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Lockjaw’s Lair

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Contest for Google Wave Invite

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I’ve had a few days to work with Google Wave, and it really is a fantastic new tool. Currently, it is in preview mode, so access is invite-only. Those who received their invites directly from Google have been granted invites that they can pass out to others. I’ve decided to offer one of mine up in a contest. The rules are simple.

  1. Follow @LockjawTheOgre on Twitter. It’s not just a good idea, it also allows me to DM the winner.
  2. Write a comment on this post saying why you think receiving an invite would be the coolest thing ever.
  3. Sent a tweet with the following text “From @LockjawTheOgre: I’m giving away one invite for Google Wave. http://bit.ly/44wK54 Please RT”

I will select a winner Tuesday night, sometime after 6pm Eastern Time. It will likely be while I’m watching Hell’s Kitchen or Shark Tank. That gives around five days for this contest to run. I will announce the winner, and DM for the email address to which I will send the invite. The invite will probably take at least a couple days to arrive, but that’s up to Google to decide.

We have a WINNER
Due to the overwhelming success of this contest, I had a grand total of six qualified entries. One failed to send the proper tweet, and one is a good friend and therefore disqualified from the contest (on the spot ruling) but qualified for an invite anyway. Hi Brad!

The winner is @SimpsonsParadox. Once I have your email address, the invite will go out. Previously invited folks have gotten the invite in a couple days, so I expect yours will take about the same amount of time.

Blog Converted to WordPress

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So, I was up late last night converting my blog from Movable Type to WordPress.  Movable Type wasn’t a bad product.  In fact, it was quite good.  I found myself wanting some features that were available as plugins to WordPress, but not MT.  In addition, MT’s problematic support of Opera in its editor required me to open a new browser to post.  Not good.

So, here’s the new site, running in a simple, but functional, WordPress installation.  New features include a live Twitter feed on the right side and my shared items from Google Reader, also down on the right.  Another great feature is the “Lifestream” link at the top of the page.  Using this, you can see my activities across a variety of social networks.

All of this means, even if I’m not actively posting, there’s always new content from the other places on the net I can be found.

Slow Posting? I Hadn’t Noticed.

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As if I hadn’t slowed down in my posting to this blog enough, for the last couple weeks, I haven’t written at all. For at least the near future, I can’t say how much I’ll be posting. Time is becoming more of a commodity in my life, requiring a few changes in my priorities. I’ll still be posting, but I’m still trying to figure out where I’ll be fitting my writing into my day.
Some of my time is being taken up by temporary things. For instance, Saturday mornings have, for the last while, gone to transferring many of my belongings from one storage area to another. Also, I’ve been taking part in some of the training we’ve offerred locally for new Amateur Radio operators.
Some of my time is being taken up by more permanent things. I’ve been promoted, at work, so my daily work has changed. Before, if our call volumes slowed down, I could spend some time reading, writing, browsing the web, or just chatting with my co-workers. Now that I’m in a management role, even the slow days mean plenty of work to do.
In my free time, the wife and I have been watching a lot of TV. We’ve taken on TV projects, spending Sunday afternoon and some evenings watching seasons of great shows. We’ve re-watched Battlestar Galactica a couple times. We watched the first season of Lost, since we never watched it on TV until recently, and caught up in season two. Since we threw the 24 addiction after season 1, we decided to catch up on that. We’re currently over halfway through season 3. Up and coming, we’re looking at seasons 4 and 5 of 24, plus Monk, Ghost in the Shell, and maybe something else. Maybe we’ll watch the Sopranos for the first time.
The training class will go away soon. The move of all the stuff will be done, soon. Spanish class will go for a while longer. (Yes, I’m learning Spanish) Time will ease up a bit. We’ll still be watching the TV projects for a while, and work is going to continue to be busy. I’ll find time to write. Writing gnaws at you until you do it. I’ll probably write in the early morning, after I wake up. Since I wake without an alarm clock, though, I’m slightly concerned about the upcoming time change.
That’s the situation. I’m not going away. I’m just not writing, or indeed reading, as much as I was.
See you soon.

