Monthly Archives: April 2004


I’m not sure if I’m one of the “six prominent webloggers” Brad mentions in his post Gmail major security flaw, but when I got a mail from him saying that I was guilty of exactly what he described, I thought it would be a good time to change my secret question and password. I guess he was really anxious to get a Gmail account. He could have asked though, I let Adam poke around mine.

My thoughts on Gmail? It’s really well-done in terms of how the interface works. It’s faster than Thunderbird for common tasks and I could see using it full-time. But I wouldn’t even consider it until they provide a good way to import and export everything. Email is the lifeblood of everything I do, and I’ve been burned too many times to trust it to a third party—even if it’s non-evil Google. When I put my address out there in a previous post I was pleasantly surprised to get emails from a number of people I’d never corresponded with. Unfortunately soon after that the spam started coming in. It’s more than I get on my “real” account, but I can’t expect a beta product to compete with a finely-tuned SpamAssassin installation and 22MB bayesian database.

Speaking of passwords, a few months I switched to using 8+ characters of random junk for everything, and different passwords for everything. You can use the random password generator to get a few of your own. Throw in SSH tunneling, a great VPN through my university, and consistent rotation schedule and I’m feeling pretty secure. (Knock on wood.) I just need a fingerprint scanner.

In other news, the place of residence has been spruced up a bit with surround-sound speakers, a cut-glass-hanging-thingy, and some additional lighting. Pictures forthcoming.

Finally, the mosaic thread currently stands at nearly 669 comments, and soon there will be more comments on that post then there are posts on this site. I don’t generally talk about traffic in public because I think it’s bad taste, but the numbers this month have been intimidating. In terms of bandwidth used a few dozen gigabytes last month, mostly in photos. So far this month the usage stands at 305 gigabytes for this domain alone and I’m at a loss for words, except to say it’s nice to know I have that sort of scalability. I think I’ll go back to posting pictures of my cat.

Update: Final usage for April on was 511 gigabytes.

What is Google Cooking?

Watching my logs, I’ve been getting random requests from Googlebot for atom.xml and index.rdf files on this site and others. It’s always in the root or in relevant subdirectories (usually /blog or similar). All of these sites run WordPress, and I can promise there is no mention of or links to atom.xml or index.rdf anywhere. This means Googlebot is guessing that these files will be there. Now I’ve come to expect random flailing for syndication files from Feedster and Kinja, but Google? Et tu, Googlebot?

I suspect this is a hint of something new coming, perhaps feed-aware search like Feedster or RSS links in search results like Yahoo. Maybe a Google-aggregator? Google BlogNews? I want answers! They’ve got some room on above the search box since their redesign, maybe the next item there will be a “blog” tab. (Of course since their redesign they aren’t real tabs anymore, a regression in my opinion. I think tabs are a very effective navigation metaphor and worked well for Google.)

Anyone have any clues, ideas, or notice something similar in their logs?

Update: As always, we’re a few days ahead of the curve here at Dave Winer has noticed the hits on his server and is covering the issue today.

Update: I’m late to the game, but Evan Williams confirms in part what I was suspecting and also jabs at the conspiracy theorists.

Is it more likely that this is not a calculated move, but that they are experimenting with crawling feeds in general and that, if they’re going to index them, they probably want as many as possible? And that maybe (hmmm…) they started with Blogger blogs first, since they were handy, and they tended to find feeds at index.rdf and atom.xml, and they haven’t yet optimized their crawler because they’ve been working on other stuff?

Spring Ping Thing

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s Spring and time for me to stop teasing and come forward with something dramatic.

Announcing Ping-O-Matic, the automatic pinging fanatic that handles the pinging of almost a dozen different update services. Erratic server responses making pinging problematic? Bookmark the Ping-O-Matic results page and let us handle the dirty work.

With the dream team of Dougal and yours truly, you knew it was going to be cool. What you see is just the beginning. Think a unified XML-RPC interface (One Ping to rule them all, One Ping to find them…), think ping queueing, think quality of service and response graphs, think different, think global blogtimes, think update aggregation, think Ping-O-Matic.

So spread the word from here to Beijing. More than just a fling, we’re committed to being the Kings of Pings. We take this ping thing seriously, so you don’t have to.


23rd Page

<sheep>bahhhh</sheep>. Here’s the deal:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.

Depending on how you count it, my fifth sentence is either “Today they perform strenuous verbal feats to escape that fate.” or “Watch them wriggle through TV interviews without committing themselves.”

A cookie to the first person to guess the book. Hint: the author’s initials are W.Z.

In other news, Dougal hints at a secret. Don’t click. The Zeldmans finally announce their new joy.