From the Gut

Quick reaction to a bunch of stuff I’ve recently encountered, in one way or another. Very random; meaning…whatever you want.


  • Blogger revamp (yep, feeding the hand that…uh, feeds me for free…)
  • vi
  • Unices in any flavor. Windows makes the hard pretty but not easy (often, virtually impossible). UNIX is ugly but unbelievably useful (if you know the secret handshake).


  • Flooding (Chicago area; from drought to…uh, non-drought
  • The War on Terror (© ?? The TumbleWeeds), and all that that has inflicted on everyone
  • Dinging Moveable Type for (GASP!) charging for a brilliant piece of software (not necesarily the code, but the concept…)


  • There is a lot of action in the Telcom/Internet area. Understandable and not new, but heating up. Hmm.
  • Microsoft’s Longhorn seems more distant every day (caveat: I’m more into Unices now). What does this mean? Is there a disturbance in the force?

Is This In Jest?

Ben’s Thought Crimes runs an entry slamming MT for their new pay model.

I just can’t decide if this is a joke or not; sadly, I don’t think it is.

Some excerpts:

It’s time for me to ditch MT and find some new blog warez to splurge my thoughts onto the interweb.

This is going to create two major problems for me, firstly my moblog is powered by a perl script which is in turn powered by MT. Secondly, the only reason I don’t get much comment spam now is due to MT-Blacklist, powered by MT as well of course. Arse.

Soooo… thanks Mena and Ben, you have successfully put a downer on my entire day now as i’m going to need to spend actual physical time sorting this out as well as finding a new blogging tool and converting my MT database over to its format. For someone who procrastinates a whole lot and even has it down to a fine art, you have caused a lot of future agony.

So – on one hand – this whole charging model (which I don’t think applies to Ben; free still for single user with three or less blogs) is bad.

And – on the other hand – the tool is so powerful he uses it for his blog, his moblog and his spam is almost nil thanks to an MT plugin (developed by the community, not Six Apart).


Two comments, I guess:

  • You’ve put all your eggs in one basket by running all around MT. This is the classic Microsoft model; if you fell for it with MT, well, your choice.
  • You admit this is an incredibly powerful tool. You’ve gotten it for free for years. Is the small price Ben and Mena are asking for their sweat equity too high? I don’t think so. Ben – you’ve written about looking at houses. Why not $100 for this great piece of software? You’re not a student or starving artist, obviously.

I just don’t get all this fuss. MT was a gift and – sure – it would have been great if it remained free. But let’s get real.

On the other hand, right now I’m running off Blogger – completely free, and they host the database. (Which is another set of pros and cons). If they started to charge, I’d have to take a look at my options.

But I would understand it – and not begrudge them – if Blogger did begin to charge.

Free as in beer is a rare deal. Enjoy it while you can.

Stupid Patrol – I’m in Charge

In a good way(?), it seems that the more I learn, the less I think I know.

Yes, the more I learn, the more stoopider I realize I am.

But that’s fun – more to learn.

This week’s lesson: vi and Perl.

I haven’t done much vi for years (modify httpd.conf, php.ini and such silliness). And I love vi, and I hate it – it works so well, so fast…yet is so arcane. I’m not yet ready for my Unix beard…

Perl: Always, always, always. Each door that cracks open here reveals not another room, but another universe of stuff I don’t know/know well.

Google Ups the Ante

This story – Google tests waters with terabyte e-mail limit | CNET – reinforces what I thought before, but not strongly enough to even dwell on.

It means two things, actually – the first is trivial, and it means that storage is really becoming a commodity, and will only get larger and cheaper as time goes on. The whole Moore’s Law applied to storage scenario.

The second point is the interesting one: By upping to a terabyte (wow!), Google is pretty much encouraging people to never throw anything away.

But if you do that, how do you find what you need in all that clutter?


Who (today) does this best?


Crazy like a fox…

Update: Yep, this was just a software glitch. However, I still stand by what I said, and I back it up with another C|Net story: Google moves toward clash with Microsoft (actually a NY Times story, running on…but no registration!).

Sure, Google indexes the Web. Billions upon billions of files. How hard to index that even “massive” 120G home hardware drive? Not hard at all, thank ya…

Happy Birthday to (My) Blog

I started this blog three years ago today – May 17th, 2001.

Looking at the world, technology and the blogosphere, a lot has happened between my first and this current entry.

The tragedy of 9/11 and the war on terrorism aftermath; the iPod/iTunes juggernaut and the meeting of minds (er, pocketbooks) twixt Microsoft and Sun; the rise of RSS and the fragmentation of the spec with funky feeds and the rise of Atom.

Lots going on everywhere.

