

Elise Bauer has done a very interesting study of the web tools market. It seems that my recent supposition may be coming to pass.

I wonder if this trend continues, how long support for Movable Type will continue?

Friday, August 06, 2004

Choices

Around a year ago, I happened across this quote.

Movable Type, Textpattern and WordPress, have made this possible for a whole range of people; from web designers to writers, all with little or no knowledge of HTML. - zlog


Today, one day short of a year later, I happened across this one.

Well since MT is no longer aimed at just the average weblogger that wants to talk about politics or his/her life, 6A haven’t bothered including features like a Link Manager or even Typelists for that matter. In the context of MT, these things really don’t need to be built into the app as they would just increase bloat. - Arvind


When the first quote was written, MT was my only choice. Now it is a distant third. Textpattern has become my first love, but WordPress has many features that it lacks at present. Only if neither of them will do, will I look to MT.

I still find that somewhat depressing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Religious Debates in Blogging

Some days, I think eventually there will be as many blogging tools as there are bloggers. But even that won't cause the endless debates about which tool is better to cease.

What I have always said still goes. Choose the one that does what you want or need to do the way that is most efficient or easiest or best-looking or whatever criteria you want to use. For me, that has long been Movable Type. Lately, though, I have been thoroughly exploring both WordPress and Textpattern.

Repeat after me: None of them is perfect. But each one does a lot of cool things. The trick is to choose the one that best fits the task at hand. And that most likely will not even be the same for each person.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Weblogs.com at Userland

We've had an internal project for about two weeks to redesign Weblogs.Com and to add a key new feature to the site, the ability to create a weblog on this site, from the home page of the site. - Dave Winer, March 19, 2000


We're going to start the transition to the new backend server for weblogs.com, now, at approx 2PM Pacific. Some things won't work at first. The three-hour queue will get flushed this one time. The changes file may not update for a few minutes. And it may take some time for the DNS change to percolate. But the backend will be faster when all this is done. - Dave Winer, March 17, 2003


In that management change it became clear that there were two sort of branches to userland. There was one which was the commercial products (which radio userland and manilla were the two products), and there was another branch that consisted of formats and protocols and open stuff that was non commercial. So we divided it along those lines, to keep the non-commercial stuff non-commercial, and to allow the commercial company--the product--to go forward unencumbered by a lot of obligations to do things for free, which really wasn't consistent with the mission of a commercial company. So, basically, things like OPML.org, outliners.com, XMLRPC.com, Soapware.org, stayed behind in the old company. And then we gave RSS to Harvard Law School, which then in turn released it under the Creative Commons License. Then we're going to take the Frontier kernel and release that under an Open Source license sometime this year. So we've gradually been moving sites off of userland servers onto servers I've bought and deployed here in Massachusetts. And we did the work with Lawrence Lee at Userland this last month to move the sites from Userland servers over to my servers. We saved the hardest sites for last, or the most significant sites for last, and the last two sites we did were scripting.com and weblogs.com. - Dave Winer, June 14, 2004


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

439 days

Remember when I wrote about the domain name I wanted so badly? The number in the title reflects the actual date I became interested in it. It actually took a mere 73 days for the registrar to release it.

Either way, it is mine, all mine.

Curious as to what domain it is? Well, go ahead and take a look.

Now, what should I do with it? Launch an anti-war site? Actually, I have something else in mind.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Leaving Weblogs.com

Thanks to the weblog community for embracing the Weblogs.Com site, and for working with UserLand, even though some think we're the Microsoft of this little corner of the Internet. (One weblogger calls me the equivalent of Bill Gates, without the power, money or looks!) - Dave Winer


Many people are in the process of leaving Weblogs.com (whether they like it or not). Of course, unlike most of us who were able to switch away from Movable Type in a few hours, they don't have access to their own data.

Anyway, as I did with Movable Type, I thought it would be worthwhile to investigate how to make a move.

Apparently, you can use this tool to export your site to Radio Userland. Moving is probably the easiest route. Right after finding another Manila Host which Rogers is advocating.

Assuming you are looking for a new tool and you have your data in an XML (aka RSS) Format, you should be easily able to switch to Serendipity or WordPress. There are probably some other tools as well.

My recommendation (via John Robb) is to get your own domain name. And seriously consider whether (via Mark Pilgrin) your blogging tool is actually free.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Power of PageRank

I am a big believer in PageRank. I have performed more than one experiment with it. I have started more than one site with zero pagerank just to see how I could get fast I could make them a success. You can read some of my other writings on the subject.

