Tip on Moving your blog + Google Video

Moving your blog

A little plea to bloggers out there. When you update your blogging software,
move to a new site or otherwise change things please think about those who
read your site via RSS.

Remember you have gone to a lot of trouble to attract these people who are
subscribed to everything you write.

Thus it is NOT a good idea to just stop your RSS feed with no explanation
when you move. We love what your write but seriously it might take us a few
weeks to work out you have been quiet. Then we have to fire up our browsers,
search for your new site and go though the process of subscribing again.

Over the last 24 hours I’ve had two of the sites I follow ( Freakonomics
and Juha Saarinen (new URLs) )
move to new sites. Actually they both moved a couple of weeks ago but didn’t
see anything on their old feeds (freakonomics is trying to fix this now) so
I only found out when I read about it somewhere else.

Even if your old site won’t let you point to the new one a little farewell
note with a subtle hint will at least alert your readers to the move.

Google Video

It looks like google video recently got rid of the ability to
download their videos as .avi’s . They are still available in a PSP
orientated format which I seem to be able to play but the resolution is worse
than the avi was.

Since the main thing I watched on google video was the Tech Talks
of people speaking to google the extra resolution really helped with reading
the slides on people’s presentations. I’d ask google to provide a higher resolution
format but there doesn’t seem to be any contact available for Tech Talks. I left
a note on google video feedback however.

I suspect the next move will be to shut it down and go streaming-only via youtube.

Buildings talking to computers

A few months ago I read an article on
how Gordon Bell is digitising and saving much of his life including all his
email, web browsing and even wearing a camera all the time that takes a photo
every few seconds.

The problem I can see with wearing a camera and microphone at all times is that
sometimes you are going to be in situations where you don’t want to record. The
obvious ones would include areas like changing rooms and toilets where people
are naked with an expectation of not being recorded and also places like
research labs, airports, military bases and movie theatres where the residents
forbid recording.

The problem is that if you are wearing a camera 80 percent of the time then you will
sometimes forget to turn it off in the above areas which could cause embarrassment
or even get you arrested.

The solution would seem to be that the camera can in some way sense that it
should stop taking photos (at least without manual intervention). After a bit
of thinking it occurs to me that using 2D bar codes like
Sample bar code to encode regulations might work.

Using bar codes means that they would be automatically be picked up by the camera
and acted on. The idea could be further developed by using a short range wireless
technology to transmit the message to non-video equipped devices.

The actual message format should be something that is standardised to that
different devices could understand it. Things like “No video recording” , “No audio recording” and
“Mute speakers” come to mind. I guess somebody will create an XML standard.
Some sort of authorisation could be added and normal fraud laws should
be enough to stop me pining a sign on my shirt and turning off cellphones on
the street.

Busy + Food + DNS + LCA

A busy last couple of weeks.

  • Work is as busy as ever, more interesting than usual though
  • I was down in Wellington today talking DNS with a few people, all very
    interesting and fun.
  • I’m a bit behind with a bunch of other projects but one thing I’ve done
    in the last couple of weeks was create a Linux.conf.au: First timers Guide , bit of fun and people seem to like it.
  • On the weekend various people and myself went to the

    Auckland International Cultural Festival
    , pretty good although a bit hot.
    I think some of the stall holders could have also got more sales but having
    smaller portions off food at lower prices. If you want to try out lots of
    different foods then paying $10 for a lot of food is not an attractive option.

Karajoz Great Blend

On Sunday night I went along to the Karajoz Great Blend
at the Auckland Museum. Not too bad.

  • Morgan and Robyn have a few details, read them first.
  • The “Back of the Y” guys and the dancers were good.
  • No Soy Milk for the Sponsor’s coffee bad
  • No Soft drinks bad
  • I agree with the comments by Morgan about the panel, it’s didn’t really gel. Rob McKinnon of theyworkforyou.co.nz was okay, although he sounded a little over-rehearsed. He was good to talk to afterwards.
  • Rick Ellis wasn’t to bad, he seemed a little over confident though. I am interested that TVNZ is planning to use Akamai for content delivery. AFAIK they are fairly expensive for the sort of bulk stuff TVNZ will be doing to just a few ISPs. I
    also wonder how what ISPs will do when their Akamai clusters start trying to stream to a few hundred/thousand of their users. Putting them on the far side of their traffic shapers might be the first step.
  • I also found the music a little loud, I guess I’m getting old but I have trouble hearing conversation over the background noise. A more concentrated and quieter discussion area might have been a good idea.
  • The venue was very nice however.

NZ Bloggers vs Wikipedia

A little disclaimer first. My total edits in this area are here , I
have no access to deleted articles or other stuff the general public can’t see.

Over the weekend there was a local version of Foo Camp called
Baa Camp (There seems to be
confusion as to the exact name) held north of Auckland. Various
journalists, technical types and even a couple of government ministers
attended. From
href=”http://www.technorati.com/search/kiwifoo”>all accounts
much fun
was had by all and interesting stuff took place.

