marsden_online: (Blueknight)
I couldn't quite bring myself to deactivate the account, justifying it to myself as not wanting (the extremely unlikely possibility of) someone else to claim the username and abuse it. I have archived everything locally with BlogBooker* mass-set all the entries to private, stripped all the sidebar content except the links list which points to my active social media presences, and posted a goodbye sticky.

Livejournal was a massive part of my life/community for many years; I met and got to know better a number of good friends and acquaintances there, but sometimes I guess you have to move on. Thoughts drift back to when I finally cut ties to / was driven away from the Gamers, Ethics and Religion online forum I used to hang out in. I still wonder what happened to some of those people.

Next comes trawling back though and tidying up my old entries as imported to Dreamwidth, killing memes with long-dead links / images and updating links between posts. While those posts were still accessable on LJ it didn't seem important.

* I paid for time and books on BlogBooker and only used a fraction, so I have some spare if anyone would like me to do theirs as well.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
One of the few reasons I continue to maintain my LiveJournal account has been the FaceBook cross-posting extension (so posts go from here at Dreamwidth to LiveJournal, and them public posts go on to FaceBook). It works pretty well, but I've been meaning to find a way to cut LJ out of the loop so that people clicking on my FB links come to here instead of there. The final push came in learning that LJ now has it's hardware and thus it's data in an even more insecure location than previously.

I've also been meaning to investigate the If This Then That service for some time and multiple responses to googling for a pre-existing solution pointed there.

This solution will work for any blogging or journal service which provides an RSS feed of recent entries. (Find your Dreamwidth RSS urls here). This will only work to cross-post publicly published entries not friends-locked ones, but that doesn't matter for my use-case. The cross-post is not instant as IFTTT will only check the feed every so often; but should appear within the hour.

[Note: the below captures are displayed at reduced size for ease of layout]

1. Sign up for an IFTTT account and find your way to the My Applets page.

2. Click the New Applet button

3. Now the first time I visited this page I didn't even register that the blue "+this" part of "if +this then that" as displayed in this screenshot was clickable (damn flat designs) and followed the link below it instead, which was not helpful. So click on the +this - assuming the interface is mostly unchanged.

screen capture showing blue clickable area

4. Choose your service: the service you want is "Feed" (generally an orange-and-white icon with a dot and two semi-circles above-right of it)

screen capture including the RSS icon

5. Choose a trigger: I just used "New Feed Item", if I wanted to narrow it down for Dreamwidth I would set up the feed itself to only display particular tags rather than relying on the content to include a keyword.

At the next screen paste your feed url into the box and click Create Trigger. You'll be taken to a page displaying "if [RSS icon] then +that". Now it's more obvious where to click, we're learning.

screen capture showing blue clickable area

6. Choose your service: FaceBook. I think it was at this point I had to link up my Facebook account into IFTTT. Don't give it access to anything it doesn't need; and see step 9 to clean up these permissions from FB itself as there doesn't seem to be any way to edit them from the IFTTT end.

7. Choose your action: Create a link post.
At the next screen the Link Url field will be filled in for you, don't touch that.

the action fields screen

You can add what you like to the Message field, click on the +Ingredient button below it to add details from the post itself. After some experimentation with various post content and the EntryContent ingredient I gave up on that and just put a generic message about the source of the post in here. There were some issues around getting line breaks in the right places while stripping out html tags and dealing with journal cuts. Some of my posts can get quite long and I can see them copying over to FB in a very messed up way.

On that note: the link tag will pick up on an image you have in the content; it will not pick up your profile icon as a fallback. The short summary and the icon were the two things that I consider were better about the LJ implementation.

8. Click the "Create Action" button, wait for the page to update, leave notifications or turn them off as you wish (they only show up in your IFTTT dashboard, I'd leave them on for a while at least for debugging, you can come back and turn them off later) and then the Finish button. The applet will now be available in your My Applets panel.

My Applets panel

Click on it here to go to a larger view where you can see see it's status (bottom pane), manually run the check for new posts (bottom pane) or change the settings/delete (cog icon, top left)

9. Go to your FaceBook > Settings > Apps and click on the IFTTT icon to check what permissions IFTTT has actually received (they certainly didn't match what I thought I had allowed it). At minimum for this purpose it should only need the "required" access to your public profile and the ability to Post to your timeline. If you are pushing the posts to a page or group instead of your personal timeline it may also need permission to manage those. Also make sure it is posting with the level of access you told it to.

My IFTTT Facebook App settings

"Helpfully" once you uncheck items and save they disappear from display. I haven't found a way to get them back except theoretically by deleting the App from the FB end and re-establishing the link from IFTTT. In the course of my experimentation I did "Disconnect" and "Reconnect" from the IFTTT end but this did not give me the option to re-select permissions. It did delete the instance of the cross-posting app I had created with no warning though :( So beware of that.

Now the last thing I need to dispense with LJ entirely is a reliable way of backing up Dreamwidth locally. Currently I still use LJArchive (from the LJ cross-posts) but I haven't had any luck getting it to reliably talk with DW.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Looking back on 2013 as per usual I wrote more in my journal when sad and was too busy getting on with life when I wasn't, however FB did get updated regularly regardless of mood. FB is however rather more ephemeral, especially with the amount of links I push through, so it will be good to have some more things recorded here.

Overall 2013 was
- the year I started anti-depressants
- the year I stopped being self-employed
- a pretty good year even if it didn't feel like it so much in the throes of NYE party blues

Overall 2013 involved
- a lot of photos
- a lot of time / events at the Hall
- a lot of board gaming
- weekly ups and downs

monthly )
Goals for the coming year .. it's 2am in the morning. I'll write that post later.
marsden_online: (write)
Last week Public Address put out an appeal for donations not just towards keeping the server lights on but towards keeping the site owner/manager paid. The latter bit was new, the former happens periodically. Aggregated I probably throw $100-$150 at PA a year (or would like to), that's probably comparable to the cost of a quality dead-tree subscription (I really have no idea.) That is a measure of the value I see PA providing as a current events forum and community.

Comparatively I did not sign up with the NZ Herald when they experimented with a paywall a while back regardless of the amount of personal value I was finding find in their site because they were locking the content away from everyone else. (And signing up for a subscription / having to log in to see stuff / just seemed too complicated. There's a low but non-trivial barrier there.)

I repeatedly refuse to take out a subscription to The Press (local dead-tree paper) when the telemarketers call because I have no interest in the bulk of the content, even though it would leave me better informed on local events and I do eagerly read the interesting parts of the paper whenever I happen across a copy. I would probably subscribe to a pdf version of selected sections delivered to my inbox daily.

Back to PA - some discussion surfaced over there about how to pay for "the good stuff" in general - not just stuff that brings value to the individual but that adds to the entire conversation. Or provides the forum in which to have the conversation, which PA excels at. As Russell sums it up (emphasis mine)
But there is another model. The subscriber radio model. My readers don’t actually need much persuading that the argument for paying so that everyone can have nice things is a strong one. In the past two years, I’ve made more from asking them for a contribution than I have from advertising. Keith Ng has also had some success in asking readers to crowdfund his stories – after he’s published them.

But this needs a permanent structure, and it needs to work for all of us. One solution I see is this: a simple, voluntary subscription system which can be joined by any New Zealand website or blog at one end, and any reader at the other. In concept, it’s simple.

As a means of funding advertising just doesn't cut it, especially for the niche sites and site-specific subscription models / paywalls only seem to work if you have a (large) critical mass of subscribers who find personal value in what you deliver.

But the things I find myself paying for in something like a subscription manner are those that match the bit I emphasised in the quote above - those who can afford contribute so that *everyone* can have nice stuff, and can hopefully be secure in the fact that should they fall on hard times they (which includes quite a bit of "I") will still have access to those services.

This is the model Livejournal used to have before it was sold to someone who wanted to make a profit from it and the model Dreamwidth is emulating since it opened up basic accounts.

