Readers sometimes “like” my posts by clicking a button that WordPress displays at the end of the post, and I appreciate that. In fact I very often like their posts too, but my security software (NoScript) goes off when I try to click “like.” Just to get to that point I must first temporarily allow a couple of urls to run javascript. Then NoScript warns me about a potential “clickjacking” attempt, and I haven’t been able to sort out exactly what that is and how to allow the link without allowing malicious links. Whatever clickjacking is, I bet it’s something I wouldn’t like.

UPDATE 19 July 2013: Some remarks on clickjacking. Just, um, don’t click the link at the end.

Not spam

Two comments

In a post I said unconscious people “should not be starved, dehydrated, or parted out to others who need their organs.” A comment from Doc Rampage, which mistakenly went into the spam trap, observed that it’s “kind of shocking when you suddenly realize that this isn’t just an inane truism; it’s actually highly controversial.

In reply to a post on the House Republicans caving yet again, another comment noted “I have never seen the press as shameless as they were in this election cycle. Never. It’s like they become less concerned with maintaining their reputation as their reputation deteriorates.”

Losing comments in the spam trap hasn’t been a problem in the past, or it escaped my notice. I’ll have to check the filters more often, or try again to configure a whitelist.

I’ve lately thought about dropping Twitter and WordPress and moving to Tumblr.

Need more diversity

The blogroll, over on the right, is way out of kilter. There are too many Catholics. Just now I added another (Coming Home, by Dr. Gerard M. Nadal, about medical ethics.) I had to pass up a really good one that I wanted to link, because it would have pushed my main blog roll over 25% Roman Catholic. Let me be specific about what I need; hopefully nobody will rat me out to the UN High Commissionaire of Diversity or her deputy in Washington.

Bloggers wanted

  • Episcopal – Buddhists, Sufis, or Reformed Jews please see below
  • Some kind of Baptist – at this point, I’m pretty open
  • Methodist – no atheists or bishops please
  • Greek Orthodox – a humor blog would be especially welcome
  • Lutheran – any synod is fine
  • Reformed – I don’t really understand what that means, but I see the word a lot
  • Non-denominational – I can always use these.
  • Buddhist, Sufi, or Reformed Jew – no Anglicans in this category please

Suggestions for these or others are welcome. I’ll be adding links over the next few days.

UPDATE: I know what I need – a Calvinist. The secular left is always on about Calvinists scheming to impose Theocracy. I need to follow a blog by a full-on Calvinist Dominionist.

Book lists

My book lists could be more useful, both to me and to my visitors. When I’m out somewhere I want to easily find that one book I’ve been meaning to read. I want to be able to add to the list when I’m at a library. I don’t want multiple logins to deal with. For visitors, there should be a useful link, an excerpt, or a some informative comment.

Getting that all to work the way I want is harder than it should be, because I don’t know exactly what I want. There are book applications like LibraryThing, Amazon, and Google Books. There are content management systems, wikis, blogs, rss feed aggregators, simple web pages, and wax tablets.

Google has a service for everything, and most of them are very good, but I’d like to keep a mix of applications. As Google has grown, so have concerns about Google and privacy. It’s better to spread my business around. Amazon’s pages are thorough and useful, but bloated and slow. Pageflakes has some quirks and limitations. Worldcat is very useful, but their lists are awkward and inflexible. LibraryThing is great, but tries to do too much, and is not entirely free. Following the Unix philosophy, I like applications that do one thing quickly and well, and that link up easily to other applications. There have to allow export in a useful format – no lock-in. Finally, there is still much to be said for a shell account. Log in, type, and there it is. The wireless analog would be pencil and paper.

What I have in mind now is Del.icio.us links: Marcel’s Bookmarks. I can link Worldcat, C-Span, Amazon, Wikipedia, wherever. Tagging and tag bundles organize things, and each bookmark can be annotated. If I have more to say about a particular book, I can post here and link to that.

There is room for improvement. I find a lot in the new-books rss feeds from nearby libraries. It would be nice to have that integrated somehow. Google shared items would do that, but Del.icio.us has better tagging, and Google knows enough about me already.

