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Alicia and Bethany

We have gotten several hundred more hits than normal over the last few days. Such spikes are usually caused by Eph-related news events, yet that does not seem to be the case. Most of the extra hits seem to be coming from links like this. Any ideas why?

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Thanks for your generosity

A few months ago, Jonathan Landsman posted a nice tribute and request for donations to thank me for all of my Photo IDs and other Williams photos. Jonathan’s idea was to give me a “pro” account at flickr so that I could upload all of my pictures and have more flexibility in organizing and storing them, and possibly also allow me to get other photography equipment. Thanks to readers’ generous gifts, I now have a pro account and enough money to renew this account in the future (it is $25 a year).

I have been working on uploading all of my Williams photos to flickr. When I upload them, I can give them tags, which describe what is in them. Here are some that might interest you (you may have seen some of the photos before if you are a frequent EphBlog reader):
EphBlog, Williams, Track, Student Center, Williams-Mystic, Photography winter study class. Here is a list of all my tags.

I am working on uploading all of my Williams pictures. Some of the categories are woefully incomplete right now, especially the running ones — I have hundreds of running pictures, of which only a tiny fraction are on flickr. I think I have put up all of my EphBlog pictures and scenic pictures of Williamstown, which you can access from the links above.

What to do with the rest of the money? I was planning to pool it with some of my own in order to buy myself a camera — the camera I have been using belonged to my parents and I knew I was going to have to give it back to them this vacation. But then for Christmas, they gave me a wicked awesome camera all my own. So now I don’t need a camera. And I received 3 GB of memory cards, so that should be enough. Thus, I am planning to use the rest of the money to buy:

1. A tripod. As in this picture of the Congo church, readers pitied me for lying on the ground to take nighttime pictures, and suggested EphBlog could provide me with a tripod. This may occur.

2. More years of being a pro on flickr. If I fail to renew my pro account, I can only see my most recent 200 pictures. This would be sad. I will probably pay flickr $25 a year from now on, and it makes sense for this money to come from EphBlog for a few years after I graduate, as long as I keep posting pictures of Williams and occasionally link from EphBlog to those pictures.

I’ll let you know when I have a full set of photos up, and when I spend more of the money. Thanks again, everyone.

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Watch this space

I always hate it when I post on EphBlog. It isn’t that the process itself is at all hard or unpleasant, but more towards my own failings in that I rarely have time to read/post on here. So if I have actually come to the point of posting something, it is usually something ridiculous that has actually reached a point where I have to respond to it.

In this particular case, said ridiculous item, the filing of a complaint (with threatened looming cease and desist) with the host who owns the server hardware EphBlog runs on.
And yes, I just butchered the English language with that sentence (and all else I attempt). I apologize, writing is not my strong suit – yet another reason I try to avoid posting.
(For those of you wondering, water ballet is actually my strong suit.)

Said complaint presumably references sections 1.B of the host’s terms of endearment service. Maybe some 1.A thrown in there too – the internet will just never be the same again after that.

Unfortunately, this is all tied in with the last 4 billion posts on EphBlog. You know, the “Hitler but not Hitler” stuff. While I do find it kind of awesome that EphBlog (by way of this young coed) decided to give Godwin’s Law the middle finger and just straight up start off with Hitler, I would far rather see EphBlog posting about pretty much anything else at this point. Diversity and difference makes for more interesting reading (although, according to our site stats, I’m way off on that). Things about sports and chemistry, or Brunch Night and puppies, or who’s-banging-who in show biz. I would even prefer a raging debate over the fascinating differences between standardized tests and how little impact they have on life after 30. Maybe even a flat out name calling brawl over why the girl’s rugby team wears maroon and not purple (or at least did back in the days when I was at Williams – and not on that team). An easy one would be to go on for a week or so about how I couldn’t get in to Williams these days, and truly have no clue how I got in back “then” either.

But instead, I’m sorry, it is yet another post dealing with whatever the hell this has all come to be about. If I understand it correctly, this is most directly impacting me in that a dude who’s current mission in life seems to be championing free speech is now threatening to sue me and a few others because of some true stuff written on this site. Nice.
Thank the good spaghetti monster in the sky I’m too stupid to know the meaning of “irony” (something to do with metallurgy, right?).

This roundabout, meandering, and poorly constructed muddle of thoughts is my way of trying to warn you that if this Free Speech Warrior happens to have some speedy council and gets that cease and desist order filed before I get back from my business trip, then EphBlog might get turned off by the host of this site.

If that is indeed the case, and one day when you come to this site and all is dark – don’t wonder where we have gone. Don’t assume the incompetent fellow who supposedly runs the tech part of the site broke something.
No, no, no – instead just know that you are witnessing a little bit of the magic and beauty known as “free speech” in action.

I’m off to the fields. I will work harder.

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Thanks to Fark and the Hitler posters…

FarkViewsApr07.gif This is a graph of the visitors and page views per day for the past month. That big spike you see in visits to EphBlog is due to the greenlit link on Fark a few days ago. The smaller spike is when Julia identified herself on EphBlog and everyone went to see.

I like this kind of data. You can find more at the site meter. Note that EphBlog usually has a very obvious weekly pattern — more people on weekdays, less on the weekends — but this is not so at all in the monthly view above.

WeeklyTrafficPattern.gif
Compare the first image to this one that I captured two years ago because I thought the weekly pattern was so interesting. (Also note that EphBlog now gets about three times as many visitors per day as compared to two years ago.)

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New Authors Welcome

We are always looking for new authors to join EphBlog. Got something interesting to say about Williams or to the larger community of Ephs? Join us. See the FAQ for details and here for motivation. The latest additions to our list of authors are Evan Miller ’06, who will be telling more about Ephtown, a project which will one day (we hope!) replace EphBlog, and Andrew Goldston ’09, who will be updating us on College Council and other campus issues.

All are welcome.

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Rock On

From a reader:

Hi, I’m not actually an Eph in any sense of the word (I’m going to Swarthmore next year; I do have several friends who will be going to Williams), but I love EphBlog for its commentary on various issues. I like how all the comments are made by intelligent, opinionated people too. You guys rock!

Thanks! Eat your heart out, Tim Burke. Also, you can bet that this insightful reader was referring to Frank Uible ’57 when she talks about comments from “intelligent, opinionated people.” Who else?

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Notifiy By Email Functionality is Broken

I just got in and saw that in the last hour or so, I received over 30 email notifications about posts on EphBlog… from well before today – these are old posts.

I assume everyone else on that notify setup is getting them, I apologize for that – I literally touched nothing at all, so I don’t know what is causing it.

I will be going in and disabling it now until I can figure out what is going on.

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The Chocolate Ration Will Not Fall Below 20 Grams Per Week

I do not post much on EphBlog these days, which is perhaps a good thing. I tend to be long winded, make frequent typos and spelling/grammatical errors, and I rarely have any clue as to what I’m talking about. The combination makes for rambling posts that not only bore, they also confuse. It is as if that is all I know how to do.
A gift, and a curse, so to speak.

Those of you who have bothered to read anything I post, when it isn’t relating to how incredibly cuddly puppies are, it is usually noting when we have deleted a post on EphBlog, or some technical glitch I have caused through my own bumbling.

In this case, the following post falls into the former of those two, at least in content. In form, it will probably end up in the latter.

While Dave Kane maintains, and what I also feel is only fair, EphBlog is open to all. If you want to post, join as an author and post. If you want to comment, regardless of your opinion either way, go for it – as long as it isn’t hateful and ideally adds in some way to the conversation (usually my failing, staying on topic).
As part of that, Dave has also made sure that if something is posted on EphBlog that someone feels should not be there, for a variety of reasons (usually the most common being a feeling of an invasion of “privacy”), then Dave will happily delete the content.

But, me, being stubborn and feeling that “privacy” when found in public, is something that can be discussed openly – opinions on either side – in public, as part of my own interpretation of rights given to me by the country in which I pay taxes. So to have that yanked away as if it were never there, leaves me feeling a bit offended, since legally and ethically I’m not sure it is correct to simply make it disappear as if it never happened.

So what usually happens is that the offending post is deleted, and then I write some nonsense to the person via email, they ignore me (rightfully so), and then I repost it here (with names and exact references blurred), so that while the original post is gone – there is still some ghost or shadow of it left behind. Perhaps a weak compromise, but nonetheless, better than a gaping void where there once was content (my own opinion).

So here we have what I wrote, edited only to hide those who aren’t me. Put into context, the person was on a reality show, had their actions recorded, broadcast, and then when said actions were discussed on this site, they approached us and requested that all text referring to it to be removed (and the video, since this was on national television).

Dave Kane, as he always does in these cases, offered to leave it up, removing the offending text (since, theoretically, not all of the text was offensive towards the individual), and asked that the person write their own text to describe the events in their own words, giving a better contextual experience than the edited one forced upon us by the television program’s own agenda.
Said person declined and asked that it be removed.

So, yeah, here’s what I wrote and now I’m done.

Person who was on the reality show,

Dave has gone in and wiped out the entry on our server, so if you go
to the link now, all you will see is a blank page. That is the full
extent that we can honor your request.

You had also asked that we delete the video, but the video (and other
copies of it, aside from the one that the entry pointed to) resides on
Google Video. As you are probably aware, we are not affiliated with
Google, which is of course actually a corporation based out of
California (although there are Ephs who work there). If you want the
video removed from there, you will have to take that up with them
(Google that is – or if you want an Eph there, try DeWitt Clinton,
although that is not his division).
They do have a history of removing content for the Chinese government
due to their dislike of things being visible via Google. I cannot
speak to how likely they are to listen to your request in comparison
to the largest country on Earth, but an even better line to take would
be to remind Google that the clip is from a Fox show and that it is
Google’s responsibility to police their display of copyrighted
material – then it will likely come right down.

On a side note, you could also request that Fox no longer play your
clip in reruns, or montages of those who didn’t make it to later
rounds (as they frequently do towards the end of each season), but I
imagine you are already fully aware that you signed a contract to be
on their show that entirely gave up all ownership rights to your
image/voice during your time on their cameras. It also entitled them
to broadcast it publicly, and that is what caused all of those silly
people out there “watching the show” to then comment about your
actions.
For future reference, and I apologize if this seems obvious, but if
you are going to be on something broadcast literally globally, you
might want to consider the possibility that some people – at least in
free countries like America – will actually talk about it. And they
might not say nice things, whether you enjoy that or not.

Going back to the topic of Google, they have a “cached” version on
their servers that we can’t control. So if someone does a search for
you, and they see the EphBlog link – the main link will come to our
now blank page, but if they go to the cached version, they will still
see the original content.
Again, you will have to take your beef to Google on that one, it is
out of our control. They have shown much less willingness to remove
cached content in the past, so that might be harder to get pushed down
the memory hole.
On the good side, the cache is regularly updated, so eventually Google
will overwrite it with the blank page created by Dave.

Congratulations on your control over what and how people say about
your public actions, on a show specifically designed to stir up such
things. I commend your self confidence to approach others and ask them
to no longer think for themselves and censor their actions to suit you
best. I hope that all of your future endeavors find equal lack of
resistance.

As you can see, Dave’s the friendly one, I’m the preachy one. I’m not
real big on censorship – but I’ll help explain what I can. Please feel
free to email if you have further questions or requests, we will do
our best to oblige.

All the best,

Eric Smith

Note that the Google Cache, if you want to be technical, does have a way to clear the entry that requires making changes to a file on your server, and then going through a request process where their spider will re-crawl your site, this time not caching the page marked in a special file.
But the timing of that, in my experience, is usually about the same as if you do nothing and let it work on its own – Google crawls the web very regularly and the cache will clear itself out quickly enough in this case.
In the past, it was determined, and even agreed on by those who wanted content deleted, that the current process is sufficient (many people don’t know about the cached link, or just don’t care).

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Blog Health Trivia

For those who wonder how EphBlog’s traffic/you link to me, I’ll link to you/connectedness fares against other blogs, you might want to take a peek at PubStats. While Ephblog isn’t in the Daily Top 100, EphBlog isn’t doing too badly. We’re certainly doing much better than Middblog.

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Excuse the dust

There is a new version of Movable Type available now (Movable Type is the software we use to manage EphBlog). I am in the process of upgrading the site to that. The process should be something transparent to you as the end user, but just in case – if you see some odd things – let me know about it since they might be a side-effect of this upgrade.

The upgrade process will begin in about 5 minutes.

Also note that there was an issue (unrelated to this upgrade) with our RSS feed, but it is fixed now.

UPDATE: Okay, should all be updated now.

