October 01, 2005

Atom 1.0 Compliant!

Given that Atom 0.3 is now deprecated, I've finally gotten around to creating an Atom 1.0 feed for this blog.

[Valid Atom 1.0]


MovableType users might be interested in my Atom 1.0 template. Just replace "Josh Staiger" inside the rights element of the feed with your own name. Everything else should work automagically.

No need to worry if you're subscribed to my Atom 0.3 feed. I'll be serving both Atom 0.3 and Atom 1.0 (along with RSS, of course) for the foreseeable future.

In Site News, Technology and Software

Posted at 11:37 PM | Permanent link

June 27, 2005

Selling Out


Back when I was young and naive I told myself that I would not pollute the atmosphere of my site with advertisements so long as I was not generating enough traffic to surpass the base-level bandwidth allotment of my hosting plan.

Today this era comes to an end.

Given that Dreamhost now hands out 120GB of bandwidth per month at the low end, I cannot ever foresee exceeding this...but I've decided to run some ads anyway.

Why? Because money is the only thing that really matters.

Actually, while that may be true, I doubt that I'm going to make enough money off advertisements to buy a Starbucks Latte each month, but I am awfully curious to see how Google AdSense works, so I'm giving it a shot.

For now ads are only going on my blog archive pages and a select few project pages where I think they make sense. This should keep them mostly hidden from my regular readers and keep the Feng Shui of joshstaiger.org intact.

In Site News

Posted at 10:18 PM | Permanent link

May 31, 2005

Happy birthday joshstaiger.org

Today joshstaiger.org turns two.

239 entries and we're still kickin'.

Let's take a look at some stats since last July:

Aug 200463182932+
Sep 20042013913246++
Oct 20043303725705++++
Nov 20044550136345+++++
Dec 20046884759839++++++++++
Jan 2005175847164859+++++++++++++++++++++
Feb 2005250767242399+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mar 2005268260248149
Apr 2005249576224572+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
May 2005292224269453++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In Site News

Posted at 11:09 PM | Permanent link

April 12, 2005

New site design

My site has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis over the past few weeks, from this about a month ago to this, now.

Many of my original criticisms have been addressed, at least in part. I'm still tweaking things, but I think that I have reached a point where I am satisfied enough to feel comfortable turning my attention to other projects.

At very least, I think the new design is much more Zen than the old one.

Obvious influences include Mark Pilgrim and Philip Greenspun.

What do you think? Like it? Hate it? Suggestions? Does it display correctly in your browser? Let me know.

I'm also making the Movable Type templates behind the site freely available.

In Projects, Site News

Posted at 12:53 AM | Permanent link

March 25, 2005

On viewing this site in IE6

In response to my critique of this website, I've been informed that my site renders hideously in IE6. This has been going on for months. I apologize. I have brought shame to my family name.

I'm somewhat hurt that none of my supposed "friends" thought to inform me of this.

Or have I simply converted enough people around me to Firefox that I now live inside a bubble of hippie browser users? Hmmm...

In Site News

Posted at 05:55 PM | Permanent link

March 23, 2005

A critique on the design of joshstaiger.org

As I've been meeting more and more bloggers in person, I've also been becoming more and more self-conscience of the design shortcomings of my site.

Here are some of my own criticisms of joshstaiger.org (in rough order of importance). Feel free to add your own in the comments.

  1. I have no about page explaining who I am, and no prominent photo of myself (this is always the first thing I look for when I happen upon a new blog).
  2. Entries are not categorized, making it difficult for regular readers to find things they may recall reading in the past, and also difficult for new readers to get an idea of what I tend to write about.
  3. I have no site map. Thus, for instance, it would be very difficult to find the most popular service of my site, the Xanga RSS Fixer, by entering through the front page or casual deep link.
  4. A search box only appears on the front page. It should appear on every page.
  5. Visited links do not have a distinct color, flaunting users' expectations of the common web interface.
  6. The calendar on my front page is a waste of space.
  7. The recent entries links on my front page are a waste of space. Readers need only scroll down the page to see recent entries.
  8. The light grey text coloring used in different portions of the site (such as "Posted by") does not have enough contrast with the white background.
  9. Permanent links for entries are currently represented using the time the entry was posted. These should instead be explicitly say "Permanent Link"
  10. The light blue that I'm using for links could be a bit darker to contrast better with a white background as well.
  11. My temporal archive list is getting somewhat long and ungainly. This could be consolidated on a separate page perhaps.
  12. It is not obvious to the casual user what my XML syndication feeds are supposed to be. It would be helpful to take a page from Blogger's book and apply a special stylesheet to feeds that says something to the effect of "This is an Atom formatted XML site feed. It is intended to be viewed in a Newsreader or syndicated to another site.".
  13. My site is not fully accessible.
  14. My photo.net snipits use html that does not validate

I just wanted to say publically that I am very much aware of these flaws. I hope to fix them soon, and will be documenting some of the fixes as I implement them.


