internet

Stöwer TitanicSo, I’ve been looking into ways of running a “proper” blog, and I’ve come down to PyBlosxom or WordPress. In either case, I’ll get my own hosting for it.

Advantages of PyBlosxom over WordPress:

  • Keeps entries in text files. I fear databases.
  • Seems to have a better security record than WordPress.
  • In Python, so hackable and I’d feel I’d have some hope of understanding what it’s doing (WordPress is in PHP).

Advantages of WordPress over PyBlosxom:

  • Very active developer community, so lots of nice plugins. (PyBlosxom isn’t abandoned but doesn’t have so many people working on it).
  • More themes, some of which are pretty (PyBlosxom has a few themes in their repository, none of which are that pretty).

Anyone who’s used either of those care to comment?

The latest code release onto LiveJournal has introduced a problem where people are randomly getting logged into the wrong journals. This exposes friends locked and filtered entries belonging to those journals to those random people. There’s no indication that this used to read the locked entries of a specific, targeted user, but there’s no analysis of the problem available, so we don’t know that it can’t be, either. Edit: It looks like this was a problem with caching. If that’s true, it’s unlikely that it could have been used to read posts from a specific user. More here from cahwyguy.

More information is available here.

This has been going on since at least yesterday morning, yet LJ still hasn’t responded officially to reports of the problem or warned users that their private data is at risk. Edit: LJ has posted about the problem, however, they don’t seem to have some details right. For instance, they’re claiming it was only a problem for a few minutes, when people were noticing it all day on Thursday.

This is the second time that LJ has dealt with a major security incident with staggering incompetence. It illustrates that they apparently don’t have a test server, i.e. they’re a bunch of coyboys. My vague plans to move this blog just got a lot less vague.

[Updated] Rooting Explained + Top 5 Benefits Of Rooting Your Android Phone

Just for me, so I can decide whether to root my HTC Desire.
(tags: tutorial hack android rooting)

Chromium Blog: Connecting Web Apps with Web Intents

This looks like a nice idea, allowing one site to offer facilities to another similar to the way Android apps can advertise the ability to, say, share a link or send email. I imagine there'll be security stuff to work out. If Chrome and Firefox support it, that'd be great.
(tags: internet browser android intent api google firefox chrome web)

New Statesman – Faith no more

"Earlier this year, Andrew Zak Williams asked public figures why they believe in God. Now it’s the turn of the atheists – from A C Grayling to P Z Myers – to explain why they don’t "
(tags: atheism richard-dawkins philip-pullman daniel-dennett sam-harris)

Pompous Theist

You've seen Advice Dog and Courage Wolf, now enjoy Pompous Theist. Well observed stuff: I've seen quite a few of these "arguments" in my time.
(tags: atheism meme funny humour theism religion)

“Shut Up, Rich Boy”: The Problem With “Privilege.” | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

"I’m a feminist writer, but I don’t like to use the word “privilege” in my writing. Here’s why not:"
(tags: feminism privilege)

Why Have Hackers Hit Russia’s Most Popular Blogging Service? – TIME

Where LJ has been the past week or so. For once, it's not their fault.
(tags: internet security livejournal politics ddos)

Apologist Josh McDowell: Internet the Greatest Threat to Christians, Christian News

McDowell is worried: “The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have… whether you like it or not.” Kind of revealing: McDowell is admitting that if you want to get kids into your religion, you need to get them young enough, before they've been exposed to other ideas.
(tags: internet apologetics josh-mcdowell christianity religion)

YouTube – ‪Game of Thrones Violin Cover‬‏

This is rather nice.
(tags: music violin game-of-thrones)

YouTube – ‪Lara plays the Game of Thrones theme on piano and violin‬‏

Another nice version of the theme, via andrewducker.
(tags: music game-of-thrones tv)

The Real Life Social Network v2

Via andrewducker,a great presentation from Paul Adams at Google which goes some way to explaining the design of Google Plus.
(tags: internet facebook privacy relationships google social social-networks plus)

How to Talk to a Fundamentalist (If You Must)

Former fundie talks about how her uncle convinced her by asking questions, preventing the whole cached thought/semantic stop sign thing, and showing how alternative ways of living can be fulfilling.
(tags: fundamentalism religion quiverfull debate)

Nick Davies on phone hacking, Murdoch and News of the World – video | Media | guardian.co.uk