Recent Blog Downtime and Problems

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Some of you may have noticed, over the past week, that there has been some downtime with this blog. Now that things are finally ironing out on this front, I thought I’d pass along what happened.
I attempted to load, one morning at work, a special weather page that I have on this site (private url) that collects a few weather maps onto one page. I use this page at work, so I can track the weather at the location of the customers that I speak to. It helps during the long waits, to help keep conversation up. On loading the page, I was notified that my account had been suspended. No information had been given to me through any means to explain that our account was being suspended, or why.
I sent an email, assuming that our bill was due, and awaited an answer. Meanwhile, my wife informed me that our bill was not due until July. I opened a support ticket, and was soon informed that there was a script in one of the archive directories for this site that was allowing spam to be sent out. For this reason, the entire site was suspended.
Working with the support group, we got the bad script deleted, and the site back online. Two days later, I received an email that we had done nothing to remove or fix the suspect script, so they were cancelling our service. They informed me I should collect my data in preparation for the cancellation, and that they would refund our money for our unused time we had paid for. When I went to collect my data, I found that the entire directory devoted to this blog had been deleted from the server, rendering it inaccessible.
This had me a little agitated. The suspect script had been deleted, yet I was being cancelled because I had done nothing. I sent help desk requests and emails, attempting to get my data back and determine what script they had determined to be the problem. After more than a day, and several exchanges, I got my data back. I NEVER got an answer as to what script was the reason for their cancellation. To this day, I still have no idea what they found offensive, after the original spammer script was removed. I’ve since checked all my scripts against the original installation scripts, and can find no modifications. With no information from my host, I had no way to “fix” what they say is a problem, because they’ve REFUSED to give me any sort of answer to my questions.
Now, I’ve got a new host. My site is back up and running. Other sites that I operate are in the process of switching over, as it becomes possible. My wife’s site is lagging behind, as my old host isn’t being very quick about approving the domain name change. Soon, though, all will be as it should be.
I’m still in the dark as to what the real problem was with my site. My old host never bothered to answer any questions about this. I’m not happy.
Well, I am happy, actually. I’ve got a NEW hosting company. They seem to be better in every way.
My old hosting company was AvaHost. I’ve been with them for a few years. I’ve sent many customers their way, bringing them plenty of income. With this bad experience, however, I’m unable to continue to suggest them. It’s their loss. One thing I will not miss is a help desk that doesn’t read the actual ticket request before saying “I’ve tested your site and it is working” then closing the ticket. I’m gone, and I’m not looking back.
My new hosting company is BlueHost. They cost less. They give more space (almost double). They offer more throughput per month. They offer more databases. They offer more email addresses. They offer more features. They have a better interface. In every measurable way I have needs for, BlueHost is better. I’m glad to be a customer.
Now, I’ll just continue to finish the move and get all the little bits ironed out that are popping up. Hopefully, on this blog, you won’t notice any more of that.
Now, I can go back to posting.

Test Entry

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This entry is just s test. The Lair has moved to a new hosting company. Story to come later. This post is just to verify that things are working properly.

300th Post – What I Believe

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This post marks the 300th post on this iteration of my blog. There have, undoubtedly, been over 1000 posts in the course of my blogging career, but many have been lost in upgrades. Each time I changed my blog software or location, I selected a number of posts to bring into the new system, and left the rest out altogether. To commemorate my 300th post, I thought it would be a good idea to state my basic beliefs. To make things simpler, I’ll break this up into sections.
Faith
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (ie. universal) Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
To quote from the song “Creed” as performed by Third Day, I believe what I believe. It’s what makes me what I am. I did not make it, though it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.
Politics
I believe in the sovreignty of the individual. I believe that each person should be left to his own choices and the results of those choices. Each person’s actions should be considered his own, only answerable to others insofar as they affect the life, liberty, and property of others. To create a false construct called government in order to impede upon the sovreignty of the individual is an evil act.
The government which governs least, governs best. Government should exist to protect the populace and property within its borders from outside nations and powers. Government should protect the basic rights of its citizens from infringement by others. Government should levy taxes only when necessary to do these basic jobs.
As we are a constitutional republic, I believe that our federal and state governments should act within the limitations of the constitutions which define government at both levels. The interpretations of these documents should be based upon the intentions of those who crafted it, and not upon modern re-interpretations that are designed to change its meaning. The Constitution of the United States of America is not a living document, except insofar as there are means available through it to make changes to it.
When powers are needed beyond what is allowed in the constitution of the nation or state, these powers should be exercised by local government, the people as individuals, or not at all.
Education, health care, community growth, personal finances, employment and many other issues are made worse, not better, through government involvement.
Taxation does not cause growth, economic benefit, or a better society. As such, it should be used as a last resort for government to perform only constitutional duties, and not a means for politicians to buy votes.
All men and women are not created equal. Government, however, should be blind to differences of race, sex, religion, national origin or many other factors. Government should protect the basic rights of the individual from infringement without concern for what external group that person defines themself by.
Political parties should be abolished as a concept.
Money spent to aquire an ability to speak should not change the right to free speech.
There is no peace without justice.
Personal
Be a good neighbor. Be a good friend. Choose your friends carefully. Be slow to anger, and hard to annoy.
Smile.