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HTML tutorial

Over Winter Study I taught a course on HTML. For all of you who wonder how Dave gets his quoted paragraphs offset and turned yellow, or how he links to other pages, or how Aidan makes people’s names bold, or how I post pictures — or if (gasp) you want to make a Web page of your own — well, I have written a tutorial for you. The Internet already provides many HTML tutorials, but none (at least, none that I have found) that concisely guide you from not knowing anything about HTML to having a page with just about anything you want on it.

Here is my HTML tutorial. Go forth and do good.

I realize that many Ephs already know HTML, and for those who do, the contents of this tutorial will seem obvious. But HTML is easy enough to learn that I think it is useful to know it, since most of us use the Internet daily, and it is nice to know the structure of the Internet: just how it is that the page you’re reading got to look that way (though EphBlog is more complex than basic HTML). Dreamweaver may be easy, but it creates ugly code, and it reveals nothing of the inner workings of the Internet. For that, you need HTML. Here it is.

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Forums down – back up

I am taking the forums for EphBlog down and upgrading them. Hopefully up again by tomorrow, but considering essentially nobody was using them, it might get stretched to a day or two.

You will probably have to clear out your cookies before logging in again once they are back up since the upgrade causes a few display issues until the cookie is reset.

***
Update:
The updates are done now. We went from version 1.1.5 up to 1.2.2. This includes many upgrades and improvements, and closes known security holes.

You will probably need to delete your EphBlog cookies and clear your cache before logging in again on the forums in order for it to look right.

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New Site Search

Generally speaking, when you have search on a site, there are two things which are going to happen:
1) the index for the search will be quite large in order to keep server load down
2) the server load will be quite high because of a smaller index

This essentially means nothing to people that don’t care about such things… which for the most part usually means “everyone”.

For those that do care, they tend to put in a search on the site which makes use of Google. Google has a feature which allows you to limit your search to a single website. You do this by adding “site:” before the base domain name and then whatever you wanted to search for.
So say I wanted to look for “puppies” on EphBlog, I would go to Google and do a search “site:ephblog.com puppies” and it would then show me its results that it could find.

We had a form in our sidebar which did this for us – if you entered search words, it would send you over to Google with the query structured in that way.

The problem, as apparently many people have noticed, is that I don’t own Google. I have no control over how, when, or why they index our site. We have the “Full Archives” link up so that it can go in there and then get every single page and theoretically it should index our whole site, and then provide a cheap and easy way to search the site (read: free).
But unfortunately it wasn’t working for some search terms and I have no clue why.

So now we are using our own search system on the site. The form over on the sidebar looks just like it did before, except that now it doesn’t go out to Google and instead stays right on the site and uses our server to process the query instead.
The good side is that we can format the results pretty much however we want.
The bad side is that theoretically it provides an avenue for a much higher server load for very little return. That said, it probably isn’t something that will get hammered since our userbase appears to be under 1000 people at this point and I doubt all of you are going to search for something all at the same time.
On top of that, I think the new MovableType (which we are using), builds a database index as it is, so it should be that first condition up there that I mentioned – more disk space, less CPU load (at search time – still high at index building time).

Anyway, that is probably not sufficiently nerdy for those of you that really truly know this sort of thing (*cough*DeWitt Clinton*cough*) and probably far too nerdy for those of you that don’t really care (everyone else).

Have at it.

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Feedburner

For those of you that are aware of RSS feeds, you may have subscribed to our site and been enjoying the full text feed that we offer. For those of you that haven’t – now is your chance.

One of the upsides of an RSS feed is that you can provide a “light” path for your users who want to get your posts, but don’t necessarily want to visit the site everyday.

One of the downsides is that the person/people running the site offering said feed doesn’t get a good idea of how many people are reading the feed if they aren’t visiting the site (as you may or may not have noticed, we have a few counter/tracker things in place to see what sort of traffic we get).

Well, thanks to the very cool Feedburner service, we can now track the RSS readership. What this means for you is really nothing – you don’t have to worry about changing your links or RSS feed – I handled that on the server side with a mod_rewrite reference which points all RSS feeds towards Feedburner. It is also smart enough to format all RSS and Atom versions appropriately for your browser, and it even fancies it up a bit so that if you view the XML in a browser, it should be human readable.
I have also updated the ping service for EphBlog updates to notify Feedburner when there are new updates, so it should always have the proper and updated feed.

All in all, a great service.

Don’t worry, there will still be no ads on EphBlog and everything should perform just the same. If Feedburner stops behaving properly, I can simply remove the feed redirects and instantly you (assuming you are pointing to our local feeds), will go back to getting the feed we publish locally.

Also, as you can see at the top of this post, and also in the sidebar, there is a counter for the feed. As more people use it and refresh their feeds, then we can get a more accurate assessment of how many people are hitting the feed.

The nerd in me rejoices.

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The final (hopefully) word on e-mail notifications

Upgrading to the newest version of MovableType has broken essentially every customized part of the blog that we had outside of the colors.
So it comes to no huge surprise that the notifications were also broken in the upgrade.

The good news?
You can still get notifications and there are even some new features that should let you manage them on a personal level.

The bad news?
If you were previously subscribed, the current system is no longer aware of you (technically you are in the section reserved for MovableType notifications, but the old notification system won’t work and the new one doesn’t use that setup).

So what this means is that if you want to receive e-mail updates, then you need to go to the About Ephblog page, down at the bottom, and fill out that form with the e-mail address that you want to subscribe for EphBlog.
With each e-mail that you get from EphBlog, it will have a link that will allow you to remove yourself (or an admin like myself can do it too if you can’t figure it out).

If you are an author on the site, and you are also subscribed to the notifications, then you get two e-mails (it did this before as well).

Previously we had the option to subscribe to a specific thread, even without commenting on the thread. I wasn’t sure how much this was even used, so I removed it for now.
If there is demand for it back, I can put it back in since the current system will allow for that as well (meaning that if you are subscribed to get all of the new posts for the site or not, you could still subscribe to a single post and get an e-mail for each new comment on that post).

If you saw some other broken behavior today, it was likely due to a problem in enabling dynamic content. The documentation says one thing, but the site behavior decided to do something else – so I am going to put that one off for a bit.

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Still working out the kinks

It appears that notification still isn’t quite working properly, and there is also a problem in the code that was there for the “EphBlinders” pages. I have removed them for now and will eventually have something else once we can get a more dynamic system in place here.

It is possible that for a few days some of the small things won’t look/work quite right – just keep me posted on it and I can keep looking into them.

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Upgrades are in place

EphBlog is now running MovableType 3.14 and I am now trying to iron out the wrinkles in the upgrade. Please post up comments to anything odd that you see.

I notice that there are comments out there that are on the wrong post (my own included), but I am not sure if that is due to people not reading the actual post (myself included) or if it is due to an error in the system here.

Also, if you are subscribed to get updates, it was not working for about a day during the upgrades. But now I have upgraded the notification system as well, so it “should” be working now.

Most of the nice features of the new system are in the background so that the end user doesn’t need to know/care about the difference. So the less you notice the better.

That said, I am hoping to change the look/feel of the site here over time so that it is easier to read. If there are areas that you find particularly confusing/annoying/ugly, please speak up (or if you have an idea for a look for the site).
The most common complaint on this type of layout is that people can’t tell who wrote what comment. This is most prevalent in users that aren’t familiar with discussions on blogs, and unfortunately they are the ones that get most disturbed if you raise the question of how new they are to blogs.
So I am going to try to redesign the post/comments look and feel so that it is hopefully more clear who wrote what.

This post is also testing out the “post in the future” feature. This will allow authors to post things today and they show up at some date in the future. You should see the hundreds I have ready to go for 2029 after the asteroids come.

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EphBlog Upgrades

At some point over the next 4-5 days, I will be upgrading EphBlog’s blog software, as well as hopefully tweaking a few of the styles to help readability.

I will likely be doing this in the late evenings, so it is entirely feasible that you won’t even notice that anything is changing. But if by any chance you do happen to come here and notice any oddities and/or downtime, that is likely the cause.

I will post an update once the upgrades are completed.

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EphBlinders

I like to think of myself as an easy going and open minded guy. But then, I also like to think I can fly, I hate wearing pants, and have this niggling suspicion that I own Guam – so what the hell do I know?

But the number of people on this blog that are getting so worked up over tiny little things appears to be larger than I would like (*cough*shouldbezero*cough*). I would imagine that this is largely due to some people reading far more sincerity and malice into what is written here than what any given author intends.

Anyway, I am just a rambling fool, so what do I know.

But for those of you that would like to lead a sheltered life, I’ve made something special just for you – I’ll call it EphBlinders and it is located with its own fancy link on the right hand side over there.

If you read something and can’t take it any longer, then head on over into EphBlinders and find the link that censors out the author that causes you such frustration and YAY – the world confirms to your view and those that are different simply disappear!

You get the front page minus all posts by that author. Wire me $20K I’ll even find the author and break their legs for you too.

(Do note that as of right now, only Dave Kane and my own bad self are up for selection to censor out… mainly because a lot of our authors never post, so I can’t imagine too many of you taking issue with them – if you do, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.)

Now go forth and be merry.

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Eph Planet

Thanks to this post and Stephen O’Grady’s (’97) suggestion that we try the Planet aggregator – we now have an aggregator that collects the posts from the blogs in our blogroll.

Said aggregator can be found at http://www.ephblog.com/planet/, or from the link in the sidebar over on the right where you see “Eph Planet”. (when you install one of these things, it is generally referred to as a “Planet” for whatever the overall topic that keeps the common theme of the blogs… in this case Ephdom)

Some things to note regarding that page:
1) It isn’t particularly good looking. It is just the default template “out of the box”. If you have ideas for a better design, feel free to speak up. If I can find some free time, at some point I might try to get it to use the same style that we use on the rest of the site. Or at the very least add a logo and color scheme the same as the rest of this site.

2) It isn’t using magic, although that would be really cool. Instead it is looking at RSS and Atom feeds for blogs. So if you are on our blogroll and aren’t using something that creates those feeds, then you aren’t in the Eph Planet. It isn’t because we don’t like you, it is just because this thing needs a way to find you and then know what to do with what it finds.

3) There are two people in the blogroll that probably have either RSS or Atom feeds, but I couldn’t get them to work. Those are John Phillips ’02, who is on Blogger which means that an Atom feed should have worked… but it didn’t. The other is Todd Gamblin ’02, his site wouldn’t work for me consistently and I couldn’t get to the feeds section.
Anyone else that isn’t in there, it is due to not using a blog package that has the feeds – or at least not ones that I could find.

4) For whatever reason, it is showing UTC time on the right when it says when it was last updated. I’m sure there is a way to change that (I would prefer EST since that is technically where the server is, and where Williams is), but I’m leaving it “as is” for now.
Also, that page will update itself every 7 to 9 hours, so that it gets 3 updates in, every day.

5) It is possible that someone else besides me will add your blog to the blogroll and I won’t notice. So if you see that you are on our blogroll, but you aren’t in Eph Planet (and you want to me), then let me know. Along the same lines, if you are in there and you don’t want to be, again just let me know and I can take you out.

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Old Posts and Comments

I just installed something on the server that will close all posts older than 10 days, so that they will not accept further comments.

That means that if you want to comment on something and can’t, it is probably due to being an older post.

This is put into place to help reduce the large amount of comment spam that we currently get – it won’t make the problem go away entirely, but it should help reduce it (also with MT Blacklist that we also use).

At first glance this might look like we are trying to censor further discussion on some posts – but that is the last thing that we are trying to do. In fact, I just installed discussion forum software and once DK and I have worked out the logistics of it, that will be made “live” to the rest of us here at EphBlog and then you can go in there and discuss any number of things – including previous posts.

The amount of testing I have done with this new comment closing plug-in is essentially very little – so please let me know if it is not behaving and I will look into it – as it stands now I think it is working correctly.

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For future reference

I would have thought this was obvious to many, especially in the Williams crowd. But yet again, my naive optimism in the student body has failed me.

1) When we post links to other web pages that are discussing public events that actually happened, there is a term for that… most call that “news”.

2) It is not illegal to post “news” – regardless of whether said “news” makes you look like a jackass if a potential employer happens to Google the web and find the link on our site. I suppose that falls under one of those “perhaps you should have thought about that at the time” concepts.

3) This one is the most important… If you decide to ignore points 1 and 2, feeling that your own interests are better served if the link isn’t there – then we at EphBlog (especially Dave, less so on my part) will remove the offending item.

But when you write that e-mail – it is generally considered more polite to not contradict yourself within the first two sentences of the e-mail, as well as not resort to (empty) legal threats within that first e-mail. Perhaps save those thinly veiled threats, which you can’t legally back up, for e-mails to follow our response if you find it unsuitable to your needs.