Third Superpower and PageRank

LibraryPlanet.com and PageRank

In this case, I chose to support Anil because I thought he asked nicely enough. I also chose to do it because I wanted to show that even though I am unhappy with some of the recent business decisions that SixApart has made, there were no personal feelings involved.

I also believe that the blogosphere has the power to make postive change and PageRank helps us do that. This was a good experiment to see what we could do. And it worked out pretty well.

If anyone thinks I did the wrong thing, you have my humble apology. If I had happened across someone else's post first, I might have done things different. But the fact I didn't is significant of something as well.

This post started out as a comment. But the Blogger editing interface works better for blogging than commenting at this point.

Now I Know What Cool Means

Presenting for your edification:

michaelkpate at gmail.com

Thanks, Avena!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Nigritude Ultramarine

When I think of Nigritude Ultramarine, I think of Anil Dash.

Anil is just the coolest guy when it comes to Nigritude Ultramarine. You, too, should support his campaign to promote Nigritude Ultramarine.

One man can make a difference. One man with Nigritude Ultramarine can make an even bigger difference.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Is Six Apart becoming Atomz?

I have had a vague distant memory running through my brain the last few weeks. It finally occured to me where it came from.

Adam Kalsey thought that Atomz was making bad business decisions. He eventually found out that personal websites were no longer a part of their business.

It all came back to me while I was this. Is Six Apart becoming Atomz? I hope so for their sake.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Popularity of TicTac

When I created this weblog, I chose TicTac for two reasons: it was extremely nice-looking and it was created by Dan Cederholm, who is one of my personal favorite web designers.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to like. It is now available for both Blojsom and b2evolution. It has also been seen in use on a WordPress weblog.

I hope Dan (and the powers that be at Google/Blogger) don’t mind.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Network World and Movable Type

The Daily Dose is now on Movable Type, having joined the other bloggers from NW who are using this (blame Adam, who keeps changing his mind about which software he likes). - 9/6/02


Weblog geeks can tell at a glance that we use Movable Type for our Weblogs. Suits us fine - especially the way it supports multiple Weblogs and authors and has a simple workflow. The fact that it runs on a server is also a plus, since we often have folks posting from borrowed PCs at trade shows. - 7/3/03


After a couple of weeks futzing around with potential intranet platforms, we've settled on Movable Type. Huh, that Weblogging tool? Yeah, that's what I thought, initially, as well. But then I saw the Consumers Union site - which is done almost entirely in Movable Type. Turns out MT actually has some nice intranet-ish abilities, some of which I didn't know about. - 07/18/03


Our Movable Type-based intranet is getting closer to a launch date (smart us: We didn't set a specific date, though). - 08/08/03


Movable Type is a wonderful tool, but it absolutely sucks as a group blogging tool, in the sense that there's no way to manage all your blogs at once, for example, to kill identical comments across multiple Weblogs. You have to go into each single Weblog and delete each single spam comment by hand and then add the IP address of each offending spam to the individual blacklist for each individual Weblog (all those in favor of me getting off my butt and learning enough SQL to do all this at the database level, raise your hands). - 10/13/03


I've just been experimenting with Movable Type from Six Apart (see links below and yes, that is the way the company spells "Movable"). Movable Type is an open source blog written in Perl so it can run on most systems. I'm using it to provide my son's school with both a public and an intranet publishing platform that doesn't require much expertise.
Advertisement: And I'm impressed. This is quite a piece of engineering. - 10/15/03


As mentioned earlier, we're going live with a redesigned Fusion on Monday. We use Movable Type for both traditional Weblogs (like, oh, this one) and for reporters "notes" on the topics they cover (see our Security page for an excellent example). Problem: Each one of those blogs has its own template set, because Movable Type doesn't allow for user-defined fields in its database and we just have too much stuff we want to cram into our blog pages (for example, we have "topics" that determine the sort of ad that goes on a page). I was so not looking forward to modifying all those templates. But what Movable Type does have is a very nice plugin architecture. - 01/29/04