Slower posting of late

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I know, my posting on the blog has slowed down a lot in recent weeks. This is likely to continue for a while. I’ve got idea after idea running through my head for the posting, but I’ve been busy on other things. Working all week, and busy all weekend has been the usual routine. Some weekends, like this past one, have had me on the run morning to night. Monday, I took a short nap after coming home from work and woke up hours later. This coming weekend, I’ll be attending a bluegrass festival. Of course, there’s also been the work on no less than 5 websites, amateur radio, chores, and the occasional video game. I also work with the church’s youth group. I’m having a blast, but man does living life take a lot of time.
Through all of this, posting on the blog is hardly impossible. My latest position at work, though, has me leaving the house at 6:40am, when I’m normally in prime writing mode. I’m starting to settle into my new morning routine, though, so more activity should happen soon.
Well, 15 minutes to liftoff. Time to finish.

How Spam Affects Blogging

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I haven’t been the most active lately, on the blog. I know. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, but that stuff just hasn’t been here on the blog. One reason is spam. Every day, I’ve been logging in to the blog and deleting spam comments by the dozens. Overnight, over 80 spam comments have been posted to the blog. The filters catch it, and you never see it on the blog, but I’m tired of the daily spamcop routine, when I’d rather be blogging.
There is an answer. I can turn on TypeKey authorization requirements. This would require that anyone who posts on the blog have a TypeKey account, which would be used to authenticate that they are a real person before they can post. The good news is that TypeKey authorized users see their posts appear automatically, without my approval being needed. The bad news is that some people simply will not post if they have to do anything more than type their message. I already make use of this service for automatic approval of posts, so you can register already, and see your posts appear immediately. What I’m considering is blocking all non-Typekey approved comments, as a spam-prevention measure.
I welcome any thoughts on this from my readers. If the end result is more writing, would you be opposed to registering with Typekey (NOT registering with this blog, but with an outside service) in order to post? Let me know.

Minor De-Uglification of the Lair

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Slightly different color change (One color changed) and a slightly less ugly logo are now in place. How do you like it. Is it less ugly enough? I never have been one to try to make my websites look too fancy. Functional is best. When I design for others, I try to make them look much better, but my own purposes demand simplicity. Hope you like it. The “Ogre” gargoyle is attributable to Jon Hurd and used through Creative Commons provisions.

Comment Spams and MT Upgrade

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I’ve been fighting the good fight against comment spam on the site for some time. Moveable Type has some nice tools available to help in this. One of these is MT-Blacklist, which I’ve used for some time. Unfortunately, after upgrading to the new MT 3.2 Beta 1 platform, MT-Blacklist quit working. I installed the patch, but it was still broken. This opened me up to a HUGE number of spams.
I’ve since installed a different anti-spam plugin for Moveable Type. This one does things a bit differently. I’ve set it at its most oppressive levels, so as to keep as much spam out as possible, without my having to do much work. This MAY mean that some legitimate commenters could find their comments blocked. If this happens to you, you can get a TypePad key and use it to authenticate when you post. This is a good thing to do anyway, as it works across many sites.
I’m enjoying the new version of Moveable Type. I’m looking forward to the furtherance of the Beta process, and finally release. It has some nice new features, and some changes to the interface that I’ve wished for.

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