For example, were you (not a minor) to have to go to court for possession of drugs and someone here refers to the newspaper article that discusses your court date – that is not breaking any laws on our part. And then when you write to us and let us know that you are all for freedom of speech and that we should be able to say anything we want… but that you must draw the line at us referring to your court date – well, that would be a contradiction that would probably be best left out of said e-mail.

Additionally, say you fear we won’t remove it – give us a shot first. Be nice, make jokes, and hey the post goes down. But when you tell us with a literary hand wave that we are “doing several illegal things” when we clearly aren’t, and then giving us an ultimatum of “take it down or else” and refer us to a theoretical lawyer that must have a great sense of humor if he deals with this sort of thing…well… then you are just a douchebag.

On a more technically inclined note – Google keeps things cached, regardless of whether we remove it from our site.
Best wishes in your job search and I hope that plausible deniability serves you well in this case.

Cheers to all – next week I will discuss how to do laundry.

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New link badge of awesomeness

For those of you that pay attention to website related details, this one goes out to you.

The great Todd Gamblin ’02 (I am guessing he never gets tired of “Vegas” references to his last name) has made us an additional link badge. It looks a little something like this . You will also note that we have it over there on the right in the sidebar as well… see? Yes, good stuff.
For those of you slow on the uptake, like myself, the main difference being that there is a “W” in there that references “Amherst”. Or maybe “Weslyean”. Or perhaps “Eph”.

So anyway, a big thanks to Todd for keeping it real and all.

Now back to the regular show.

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The Quote Wall Link Has Moved

It has come to my attention, via the resignation of two of our authors, that there was some combination of dislike and misunderstanding of a link on our site. Part of it is fully my fault in link placement, and I apologize. Part of it is simply due to either a misunderstanding, or the lack of experience of someone new to navigating the web.

Over to the right, you will see a section labeled “Inside Links” which are all clearly sections of our site. When you click on any of those links, you will see the “EphBlog” banner up at the top, and our color scheme remains constant throughout.
That is how it is now – but up until a few hours ago, weeks went by and there was a link there called “Quote Wall”. This link is the source of some underlying issue, of which I was previously unaware until this evening.

There is an EphBlog entry that discusses how that came to be on the site. I don’t feel the need/desire to maintain such a thing on my own, but I’m all for it if someone else wants to keep track of quotes that they find from this site that they feel stand out from those of others.
Hence our link to it.

That link points to another site entirely and is not part of EphBlog – as evidenced by the fact that the URL changes, and perhaps less subtle reminders like in how the EphBlog banner is no longer there and the color scheme changes dramatically.
(That said, just because a site looks like our site wouldn’t mean it is the same as us – in the end, looking at the URL is your best bet there.)

It was poor judgment on my part and perhaps rushed in its placement since being under “Inside Links” seems to have given others the perception that it was all content of EphBlog. Only the page that it links to, which has “EphBlog” up at the top, had anything to do with our site in that the quotes on that page were from this site.

There are a series of links down the left hand side of that site that link to other parts of that site (administrated by someone else entirely than this site that you are reading now). Some of those links apparently go to pages that have content on them that have been found to be of questionable value to others that have stumbled on our site.

For those that feel that the quotes about race, religion, politics, or anything else on the quote page (other than the actual EphBlog content) represent any of the views or ideas of anyone on this site are mistaken (there is perhaps overlap in the feelings of some/all members of this site with some of the content on there – and there are very likely entire sections where people here would disavow any relationship with – but that is beyond the scope of what such a link represents).
I should also point out that the search box that we use goes to Google. Using Google – you can search any part of our site that you like. In addition to that, you can search the entirety of the web, which very well may include some unsavory stuff.

This is also probably a good time to reassert the fact that we aren’t part of Williams College in any way shape or form other than the fact that we for the most part are all related to Williams via having gone there, currently go there, might go there, have relatives going there, work there, have worked there, live near there, or perhaps thought this had to do with “Williams and Mary” (sic).

In the future, if you go to our site, or any other site on the web, and you follow links, it is worth remembering that a link to one part of a site does not mean that all ideas represented there are somehow assimilated into either of the sites involved.