The investigative journalist Nick Davies on how the phone-hacking scandal has escalated, leading to News of the World's announced closure.
(tags: video law press news-of-the-world nick-davies murdoch)

Atheism Is the True Embrace of Reality – Paula Kirby – The Hibernia Times – RichardDawkins.net

Paula Kirby is a Scottish freelance journalist who used to be a Christian. She recently wrote a couple of good short articles on why she isn't one any more.
(tags: paula-kirby atheism religion)

Virtual currency: Bits and bob | The Economist

Bitcoin is a distributed digital currency, which hit the news recently after someone set up a site where you could buy illegal drugs using it. This Economist article is a great introduction to how it works.
(tags: cryptography economics bitcoin economist internet)

“Don’t Talk to the Police” by Professor James Duane

Of course, in the UK, we don't have an unqualified right to silence, but this stuff's interesting anyway. There's a follow-on video where a police officer responds and says the professor is right 🙂
(tags: law video police legal lectures rights)

Try Thinking | Here lieth the thoughts of SiânyB

"I do (despite appearances) totally understand the importance of prayer for some people – I know people who use it as a kind of meditation to clear their heads, to unburden their guilt or to enter some kind of celestial lottery of hope. But, given current world events, the message ‘Try Praying’ is a grimly obscuring lens through which to view your surroundings."
(tags: religion culture advertising prayer edinburgh christianity)

Sean Carroll: Does the Universe Need God?

Top theoretical cosmologist Sean Carroll wrote a chapter for the Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity, and this is it. Interesting to compare Carroll's stuff with other popular science about the Big Bang.
(tags: philosophy god science bigbang big-bang sean-carroll physics cosmology)

The Blog : Being Mr. Nobody : Sam Harris

"Imagine a language in which, instead of saying ‘I found nobody in the room’ one said, ‘I found Mr. Nobody in the room.’ Imagine the philosophical problems that would arise out of such a convention. " Sam Harris quotes Wittgenstein to explain why he doesn't like to call himself an atheist.
(tags: wittgenstein atheism philosophy language sam-harris)

Fixing HTTPS

Glyph, of Twisted Python fame, talks about ways to fix HTTPS, presumably in the light of the recent attacks on certification authorities.
(tags: https security internet encryption)

AC Grayling: ‘How can you be a militant atheist? It’s like sleeping furiously’ | Books | The Guardian

Graying mocks the people who call atheists militant and fundamentalist, and talks about his new book: "But the third point is about our ethics – how we live, how we treat one another, what the good life is. And that's the question that really concerns me the most."
(tags: philosophy religion atheism grayling books)

Many years ago, I signed up for Bloglines. It’s a service which aggregates the feeds from various blogging sites, so you can read them in one place without having to do the rounds of your favourite sites looking for updates. (On LiveJournal, your friends page serves the same function, and you can add the feeds of external sites if you’re a paying customer).

I left Bloglines for Google Reader when Bloglines became unreliable. Google Reader is nice: it looks clean, and there’s an app for it for my Android phone. I recommend it over LiveJournal, which is dying of spam; and Bloglines, for the reasons I’ll now get into.

A while back, Bloglines was taken over by a company called MerchantCircle. They sent me an email to say they were the new owners, which is fair enough. As far as I remember, I hadn’t logged into Bloglines since I moved to the superior Google Reader service, so I just ignored it.

Yesterday I got an unsolicited bulk email (spam) from MerchantCircle advertising a service not related to Bloglines. Worse, the link they offered to unsubscribe from their mailing list didn’t work, as it required a login and password (first mistake: removal links from mailing lists should authenticate the user sufficiently to get off the list). Worse still, giving the email address to which MerchantCircle sent spam to the “forgot password” box gave an error saying that the address was not known: MerchchantCircle don’t even know who they’re spamming. Logging back into Bloglines doesn’t give an “unsubscribe” option either.

I consider Bloglines/MerchantCircle to have gone rogue. I’ve removed the “subscribe with Bloglines” buttons from my blog, and advise anyone else who still has those buttons to do the same. Use Google Reader instead: Google don’t spam.

Edited to add: MerchantCircle have emailed back to apologise, saying they had a “weird glitch” in their email system which caused some Bloglines users to get MerchantCircle emails. In recognition of this, I’m downgrading them from “rogue” to “incompetent”.