Categories
Burningbird

This is my home. This is Burningbird.

I just published the last of the *recovered posts. I’ve manage to recover over 4000 posts. The last bit went faster than I expected, as I didn’t have as many posts to recover in later years.

I’ve not been chatty in this space in recent years. Months would go by before I’d write something to Burningbird. I spent more time on social media sites than I did my own space.

Elon Musk and his destruction of Twitter has been a good thing. It’s reminded us that we’re only renters in sites like Twitter and Facebook; renters at the sufferance of single overlords who could wipe out our existence on their sites with a single whim.

I have found Mastodon to be a superior offering, if for no other reason than you can pick your self up and move to another instance, or maintain your own instance, and have control over your own space. But you still don’t have permanence in Mastodon. Yes, you can move your follows and followers, and folks following you won’t even know you moved. But you can’t move your old posts.

And that’s right. Social media is intended to be today. It is now. It is a current spot where we can connect and discuss what happened today. You don’t freeze a street corner to keep alive a moment where you run into an old friend and have a great conversation. No, you will move on, your friend will move on, and that street corner becomes a place where someone else will run into an old (or new) friend.

If you want permanence, you need a home.

This is my home. This is Burningbird.

*With many, many thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine.

Categories
Burningbird

Web site recovery continues

Thanks to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine I have recovered over 3600 web posts dating back to 1996. I’m not done yet, but I’m getting into the detective phase of recovery. This means using all the of the tools the Wayback Machine provides for recovery.

For instance, though you get a timeline of snapshots when you search on a domain, such as weblog.burningbird.net, you can get a listing of individual pages by using the wildcard (*), such as weblog.burningbird.net/*. By doing this, I’ve been able to recover seemingly lost writings if there’s a break in navigation between pages.

Considering that I never could make up my mind how I want to display pages—under archives for a time, by year and month another time, by subdomain, separate domain, by burningbird.net others—I’ve made liberal use of the wildcard in my recovery.

Lately, I brought in a new tool: the Ruby-based program wayback_machine_downloader. I’ve tested it in both Ubuntu and Windows, and it works beautifully.

I’ve given it both domain and subdomains and bulk downloaded most of the content the Internet Archive has archived from my sites. In some cases, where I no longer control the domain, I use the –to program modifier to grab just my content and not the content of the new domain owner.

I now have a backup copy of what the Wayback Machine has, and I’ve been able to recover pages more quickly. For instance, I able to recover a fragment of a 2003 post using this approach:

We Met. We talked. We expanded. And then the Net closed in. We reduced. We compacted. The energy was too much, the space too tiny, and we burst forth with wit, despair, beauty and brilliance, laughter, anger, tears, and, ultimately, cat.

We never forget cat. Cat is our anchor when our heads float too high, and we begin to think we’re Gods on a Wire, like pigs on a stick.

It is true that many of the recovered posts will never be read by another living soul in the future. That’s not what’s important. What’s important is I’ll finally have all my stuff in one place.

And I’m having fun. The Wayback Machine and all the tools that work with it are just a kick to use. The people behind this site and the tools are the most generous folk.

I’ll have more details on my Hunt for Burningbird at a future time. I just wanted to provide a quick update. I also wanted to test out the latest update of the ActivityPub plug-in, since its creator is now part of the WordPress team.

Categories
Burningbird Social Media

Yes to ActivityPub, but no to Friends

I decided to disable the Friends plug-in when I realized it was inserting every new feed item as a new post in my database. This could easily become unmanageable. Considering you can use a feed reader to read weblogs AND Mastodon accounts, it just didn’t seem worth the database burden.

I do still have ActivityPub activated. I agree with my friend Karl that I could wish it would not pick my profile name as account name, because this could make it easier to hack into our WordPress accounts, but it’s beta, it will improve, and it’s interesting.

I realized this week that I checked Twitter only twice and that primarily to see what was happening with the Speaker vote. Most of the folks I followed on Twitter are now on Mastodon, and I just don’t miss the bird site that much.

I’m now considering keeping my mastodon.social account. It’s cheaper for me to support mastodon.social than it would be to spin up a new Linode for a Mastodon instance. And I’m really not interested in installing software I can’t ‘read’ since I don’t speak the language. And no, I really don’t want to learn Ruby. I’m done with my programming language learning days, and content to stick primarily with markups, PHP, and JavaScript.

Update

I have temporarily disabled ActivityPub. I’m currently restoring all my old weblog posts using the Wayback Machine. I realized after about the 15th post yesterday that I was sending copies of each to Mastodon.

I’m not sure if the folks that follow me on Mastodon really want to know what weblogging was like in early 2004. It is interesting in that I stopped just on the verge of discussing my move to a new weblogging tool: WordPress.

I’ll re-enable the plugin when I’m finished.

Categories
Burningbird Social Media Weblogging

Yet More WordPress/Mastodon/ActivityPub integration

The ActivityPub WordPress plug-in is working beautifully. Not only can people follow me on Mastodon, I can now follow them back using the complementary Friends plugin.

This plugin isn’t specific for ActivityPub. It allows you to subscribe to friend’s posts, ala Google Reader, and creates a personal Friends page to read most recent posts. ActivityPub integrates with this so you can follow Fediverse accounts such as those on Mastodon. The header screenshot shows the Friends page, which is a nice, clean feed reader page. But it’s personal. The following image shows what happens if someone else accesses the page.