Six Apart has come out with the pricing for Ver. 3.0 of its Movable Type blogging tool (sorry, for their "publishing system"). A commercial license will set you back $700. That's not really all that outrageous for good quality software (we spent $500 for the software we use for our research links), but even for all that, the Ver. 3.0 license limits you to 15 Weblogs. We already have way more "blogs" than that (we're using Movable Type to power the reporter notes on all our research-center pages and use it on our intranet). I *might* be able to scrounge up $700 (well, $600 if I order now), but I'm really doubting our finance people would appreciate an unbudgeted bill for $1,400 (minus the $45 discount we'd get for the $300 in commercial MT licenses we've already purchased, that is). So our options are: Look for an alternative platform (hmm, Drupal, the open-source tool we're using for our new Feeds aggregator, has blogs built in); move our research-pages to our fancy-shmancy content management system (but then we'd lose the commenting function which was the main reason we put them in Movable Type to begin with). Or stick with Movable Type 2.6x, which is working just fine for us now. - 05/13/04


As I said yesterday, I don't object to paying for software (and yes, we paid for licenses for our current MT installations). What bothers me is the limitations in the licenses (which right off the bat would force us to buy two licenses). But, hey, they're free to charge what they want, and we're free to look at other platforms... - 05/14/04

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Enterprising Movable Type

Once upon a time, Six Apart were thought to be developing three products: Movable Type, TypePad, and Movable Type Pro.

The question is, Is Movable Type the right solution for the enterprise?

Basically, my terrible meeting taught me that just as MT 2.6 was often made much more useful to individuals and small companies by the simple plug-ins available, MT 3.0 will only be able to penetrate the corporate market through extension by professional developers. - Ari Paparo


Or should there be another product like MT Pro?

My advice? If you want to charge for corporate licensing - here's a thought: make it a commercial product. It's not. What does MT do that would appeal to commercial enterprises? Does it facilitate commerce? Does it have a robust email tool to reach large numbers of people? Does it provide for automated advertising? Is it secure? The answers to all above are...no. - mkrempasky


Maybe the question to ask is whatever happened to Movable Type Pro?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Unstyled Movable Type

One thing that has been overlooked in all the uproar over the new licensing are the new templates.

Movable Type 3's default template is different from MT2.x. Well, not hugely different, but different enough to break all the stylesheets here. Of course, it is possible to code CSS to be used in both MT2 and MT3, but it is restrictive and quite a bit of work. MT3 includes another div id="center" around the content and sidebar, so it is possible to do more fancy styles around it. - Scott Yang


One wonders how to describe the new default styles.

The new styles suck...hard. They are all the same except for color. Even Blogger has better layouts. Again, they want us to do all the work, and pay for the privilege. - Laura McMasters


I am really surprised at what a giant step backward these are.

Granularity in Licensing

I woke up this morning think about the whole MT Pricing Issue. I was going to write down my thoughts somewhere and then I happened to find this.

Granularity is important. The price list has figures with two to four digits (including the one that some corporate users got to see). Six Apart chose to index the price on two variables: the number of authors and the number of weblogs. I think the present model is not granular enough, too steep for individuals (I’m already using four weblogs and two authors to run this web site because of MT’s present limitations!) and lacking clarity and flexibility for the high end corporate user. It could benefit from being clearly split in three: a limited but free version for individual/personal use, a flat-fee unlimited version under $70 for the personal use of power-users (like Jason Kottke suggests) and a granular price list for business users that should do a better job at explaining the options, notably in terms of support. - Francois


It seems to me that what all of this comes down to is that Six Apart is not eager to see anyone use Movable Type as a platform for launching their own weblog service. We saw this debate play out last year. I think the licensing changes were an attempt to address that. There is a ready solution available, but I think there are ways short of that to solve the problems.

Setup personal licenses two ways: one for individuals and one for individuals who wish to host sites for friends. Setup a license for non-profits and educational institutions. Setup a license for businesses. And finally, setup a license for businesses who wish to offer weblogs to their customers (and that is perfectly reasonable to do on a sliding scale).

I don't want to see Six Apart go the way of Eazel or ArsDigita, but I am definitely struck by the similarity of the situation. I don't know what the answer is, but Six Apart is in too competitive an industry to try to rely on their reputation for long.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Trackback

Since Blogger does not support Trackback, there are limits to what you can do. But there is a partial solution. You can at least ping other people via something like the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Form

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Changing RSS

I participated in a discussion on Phil Ringnalda's weblog the other day. My part revolved around how should a proposed change in the RSS 2.0 be implemented.

1) announce a proposed change

2) requesting comments about the change for a set time period of reasonable length to give those who might offer positive feedback time to discover the proposal and formulate a response

3) When that period ends, the Board then votes the change up or down

4) If the change is approved, a date certain implementation date is announced allowing sufficient time for aggregators and feed producers to implement the change

Even if it were never used, the fact that it existed could serve to be postitive.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Textile

The single I miss most when using the Blogger interface is Textile. With the other major blogging platforms making good use of it, Movable Type, WordPress, and, of course, TextPattern, one can hope that Blogger will do so as well someday.

