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Captain Napalm's Journal
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Date:2010-04-01 05:48
Subject:What do you mean it isn't March 22?

Looks like I missed my yearly post by eight days.


Then again, I haven't been posting much in the other place, so what's a few days here, where I only post once a year anyway?

And I just realized that I've had this account for eight years now. Man does the time fly by. Where did it all go?

Well, that's all for now. See you next year.

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Date:2009-03-23 00:03

I was trying … to … think of what to &hellip say, and unfortunately … I spent too much … time and missed my … annual post by one … day.

And then I realized … it was International “Speak Like … William Shatner” Day. But I was … too late to actually post … on … International … “Speak Like William … Shatner” Day, so I'm a … day late … for that … too.

I blame … Khan.

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Date:2008-03-22 22:28
Subject:Some musings on LiveJournal and a decentralized LiveJournal

When I first came across beckyzoole 's call for a content strike on the 21st, I gave some serious thought to moving my once yearly post to LiveJournal up a day, just to be cantakerous.

And the fact that it wasn't exactly clear what the strike was about. Was it for LiveJournal's overlords eliminating ad-free free accounts, or for LiveJournal's overlords censoring some interests? Why was never made clear, as far as I could tell, and outside of LiveJournal itself, I saw no mention of this at all.

In the end, it was “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The impression I have from those full of sound and fury over this kerfuffle is they have little understanding of how a business like LiveJournal works and exactly what it takes to run such a large and interactive site. Brad Fitzpatrick not only wrote the initial code base for LiveJournal, but a lesser known (at least, to the public at large) code base called memcached, a not-insignificant piece of code used by websites, like LiveJournal, running at a reasonable speed when you don't have the resources of Google or Microsoft. And while servers may be cheap, bandwidth isn't, nor is the expertise of running a site across multiple servers with five nines reliability (which is a myth anyways).

After reading chipotle 's take on the whole strike (which is worth reading, by the way) I feel I understand (with no way of backing any of this up, just so you know) the story behind the sale of LiveJournal to Six Apart, and subsequent sale of LiveJournal to SUP.

Brad started LiveJournal more or less as a hobby, and by 2004 it was running as a successful business—nothing that would make Brad a millionaire but enough to keep him and five or six employees busy. I suspect that the explosive growth of LiveJournal during 2004 caused rising operating costs (more servers, bandwidth, support issues, programming to scale the site, etc) and rising headaches for Brad. Meanwhile, Six Apart was expanding like crazy during 2004, and were probably having problems scaling their various websites. Some hand-waving goes here, but generally, I think that Six Apart “bought” Brad (and his scaling expertise) and LiveJournal was dragged along for the ride.

Six Apart makes a bunch of controvertial changes to LiveJournal (banning icons and accounts are removed are just two examples) and learns that running a large site without interruptions is darned hard. The service is also targeted towards the same demographic as Six Apart's new service, Vox. It's little wonder then, that Six Apart had a white elephant on its hands when Brad left Six Apart and sold LiveJournal to the first company that had an interest in it.

New owners, new rules.

Now, getting back to the content strike—one reaction to the controversy that caused the strike was elsejournal , a community dedicated to creating an alternative to LiveJournal, as if DeadJournal, GreatestJournal, InsaneJournal and Blurty, all based upon the LiveJournal code base, weren't enough.

But I can understand a user who is heavily invested in LiveJournal moving to, say, GreatestJournal, only to have the same thing happen there as happened to LiveJournal, and wanting an option to LiveJournal that isn't a hobby or run by greedy Capitalistic Russian pigs (and if that doesn't create cognitive dissonance I recommend reading up on some history). But even setting up a non-profit control structure for ElseJournal won't keep censorship at bay. Become a large enough target and users keep posting that Kirk/Spock/Edith Keeler slash fiction, don't act all surprised if eventually Paramount and/or Harlan Ellison don't slap a copyright violation lawsuit your way.

And the cheapest, easiest way to resolve that?

Bye bye content. Hello cries of censorship.

A way around that problem is a decentralized approach, maybe a federation of LiveJournal-like sites or even individual blogs. The technology to do this exists for the most part. A combination of syndication feeds and decentralized authentication and you can replicate LiveJournal across multiple sites without problem.

Oh wait a second.

Locked posts.

One of the biggest features of LiveJournal, if not the biggest feature.

The ability to restrict who can and can't view posts.

Well, I suppose whatever journalling/blogging system you use could be modified to create specialized feeds for individual readers with content “for their eyes only” that are password protected. I don't see that as much of a problem, as readers/aggregators do seem to support authentication and it isn't all that difficult to create custom pages (and really, that's all a feed is—just a webpage with a particular format). And there exist methods of auto-detecting syndication feed files, so that's a solved problem. Ease of use is just a usability issue with possibly some heavy programming thrown in; it's far from impossible to make easy.

And that will work well for an individual picking up custom feeds from a bunch of different blogs.

Oh wait a second.


LiveJournal can pick up feeds from elsewhere, and display them to many LiveJournal users. It's not a feed to an individual, it's a feed to a group. And I may have a number of users at LiveJournal that can read my private posts. Now things get complicated.

Say I make a post (on my blog, not at LiveJournal) about Negiyo and want squeaky19 , j3ff , springdew , azagthoth and tryss to read it. LiveJournal could pull the feed for each individual user when they request it (by loading up their friends page), but (assuming they were okay with giving LiveJournal the passwords for retrieving their private feeds of my site) LiveJournal would have to know that this is a personal feed that needs retrieving, either when squeaky19 , j3ff , springdew , azagthoth and tryss request their friends page, or periodically; either case, LiveJournal has to make multiple requests to my server to obtain the private posts.

So now, instead of pulling one feed file every so often, it has to pull six (in this example; in reality I have 17 users that read my blog here at LiveJournal) every so often. Which makes things worse all the way around (via larger bandwidth bills for both LiveJournal and me).

Alternatively, I could include all my posts to LiveJournal, public and private, with some way of telling LiveJournal which posts are for which people. This would imply that I trust LiveJournal to feed the right posts to the right people. And assuming I do, this still only scales up to a point—for somebody like shadesong who might have a private post for a hundred friends to see (or several posts like that, with different hundred friends to see), this method doesn't really scale at all.

There are ways around that problem too, but each solution brings its own problems to the table and all this for …

For something that many people hate, but large media companies love

Digital Rights Management.


Who'da thunk it?

Surprising at it may seem, that's what LiveJournal gives users with locked posts—a form of DRM. Granted, it's not about copying but about viewing, but it's still a desire to control content. And LiveJournal can easily enforce that since everything is centralized. Once you start decentralizing, DRM becomes that much harder, technically.

So it looks like, at least for now, if you want community and privacy (of posts), you'll need to learn to live with stupid decisions and possible censorship.

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Date:2007-03-22 23:39
Subject:Never argue with the guy with the gavel

For he is quick to anger, and can do something about it.

“Mr. Conner, is there any reason I shouldn't have you arrested?”

“No. No reason at all.”

But at least that was the worst it got that day.

And thus ends my yearly post.

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Date:2006-03-22 01:00
Subject:Cluttering your Friends Page with pointless LJ-cuts

It's time once again for the Yearly LiveJournal™ Post.




This year, I'm trying something different. I want to try to LJ-cut, so to that end, I'm going to give a major spoiler for Smallville, so if you don't want to have the series spoiled for you, don"t follow the white rabbit …Collapse )

Okay, well … that's pretty much it for this year.

See you on the dark side of the moon.

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Date:2005-03-22 22:33
Subject:Missionaries for Hire

Time for the yearly LiveJournal™ post.

So here it is.

Lovely, yes, I know.

And I have nothing else to really write about here, because, I have that other place I do all my writing (which is syndicated as bostondiaries just in case you didn't know).

And the title to this entry? springdew can tell you all about that …

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Date:2004-03-22 00:41
Subject:Time for the Yearly Update, and an odd type of quiz …

Well, it's been yet another year. Internet is still periodically going out, some weeks more than others. Other than that, nothing much to report here that isn't mentioned elsewhere (although yes, I do need to update that other place).

On an entirely different subject, what exactly, is wrong with this picture? Shot of a city intersection; Chicago I believe, but there is something wrong, something subtly different about that picture. If you are having problems, you might want to see this picure for a clue. And for a quicker way to check the two images, you may want to go here.

The gallery of other similar pictures is quite powerful (links via Kottke).

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Date:2003-03-23 22:03
Subject:Nothing like a cable cut to illustrate just how much of an Internet Junkie I am


An Adelphia Cable fiber, providing Internet access to South Florida, was cut around 6:30, 7:00 pm yesterday and was out for over 24 hours.

It was a bad twenty-four hours. I had no idea just how much of an Internet junkie I've become.

And I'm pissed because I missed posting on the one year anniversary of my LiveJournal account by one (1) day.


Okay, see you guys next year!

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Date:2002-03-22 17:10
Subject:Okay, so now what?

This is a basic set up here. I've signed up to play around with the software and get a feel for how it works fro the user side of things.

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my journal