Category Archives: Metablog

Blog In One Place, Finally, After Fifteen Years

In February 2004, as I was about to start a twelve-week parental leave, I created my first personal blog. After an extremely brief flirtation with Blogger, I settled on LiveJournal. I was part of the team in MSN that was building Microsoft’s own blogging/social product, then called MSN Spaces, and wanted to immerse myself in the experience and technology of blogging.

The LJ blog stayed active only until December 2004, when MSN Spaces launched and I started a new public blog there. (Prior to MSN Spaces’ release I’d also been self-hosting on an internal-only version of the site.) I wanted to migrate my LJ blog entries to my MSN Space, but the Spaces team didn’t provide a migration tool and I didn’t want to do it manually. So the LJ blog co-existed with my Space, but was no longer updated.

Coincidentally, December 2004 was also the month that I created my Facebook account. I doubt I appreciated then how quickly it would dominate social networking. In late 2004, Orkut was challenging Friendster as the leader in the category.

In 2010, when Microsoft announced that MSN Spaces, since renamed Windows Live Spaces, was going to be shut down the following year, they offered an automated tool to migrate spaces to In January 2011 I used that tool to create this blog, and my space went away not long after that. I don’t recall now if I didn’t think about concurrently migrating the LJ blog to WordPress at that time, or if no tool existed, but my LJ blog soldiered on in its nearly-forgotten state.

A recent blog post caused me to revisit my LJ blog, and yesterday I thought to myself, “I wonder if a tool exists to migrate a LiveJournal blog to WordPress?” Of course there does. Within half an hour, all of my ninety-something LJ posts from 2004 were inserted into this blog.

I have no plans to edit the content of any of those old posts; they deserve to stand as they were when first written. I might go through and set categories for them, and if I’m feeling ambitious will attempt to fix broken links. Eventually I might delete the old LJ blog, but for now I’ll leave it as it has been. It’s not harming anyone, except possibly me.

Blog Cameo

Jim asked me to guest blog on his site, so I did.

Corrected: A New Leaf

I made an egregious factual error in a previous post that I’m finally getting around to correcting.

(Mal-)Quoting My Blog

I’m not sure if there’s an established style for quoting someone else’s blog messages within your own, but I sure know what isn’t appropriate.  Certainly traditional text quoting conventions apply:  You should make it clear when you’re altering a quoted region via brackets and ellipses and you should not deliberately distort the original meaning.  You should also include a hyperlinked reference to the message you are quoting. 
Whether you preserve hyperlinks within the quoted text is subject to interpretation.  I’d argue that, in the spirit of web hypertext, under all but the most extreme circumstances you should preserve all of the links, but I recognize that reasonable people may differ.  What’s less arguable is that you should never alter a link’s destination unless it’s broken, and even then only with clear indication.  If you remove the links you should either remove all or none, not edit selectively, and if you do remove the links you should state that you have.
I also think that the bar for preserving the integrity of a quoted blog message is higher if you’re quoting the entire message, as opposed to just a short excerpt.
I raise this because of two cases where this blog has been quoted in a way that violates these conventions.
The first example is from April of last year.  An entire blog message is quoted save the final paragraph, which is only three words long.  The quoter selectively elides two of the hyperlinks without indicating so.
The second example is from today and is more insidious because the quoting blog is on a web site that sells a product.  It quotes an entire message without being explicit that it’s a quote.  It appropriates as its title a quote from within the message and it makes it appear as if the quote was made by me, when in fact I was quoting others within the message.  It doesn’t include a hyperlink to the original message, just the unlinked URL of my home page.  And it removes all of the links from within my message, not surprising because some are links to competitors’ products.
To be clear, I have no problem with references to and quotes from this blog as long as The Golden Rule is applied.

Hit me with your Raymond stick

I’d thought that Dare’s reference to this space had increased its hit count.  That was until yesterday, when courtesy of Raymond it received 40% of its total hits in a single day.  The count continues to grow and the two-day total for yesterday and today will probably exceed 50% of its total hits.

Blog Drought

I haven’t been active here in a while, mostly because work has been consuming my available time at the computer, including more than a few post-midnight sessions.  The stacks of unpaid bills and related personal papers next to me is further evidence of this and will continue to limit my time here.

Seeking A Trivial Idea

I’ve been trying to come up with a new blog category to categorize my postings on automobiles, which up to how have been shoehorned into "Mental M10n" or "Petty Bourgeois."  I haven’t quite found one that fits the spirit of my other custom categories.  I’ve tried to get inspired by song lyrics from various sources, including Woody Guthrie ("Take Me Ridin’"), Johnny Rivers ("Hot Rod Lincoln") and Bruce Springstreen ("Long and Dark, Shiny and Black"), but nothing has captured it yet.

Changed the theme

I just decided to switch to one of the other built-in themes.  It’s not my favorite, but it’s far better from a color contrast standpoint.  If nothng else the hyperlinks are now identifiable.

“Being Popular is the Most Important Thing in the World”

So sayeth Homer.

Been buried at work and home with little time to blog.  I did check the visitor log tonight and discovered that my blog is still getting a steady stream of visits due to being the top search result on Google for "Netflix sucks", courtesy of this entry.  I’ve even had a comment left behind on it by the apparent king of Netflix bashers.

I show you an f, you see k

[Title courtesy of The Straight Dope Archive.]

My previous blog entry was originally rejected by MSN Spaces because:

This entry contains language that is prohibited. Please delete the prohibited language from the entry.

Unfortunately there was no indication of which language was prohibited or how to fix it.  Since I work with the folks who build and operate this site, I was able to go directly to them for help.  I won’t be explicit about the cause of the error, except to say that the original title was "How to increase your blog’s hit count" and changing to its current title fixed the problem.

Offensive language filters that work based on substring matches are laughably easy to defeat, as any Leet speaker knows.  Worse, they generate many false positives.  Don’t try to post a blog entry with a title referencing a recipe for shittake mushrooms or the parent company of Panasonic.  Perhaps in the future there will be a computationally efficient way to reliably detect a culturally-appropriate set of offensive words, but until that time it’s better not to bother trying.  Let users self-police the space.