I would also highly recommend that if you have issues with such things – talk about them on there. Discussion is the whole reason this site is here, so feel free to discuss.
The person that maintains the Quote Wall (which still remains linked to, but in the Blogroll section of this site) is an author on this site. Perhaps issues taken with the content of that site are better taken up with him.

In closing – I apologize again for my poor placement of the link in the first part of the navigation bar entitled “Inside Links” – it has been moved to the “Blogroll” section – while not entirely a blog, it is at least an exterior link and hopefully more obviously connoted as such in that new location.

I also apologize if you feel my presumption that misunderstanding of how links and the associated content relates to interconnected sites is somehow related to lack of knowledge as to how the web “works” – but after using these systems day in and day out for years now, all of this seems explicitly obvious to me at this point.
So I am just making, and perhaps incorrectly, the assumption that if you do not get this basic concept of the web, then you perhaps may be new to it all.

In the end, that link is nothing more than a pointer to a single page of quotes on an entirely different site than our own.
I have moved it out of the “Inside Links” section, and I have had dinner.
For all of those that remain offended, feel free to discuss.

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EphBlog will be down for maintenance Tuesday, May 4th (only briefly).

The server that EphBlog resides on it getting an upgrade of several key bits of software that make it tick. It will be taken down at 11am (EST) on Tuesday the 4th and “should” only be down for 15 minutes.

This will give key upgrades to the FreeBSD OS that it runs on, as well as the MySQL database, the PHP engine, and Perl among other things. This will provide improved security, slightly better performance in some areas, and easier programming of some of the server side things that I do.

Fingers crossed that it breaks as little to nothing as possible.

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New post/comment notifications

EphBlog has had multiple requests to have the ability to send out a notification e-mail each time there is a new post. There have been similar requests for comments.

There was a small problem in the post notification, which I think I have now cleared-up, so I apologize to those that had asked be receiving notifications in the past and apparently were not getting the notifications.

As for comment notification, on every post – at the bottom – there is a way to subscribe to the post without having to actually comment if you don’t want to.
I haven’t yet worked out a way for it to automatically always e-mail those on the notification list.

The next version of MovableType (3.0) will supposedly have a lot of the features that we are looking for, and make it easier to use.

If all of this was gibberish to you – you don’t need to worry about it in order to still enjoy the site… which is something key to consider anytime I post.

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Site News: Comment Notification

There have been requests for e-mail notifications on new posts to the site, as well as e-mail notifications sent out if/when someone replies to one of your comments.

If you want to get an e-mail notification every time there is a new entry on the site – there is a mailing list that we can put you on for that – e-mail me requesting that and I will add you to the list.
(it should go without saying that you won’t be spammed by us – you are just added into the notification list for the Movable Type engine on this site – when there is a new entry, it e-mails everyone on that list and tells them)

As for notification for comments – I am in the process of adding a plugin to our site (MT-Notifier) that will allow us to opt-in/out of being notified about comments on any given post – whether you have posted a comment on there or not.

I haven’t tested this at all, so as the installation is going into place over the next few minutes/hours, be aware that it might do something strange – if you see odd behavior aside from me posting up stuff about prostitutes, then rest assured that it is likely do to the installation process of this new stuff.

Also note that we have a snazzy new button related to it in the sidebar.
And there was much rejoicing.

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EphBlog mobile access

For those of you that like to check up on your Eph news while out and about, then you might be interested in our mobile access page.

I like to think of it more as what EphBlog would’ve look like 10 years ago.

There are no images, no styles, no replying, and no right-hand sidebar. It is just straight up HTML formatting, so your mobile platform can do with it what it likes.

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RSS feeds galore

As Shimon Rura pointed out – we have an RSS feed (we actually have a few).

For those of you that use such things, here are our various links. (truthfully I only use the RSS 2.0, so please let me know if the other ones are not working properly)

On a Mac I highly recommend “NetNewsWire Lite” – perhaps the heavier version is even better, I haven’t used it. Sorry, while I do admin a Windows network at work and have used Windows for years, I don’t know about Windows apps for following RSS feeds, so you are on your own there.

(I’ll also be adding icons for the Atom and RSS 2.0 feeds over on our sidebar in a few minutes. I encourage everyone to hold their breath until then. Good times.)

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Testing the export functionality.

Testing the export functionality.

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