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”

OnHub: Google’s Newest Miss/Hit?

OnHub

Google is known for many things, including being wildly successful and a major cultural impact. But its path is also littered by the skeletal remains of failed projects.

Search, Maps, GMail, Chrome, Android, and some of the Nexus devices—not to mention its acquisition of the ubiquitous YouTube, as well as a successful set of hardware with recent purchases of Nest and Dropcam—are decided hits. But they’re matched by the misses, including Dodgeball, Notebook, Wave, Lively, Nexus Q, and Google Glasses. Reader was successful software that Google abandoned, and Google+ never has achieved the reach of Facebook.

Now we have a new entry into the Google sphere of products in which to dominate the world: OnHub. The question becomes, will it be a hit? Or another miss?

Continue reading “OnHub: Google’s Newest Miss/Hit?”

Google and Blogger = What?

Combine metablogging and Google and you have a link bomb; such is the case, this weekend, with Google buying Pyra (and Blogger and Blog*Spot).

Putting Blog*Spot on faster, more reliable servers can’t help but be good, and I imagine the Pyra crew is happy about steady paychecks. But darned if I can figure out what Google hopes to get with all of this. Eventually, Google must make some form of profit from this move, or they’ll go out of business. But how?

They’ll obtain Blogger, but Google is more than capable of building a weblogging tool of its own. They are getting the Blogger name, which counts for something, and they’re getting Blog*Spot with a built-in client base. Still, this just means they’re getting pre-existing clients, most of whom aren’t paying a penny. This doesn’t mean they’re getting ‘content’.

First Google buys Deja.com, a source of collected Usenet data. Next, it started Google News, a portal into current news stories. Now it’s purchased a major weblogging tool and host, Blogger, and Blog*Spot. Seems to me that Google is centralizing the data in addition to centralizing the data search; controlling both a source of the data as well as a source of the dissemination of the data. This centralization seems a contradiction to the ‘distributed nature of the online world’ that Dan Gillmor writes about:

More than most Web companies, Google has grasped the distributed nature of the online world, and has seen that the real power of cyberspace is in what we create collectively. We are beginning to see that power brought to bear.

Personally, I’m glad I’m using Movable Type. Now if only I could afford my own server…

Archived with comments at the Wayback Machine

Brave New World

What is going to be the future of connectivity? What is the Brave New World of the Internet going to be?

Is it going to be a system of services linked together through one centralized (but benevolent) agency? Need a service? Want to sell a service? Check into the Agency, the Agency will take care of you. Oh, by the way, you need to add this to your machine. And you need to give us this information.

And you need to understand that we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, anyway, do you?

Or is it going to be a brave new world of content publishing and subscription?

You sitting at home passively on your machine hooked up as a dying man is hooked up to a heart machine, each beat a pulse from the great wire, delivering you all the information fit to print, at least fit enough to survive the filters.

You sit and add your own beat, with perhaps an accompaniment of a pat on the head, job well done. Why seek? Why search?

Now, just put that finger on that mouse and click those checkboxes and yes, we’ll take care of you because we know what’s best for you…and you have no choice, anyway, do you?

Put your mouth to the nipple and prepare to be fed.

A brave new world.

Connecting to the void you send tendrils out seeking others of like mind, or not, occasionally bumping into something new or unexpected in your search.

Two paths open for every path that closes, and the only locked door you find is standing alone with no walls around it. You laugh into the void as you walk past the door, continuing on your journey of discovery.