The problem began however when local bloggers/journalists
href=”http://www.publicaddress.net/default,hardnews.sm”>Russell
Brown
and Juha
Saarinen
decided to create a Wikipedia article about it.

The problem is that there are hundreds of conferences around the world
every day ( like this
) and the majority of these do not justify a Wikipedia entry. So the
Wikipedia editors are used to removing details about conferences that are
non-notable.

One of the big things in Wikipedia is ( from Wikipedia:Notability ) :

A topic is notable if it has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works from sources that are reliable and independent of the subject itself and each other.

This bit is usually the minimum threshold that all articles must meet. So while
the average Homeless guy is unknown this guy has
a documentary and many articles about him.

So the Baa Camp people created an article which was quickly removed as spam ( sorry
I don’t have a copy) probably because it lacked links, external references and
contained phrases like “The meeting marks a historical turning point for a country that is still focused on primary industries” ( see
this old version ) .

Juha and Russell reacted with a little bit of shock that their article had been
removed ( See blog posts here ,
and talk page here) and recreated the article a few times until it got a slower and more
formal Articles for deletion nomination.

Things seem to have calmed down a little but it is interesting to watch Russell, Juha
and friends run around of the Blogs and Wikipedia acting offended that they
are being painted as spammers and subject to “needlessly hostile editing”.

What they need to understand is that Wikipedia is there to create an Encyclopedia
and articles that fall outside that criteria are not wanted. They created an
article that looked a lot like spam, was for a not “obviously important” event,
didn’t contain external references (blogs don’t count) and is in an area that commonly gets other
non-notable articles.

It is very obvious from their posts that they have never edited Wikipedia before
and have thus taken some of the processes as personal attacks against them. This
is not the case. They just needed to take a little while (which they appear to have now) to calm down and work with everybody.

On a related note, if you live in or near Auckland there is a Meetup for
Wikipedians taking place on Saturday the 10th in Mt Eden. See Wikipedia:Meetup/Auckland 2 for details.

END

Linux.conf.au 2007 part1

I’ve been a little slack posting about my trip to LCA2007
in Sydney. So anyway.

Saturday and Sunday

I caught an early flight ( 05:45 ) from Auckland so I only got about an hours sleep
on Friday night. For some reason the plane sat on the ground in Auckland for
a good 45 minutes but we ended up on time. I sat next to a woman who was going
over to Perth to meeting a guy she had been in a LDR with (for 3 months) for
the first time, hope that went well, she seemed nice.

Landed in Sydney and caught a Taxi ( by myself, I saw a couple of guys in
Gnome shirts at the taxi stand but didn’t feel up to asking them to share) to
Shalom College where I wa
staying. Got my room okay but there was only one other guy from LCA there.
I headed on the bus into the city ( ended up
seeing Julien Goodwin on the bus
and chatting a little to him ) to see Ed , Brent and Brent’s family for lunch etc. Nice few hours
wandering around Sydney, eating Pizza and chatting. I got back to Shalom around about
5pm and I was so tired I just went to sleep.

Me and Room in mirror
Brent's Family, Brent, Ed

On Sunday I got up, had some nice Kosher breakfast and wandered up with a couple of
people to look around the venue. There was a cricket match going on the the Oval
just outside my window, all very nice. We wandered up to the venue but it was
empty and nobody was around.

Around 1pm I caught a bus into town and then the Manly Ferry to go see my brother
at his work. After that I looked around Manly I caught the Ferry back into town
for the Sunday LCA dinner at the Lowenbrau Keller in The Rocks. Good fun and nice
food. Everyone then caught a bus back home and chatted for a bit before bed.

More later. My Photo gallery should show up here .

END

MTA Software survey

Back in August 2006 Dan Shearer did
A comparison of Mail Transfer Agents ( part 1 , part 2 )
in which he mentioned he was interested in doing a survey of MTA software
to see what was the most common.

Some previous surveys had been done by
D. J. Bernstein but nothing big for a few years. I talked a bit to Dan Shearer
but I think he lost interest so I started myself.

However (as often happens) I only got half way though since the software I was
using had a few bugs in it. My programming skills suck so I decided last
week to rewrite the whole program in python (it is currently in perl) at some
point.

Today it looks like I have been beaten to the punch, There is an article in O’Reilly SysAdmin
titled Fingerprinting the World’s Mail Servers
by a commercial organisation that has done such a large survey.

Going though the article it looks like they did similar to what I was intending
although their numbers look a little funny in places. They don’t have full
details published so it’s hard to be sure.

The moral of the story is that some things are easy to do if you have the right
tools and skills. My problem is that since my programming skills are not
good enough I was beaten to the punch by somebody else.

I’ll still look at doing the survey later this year however.

Lightning Talks at Linux.conf.au

On a slight spur of the moment I emailed the Linux.conf.au organisers
and offered to run a lightning talk session.

A couple of days ago they accepted so a quick bit of work and the
webpage and
Call for presentations are out.

My main concern now is to nicely fill up the session, already I have one talk
listed and another possible. Another ten or so should be about right.

I have a possible talk myself but I am trying to save that for emergancies