ren rou sou suo

Just finished reading about human flesh hunting via slashdot. It is about large groups of people that use the internet to track down and punish individuals that upset them. I’ve seen this stuff over at reddit – and via the /b folks but I did not know it was so wide spread in China. In fact, the article seems to indicate that this wasn’t such a big deal outside China until recently which I think is a mistaken assumption. But it’s a well written article that goes beyond merely reporting on events and taking it further with some interesting observations. What really stood out was the final sentence that includes this, “…because the Internet does not forget, does not forgive and cannot be stopped. Ever.” That may sound like hyperbole, but I think it’s possibly an understatement.

EFF TOS Tracker

“Terms of Service” policies on websites define how Internet businesses interact with you and use your personal information. But most web users don’t read these policies — or understand that the terms are constantly changing. To track these ever-evolving documents, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is launching “TOSBack”: a “terms of service” tracker for Facebook, Google, eBay, and other major websites.

O’Reilly Radar has a nice write up of the site.

BuddyPress goes 1.0

BuddyPress is a multiuser WordPress install with a set of plugins that add a ton of social functionality. Things like private messaging, profiles, friends, groups, activity streams, and such. It is basically your own social network in a box. Very interesting. I haven’t played with it much but I intend to do so. There is a lot of potential here.

Adobe AIR/Twitter Client/Proxy Issues

There are a million ways to post to microblog sites. Personally I’m a fan of – so I post there using Pidgin. (I have it forwarded to twitter – so it shows up in both places.) Most of the people I want to follow are on twitter so I need a very good reader for twitter. So far my favourite is tweetdeck. My primary platform for this is Fedora 10. Fortunately tweetdeck is an Adobe AIR application and it runs on Linux, not all AIR apps do. Unfortunately there are some issues.

The biggest for me is getting the application to run. Once it is running – everything is fine but getting it started can be a royal pain. First I need to make sure that KDE Wallet is running. I don’t save my login information but it wont start unless kwallet is available and so I have to watch for that. Then, usually at least the first 10 times or so that I start the program it fails with an error that says, “Unable to connect to Twitter, please check your firewall.” It does this when the firewall is turned off. I’ve learned that if I just close the program and restart it over and over, eventually the error message does not show up and I can log in. Then we are fine.

Twhirl does the exact same thing except it just displays a little red icon and says that it had an error getting messages – but it doesn’t offer any suggestions. Once one of them is working then the other one will start fine. But if I close them both – then I get to go through the whole dance again to get things started. I only have this problem at work where http requests have to go through a proxy.

I use kde. I have the proxy settings set up for kde. I have gnome installed because I use some gnome apps – so I went ahead and set up proxy setting for gnome as well. I also have $http_proxy and $HTTP_PROXY set. I’ve tried setting $AIR_PROXY_SERVER and $AIR_PROXY_PORT – which is how it worked in the alpha release for Linux. None of it matters. I still get the same behaviour. It would make more sense to me if it never worked at all, but that it works after many tries is just odd. I may see if I can try out some other AIR apps and see if they do the same thing. Other AIR twitter clients I’ve tried so far didn’t work at all – so I couldn’t see if they had the same issue. Local twitter clients, like qwitter, that support proxy settings, work without issue. Below are screenshots of what I get to see multiple times every time I try to start tweetdeck or twhirl.

New Digs – Updated

Well – that was relatively painless. I didn’t have to do it in the middle of the day, but my ability to pull the all-nighter is now reserved purely for enterprise essential apps, and this is certainly not that. So this blog is now hosted at We had gone through some downtime and things, and I was running quite a few blogs out of the one account at our old host, so I’m hoping this is a bit beefier. I still haven’t got everything moved. I’ll probably try and get those tonight or tomorrow.

Update: Everything is moved now. Went very smooth.

Why the White House’s Embrace of Drupal Matters

Drupal developers are abuzz with the realization that the White House’s new site was built using the free and open-source content management platform Drupal., the perhaps highest-profile use of Drupal had been the Onion website. But that’s not the only reason that Drupal fans are excited. I asked two CMS expert friends to help me understand the situation, and here are a few of the reasons they gave for why the White House’s embrace of Drupal is momentous: