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.
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.
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.
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.
Kevin Baker’s blog turns 10. Kevin has been at this game longer than most of us, and he was one of the blogs I was reading before I blogged. How hard is it to blog ten years? Hard. There’s always dry patches, and times when you just aren’t feeling it, or times like this week, where you’re busy, and even if you weren’t, the news cycle is on some other topic that you don’t write about. So getting to 10, and still producing good material is quite an achievement.
Apparently my “profile” at Verizon for my FiOS magically disappeared. I don’t know what they mean by “profile,” but I’m pretty sure, based on how this played out and on my end, and through my own troubleshooting, their routing protocols didn’t know where to direct my IP addresses. I’ve had that happen once before, about four years ago, when they upgraded my service speed and wiped all my static addresses. This time it just seemed to happen out of nowhere. At 14 hours, this was the longest outage I’ve ever had from Verizon FiOS in the eight years I’ve had it.
We will now return to our normally scheduled blogging.
Needless to say, I have not been keeping up with blogs while we were away in Houston, so it’ll take some time to go through the RSS reader, get my live social media feeds up, and plug back in to what the hell is going on in the world. Normal blogging will resume shortly.
William Jacobson has noticed that the conservative blogosphere has changed considerably in the past four years, and highlights a lot of changes I’ve noticed too. He links to an article by Robert Stacy McCain on the same topic:
The problem is that if every blogger starts thinking of his own site as a destination, then the site’s value as a portal — directing readers to interesting material elsewhere — is necessarily diminished or eliminated. And if this destination mentality takes hold at all the larger sites, then there will be few opportunities for new bloggers to join the community, and fewer incentives for smaller bloggers to participate in the conversation, because nobody with any significant readership will ever link them. What will eventually happen, in such a scenario, is that the independent blogosphere will wither and die from neglect, and be replaced by a corporate simulacrum.
And this is one root of the problem. There are still plenty of people out there practicing traditional blogging who have big readerships, but the landscape is generally established, and the entrance of commercial players into the field has changed things. The truth is that it would be almost impossible for me to start and establish this blog today if I were starting out now, instead of 2007. If I wanted to be successful in this landscape, I’d have to use different tactics, which I would find unsatisfying and entirely too time consuming. I think it comes down to several factors, as to why it’s difficult:
- The death of the Pingback, and ability to reliably trace incoming links. You can now do this with Google, but it also catches a lot of junk. Spammers have largely killed our ability to see who’s linking us. This makes it harder to notice new upstarts who are looking to join the conversation.
- The signal-to-noise ratio in blogging seems to be a lot lower now than it was when I started. When I started, there were fewer blogs, and many of them had pretty reasonable audiences. It was pretty easy to keep track of who was saying what, and joining the conversation was a lot easier.
- The entrance of commercial blogs and SEO schucksters into the game. These sites have to view themselves as destinations, because that’s how you make money. There are multiple examples of these even in the gun blogosphere, and you know who they are. This is very good for those destination sites, but it’s a horrible thing for the blogging community.
There is also a tendency, when you’ve been blogging for quite some time, to get set in your ways. You get it down to a routine, and to some degree you have to do it that way to save time. I have 2-4 hours a day to spend on blogging. That’s about it. So you combine that with a lower signal-to-noise ratio, and no great way to see who’s saying what out there (because pingbacks and Google alerts are mostly junk from spammers or other ‘noise’), and the result is less linkage, except to the blogs I’ve been reading since before I was blogging, or who started around the same time I did.
I think a lot of people are quick to blame commercial blogging, and while I think that’s a factor, I still put that last for a reason. I think my first and second bullets are a bigger reason blogging as a community is harder now.
UPDATE: I would also note that in the past, blogs have traditionally published traffic stats. This meant that as an upstart blogger, it was relatively easy to see who had the traffic, and who you wanted to pitch to, or to get noticed by. That is also a lot harder these days. It’s very difficult to tell who has the traffic.
I have discovered and blocked our DoS attacker. He struck again this morning. I’m still trying to figure out whether I can prevent this for the future. It looks like the attacker would do a normal request, which just looks like ordinary traffic in the logs, then initiate a close with a FIN packet, then block the ACK from my server, leaving the apache process in a CLOSED_WAIT state. When I look at the traffic on the internet, the ack packet going out, and then get responded to with an ICMP packet saying the port is unreachable. I guess what I don’t understand is why retry the ack? It seems my server is trying to be too nice. If he blocks the ack it’s his problem. Call close and be done with him.
Apparently the New York Times says that “[p]ro-gun gun bloggers were furious” over the apperance smart gun in the movie Skyfall, and “were convinced it was a Hollywood plot to undermine their rights.” I haven’t even seen the movie, personally, and I don’t recall any controversy hitting the gun blogosphere. Also, does anyone believe staff reporters at the New York Times spend their spare time trolling gun blogs?
Doing a quick Google search, I can find only one gun blogger writing about it. I noticed that article was reprinted in a few places so my guess is that the reporter did the same Google blog search I did, and didn’t bother to notice the same article was reprinted by the types of publications *cough* Ammoland *cough*, who are wont to reprint other people’s material and grab the SEO for it. Personally, I’m surprised that a NYT staff writer even knows that there is this thing called gun blogging, and thought to search on it. Perhaps we should be flattered.