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Has Anyone Noticed Google Alerts Ceasing to Work?

One thing that makes it hard to find stories is Google Alerts either seem to not work entirely, or are very incomplete. I’m really hoping that Google isn’t planning to put Alerts out to pasture with Google Reader. Alerts are a core function of their search engine, which is kind of their core business. I can see Google putting Reader out to pasture, but Alerts? I hope not. But over the past several months, my alerts miss the vast majority of stuff out there.

Blog Maintenance Tonight

I think it’s about time I upgraded the blog server. I’ve been using Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS for a number of years now, and while I still have another year to go before that version’s End of Life date, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. Additionally, there’s some Denial of Service vulnerabilities with this version of Apache, and I’d like to get the upgrade out of the way and get to the latest LTS version of Ubuntu. I’ll do this sometime after 9PM tonight. It shouldn’t take very long, and disruption to the blog should be pretty minimal.

Happy Ice Storm

We were supposed to get more of the white stuff, but it’s turned into a full on ice storm! Power is out and we’re running on generator. The blog will remain up as long as I have gasoline and the fiber stays on. We already had one large branch come down. My UPS equipment is less than thrilled with the output of the generator, but they are taking it most of the time. You might have noticed a brief period of downtime earlier, as the outage happened when we were asleep and the UPS drained down before we could fire the generator.

UPDATE: Power came back just as I went out to get more of the precious juice for the generator. Everything is back to normal now, except for the fact that I have several large tree branches down in the yard.

The Death of Community Blogging

The signs have been around for a while now that what I would call “community blogging” has been on its death bed. There’s no greater evidence for that than the fact that The Volokh Conspiracy has decided to move over to the Washington Post, and will in six month go behind their paywall. As a regular reader who learned a whole lot from 10 years of reading The Volokh Conspiracy, I would be more inclined to pay the Conspirators for a subscription directly than I would to fork over my money to the enemy, which is the Washington Post.

I certainly don’t think that anyone owes anyone else content, but it’s sad to see what’s been happening to blogging. I would classify community blogging as that done primarily for the purpose of civic engagement, with profit being an ancillary purpose at best. There have been plenty of blogs and bloggers who have made the transition from community blogging to either commercial blogging or professional writing. I have no problem with people deciding to do what’s best for them.

Maybe I’m just being an old fuddy duddy but I miss the days when bloggers thought themselves an insurrection against institutions like the Washington Post, and other commercial interests that didn’t give much of a crap short of making a buck. Maybe in the end we’ll gain something from the transformation, but I do have to say I miss the good old days.

Editing Comments is Back

The plugin I used to use to allow commenters to edit their comments now works again with a hardened WordPress install, so I have re-enabled it, tested it, and it seems to work. I’m still looking for a plugin that would allow readers to “Like” comments anonymously, similar to Facebook.

Audio Ads

I have a reader complaining of audio ads popping up on the site. I’d note we take Google Ads. I don’t have control over what Google decides to run, but I can block specific ads. I just recently switched off the type of ad that allows audio to be played upon mouseovers. If you notice any ads that auto play, or notice sound coming from the site, let me know. I don’t specifically want anything that auto plays sound appearing on this site. If that’s ever the case, it’s a mistake.

UPDATE: I read somewhere online that Sitemeter was doing ad injection. SayUncle noted it was Sitemeter. I’ve removed Sitemeter. I don’t need them when I have analytics.

No Post Friday

Sorry for the lack of posting. I just haven’t had the time due to work, and Bitter is busy working a gun show this weekend trying to sell banquet and raffle tickets for our Friends of the NRA committee. I’m behind with reading and posting. I might get some content up later tonight or tomorrow if there’s time.

Rain and Drought

The beginning of this week looked like a promising news cycle from a gun blog standpoint, but it’s quickly dried up. I usually hold a few things in reserve for days when things aren’t as active, but now we find ourselves clean out of anything to put up. Hopefully something interesting will come across our in our sources. Well, but not too interesting. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

Testing out New Twitter Plugins

The Twitter plugin I use has gone the way of the Dodo and the Passenger Pigeon, and to make matters worse, it has finally broke with Twitter’s latest API change. I am testing out a new plugin to do Twitter integration, so bear with me. In addition, the social media icons on the blog were handled by the Twitter plugin. I’ll be looking for a replacement there too.

Off Google Reader

Last night I finally made the transition away from Google Reader, given that I don’t have much more time before it disappears entirely. I decided to set up my own instance of Tiny Tiny RSS to act as a substitute, and so far it seems to work pretty well. I also took the chance to remove some old blogs that had been long abandoned, and added a few new ones. We’ll see how well things go with this. Given Google’s penchant for killing products, I may try to make myself entirely Google free.

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