Help MediaGoblin take back the web!

MediaGoblin is a publishing system for the web, it can host all your media of any kind (like a YouTube + Flickr + SoundClound + more that anyone can run!). Plus it’s free software, so you can run it and adapt it to your needs. Want to help the project towards federation and privacy features? Check out their fundraising campaign!

All the files! FAQ

Here are some answers to common questions about ownCloud and personal clouds (ha, I used that term!) in general, and All the files! in particular.

Just to clarify, you are providing an ownCloud front end which I can use with the backend storage in my own Rackspace account?

How it plays out is that I am hosting an ownCloud instance, and you get a gig of space. Then you can mount your own storage as a directory. I point that out, because it means that your storage is at least one directory in.

I have the same setup, and I mount multiple containers in Cloud Files (Rackspace’s branded Swift service), for different things like photos and music. In case you were wondering how serious I am about running the site, I share my photos directory with Susan through ownCloud so she has access to all our babby photos. ^_^

I would like to host ownCloud on a Raspberry Pi. Is that possible?

It certainly seems like it is possible. If you want to try that out, make sure to check out Pagekite, for putting it on the web.

I am thinking of dropping Flickr for ownCloud. Advisable?

That depends on what you are using Flickr for, but there is only really one scenario that ownCloud replaces Flickr: if you are sharing private photos with a small group of folks.

If you want to share photos with folks on the public web, you want MediaGoblin. I run an instance for my family (soon to include our tribe), and I use Rackspace Cloud Files for storage.

If you are looking for a backup solution for your photos, then I recommend using your operating system’s preferred backup software. I use Duplicity (found in many GNU systems) to backup my files to a local server at my house, which I backup to a Rackspace container. I do that because we also backup other computers, and it is easier to have those backups at home for our setup. Before that I just backed up my computer directly to Cloud Files.

Check the next question for more on backups and ownCloud.

I have a ton of photos! Can I back them up on

Nope! ^_^

You should not use my instance of ownCloud for backing up files; it isn’t a great way to do it. ownCloud is great for sharing files between private groups, and even has some features that let you publish it publicly. However, there should be a backup system under it, and I do only the basic amount of that, in part because my files are already backed up elsewhere. If you want to use ownCloud as part of a backup system, you should set that up, or you can pay me to do so.

There is another reason that you shouldn’t use All the files! for uploading a huge amount of files to your own mounted storage backend: I pay for the bandwidth. If you upload 40 gigs of photos and then sync that to another machine, then I end up paying for 160GB of bandwidth (40 to my server, 40 to your backend, and then again the other way). I would prefer not to do that. I don’t think it will be a problem, and if anyone uses so much bandwidth that it catches my attention, I will just ask them to stop. Not a huge deal.

I am looking into how exactly the backend storage system works, to see if we can get around that, but that is how it stands at the moment.

If you have any other questions, please contact me or leave it in a comment. ^_^

Learning to code

I am learning to code. It is scary.

I’ve wanted to program for years, most of my life, actually. The furthest I’ve gotten is some tiny BASIC programs, and bash scripting. Someone mentioned to me that for a person with such strong opinions about software, it is odd that I don’t write any. I agree.

Choosing a programming language to learn is tough. Everyone will like their language, which means that there are very few people who could assess your interests and make a recommendation. It is also compounded by the fact that I have dealt with various languages for a long time in my webcraft, so I have my built-in biases as well.

I’ve gotten my list down to a few, all of which I intend to learn at least the basics. They are, in order of focus: JavaScript, Lua and Python.

JavaScript, because I feel like I can get by okay without writing my own code, but it would be neat to step up my game in webcraft, and start applying it to other platforms, aka webapps on mobile devices. Every vendor is trying to make the web feel like it is native to the device it is on, and I would like to be in on that. I have ideas for games that can be done by the technologies we mean when we use HTML5 as a buzzword. Also, I think node.js is really cool, and makes it so JavaScript has a pretty complete feature set for me.

Lua, because it is used in a lot of games, is becoming a scripting language used in MediaWiki, and what Prosody is written in (I’ve always wanted to write a jabber dice plugin, nothing works the way I want it). I have a lot of ideas for using Semantic MediaWiki data, and Lua is another tool, and potentially very powerful at that.

And of course there is Python. I want to learn Python for various reasons, but the most important one is probably because it feels like something a hacker knows. I use it everyday, a surprising amount of GNU/Linux desktops use a lot of Python just beneath the surface. There is also MediaGoblin, pygame, and Ren’Py, all of which I would like to contribute to eventually.


My reservations are that coding makes my life difficult, specifically, I can’t sleep. My hope is that therapy and perhaps medication will help me get pass the early barrier where I can’t focus on a language any more, and have to stop to get my life together.

I am able to point that out because since we found out were we going to be parents, I’ve been researching my brain (well, various brain sciences, not mine in particular) to figure out why I am the way I am, and how I can mitigate some horrible traits of mine so they aren’t transmitted to Clover.

Well, it turns out that they aren’t horrible, and that I have various symptoms of ADHD, as well as the behaviors that come from compensating for them (like low self-esteem, or the feeling that I am too lazy or stupid to learn how to code).

