Break the Internet

For the next two days, when you first access this site, the following image will show, with a form you can use to send your concerns to Washington DC.

The FCC is about to destroy everything we hold dear about the internet, while pretending to serve the public. Don't let them.

Save the Internet form

Brought to you by HTTPS

As you can see when you access this page, I’ve made the move to HTTPS. I detail the experience at my new technology-only site, Shelley’s Toy Box.

I upgraded my server before I made the move, and eliminated all the cruft. I also moved my DNS records over to my name registrar, rather than manage on the server.

All in all, the experience was challenging at times, but also interesting. It was fun tweaking with the tech, and I need to do more tech tweaking in the future.

One of the downsides to the move is removing my archived statically generated HTML pages. I now get, on average, over seven hundred 404 requests a day. The numbers will go down as I gradually add the older content into this site, and as search engines drop references to the missing pages. Still, I feel like one big link black hole right now.

The Wayback Machine is extremely helpful when it comes to recovering pages that, for whatever reason, I don’t have backups for. I even found a link to my earliest weblog, a Manila site, hosted by Dave Winer and Userland.  I was excited when I found the link. My reactions to the events of 9/11 were recorded in my Manila weblog, and I don’t have a backup of the old posts.

I could have dropkicked Dave Winer when I discovered all the pages have the same message:

Your crawler is hitting our servers too hard. Please slow down, it’s hurting the service we provide to our customers. Thanks. webmaster@userland.com.

Thankfully most of the pages for my many other sites and weblogs are intact. When I restore a page, I try to include a link to the Wayback Machine archive page, because the site also archived the comments.

Seriously, if you’re not donating to the Internet Archive, you should think about starting. It’s our history.

Google and the power we give in exchange for security

A couple of weeks ago,  I received an email from Google. It read:

Chrome will show security warnings on http://burningbird.net

To owner of http://burningbird.net,

Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

The following URLs on your site include text input fields (such as < input type=”text” > or < input type=”email” >) that will trigger the new Chrome warning. Review these examples to see where these warnings will appear, so that you can take action to help protect users’ data. This list is not exhaustive.

http://burningbird.net/tag/foia/

http://burningbird.net/tag/standards/

http://burningbird.net/tag/epub/

http://burningbird.net/

The new warning is part of a long term plan to mark all pages served over HTTP as “not secure”.

Here’s how to fix this problem:

Migrate to HTTPS
To prevent the “Not Secure” notification from appearing when Chrome users visit your site, only collect user input data on pages served using HTTPS.

Like many web sites, mine contain an input field that people can use to search through articles. It’s this search field that triggered the warning.

Continue reading “Google and the power we give in exchange for security”

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.

 

 

The Rule of Small Deer

They were three on the path in front of me.

When I came upon them, they didn’t run. They just stood there, staring at me. Then, as one body, they moved: one pawed the ground; one began eating the leaves from a small bush; the third started walking towards me.

Deer are supposed to run from people. I walked closer to the deer coming towards me and it didn’t stop.  I stamped my foot and it still came. I raised my arms and waved and it didn’t pause, didn’t blink. I turned around to go back, and only then did it stop, turn around, and head back to the other two.

I turned around one more time, back towards the deer. The little bold one swung around back to me, as if it were on a string and matched to my movements. I began to walk towards it, thinking this time it would shy away. It didn’t. I moved closer until I could see the ragged edges of its fur and the tiny black at the center of its eyes, but still, it came.

I didn’t know what to make of the deer. I imagine it had run from humans one too many times. Run from the food and the best footing and the last of the sunshine. Run back into the trees and the shadows and the low branches waiting to trip it and the bushes already picked clean.

Probably decided to hell with it. Yes, that’s it. To hell with it. You push anything hard enough, even a small deer, and they’ll think to themselves to hell with it.