Recent service interruptions

The management regrets any inconvenience

I host this weblog myself on a collection of junk from the thrift shop. Mostly that works quietly and well enough, but yesterday and today I’ve had trouble with odd noises. First from a case fan, then from the power supply. I’ll see what I can cobble together, but I know about all I want to about ten-year-old consumer pc hardware. Having an accessible server always on is handy but not essential. If keeping it running becomes more trouble than fun, I’m just going to move to free hosting, maybe at WordPress.com.

Adding some links

I’ve reorganized my blogroll, adding some links and new sections. In Resources are links to The Mudville Gazette, which very thoroughly aggregates the news from Iraq in their Dawn Patrol feature. I also linked to the Counterterrorism Blog. It can be heavy reading, but seems very thorough and professional.

Male Pattern Fitness and stumpblog! are two very good sites on fitness, for men and for women. Which is which is left as an exercise for the astute reader. In fact both have useful content for about anyone.


At least there has been no spam

It seems comments have not been working for some time. Someone mentioned this to me a few months ago and I thought I had fixed it. I never got a huge number of comments, and I haven’t been writing as much lately. I figured nobody had any more to say than I did.

Anyway, I have turned off Spam Karma. I’ll see how it goes, and maybe make some configuration changes in the future. I have been fooling around with OpenBSD and Mediawiki on my internal network. Maybe I can do something with that. Comments on older posts are closed, and I have to approve all comments manually, but you should be able to leave one if you have something to say.

100 reasons why lists are stupid

Seven wonders of the world is six too many

I am not going to read a list of 100 anything: not Best Websites, Books I’ve Missed, Most Innovative Companies, or Dumbest Statements. I am not even going to read a list of ten. I might scan a list of five, but I won’t follow the links. Here’s a thought: Pick one! Tell me the Most Popular Pop Song, the Greatest Garden Tool, the One Best Way to iron a shirt. A fifty-item list is the illegitimate offspring of an internet quiz and the worst of Wikipedia.

But 100 is a big round number

Yeah, and 11323257 is the product of 3, 11, 41, and 8369. So what? I will now list the 500 smallest integers: No, wait – that would be stupid. I’ll just tell you the smallest interesting number. It’s four, because four is the first number that is divisible by another number other than one. See? Not just vacuous enumeration. Content!

If you just can’t pick one, pick two. Don’t enumerate the ”Eighty worst dictators”. Put some thought into it: ”Stalin or Mao – Who was More Evil”? Write an assessment, somber, insightful, or amusing, and then draw a conclusion. Bzzt! Mao: Most evil of the evil overlords, ev-ah! Killed lots of people, and did not even help up out against Hitler.

If you cannot narrow it down two, take the three you have and throw one out, then proceed as above: 62 Little Known Uses Of Vinegar? 61 of the uses are ‘clean stuff’ and the other one is the Rubber Chicken Bone experiment.

Be concise, exercise some judgment, and make a point. And having made your point, stop.

UPDATE: Eric has an interesting observation on interesting numbers, which just goes to show how hard it is to do anything original in mathematics, unless you are an real mathematician.

Ann Coulter, Maoism, and Wikipedia

I do not much like Ann Coulter, but I reserve the right to agree with her whenever she is right. I have not yet read all of On the Seventh Day, God Rested and Liberals Schemed, but from what I saw on Hatless in Hattiesburg, she is on the right track:

Of course liberalism is a religion. It has its own cosmology, its own miracles, its own beliefs in the supernatural, its own churches, its own high priests, its own saints, its own total worldview, and its own explanation of the existence of the universe. In other words, liberalism contains all the attributes of what is generally known as “religion.”

Also seen on Hatless in Hattiesburg, I need to at least look at Jaron Lanier’s “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism:”

The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it’s been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force.

Yes, it is about Wikipedia, my continuing obsession and the reason (or excuse) for my light blogging. At least my readers do not have to hear about it every day.