I am learning JavaScript first, because it is something that is strongly integrated into my daily work, I am somewhat familiar with how it works, and I hope that helps me ease into it when I am feeling desperate and stupid.

If you know me, and you know any of these languages, I could use the support when I ask questions, and recommendations on where to start. So far I am doing the JavaScript tracks on Code Academy and going through Eloquent JavaScript, which I find easy to read and understand.

I hope one day I look back on this post and am all like, “d00d, you killed it! You made that one awesome game, and you mentor others! And it all started here.” Because I like totally talk like that. ^_^

Ack, photos!

I am exploring how to post photos of my babby in a way that makes sense.

I take a lot of photos everyday. It is part of being a parent, I am sure. What I mean is, I take a lot of photos of Clover every day. I haven’t really posted any since August. That means hundreds of photos that need to be processed. This post will be how I publish/share them, and another one will be how I tag and store them.

I have this MediaGoblin site. It is great, and always getting better (and could use your help with a donation, by the way!). The thing is, it doesn’t have a specific feature that I need, which is the ability for folks to comment without having an account. My instance is kinda borked as it is, I honestly don’t even know how to create new accounts, but I don’t want to either, because one day it will federate, and I want folks to go get their own instance (and by that I mean I want to install it for them ^_^).

There is also the matter of content; I don’t want to post every photo I take on that site. I want it to be partly stream of delight, but also kinda be the best of the best. It makes more sense when you realize that I basically make stop-frame animation with the sports action setting. Capturing a magic moment of an infant/toddler requires 5 shots a second! I don’t want to flood the site with so many photos that look the same if one squints at them.

Taking those together, and influenced by my work/play with WordPress, it made sense to set up a site with those multi-shot sessions in mind. And so A daily dash of Em came into existence!

A quick aside, I frakin’ love wordplay, as much as typography! ^_^

The two sites have different foci. The MediaGoblin site I’ve described above. For emdash, I wanted to use it as a daily journal capturing Clover’s development, but also leveraging all the great gallery tools that WordPress has for posting photo sequences. Like for when Clover drinks water.

I think MediaGoblin will get there one day, with the galleries and all that, but it isn’t a journaling tool in the way I need, and that is what I needed for keeping up with this little one. I am sure I will figure out how to merge the two sites so it is easier to find all the photos of Clover.

In my next post I will talk about how I allay my paranoia about losing photos using complicated computer skills that will likely not be very helpful to other folks. ^_^

始め: complexion

Introducing (the idea of) my theme framework premise. Complexion, all open and free and stuff. Because I am choleric like that. ^_^

A while back I asked about licensing themes for different web software. I haven’t moved much further on it, but I would like to talk about it. The idea is a theme framework I call complexion.

The idea is that I would create a layout style that could be used as a theme for the various software I use on my site. So, just off the top, that means WordPress, MediaWiki, StatusNet, and MediaGoblin. I am sure I missed some other CamelCase‘d software, but those the ones that come to mind. I would like to be able to have a unified look and feel when switching between these instances, something beyond a favicon or header (neither of which I employ).

The name comes from the classical Greek understanding of complexion. I want to have a rolling series of layouts, where the articles, header, footer and sidebars are changing over time. Then, I want to have five color schemes, one a minimalist canvas, and then four to go by the temperaments: choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic, and sanguine.

I’ve been looking at responsive frameworks to base these on, and since I use it the most, I will start with WordPress. As I develop this further I will put everything in a public git repo, and I will of course license it as liberal and copyleft as I can. I am choleric like that.

Comprehensive Spam Digest

Another spam digest! Be amazed the wide range and interests of those who clog the resources of the internet with their unsolicited messages!

It’s that time again: Spam Digest! It has been a while since the last one, so in the spirit of catching up the theme is comprehensiveness!

Just a sampling of my current junk folder demonstrates the breadth, if not depth, or topics that folks want to inform me about. Let’s get into it!

Felix MCALLISTER writes:

Good morning,
as reqeusted I give you inovices issued to you per february (Internet Explorer format).

Wow. I had no idea I had such specific request. I am assuming that by “Internet Explorer format” you mean “broken and janky conditional statements to fix corporate bullying on the web”. I would be happy to go over the “inovices”, which I think is short for innovative vice, but alas, I don’t have a copy of Internet Explorer, so I can’t explore that particular vice. Also, maybe you should learn to link or attach files, since you didn’t actually send anything…

Best-Penis is happy to share:

MaxGentleman Enlargement Pills have been featured across major media outlets around the world, including ESP and Fox News, with dozens of positive reviews.
This is the only Male enlargement supplement that has been PROVEN in clinical trials to enlarge your penis – safely, quickly, and importantly – PERMANENTLY.

Where to start? First of all, while I have basic ESP, I only get like, four channels. And I mute commercials. But you seem honest, so I will trust that you have at least 24 positive reviews.

However, none of that matters, because your marketing terrifies me. Why did you shout “permanently”? Are you messaging me through an AOL account? Why would you be so interested in the permanent primary qualities of my genitalia? That is just… creepy.

