Writing alone can set you free

Not long ago, I received an email from a person praising one of my writings. He wanted me to know, however, that he doesn’t take sites like mine seriously because it’s a personal web site, and therefore, not credible. Because my site lacked credibility, he didn’t feel he could share the writing with others.

I was reminded of the email when I read PZ Myer’s posting today, notifying his readers that Anjuli Pandavar is no longer part of his network. PZ Myers and the other members of the Freethought Blogs are fully within their rights to remove a writer. If the writer posts pieces that violate the premise behind the site (I’ve read a few of her works at the Wayback Machine, and they surely do), it’s a good idea to remove the person rather than muddy the waters in which all of them swim. The New York Times may choose to play the all-inclusive game, most smaller sites cannot.

Still, it is a good reminder of why I now write solely in my own sites. It may get quiet around here, my sites aren’t always the most active or my writings frequently shared, and some people may question my credibility, but no one can kick me out or tell me what to write.

There are also no expectations with sites like mine. Since 1996, I’ve written about the Loch Ness Monster, the semantic web, environmental legal cases, the HTML5 standards process, animal welfare, photography and web graphics, sexism, JavaScript/Node, and now, Trump, with his miserable excuse for a White House. Oh, and RDF (Resource Description Framework).

RDF and Trump. Probably not a combination of words you would ever expect to read in your lifetime.

My only consistency in what I write is … well, none, really.

 

 

Integrating WordPress’ Multisite support

In the past, I’ve skipped between supporting multiple sites and only having a single site, here at Burningbird.

I like different domains and sites so that people can focus primarily on the topics they like. For instance, tech people may get a bit tired of my political writings, and those interested in the political writings may not care for in-depth overviews of JavaScript.

The main issue with multiple sites, though, is the amount of work to maintain the software for each site. In fact, that’s been a real pain in the past, and the reason I took down the individual sites.

Thankfully, WordPress has very good multisite support now. I can support different sites with different domain names, and you all have no idea it’s all fed by the same WordPress installation. More importantly, if I decide to subscribe to a security system for my site, such as Wordfence, I only need one subscription. Considering how much my site gets hammered on a daily basis, I’m definitely interested in increasing my security. However, security API keys are not cheap. They’re too expensive to get one for every domain.

I’m also eliminating all statically generated web pages. I just wiped out the old weblog.burningbird.net site. I thought about keeping some of the old content but then realized people have enough stuff to read, they don’t need to see stuff that’s 15 years old. In addition, I’m adding newer statically generated content into WordPress, in preparation for converting everything over to the secure version of HTTP, HTTPS.

As I add active content to new sites, I’ll post a note linking to them. Right now, I have active content here and at One Lawsuit.

Finding Truth

According to Dictionary.com, triangulation is:

The location of an unknown point, as in navigation, by the formation of a triangle having the unknown point and two known points as the vertices.

When I studied history in college I had a professor tell me that the only way to discover the truth behind an event is to read three completely different interpretations of the same event. Somewhere in the middle of all these interpretations, you’ll find the truth.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to only listen to one viewpoint, one interpretation.  Listening to those who are like-minded and speak with one voice is less disruptive than seeking the truth.

DoS Attacks on Servers

flooded back yard

Linode, the company that provides the server I use for my sites has been under constant DoS (Denial-of-Service) attacks for days. Right at this moment, I can access my site and the Linode manager, but the London servers are supposedly all down. Tomorrow, the Dallas servers may get hit, again.

We haven’t heard why there’s such a persistent attack against Linode. The company maintains status updates, but isn’t providing any details.

I’m not leaving Linode. That would be like giving assholes a win. However, access to my sites may be erratic for a bit.

In other news…we didn’t get flooded because of the Missouri rains, though we did lose access to our plumbing capability for a few days. Our back yard was a wet and soggy mess, and our personal river and waterfall, River des Powers, was flowing freely. We were very lucky compared to many surrounding areas, where homes were flooded and freeways and roads shut down. House Member’s co-workers had commutes that hit 3 hours, one-way, last night.

Right now plumbing works, ground is dry, floods are receding, and I can write to my site again. Not a bad way to end 2015.

Happy New Year!

New Incarnation

flowers

I always make major site changes during the Christmas holiday. Traffic to my sites is at its lowest, and it just seems a good end-of-year task.

I wasn’t quite expecting that the Linode server where my site lives would crash right in the middle of the upgrade, but life isn’t exciting without the little challenges.

I decided to switch from Drupal to WordPress about the time when I decided I no longer had time to pursue PHP and CMS software tweaking, since my tech interests are focused on JavaScript, Node, Internet-of-Things (IoT), mobile, and DIY (microcomputers and microcontrollers). WordPress requires less time when all you want is a site where you can publish your writings.