Wikipedia is another site that I consider "new-media" which I contribute to periodically. And I have put my bit towards crowd-funding other initiatives like NWZ

Heck even the photo-hosting I pay for is to ensure others continue to get use and enjoyment from my putting them out there, off-site backup is a bonus.

I'd happily pay for the things FaceBook does well - essentially providing hyper-local news about my social circle and event management - as long as it meant that my friends also continued to be able to use the service and were treated a little less like "product". I'm not sure how much I'd be willing to pay; maybe around that $100 a year; maybe up to $300 in small chunks. That might sound a lot in this digitally priced age but remember conceptually I would be paying not just for me, and it would still be less than a dollar a day.

There is certainly a personal use component - Twitter or Tumblr could both operate on the same model and at the present time I wouldn't "subscribe" because I don't use them a great deal although I have accounts and follow some people who surface interesting stuff. But I'm certain there are plenty of people who would.

Another model I saw some time ago - and I can't remember what it was called now - was a Tip jar model where you paid in some amount each [time period] and sites authors could embed a click widget - at the end of the [time period] however much you had put in was divided among the people whose content you had found valuable enough to 'Tip' on. As I recall the service folded because of not reaching critical mass.

And that is really the rub when it comes to setting up a mass provider/subscriber model. Not only do you need the people willing (and able) to pay for the greater good and the people willing (and able) to help generate content with value (including the work of maintaining the spaces/communities where good conversation happens around the content) you need to strike the balance where they break-even. I say break even because I don't think there is a for-profit model here. Instead you have people being paid for producing content, people being paid for maintaining communities, developers being paid to improve those communities with new features, web-hosts being paid to host them .... quite a lot of people (hopefully) making a living, quite a lot more people getting value from the work they do, and really what more do you need?
marsden_online: (Default)
So there was just one little hiccup in moving to Dreamwidth - the importer refused to bring over the 10 years worth of comments.

I filed a support ticket and after a little to-ing and fro-ing [personal profile] fu has found and fixed the bug (and [personal profile] misskat has been more than generous with DW points in "compensation"). Thanks Dreamwidth team :)
marsden_online: (Default)
So since
- LJ completely screwed up one of the main things I'd been paying them for
- and are in the process of breaking another, and more
- and not a lot of my friends post here any more any way

... I've taken my money and my posting to Dreamwidth. Public entries at least will still be cross-posted back to LJ - I'm not sure if that will work for friends-locked entries.
See you on the flip side.

(This also means that when my paid time expires you'll start seeing ads on the journal. That's another thing I was paying them not to have, sorry.)
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
It's been an odd sort of a week for me. I've been waking early, getting stuff done first-thing or going into the office, spending quite a bit of time at work (average 5+ hours a day billable), getting more stuff done in the evening. Almost like a fully functioning person.

I think it's the sunshine. Anytime the weather has turned grey over the past few weeks my energy and spoons have plummeted. Which is a valuable reminder of how close to the edge I still am. But the money looks good and desk/computer are back in the office-room (which I'm going to have to rename as not only am I no longer working from here I'm not bringing the big bookcase back in either so "library" is also no longer appropriate); I have a 3rd screen on the computer and as a non-Civ distraction have Diablo II working after a fashion. Various other longstanding minor tasks have been dealt with and I am slowly working on the annual housekeeping (cleaning out cupboards etc).

Obviously haven't moved my journalling yet - I want to complete the Kiera's Thoughts series here before doing the big import and while I did get one knocked out this week there are still at least 2 to go. I may not get one doe over the weekend - all the time at work has aggravated my wrists and I ought to take a break from typing.

I have just finished scrubbing the kitchen floor (which isn't kind on the wrists either) and have the contents of a hallway wardrobe piled about (there was an old spill of some description in the bottom which also needed scrubbing). Later today my parents will be in with a load of firewood and will likely take away some rubbish.

Still a bit groggy after a disagreement with dinner last night and 11:30pm + 4am alarms at the Hall last night. But aware that things are looking bright and want to remember how it feels.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
There was a note in my reminders today that it is my 10th anniversary of signing up for LJ. 10 years is a long time on the internet and it seems almost ironic that this comes as I am only a couple of procrastinated posts away from wrapping up here. (I have turned off the auto-renew on my paid account - it expires fully in January).