Listen Mr./Mrs./Miss Penis, I think you need to reevaluate your sales pitch. Maybe tone back your enthusiasm for Max-ing Gentlemen, or try engaging in some social media outreach. I hear Facebook is good for this kind of thing.

Photoshop Update wants me to know about:

Hello Software User !!!The Popular Titles, Flash and more at Photoshop Update

Hello Software User !!!The Just Released Software, MasterSuite 5 and more at Photoshop

and finally

Hello Software User !!!The Latest Titles, Creative Suite 5 and more at Authorized Adobe

Well, PU (may I call you PU?), you got me! I am totally Software User. I couldn’t afford to have all my e-mail transcribed to small cards delivered to me by Sebastian, so I am doomed to be the User you refer to, just to continue our correspondence.

Let me thank you for informing me of the popular, latest and just released software titles! Please tell me how I can get in on this. I am afraid I am rather antiquated, I am still using the ol’ apt-get install method. I don’t hear about the latest releases except once a day when my computer automatically checks the public repositories where all my current software comes from. But your way sounds groovy! Just to be sure, all those titles work in GNU/Linux or a web browser, ne? Sorry for asking, I just had a memory from a long time ago, and I feel like I’ve dealt with this before. Oh well, it couldn’t have been that bad.

Darla whispers:

Hey there How are you doing? I enjoy most of your profile.

Would you like to check out my own non-public photographs?

Wow, that is quite a revealing photo you sent along with your message. Is that yoga? Is it difficult to take self-shots while stretching like that?

I have to say, I am kinda taken aback. By “profile” I am assuming you are referring to my about page. Which part of it did you not “enjoy”? Is it the photo? Because that isn’t yoga. It really doesn’t represent how limber I am. On the other hand, I am wearing sheer undergarments (I just don’t show them off like you).

At any rate, thanks for the offer. I don’t normally go for “non-public” photos. Do you have anything licensed under a Creative Commons license, or maybe a MediaGoblin instance? That would be really handy!

RuneScape convivially informs:


It has come to our attention that you are trying to sell your personal RuneScape account(s).
As you may not be aware of, this conflicts with the EULA and Terms of Agreement.
If this proves to be true, your account can and will be disabled.
It will be ongoing for further investigation by JAGEX Entertainment’s employees.
If you wish to not get your account suspended you should immediately verify your account ownership.

Listen RuneScape, as I’ve already informed you, I already sold my account. Therefore I can’t technically verify my account ownership. I am not sure why you still have my e-mail address, it should be changed to that of the gold farmer I sold it to. Also, I didn’t technically switch ownership. See, in your EULA, you don’t actually require a natural person to agree, so of course I used a corporation to create the account for Killaz6969. Then I merely exchanged ownership of the corporation for Bitcoin, which as we all know is not really money.

My point is, please remove me from your mailing list, your game sucks.

USAA Web Services asks:

Is your lack of a degree holding you back from career advancement? Are you having difficulty finding employment in your field of interest because you dont have the paper to back it up even though you are qualified? If you are looking for a fast and effective solution, we can help!

I am doing okay, but I know people looking for a change, so maybe I should point them your way. You peeps are the ones doing the Open Badges, right? Like, you are creating an alternative educational system, where people are acknowledged for what they actually know, and it allows for people to learn in a more natural way, while also letting employers, companies and collaborators parse through qualified candidates in a meaningful and efficient manner?

You are working with the Mozilla Foundation on this, ne?

Cupid Happiness relates:

Rogero, much moved by this intelligence, entreated her to take off her helmet, and at the discovery of her face remained transported with delight. While absorbed in this contemplation, an unexpected danger assailed them. A party which was placed in a wood, in order to intercept the retreating Christians, broke from its ambush upon the pair, and Bradamante, who was uncasqued, was wounded in the head.

Well, I’ve got to say, this is one way to sell Viagra. If I were to make a single critique, the primary protagonist seems inconsistent. Unless you are speaking in metaphor, the catharsis achieved upon seeing a person’s face, in a world I can only assumes requires that people where helmets from birth, is broken by the gang I am gonna call the Lions for obvious reasons. However, in the ensuing violence, the uncasqued Bradamante receives a wound to the head. How is it that Rogero could have gone from contemplative to belligerent in the course of a single ambush? Where is the character’s drive, what are eir goals?

Sorry, I just can read the five other paragraphs that follow in your message. However, I would like to offer my professional services as an editor to you. Get in touch.

Ming Yang solicits:

I am Mr. Ming Yang, Director of Operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sai Wan Ho Branch, Hong Kong, I am seeking your assistance in helping me receive a large amount of money and in giving a clear research and feasibility study on areas I could invest on.

Um, like, you just want to borrow some money? Do you have a blog I can just Flattr or something?

Well, that is it for this digest! I hope you are able to appreciate the range of subjects my correspondence brings me. It isn’t all pr0n and boner pills. It is also software piracy, preying on the uneducated, money laundering and just a bit of semi-erotic micro-fiction! ^_^