Solipsism Gradient

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The Reversible Net

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Jason Kottke is asking people to link to (and ping) http://reversible.org/kottke . OK; let’s see what happens…

In case you’re wondering, here’s an explanation about what’s reversible. Looks like the beginning of something interesting…

Dori Smith kindly did a trackback ping test for me. Thanks again, Dori!

It didn’t work; it tried to ping the permalink instead of the corresponding trackback ping URL. I installed a test blog using Movable Type and didn’t find out how to activate the automatic trackback feature (at least, not without reading the manual icon_wink.gif).

Manual pinging worked, however, and produced the entry you can see below. Tomorrow I’ll try RTFM and checking up on my autodiscovery RDF lines.

Posted by Guest:
RB’s Test Blog: (Re:#)

Here we go again

Yet another test of the new trackback system on Rainer’s weblog. This one with the MT bookmarklet – which, incidentally,

OK, I think trackbacks are working now. I’m generating the necessary RDF comments so others can autodetect my trackback ping URLs, and I’m posting the URLs themselves in the left margin of each post. These links aren’t meant to be clicked, but copied by whoever is pinging manually. Unlike many existing implementations, trackbacks are equal to comments and will be posted in-line with the normal comments.

I’m still working on automating part of my own pings to other sites, but it’s not a high priority thing… I’m using Movable Type‘s sample standalone implementation meanwhile.

By the way, installing this on Mac OS X (10.2.3) isn’t completely straightforward. The trackback code uses the optional LWP Perl module, which itself needs several other modules. As I’d never messed around with Perl before, it took me some time to find the modules on CPAN and learn the necessary Terminal commands.

I read several tips warning about the LWP installer overwriting /usr/bin/head. This didn’t happen in my case; apparently saying “no” when LWP asks if you want to install test programs skips that part.

Many thanks to Dori Smith for correcting some misconceptions I initially had about trackbacks, and e-mailing me several links about the subject.

Tips for new bloggers

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Dave Pollard writes about the loneliness of the new blogger:

So what can the new blogger do to salvage his (or her) self-esteem when, like the guy that sets up a snazzy new office, sends out flyers and then sits by the phone wondering why no one is calling, his brilliant new blog flounders at the bottom of the page-reads list, unloved and, worse, unread?…

He goes on to give excellent advice… thanks to Radio Free Blogistan for the link.

Topic Exchange

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Sébastien Paquet‘s weblog reminded me to look at Topic Exchange, which I’d been meaning to do for a couple of weeks. Basically, it’s a central database for trackbacks about a given topic… very interesting. I’ll be using it to debug my trackback implementation.

Slowly, I’m getting rid of several bugs in my phpBB code, and implementing new features.

Subscribing to a topic’s feed was crashing if the feed contained a poll; this has been fixed.

I’m implementing threading and trackback now. In preparation for this, the per-message “reply” button now copies the subject line – just like the “quote” button, but no quote is generated. In the next version, “quote” and “reply” will tie the whole thread together.

In contrast, the former top-level “reply” button now says “New Post” and will open up a new thread inside the current topic.

I’ve been getting some comments from people used to standard phpBB forums, mostly complaining about not being able to open new topics.

My intention is to slowly evolve phpBB towards a MovableType-like model. Since I’m the principal poster on this weblog and the forums, and other people post occasional comments and suggestions, this seems very convenient; I’m not interested in running a completely open forum with hundreds of topics.

So, I see my Forum Index as similar to a weblog’s categories, and the topics themselves as sub-categories. And the way I’ll do threads and trackbacks will make them similar to in-line comments on MovableType weblogs.

More bugs squashed…

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Found and fixed several bugs in the RSS code.

You can now subscribe to topics containing polls, and the RSS items have been cleared of superfluous <span>s and references to styles – simple old-style HTML tags are now used.

Also, the per-message “reply” button now works the same as the “quote” button, except that no quote is generated. In other words, it repeats the “Subject” line. In the near future, it will also keep a special thread index to keep all posts on the same thread together.

The former top-level “reply” button now says “new post”. It will open a new thread inside the topic.

In the works: threads and trackbacks.

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