Toxic Elephant

Don't bury it in your back yard!

Let's do some old-school blogging

Posted by matijs 07/04/2022 at 12h01

Remember that blog comes from weblog, and (I believe) originally was supposed to (also) mean a log of interesting stuff one encountered around the web, as opposed to a collection of largish articles about a specific subject. Remember that before Twitter, the small posts were also posted on blogs.

Let’s do some old-school blogging and post small stuff about random subjects, mostly links.

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How to Get Apache and Typo Page Caching to Play Nice

Posted by matijs 13/12/2009 at 18h58

The Problem

You have been running a Typo blog [since 2005][since], but you still can’t quite get your Apache configuration right. In particular, you still get the occasional

Not found:

Note the weird 07.html part.

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Hello New Year!

Posted by matijs 23/01/2008 at 06h36

It’s a new year! Time for more resolutions. I can’t believe that’s actually two years ago.

Yes, my blog has been neglected, but not for want of anything to write about. Oh, there are so many things I have an opinion about. But always, it’s the question, is my opinion interesting, new, well informed, etc? And can I write something sizable about it? Not conductive to writing every monday (recently replaced by sunday, but I bet you hadn’t guessed). Maybe I should try less hard to be reasonable.

Oh yeah, e-mail is getting better, mainly thanks to the Inbox Zero articles.

What I really want to be doing: I still don’t really know, but let’s look at what I might blog about:

  • Size is the Enemy, leading to the issue of abstractions in programming languages.
  • 80/20, or the problem of getting your average Java/.NET programmer to really learn and use new things (e.g., new methods of abstraction).
  • Lots of new languages are popping up, all running on some VM or other (e.g., Scala, Nemerle, Boo). Where’s the development in regular compiled languages?

This surely points in some direction, but some weighted average will have to be taken to find out what that direction is.

I did manage to quit the job that was definitely going in the wrong direction, so there’s a plus.

Oh, you wanted new resolutions? Hm, let’s do some:

  • Uncluttered house
  • Learn Japanese
  • Finish more software so it’s releaseable

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Posted by matijs 18/06/2007 at 13h13

Last week, I did some work on my website, upgrading to the latest Typo trunk and Rails 1.2, and changing from mod_fcgid to a Mongrel cluster.

Last Friday or so, I rebooted my server. Unfortunately, I had neglected to make the Mongrel cluster start at boot. So for the past weekend, all you have seen here is a Service Temporarily Unavailable message.


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Resistance to Posting

Posted by matijs 25/03/2007 at 13h05

Daring Fireball talks about about an interesting post by Tantek Cilek about Human Interface Design. It’s true that there is some cognitive load in posting a blog entry as opposed to just answering What are you doing?

Partially, that resistance is good. Like forums, or blog comments, the Twitter entries are mostly like noise. A soothing background hum that lets you know other people are alive and going about their business. Unfortunately, that business is often uninteresting in the long run. So how long are we willing to store it, even for ourselves?

On the other hand, it is annoying that I have to come up with a title that covers this little post that wanders all over the place. Or that so many thoughts end up as half-finished posts in my drafts pile.

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Trackback Spam

Posted by matijs 22/10/2006 at 11h23

The less said about it the better. I just blocked three IP ranges completely. I don't really like to take these kinds of measures, for two reasons:

  1. I don't want to block legitimate access to my web site.
  2. I don't want to spend my days adjusting my firewall, adding rules whenever new spam seeps through the cracks.

Since I was spending my days cleaning up trackback spam, reason #2 stopped applying. There also didn't seem to be any legitimate access from the blocks in question.

Damn Spam has more details on these particular spammers. You can see they've been at it for a while now.

Before, I only blocked one IP address. It was from a company called Webrescuer with a very impolite bot. Aparrently, being impolite wasn't a very good business model, as they seem to be gone now. I removed the block.

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RSS Sucks, Atom Rules

Posted by matijs 26/03/2006 at 14h37

Why we need Atom now
by Tim Bray (via
once again brought the horrors of RSS to the front of my
working memory. I will not elaborate here, but the main problem seems to be
that there are nine versions of RSS, and even
more implementations. The result is that you can never get things right.
Atom to the rescue.

Not wanting to be the
Bitch and Moan But Never Does type,
I removed all links to RSS feeds from my web site. The remaining links are
all Atom feeds, but the word Atom will not be in the link text, to
facilitate the fading of technical details into the background.
It’ll just say feed.
I will probably add the new standard feed icon.

The RSS feeds are still there, of course, since
I want my URIs to be permanent.

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Customizing Typo

Posted by matijs 27/08/2005 at 18h13

For many reasons, I like to customize the typo program code a little. Much, but not all is customizable by using themes.

I keep my version in a local repository, and I’ve just updated to typo 2.5.5. Here is the way to do these updates, partly so I can remember it myself.

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From Bryar to Typo

Posted by matijs 24/07/2005 at 18h26

As of yesterday, my blog runs on Typo. All in all, I have been quite satisfied with Bryar, but it was time for a change.

I like Bryar because it is simple (no frills, entries are stored as files), and yet easy to customize (to change the layout there's basically one template to update). In addition, it is written in Perl, a language that I like, and that I'm fluent in, so getting it to work the way I wanted was easy. So, I'm happy that I chose it a year ago.

A combination of events lead me to change over to Typo.

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Blafoolia!, for want of a better title.

Posted by matijs 24/01/2005 at 19h59

People who visit this site more often than once may have noticed that I changed its layout. It took a lot longer than I expected: It's easy to just whip something up that looks nice, but it's much harder to take a thought sketched on a piece of paper and make that happen in CSS. It's harder still if you want to make it work in old browsers.

In addition to the change of layout, I did a redesign of the URLs my site serves.

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