So what will this archive say about me to some future e-anthropologist? Looking at my tag list (tags hadn't been "invented" when I started but I did go back and tag many of my previous posts when they came to LJ) the biggest one is "life". And indeed this is the closest thing to a diary I've ever managed to keep. It is sporadic and incomplete, recording more of the bad than the good and there are certainly things there which time has mercifully buried in my personal memory. (For this reason I'm always cautious about reading randomly back through the archives myself.)

Breaking out more useful topics than life, blather and vent - photos (almost synonymous with party and kaos) of course, links (before Facebook and Google+ made sharing these so much more immediate - if even more ephemeral), family, material things (money, house, car and computer), rpgs and board games. Work. "To do" chronicles serious minutiae as I resorted to publicly presenting and crossing off the chores as a motivational aid. Angst and introspective and more recently "puzzle pieces" deal with self-consciously spitting out the pain, acknowledging and trying to figure out myself (with limited success).

Wider matters are spread among many tags - politics, economics, and the like but I have put quite a few words into some of these posts. Tags are a very imprecise measure of quantity or quality - the meme tag is still quite significant even though it has been years since memes were a thing on LJ. Many of those entries included external content which is now broken.

Some stats pulled from my logged-in profile.
3,354 journal entries
4,637 comments received
3,473 comments posted
172 tags
16 memories (never used this much)
7,017 photos (now mostly inaccessible due to LJ a) completely borking the transfer to a new scrapbook while b) dropping sub-galleries)
25 userpics

92 friends of which 76 are mutual and about 4 post with any regularity (another handful with some irregularity). A far cry from the day when my friends page could move at the same speed as my Facebook wall now does. "Also friend of" 30 accounts (which I'd lay money have no greater rate of activity on them).

I still need somewhere in my life to put all this stuff down. I've looked around a few times but nothing else has the same combination of features that LiveJournal has had - Facebook is a pain to read back and temperamental about what it shows your friends (even before the privacy issues). Blogger has recently introduced the ability to have a friends list of sorts but I don't think you make groups or limit who can see your posts. does sort of but no-one I know "lives" there. Tumblr for all that you can customise your posts page does not allow you to similarly modify the appearance of your friends page (dashboard) - and that is the page where I spend all of my time and that is the page anyone following me will see my posts in - it lacks personality.

This last is the change that LJ is about to force on all its users (but with a far less pleasant dashboard) and this is the change which is forcing me to leave.

Dreamwidth seems to be where it's at. Not where the people are at - a few of my friends have moved but I don't think even they post over there any more. Facebook and to a lesser extent G+ are where the people are. (Hmmm, I wonder if G+ has integrated blogger to the point you can push a post out to one of your circles. That might be worth another look.) Dreamwidth is an LJ clone/fork dedicated to keeping those feature which made LJ so damn useful in the first place. It will apparently let me cross-post the public stuff back to LJ so the people who come here looking for photos can still find them. It will let me import custom friend groups so I might even be able to cross-post back friends-locked stuff.

So long LJ. Thanks for being there all those times when I had no one to listen to my rants or my woes so that there was at least the illusion that someone might notice. Thanks for giving me that window into other peoples lives and thoughts that I could never get through meatspace interaction. Thanks for improving my typing speed and my writing style, thanks for teaching me how writing thoughts down can clear the head and bring insight or finally, closure.


Nov. 1st, 2012 10:10 pm
marsden_online: (skull)
Dear LJ, how long have I only been able to go back ~2 weeks on friends pages (mine and community eg [ profile] kaosians)

Barring unforseen circumstances attempting the move to dreamwidth this weekend. I've already transferred some of the feeds I followed through LJ to other applications and removed some inactive communities from my friends list while I was at it.

It's a bit of a vain hope that anyone currently using DW is still reading LJ to see this, but who do I know over there that I might want to add?

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