(   )
                          (    )
                           (    )
                          (    )
                            )  )
                           (  (                  /\
                            (_)                 /  \  /\
                    ________[_]________      /\/    \/  \
           /\      /\        ______    \    /   /\/\  /\/\
          /  \    //_\       \    /\    \  /\/\/    \/    \
   /\    / /\/\  //___\       \__/  \    \/
  /  \  /\/    \//_____\       \ |[]|     \
 /\/\/\/       //_______\       \|__|      \
/      \      /XXXXXXXXXX\                  \
        \    /_I_II  I__I_\__________________\
               I_I|  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I_II  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I II__I  I     XXXXXXX     I
            ~~~~~"   "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fri, 13 Dec 2019

On 16 Years of Blogging

Congrats to 'The Boston Diaries' on 20 years of blogging [0]. It's even more amazing that that 20 years is available all in one place. I had to go into the wayback machine to figure out that my first blog post was on 12/19/2003 - so almost 16 years. I won't link to it as all my early blogging was not pseudonymous, but back then it was all technical topics on Linux and network security. I also switched platforms a lot. At first, I was using geeklog on a hosted server, which lasted two years (I was pleasantly surprised to see that geeklog is still around [1]). I then moved to self-hosted wordpress, then blogger (yeah, I have no idea either), then again to my own VPS with a custom install of pyblosxom. That takes me up to 2012, after which I pretty much stopped doing any sort of tech blogging. I did, however, maintain a gopher phlog [2] and motd site on and off from 2009 until now, but more on general life stuff than pure technical howtos. I've also had a gaming blog since 2013.

On formats - I wrote most of my early blog entries in HTML. My SDF motd site is the same - HTML entries, and I wrote a perl script to convert them to a text format suitable for phlogging, which is why many of the motd articles can be seen in the phlog. In retrospect, markdown would have been an easier way to go (I had to check, markdown has been around since 2004). Writing raw HTML can be a chore, and markdown can be used as-is for phlog entries, no translation required. I do write in markdown for my gaming blog - I use wordpress but keep the original posts in case I move platforms again.

What's interesting is that early on, I wrote mainly for an audience. I wanted other people to read what I wrote and comment on it or otherwise get some use out of it. I also wanted to dig up consulting business, and I always thought an online technical presence was the best way to do that. Nowadays I don't care about any of that and write largely for myself, although I do like to comment on other phlogs/blogs and in that way be part of a virtual conversation.

posted at: 20:30 | path: / | permalink | blog, gopher, meta, phlog

Tue, 26 Feb 2019

Native Gopher in Firefox

I was able to get gopher working again in Firefox using OverbiteNX [0], which basically allows native gopher rendering using an external network service. It's not hard - just a two-step install, one for the extension and one manual install of the network service called Onyx [1]. It's nice to browse gopher in Firefox now and again and not have to worry about rendering images or other binary formats. I find it preferable to using one of the gopher-to-web proxies, which don't correctly render all gopher sites.

posted at: 10:34 | path: / | permalink | firefox, gopher, overbitenx

Sat, 06 Oct 2018

Systemd and Gopher Tags

I'm so fed up with systemd. I tried recently to install gophernicus on my home workstation, Debian 8 (Jesse) - the first release they switched to systemd. Somehow the installer sets up a listening gopher server on IPv6 only, and the systemd interface is completely broken. I don't even want to spend the time to debug it, the CLI interface and config file layout is so awful. I think I'll install Devuan and say goodbye to systemd.

Solderpunk writes about tagged gophers [0][1], and Jynx is right [2][3] in that my gopher phlog engine Slerm [4] supports tags and tag searches natively. I agree a tag-search facility outside of any given client would be very useful, a nice middle ground between full-text and selector searches. Speaking of full-text search, I have a prototype of a full-text search engine I wanted to bolt onto Slerm, but I never finished the integration. Maybe I'll do that one of these days.

posted at: 18:24 | path: / | permalink | debian, devuan, gopher, slerm, systemd, tags

Thu, 10 Dec 2015

Making Gopher Search More Useful

The floodgap server has a decent gopher search service [0][1]. Unfortunately, it does not do full-text search. You can help make the search more useful by making your gopher filenames and selectors more descriptive. So, for example, say you create a gopher document on Linux security. Instead of creating 'sec.txt' name it 'sysadmin_tips_for_linux_system_security.txt'. Then you will see your document in searches for those component words. If you use a gophermap, create some nicely descriptive display text, something like 'Linux Security Tips for Sysadmins'.

Here is a concrete example - I posted the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels on my gopher site. The selector is as follows:

read more after the break...

posted at: 21:32 | path: / | permalink | gopher, search, tips, veronica

Fri, 16 Jan 2015

Slerm - it's Alive

With the switch to Gophernicus as the SDF gopher server, gopher moles became possible again. I talked about this before [0], but recently found the time to update my old dynamic phlogging software, slerm, so that it worked with Gophernicus. I am testing it and will release another tarball hopefully very soon. Here is the list of features from the original README [1]:

I haven't added any features, just fixed it up to work with Gophernicus as a real CGI script. It is a bit like a gopher version of Blosxom. I know from a recent thread on bboard that some do not care for gopher moles, but I have always loved the simplicity of CGI and think it is a good fit for gopher. I think having the ability for readers to leave simple text comments on a phlog is a nice way to foster the gopher community.

posted at: 07:12 | path: / | permalink | cgi, gopher, gophernicus, moles, phlogging, slerm

Wed, 17 Sep 2014

Time to Re-visit Dynamic Phlogging

For a few years SDF used the Bucktooth gopher server, which works fine but had some security issues that were very hard to fix given that server's design and the difficulty of testing.

In particular, this affected gopher moles (CGI scripts), as SMJ had disabled them due to security concerns. I and a few others mentioned Gophernicus, which SMJ was kind enough to install and which now powers the SDF gopher sites. It supports much of the CGI standard and was designed with security in kind. Now that we have mole capability back, I'd like to revisit Slerm [0], my gopher phlogging engine that was based partly on Germ [1], by wt. Last I checked Slerm did not work as-is, and will need some work. This would allow you to dump text files in a directory and have the phlog engine (really a gopher CGI script) display them in date order, broken up in pages, with links to archives and with tag and simple comment support (think Bloxsom for gopher). The latest version of Germ seems to support Gophernicus, so perhaps that is a good starting point.

posted at: 08:01 | path: / | permalink | bucktooth, cgi, germ, gopher, gophernicus, mole, phlog, slerm