I have created a snapshot of this site's front page, circa March 2005:


In Site News, Technology and Software

Posted at 02:24 AM | Permanent link

February 10, 2005

State of the Weblog Address

My adoring fans are beginning to question my dignity for consistently allowing more than a week between blog entries.

11:43:25 edawg1701: I've been waiting patiently for the past 10 days for a another blog entry

I'm becoming increasingly aware that the ui for my site is retarded to the point of being unbearable. (Try to find the permanent link for each entry from the front page. I dare ya.)

I was pretty proud of myself for solving the comment spam problem using captcha, but now some asshat (thanks for the term, Jeff) has taken to spamming me with trackbacks. No big deal, right? I just turn trackbacks off for all my old entries one SQL query later and life is good... Except apparently there is a bug in MovableType that still allows trackbacks through, even if they are turned off for a given entry (it just doesn't visibly display them).

This will not stand!

At the Triangle Blogger's Conference this weekend, I'm fully expecting other bloggers to laugh and point.

In Site News

Posted at 01:04 AM | Permanent link

November 14, 2004

Website thoughts

The strictly linear nature of this website is beginning to get a bit unwieldily. Something will have to change.

In Site News

Posted at 11:41 PM | Permanent link

November 10, 2004

Contact Info

Taking a page from Philip Greenspun's book, I have decided to post my contact information in it's entirety: email, phone, and address (complete with map). I will be putting up directions to my house when I get the chance.

22:23:50 joshstaiger: email, phone, address
22:23:52 joshstaiger: it's all up
22:24:02 joshstaiger: guess we'll see how that works out
22:25:36 edawg1701: you don't mind having your address and number displayed
22:25:44 joshstaiger: nah
22:25:50 joshstaiger: what's the worst that can happen?
22:25:59 edawg1701: unabomber
22:26:13 joshstaiger: yeah, well he could look in the phone book (or buy my information from a telemarketer)
22:31:29 joshstaiger: I'd say the chances of the unibomber sending me a gift are about the same as a busty blond calling me or showing up at my house
22:31:40 joshstaiger: and as far as I'm concerned, those two things cancel each other out
22:32:17 edawg1701: it would be really funny right now if a busty blond showed up at your door
22:32:52 joshstaiger: yeah, but god hates me, so we don't have to worry about that possibility

In Site News

Posted at 11:29 PM | Permanent link

October 18, 2004

A little bit of remodeling

I'm redoing a few things in my site, so don't be alarmed if you suddenly see some funky color schemes.

Firstly, I have renamed my weblog from "Josh's Weblog~" to "Josh Staiger's Weblog~". This is all part of my coop attempt to become the number one ranked page on Google for a search of "Staiger". Damn you Staiger-Fahrrad! You will fall yet! (And yes, I realize that my linking to them is not helping the cause, but it's good for morale) The real reason for this change is that I think it makes my site title a bit more distinguished in RSS readers, Technorati, Feedster, etc...

Secondly, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.11. I was mainly hoping to take advantage of the new dynamic templating system, but it now appears that I won't be able to do that until I start using MySQL as my database on the backend. That will have to wait for another day for now, but I'm excited about the possibility of dynamic templates as it will make tweaking the appearance of my page much less of a pain in the ass.

Speaking of the appearance of my page, I have fixed the individual entry page so it no longer displays comments in a completely retarded manner. However, this fix is causing other CSS weirdness. Hence the all-white background for the moment until I have time to look into the problem.

On the topic of comments, even though it is entirely unsurprising, I am quite unhappy with the way that the number of comments I receive has taken a serious dive since I started using requiring a valid TypeKey profile. The good news is that I just noticed that MT-Blacklist is finally available for Movable Type 3.1 (another reason why I wanted to switch to 3.11). The bad news is that it is still in beta and on attempting to try it, it spewed forth all kinds of nasty error messages. I spent a few hours trying to hack it to get it to work, but to no avail. This, too, will have to wait for now.