Master of My Domain

Last year, I decided to purchase a certain domain. Unfortunately, I missed registering it by one day. Since then, I have kept track of it. The purchaser never actually deployed it and did not renew it prior to the anniversary date.

Now the fun begins: Eleven days after it expired, the registrar changed the status to REGISTRAR-HOLD. 26 days later, the status changed to REDEMPTIONPERIOD.

The wait continues. I have no idea when the next step will occur but according to this discussion, it could be another 34 days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Pushing RSS

RSS, in its simplicity, is a breath of fresh air. You can understand it fully in a few minutes. You can quickly deploy an application with just a basic understanding of HTML and a bit of experience in a scripting language like Perl, AppleScript or Python. That is the reason it gained traction, while most other XML formats are still in the working groups or waiting for deployment. In the overworked world of Web development, there's no time to study, there's only time to do. - Dave Winer


But while the vision has become vivid once more, the seamless Web of the original push fantasy is almost as far away as ever. This is because the Web has grown far bigger, more diverse, more open, and messier. It cannot be unified by a single easy-to-learn, concretely useful specification like RSS. - Gary Wolf


Remote Posting

I am really intrigued by the ability to post via e-mail. I always meant to set something up to do that on my other blogs, but never quite got around to getting it to work. This should be a big boon especially to those who blog via alternative devices.

This message arrived via that very method although I did have to edit it to remove the hard link breaks. That is something I will have to look at.

Cruftiness

Evan is proud of his new permalinks. Sam thinks his have improved but plans to do more.

I love the nearly-Ultimate Weblogging System style of them. If only they did not include the .html or, in Evan's case, the .asp. Sam is in the lead on this point.

As Sam mentions, the real problem is generating the slug to use for the URI. Multiple word titles result in multiple word slugs which complicate things. Blogger is apparently removing articles like the which is a very nice move. But I think that the latest version of WordPress still has the most elegant solution I have seen although you don't see it in use in the post linked to in this sentence.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Username

One plus side as well: I now have the same username for Blogger and TypeKey. That should help a great deal with commenting.

And of course, I have the same username at hotmail, yahoo, excite, and earthlink as well. As well as some other places.

I guess I like to keep things simple.

The Relaunch

I started this blog a few weeks ago in order to try for a gmail account. That didn't work, but it did give me the opportunity to play in the new Blogger interface when it was launched last night.

The funny thing is, if Blogger had worked this well years ago, I would probably have never left it for GreyMatter. Oh, well...

Anyway, I had written a bunch of really silly things in here so I decided to start fresh by deleting all the posts. Adding a mass delete to the interface would be a good idea.

I intend to use this for really personal writing that I can't quite fit in anywhere else.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Harry

1992 is the year I generally regard as the worst of my life. So many things went wrong that year that it would take too long to list them here. One of the first was the death in January of Virginia. She was our cat for 16 years.

The single bright spot for that year came in May. I was spending the weekend with my brother over in Sarasota. We called home to check in with my parents that, out of the blue, they had ended up with a dog.

Back in those days, my mother was still working at an Elementary School. And one morning, this little bedraggled dog had come onto campus. One of the custodians took him down the street thinking he was lost in the neighborhood. The dog came back. Eventually, he ended up in the office where they were trying to figure out who would look after him while they tried to locate the owner. My mother quickly volunteered and my father came over and picked him up. He was a Lhasa Apso, although he was in such a mess they it took some time for them to figure that out.

I still remember coming in to see him for the first time. I was expecting a Lhasa like I had seen in pictures. But since he had just had another bath, what I saw was a soaking wet dog that looked nothing like him. So it began.

Good times and bad times followed. Probably the worst was when he was injured out in the street by a neighbor’s car. He survived though and fully recovered. Lately though, we knew time was catching up with him. He was having more and more health problems. He was walking a bit more gingerly many times. But just Saturday Night, my brother and his bride-to-be threw a dinner party. And we took him with us up to Winter Haven. He was always a little inscrutable, but personally, I think he had a great time.

Tonight, I came home to find my mother in tears and my father upset. My father had gone to leave and somehow Harry had gotten from the front door to behind his van just when he went to backup. The vetenarian said he died instantly.

It is hard and I have written this whole entry with tears streaming down my face, but I am glad that his passing was quick. Harry, we will never forget you.