Friends page that just has instructions in how to subscribe to Burningbird, shown to people who are not logged into my BB system

So now, people in Mastodon can follow my Burningbird posts (I’m Bosslady), and I can follow them back. And if folks reply to my Burningbird posts on Mastodon, I get a comment to the post here in Burningbird.

The integration isn’t seamless. Replies on Mastodon to a post show up as comments, but unless I enable comments for the post, you can’t respond to the comment. And if you do, it doesn’t show back up as a reply on Mastodon. In addition, I can star a Mastodon post in my Friends page here at Burningbird, but it doesn’t reflect back to Mastodon.

Still, the integration is impressive, and usable right now. I suspect it will only get better over time.

One change I did make was to limit my posts to a 400 character excerpt. It’s not usual for me to push out 2000 or more words in a post. I don’t think this is social media friendly. I also limit the content to non-HTML text, only. Don’t need to send out something that could cause issues in an ActivityPub application.

Update:

The 400 character excerpt didn’t work out well, because paragraph markings were removed. So now I’m trying Title and Link. I may see if WordPress excerpt will work with crossposting to Mastodon.

Categories
Burningbird Social Media Technology Weblogging

Mastodon and Burningbird

The social media upheaval continues but things are starting to quiet down a bit. Oh you can’t tell this from the media, which is full of stories leading with “Elon Musk says…”, but that’s primarily because the media hasn’t figured out how to wean itself off Twitter, yet.

I quit Twitter the day that Musk reactivated the Project Veritas account. Even a lie would be ashamed to be associated with Project Veritas. Not so Twitter and Musk.

Out with Twitter

I didn’t delete my two Twitter accounts, because bots and trolls can snap up a previously existing username in 30 days once deleted. And I didn’t deactivate them because deactivated accounts are deleted in 30 days. What I did was post a last note where to find me on Mastodon, set both to private, and then walked away. I won’t even look at Twitter now, because doing so triggers ad impressions and that gives Musk money. I don’t plan on ever giving that guy money, and I’m severely curtailing the amount of attention I’ve giving him.

I’ll miss the folks that stubbornly stay on Twitter, but they’ve made their choice, I’ve made mine, and someday maybe they’ll wise up.

On to Mastodon

In the meantime, my move to Mastodon has had ups and downs, but has ended up on an up. My choice of kickoff point on mastodon.social was a good one (@burningbird) because the creator of Mastodon (Eugen Rochko), who is also the administrator of mastodon.social, is quite welcoming of new Twitter folks. No nonsense about content warnings.

Speaking of content warnings, I was told to use them, and told not to use them. My account on democracy.town was frozen and I believe it was because I did use content warnings when cross posting from Twitter. But I got into a disagreeable argument with another person about not using them when cross posting. A lose/lose.

Well, to hell with that server and any server administered by hypersensitive admins letting the power go to their heads. And to hell with other people’s CW demands.

Now, I use content warnings sparingly—primarily for larger posts or posts that contain what I deem to be sensitive material. If people don’t like it, they don’t have to follow me.

Mastodon and RSS

I did add some Mastodon stuff to my weblog. You’ll see a “post to Mastodon button” at the end of a story. And you’ll see my latest Mastodon entries in the footer. The latter comes from the RSS feed appended to each account in Mastodon (mine: https://mastodon.social/@burningbird.rss).

The really nice thing about Mastodon having an RSS feed is you can follow a person’s Mastodon entries in the same RSS reader you use for weblogs. Pretty soon, we’ll no longer be able to tell the difference between a weblog and a micro-blog.

Post to Mastodon

The post button is interesting (how-to). Unlike one centralized location for Twitter and Facebook, each person is on a specific Mastodon server, so you have to specify what server you’re on in the ‘toot this’ web page that opens. This is the nature of the federated beast. It’s no different than if you have a weblog or web page and you have to provide its unique URL when asked for it.

I also bookmarked the Toot dialog and use it when I post a link to Mastodon. I found using the dialog helps to trigger the link excerpt, while posting a link directly in Mastodon usually leaves the link as just a link.

The downside to using the Toot dialog is it logs me out of Mastodon, every time. This is a PITA when you’re using two-factor authentication.

Mastodon and Burningbird

My plan is to create my own Mastodon server, but I’m working through how I want to do so. I can spin up another Linode for it, or try putting in on this server. There are Mastodon hosting sites that are attractive, if for no other reason than you have to have SMTP access (for email), and it will be a cold day in hell before I try to run an SMTP service again. But I’m leaning towards spinning up another Linode and then using a 3rd party SMTP server such as Gmail.

The great thing about this federated universe is when I do create my own Mastodon instance, I can move all my follows/followers to it. I don’t believe I can move my posts to it, but really I don’t care about my older Mastodon posts. In fact, I’ve set my account up to delete them automatically after two weeks. Why burden mastodon.social with my old crap? I might be restoring my old weblog posts, but I don’t care about old Twitter/Facebook/Mastodon postings. These are just social media blurbs.

I do care about the people, so I don’t want to lose those connections.

When I do setup a Mastodon instance, I’ll spin you a tale of my trials and tribulations setting up a Ruby on Rails project. The one downside to Mastodon is it’s Ruby on Rails, an environment I have no experience with. I may also install something like PixelFed, which at least is good, honest PHP and Node.