I'm still curious to try a bayesian filtering solution for comments and there is such a plugin available for MT, but as the author of the plugin clearly states there are many problems with this approach at present, namely that unless you have a very high-traffic weblog, it is very difficult to get a sufficient volume of comments (both good and bad) to adequately train the system. There are some obvious solutions to this, I think, such as having a central spam corpus repository (or tapping into such extensive collections that may already exist for email). More things to think about...

In Site News

Posted at 01:57 AM | Permanent link

August 16, 2004


Comments have now been enabled if you register and login using Type Key.

I'm not terribly happy with this as a final solution. Ideally I don't want people to have to register, but this will have to do for now.

In Site News

Posted at 01:22 AM | Permanent link

August 15, 2004

I'm back and why pghoster sucks

Ok, so here's the deal. My old hosting company: pghoster.com majorly, majorly sucks. Over the past year that I've used them, their uptime hasn't exactly been stellar and their service offerings and willingness to respond to my emails have steadily gotten worse as time has gone on.

Around the end of July (right on my Birthday, actually, when I had meant to post a lengthy entry here reflecting on the past year), not only did my site go down, but when I tried to visit pghoster.com to figure out what was going on, I got one of those domain parking pages. I was not amused, and became even less so after receiving a bounce back from the pghoster.com support address. After that, I became downright pissed after sending three emails to the owner of pghoster.com with no response (I still have not received a response to this day).

My site finally came back up one day before I was supposed to leave for my vacation in Florida, but by that point, I had had enough. As soon as I noticed that joshstaiger.org was back, I downloaded all the content off my site and sent a cancellation notice to pghoster (which, of course, I have not received a response to - we shall see on my next credit card statement whether or not I will have to call Visa and tell them to withhold payment).

My site now resides at Dreamhost, and so far I have been quite happy. I'm still in the process of transferring some things like pictures over and getting my Movable Type templates and stylesheets squared away, but I'm mostly back - finally!

Pghoster - good riddance!!!

Some site news:

  • For those of you who I had mentioned "lending" webspace to (Amy Chan, Anders...), I now have more than enough, so let me know.
  • I'm leaving comments off for now because apparently MT Blacklist isn't compatible with Movable Type 3.0, and I had enough problems with comment spam even when I had MT Blacklist installed! Ugh. One of these days I would like to try my hand at implementing a Bayesian filtering system for Movable Type. We'll see if I can come up with a makeshift solution in the meantime. Will keep y'all posted.

Coming Soon:

  • Photo gallery (hopefully!)
  • Lots of entries about what I've been up to over the past month or so (hopefully!)

In Site News

Posted at 09:19 PM | Permanent link

May 31, 2004

One Year Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my starting this weblog. Taking a quick glance back at my very first entry evokes a serious case of deja vu.

It's funny to look back at that first entry and think about my hopes and dreams at the time, and what's become of my life since then...105 entries later.

Well, here's to another good year.

In Site News

Posted at 10:51 PM | Permanent link

May 31, 2003

Finally starting a blog...

Hello everybody. Welcome to my very own weblog. This is something that I have been meaning to start for quite a while now, but have never had the chance to get around and do. Now that it is summer and I really have no more excuse (no more papers or tests to worry about), I am finally getting around to doing it. I'm hoping that it will help with keeping in touch with people back home and keeping everyone updated on my shenanigans this summer ;)

For anyone who doesn't know (or care :), I'm currently in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I am working for IBM. I will be here for the summer (through mid-August).

In short, I just got finished going through five months of hell, but at least I have this to show for it:


It's quite a nice feeling to be able to pull that off in such an otherwise very negative semester (for other reasons).

I'm also very pleased that I managed to land this job with IBM. Getting away and meeting new people is exactly what I need right now. As of today, I have finished my second week of work, and things seem to be going very well right now. My boss, Andrei, seems to be an incredibly nice guy. I enjoy the work (so far they have me in software testing of Websphere Portal Content Publisher), and I'm meeting a ton of really cool people.

I went rock-climbing last weekend at Pilot Mountain (that mountain with the big bolder on top of it that I always remember driving past as a kid) with Jason (my cube-mate) and some other people. I have pictures from that trip that I will be posting in a little bit.

Right now it's nearly two in the morning, and I just got back from a small get-together at Christine Lee's house (a fellow IBMer and what a sweetie! :). I met a lot of really nice people there.

However, I'm not planning on sleeping any time soon. Why? Because I'm going skydiving tomorrow (!). I hope I don't die! :)

"Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?"
-- Epicurus

In Site News

Posted at 02:28 AM | Permanent link