Technorati snippet slows down pages a lot

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I just figured out one reason why my old blog was slow — I was including the HTML snippet from technorati which pulls the JS code from their servers — it caused serious delays on page rendering. Out with that, and in with the simper version.

Cluetrain

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As admonished to do so by Scoble (I do everything he tells me to do, of course), I’ve been reading The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as UsualThe Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. It’s been fun. Part of me would love to read an equally acerbic and “vociferous” rebuttal, from clued-in marketers and lawyers, who don’t defend the “bad old ways” but rather explain how to take the Cluetrain’s radical message and moderate it in the face of a marketplace that isn’t quite as hip to the beat as Doc Searls et al. make it sound to be.

Aggregators as Evil Connectors

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Scary. I setup this blog in ‘stealth’ mode while I was tweaking it, and the default configuration of wordpress involves pinging pingomatic, which is a Good Thing, as it’s best-practices, etc. However, what it meant was that I got comment spam (luckily auto-moderated by the filter I configured easily) within 24 hours of setting it up, before the site was even decloaked. Scary. Still, I’m glad I have some spam filtering going on.

Apache, redirect old RSS feed?

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In switching to the new blogging software, I have broken the URLs for the old RSS feeds. If anyone has feedback on how I can use Apache .htaccess and the like to redirect a URL that goes through a file that doesn’t exist (…/index.cgi/index.rss) over to another URL (…/blog/wp-rss2.php), please let me know. To those using aggregators to read this site, 1) you probably can’t see this =), and 2) sorry.

Update: Fixed with some Redirects.

Ampersand

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&

I’ve liked ampersands for a long time (probably since I started paying attention to type). That’s the motivation for the new graphic that shows up in the masthead (which won’t look anything close to good if you don’t have the right fonts installed, but I’m trying to maintain quick download times). As an aside — I use Firefox, and while I try to make sure the site is readable with at least IE, I won’t know if the site is illegible with other browsers.

Adobe provides a nice history of the ampersand with some nice examples as well (look especially at the variation within the Poetica typeface!).

While on the topic, people who care about typesetting and typography have (naturally) a lot of nice books to read, but my current favorite is The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst. A pleasure to read if you are easily annoyed by bad kerning, pleased by beautiful font design, etc. It’s the typographic equivalent of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, but unfortunately is not selling as well! Thanks to Thanassi for getting me to read TETS.

New blogging engine

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I was getting lousy performance out of pyblosxom, for reasons that I’m sure have nothing to do with pyblosxom, but with my abuse of it, and my lack of a deep enough understanding of how pingbacks, trackbacks, etc. worked. Also, I didn’t really have the energy to build my own comment-spam filter. Finally, it had served its purpose — it gave me a good feel for what blogging software does. Now I was happy to move on to something with more “GOOBE” (Good Out Of Box Experience), polish, templates, features, etc. I tried blogger again, found it too slow tonight. Looked at Drupal, but its generality scared me. Settled back on WordPress, which I’d played with before and had impressed me. It has an excellent user interface, trivial installation, and seems to have a strong “aftermarket” of plugins and themes. I’m using the Kubrick theme, tweaked with minor CSS changes and a picture that my brother Ivan took on his trip through eastern Europe a few years ago.

So, Will & friends, don’t take it badly — I was a happy customer and then my needs as a customer changed. Thanks for pyblosxom, and keep on trucking.

New features for all you readers: comments are back, the RSS feeds are nicer (e.g. they have dates, which the old one didn’t, which is why all of the old posts that were imported neatly don’t have any history of when they were posted — oh well). I’m sure there’ll be more as I figure this tool out.