Well, if Internet years are like dog years (1 year = 7 dog years), this blog is now old enough to drink. Some days – looking at the news – this seems like a good option.

Onward. To paraphrase Chaucer, “Go little blog…”

Yeah, Sometimes It’s That Bad…

A note from Jason Kottke:

“Dumb Slashdot thread on MT new pricing structure (Sometimes I think the Web’s primary function is aggregating stupidity.)”

Why should the Web differ from other parts of the firmament?

But, still, *sigh*…lotta truth there…

Kottke then continues with a comment on a blog entry by Dave Winer:

The bottom line, as Dave suggests, is that MT 3.0 is worth charging money for. Period. The fact that it was free up until now is largely irrelevant…except that for 2 1/2 years Six Apart has provided people with a very powerful, flexible piece of software for free and will continue to do so in the future. Those bastards!

Kottke continues with a few dings of/suggestions for MT, but – basically – echos my last entry. Still free; just not as free for as many people as before.

And the cost associated with those non-free folks is a freakin’ steal.

Where’s the (legit) beef? Sure, free (beer and freedom) is better than not free, but I don’t see the real issue here.

Webloggers Behaving Badly

There has been a quiet uproar (here, here, and here, for starters…) in the blogging community since the announcement of licensing changes in the new Moveable Type (v3).

Basically, the licensing changes now require payment if you’re using it for more than three blogs. The former licensing issues – free for individual, cost for commerical use – remain (greatly simplified explanation, OK?).

First a disclaimer:

  • I currently don’t use MT, although I have a cut of 2.63 installed on a local box, just so I could see what all the fuss is about.
  • The buzz is valid – it’s slick. I’ll probably move to MT eventually, unless I roll my own (I’ve built my own version; but that was for fun over a year ago…)

The talk in the blogsphere seems to fall fairly neatly into two categories:

  • The Trott’s are abandoning the community that helped make MT so successful
  • It’s a company, it has to make money to endure. Quit crabbin’….

I fall in the latter category. MT is a great product, and one can still use it for personal use (1-3 blogs) without any cost. That seems pretty generous still. (See license details)

Responding to point one, all I can say is that this release is actually designed as a developer’s release, to allow more hooks and so on.

Some folks have also pointed out that some non-profit organizations (and for-profits, I’m sure) have been using MT as a CMS (Content Management System); with this new licensing, this will no longer be possible.

Comments: The reason they’ve used MT as a CMS is because it offers so much regardless of the price, and – at “free” – it was a real steal. Even at the new costs (depending on what you need), it’s a steal compared to other CMS products. Yes, for some companies this will be a deal breaker, but the choice will still come down to using MT (cheap and effective) or not being able to do as much content, because any CMS is too expensive. The latter is, of course, troubling, but let’s do a reality check. What you got (unlimited MT use) for the price you paid (nada) in the past is just not a realistic model. Did ya really expect this to continue indefinitely?

There seems to be too much of an emphasis in free as in beer vs. free as in freedom.

Well, the price of beer just went up (for some users).

The same open codebase is available for those who want to add MT modules.

I just don’t understand the uproar.

It’s still free for most users; the API is still open.

There are tiered licenses avaiable, it’s not zero or a million bucks.

TypePad is out there for users who want basic stuff, with unlimited blogs.

And maybe Six Apart will be able to stay in business and continue to offer and evolve this great product.

Shared Hosting Sucks

OK, shared hosting doesn’t suck, it’s just a pain in the ass if you know what you are doing.

I’m an idiot in more ways than I’m willing to list here (there is not enough bandwidth in the world), but I get Web developement.

And shared hosting – with the Control Panels and PHPmyAdmin and so on – sucks for me.

It’s harder.

Example: Just loaded an existing CGI (Perl) on site I’m helping get off the ground.

Worked. Until I changed one line of the CGI (I changed the CSS file include).



Permissions went back to 644 or something (why???).

Many such issues; many such 500 errors (why???) later, resolved, but in a way that makes me go…why was it fixed? Was it just the permissions (UNIX system; always comes down to perms, agreed), or…what???


How You Doin’?

Yes, tonight is the final episode of Friends. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype.

Though – actually – this final episode hasn’t had the buzz that, for example, the final Seinfeld episode created. With Friends, the event is the end of the series, not so much the last episode of the series.

Whatever…yeah, I’ll be watching.

Update: Yeah, just watched it. Disappointing, but not unexpectedly so. Whenever television attempts to make a final episode an “event,” it just seems to fail: M*A*S*H, Seinfeld and so on. Cheers’ finale was pretty good, as was Mad About You’s (though, at the time, I didn’t think much of it. Better in reruns, ironically).

Ah, whatta I know?