Sunday, September 23, 2007

Trackback Spam

Probably a hundred false "track backs" -- a type of spam that hurts blogs -- have been getting through my blog service provider's (blogspirit's) filters a day. This has been going on for a week.

What's most annoying is blogspirit's terrible (read: nonexistent) communication with its clients. What's going on? Technical incompetence? An attempt at installing a new system? A shakedown by the internet mafia? What?

Blogspirit: Bad service, worse communication.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Blog: polisci

It's a wonderful new year for new blogs. I've already sun the praises for Dreaming 5th Generation War, Small Wars Journal Blog, Soob de Jour, and Quiet Thoughts. Now I am thrilled to introduce polisci.

polsci is written by a colleageu of mine at the Unviersity of Nebraska, who shares my interest on how genes influence human behavior. Thus our subject matter is often similar, with the different this his writing is far more scholarly, precise, and knowledgeable than mine.

Two of his best:



Welcome to the blogosphere, John!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Small Wars Journal Blog

Mark of ZenPundit reports that the Small Wars Journal now has a blog. So far they have three posts up, and I've commented on each:



So now Small Wars Journal Blog joins Dreaming 5th Generation War, Soob, and Quiet Thoughts as blogs that I need to add to my blogroll. Welcome!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Writing Inspired

One of the neatest things about the blogosphere is how a conversation can jump from blog to blog, with each blog addings its own touch.

First, Mark's July 2005 post on 5th Generation Warfare inspired my first post on the topic the next day. Then just this month Herb Harris joined the conversation, which quickly jumped over to Dreaming 5GW.

5GW was also misused by John Robb, whose interpretation was analyzed the same day by Aherring, Curtis, and myself. The stand-out quote: Robb lets others do a lot of the building, claims they're stealing his ideas, then changes his ideas to coopt and incorporate new little nuggets he'd not previously considered.

A more involved conversation included Tom and myself, spanning "Jimmy Carter's New Book," "The Jews, Israeli nationalism v. Globalism," "The Jews, Reloaded," and now "Another spiral development attempt on the Carter book controversy."

A three-way conversation on new theories for a new way of war has seen contributions on Small Wars Journal, D.N.I., and (to bring this all to a circle) Zen Pundit.

In closing, I of course have to link to Soob / Soob du Jour, and Quiet Thoughts / Silence in Mind, two blogs that are both inspired and original.

14:54 Posted in Blogosphere | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: blogs

Sunday, December 10, 2006

LOL! Blogspirit just gets worse. (Broken HTML. Again.)

You can't make incompetence like this up.



This same thread also eats comments. How many problems can blogspirit generate at once?

Hostile and/or absent tech support (which I'm supposedly paying for), lost comments, broken HTML.

I wonder if blogspirit is on its last legs. I'm backing up all posts and comments, in case this company goes bankrupt soon.

11:55 Posted in Software | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: Blogspirit, Blogging, Blogs

Blogspirit: User Hostile Design

As I commented to Curtis, blogspirit is acting up again. (I am completely unsurprised.) Blogspirit's service recently has been terrible. I would not recommend anyone use it. Only the fact that 60-80 hour weeks are pretty typical for me right now prevents me from transitioning over to a better service.

At the time I started this blog I had just finished with my Computer Science master's thesis. I did not want to do any more programming for a while, and blogspirit offered three big advantages that blogspot didn't. (At the time I didn't know how much I would enjoy blogging, so I looked only at free services)

1. functioning trackbacks
2. categories
3. an easily modifiable design

However, blogspirit currently has a gigantic problem: it eats comments. Sometimes they don't go through at all. At other times I have to wait days for them to be posted. Worse, blogspirit tech support has told me they only notify bloggers after one of these partial systems outages is complete, meaning I have no way of knowing the status of these problems while it happens.

I am sickened and disgusted by blogspirit's anti-user, anti-community problems. I am disappointed and saddened by the way tech support has gone from being helpful to being adversarial in its approach. I am sorry that replies I have penned over at Open Thread and Classrooms Evolved, Part III: Deliberative Learning are in limbo for who-knows-how-long. I am sorry to all the people whose time and energy blogspirit wastes.

Is there anything good to say about blogspirit? Yes. They are not crooks. They are not unethical.

Just incompetent.

11:25 Posted in Software | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: Blogspirit, Blogging, Blogs

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogspirit's Incompetent and Inhuman System Administration

Back in the day, I was very happy with blogspirit. They took care of the heavy lifting required for blogging, letting me focus on writing and building a community. However, over recent months blogspirit's service has become less and less reliable. Below is a review of blogspirit's comment feature written by Curtis of Phatic Communion:

Note: this is a comment left at TDAXP — rather, an attempted comment, since once again I am apparently barred from leaving this comment on Blogspirit. This time, an old Blogspirit Phenotype is being expressed: I hit SEND to post the comment, and I’m instantly redirected to the front page of TDAXP, without the comment being posted. This has happened more than once with this comment, so I’ve given up.

I’m tempted to create a new category for Phatic Communion, TDAXP Comments, and utilize the trackback feature for connecting these to individual posts on that blog, since I’m apparently able to leave trackbacks to TDAXP. Such a method would be queer indeed, because I’d be establishing a new kind of social interaction, I think — unless some other blogger already dedicates a portion of his own blog to posting comments intended for another specific blog. The format might need tweaking. The problem for me is that ‘commenting’ is a slightly different intellectual format than posting ripostes or highlights as a new post.

More specifically: Dan’s Blogspirit setup does not allow HTML formatting — which has always been an irritation for me — and this limits speech. Odd little notations must be created when commenting at TDAXP, e.g. using asterisks to express emphasis and posting full links as footnotes or interjections rather than linking text. So the following comment to “Growing Pack Behavior in Juvenile Homo Sapiens” will be revised here on Phatic Communion to HTML-formatting and thus in that particular only will not match the comment I intended to leave but may therefore be more legible.


I agree with everything that Curtis is saying.

This is sickening. Blogspirit suffers prologued, partial, outages of service and doesn't bother to inform bloggers that this will happen, is happening, or has happened. Horrid service like this is why I admire Dreamhost, the service that hosts Jim River Report. They have technical snafus too -- everyone does. But unlike blogspirit, Dreamhost has the basic human dignity to let its customers know what is going on.

Monday, July 17, 2006

India Against Freedom, and the Congress Against Connectivity

"Chickens, Eggs, & Connectivity," by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 14 July 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/07/chickens_eggs_c.html.

"Report: Indian gov blocks Blogspot, Typepad, Geocities blogs," by Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing, 17 July 2006, http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/17/report_indian_gov_bl.html (from Digg).

In a prescient article last Frday, Enterra cofounder Stephen F. DeAngelis criticized the proposed law Global Online Freedom Act of 2006 that is currently in the House of Representatives. The bill would begin firewalling the Old Core, particularly the United States, away from the New Core, especially China. It would make disconnection in one area (technological freedom) as an excuse to roll-back connectivity in other market arenas. It's a bad idea all around -- it will isolate America from her allies in this Global War against Terrorism, it isolates American businesses from their partners abroad, and by imposing regulations on technology companies it will lesson our nation's advantages over competitors.

Steve's post is worth reading, especially this bit where he emphasizes the need for economic growth. Economic development enables freedom, or as he says

Not only is such a bill likely to make the U.S. even less well liked abroad, it is unlikely to achieve the goals it desires. While some may see it as a chicken-and-egg discussion (which comes first freedom or capitalism?), historically economics have had a greater impact on the politics than vice versa. Whatever Tienanmen Square represents symbollically, Shanghai is the real face of change in China and it is driven by economics. For all intents and purposes, Shanghai is developed, capitalistic, world-class city despite the controls the central government has tried to impose on Internet content.


Don't believe it? Then compare China to India -- both are developing states, but China is a party dictatorship and India is a multiparty democracy. A perfect test case is blogs, and thus it is no surprise that India is attacking free speech on blogs:

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) passed an order to ISPs Friday to block several websites. The list is confidential. Indian ISPs have been slowly coming into compliance. SpectraNet, MTNL, Reliance, and as of Monday afternoon, Airtel. State-backed BSNL and VSNL have not started yet but likely will soon. The known list of blocked domains is *.blogspot.com, *.typepad.com and geocities.com/*.


Imperial-India-Blue-Ensign_md
The Indian Empire: Freer Under the Crown?


Anyone who believes that a bill that restricts trade with countries that censor information will only hit dictatorships is misguided. Underdeveloped countries generally begin turning on themselves, from China to India to France. Slapping de facto sanctions on those states only hurts their economies -- and their citizens' freedoms -- more.

Support freedom. Support economics. Oppose the Global Online Freedom Act of 2006.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ugly Blogspirit Problems

The blog is suffering from its worst blogspirit-led problem to date. How bad? Garbage like this is presented as a blog post:

broken_blogspirit_md

This, of course, is unacceptable.

18:37 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (5) | Tags: Blogspirit, Blogging, Blogs

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blogspirit Now Worse Than Ever

I've had my problems with 's so-so service before. They suffered DDOS attacks without notifying bloggers in a timely manner. Gravatars never worked. Comments and templates have been broken. The support blog is a joke, as is the pay-based help center.

I wrote a ticket because of massive trackback spam that blogspirit lets through, even when I turn off trackbacks on old posts, and the next day I find that the problem is now worse then ever.

  • The support ticket I had is now gone. Not just "closed." But gone, with no record.
  • I am no longer getting notification of new comments.
  • All of my posts are signed by "Aaron," even though I am writing them under my login name
  • I'm still getting trackbrack spam
  • Real trackbacks, like from Coming Anarchy, don't get through.


For the mean-time I've turned off guest authoring, delete the spam trackbacks manually, and boil in my own anger.

Oh well. At least I'm now down for days, or hacked. But I have lost comments.

07:05 Posted in Vanity | Permalink | Comments (6) | Tags: Blogspirit, Blogging, Blogs

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