Marty McGuire

Recent Posts

Sat Jun 15

πŸ€–βœ€πŸŒΏ Gardening an IndieWeb webring

Are you a member of the πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ’ IndieWeb Webring? Perhaps one of many who have been confused to discover that member sites are not automatically removed when the webring links disappear from their site?

I'm pleased to announce that the webring will now be self-gardening! Webring member sites th-

Hold on, links to what now?

That-... is actually a good question!

In order for webrings to work, member sites have to link to one another, usually through the webring itself.

When you sign in to the πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ’ IndieWeb Webring, you see this prompt on your dashboard page:

Screenshot of a warning "to stay active, make sure these links are visible on your site", followed by a text area with HTML links to copy and paste.

These links should be copied and pasted into your site so that they appear on the page that matches your webring sign-in. For example, I sign in with my homepage https://martymcgui.re/, so I put my links to the webring on my homepage. They look like this on my site, but you can style them up to look like anything you want.

"An IndieWeb Webring πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ’" text flanked by left and right unicode arrow links.

The basic deal for most webrings is that, in order to receive incoming traffic from other member sites, you need to also display links back to the webring so a visitor can continue on their journey browsing sites from the webring.

If that's the deal, then when a member site goes offline, or removes the webring links from their page, the webring should no longer direct visitors to that site.

The IndieWeb webring tracks whether a site is "Active" or ... "Not Active" (ahem, Inactive). Active sites can receive traffic from webring visitors and, if you choose, appear on the Directory page. Inactive sites... can't do those things.

As the owner of an webring member site, you can sign in to the webring and your Dashboard page will show your site's current "Active" / "Not Active" status and the results of the most recent attempts to check your site for webring links. If you've made changes to your site, there's a "Check links now!" button on the Dashboard to scan for them again.

Okay that's enough background, I think.

Right, thanks. But actually no, there is more.

Initially, Active status on the webring kiiiiind of worked like an honor system. The first time you successfully sign in, your site is added to the webring and set to Active. From that point on, there were only two ways for your site to get marked as Not Active:

  • If you clicked "Check links now!" while your site was offline or didn't have webring links on it.
  • OR if I ran a "gardener" script that checked the webring links for one or more sites.

Since the webring came online in, um, 2018, I've only received a handful of nudges from folks who have been willing to track me down to the IndieWeb chat and complain. That led me to think this honor system was "okay" or "at least not so bad that folks are willing to jump through hoops to bring it to my attention".

That's definitely enough background.

Agreed!

So what's new?

Well, the honor system days are over! Which should be good for all webring member sites, I think.

I've built a little automated gardener that will periodically check member sites for their links. It's designed in a way that trends towards polling member sites about once per month.

For a new member site, it basically works like this: about an hour after you sign up, your site will be checked for links. If they're there, the gardener will check again the next day. It will check again a few days later, then a week, then two weeks.

Finally, as long as the links are there at every check, the gardener will only check once per month.

What happens if the webring links disappear from my site?

If the gardener finds that an Active member site has gone offline or lost the webring links, the site is marked Not Active. It's checked again the next day, then a few days later, then a week and then two.

Finally, the Not Active site will be checked once per month for 3 months. If the site stays Not Active that whole time, the gardener will stop checking and the site owner will need to sign in to re-check links manually if they want the site to become Active again.

What happens if I put the webring links back on my site?

If the gardener finds that a Not Active member site has their webring links back, the site is marked as Active and the schedule resets. The gardener will then check it the next day, then three days later, then a week, then...

Okay, got it!

Woohoo!

Why now, though?

Oh dang, that's a good question.

I've found the energy and space to start working on the webring again, including some possible projects like those I listed in my last update. Before jumping into any of those, though, I want to feel like I can "trust" that the webring is taking care of itself and its visitors. That means not sending folks to sites where the owner changed their mind about being a webring member or, worse, lost sites, and keeping track of active sites on its own!

Can we see the code?

Sure! The bulk of the updates are here on my git hosting. As with most things webring there's a little bit that's well thought out and some attempts at rigor followed by a rush of throwing things together when it appears near working.

I'm open if folks have suggestio-

Wait, I didn't actually want to look at code!

I put some words in your mouth, there, yeah. Sorry. πŸ™ˆ

Okay! That's it for now. As always, feel free to reply to this post on your own site, or feel free to drop me a line in the #indieweb chat (I’m schmarty there).

Fri Jun 14

This is now the official song of #caturday:

https://imanicoppola.bandcamp.com/track/clap-your-hands

I will not be taking questions at this time.

Sun Jun 9

An absentee webring steward returns

Are you a member of the πŸ•ΈπŸ’ IndieWeb Webring? Everything is fine! We are up to around 450 active sites, with more than 250 of those appearing on the webring directory page!

Okay so what is this update?

Ha! Ha. Reader, you see right through me. Since the last IndieWeb Webring update, an afficionado of IndieWeb, webrings, and PHP who goes by Von Explaino (aka Colin) reached out about collaborating!

He posted about his own updates in Playing with IndieWeb ring's code, and I posted a follow-up with my interest, and he shared his fork of the codebase and posted some ideas for future work. Look at this lovely back and forth discussion between our IndieWeb-powered sites! You love to see it.

That all started in, =ahem=, JULY OF 2023. After a slow email exchange between a patient Colin and a very embarrassed and tired me promising to take a look any day now, I eventually apologized for not having the energy to work on the web ring at that time, and around September we stopped corresponding.

The update is that there's no update?

No! Well, sort of? This weekend I finally made time to reading through Colin's updates and additions, especially focused around the PHPUnit tests that he added for the basic database logic and site fetching and parsing and link-finding code.

The tl;dr is: I've incorporated most of Colin's updates, hooray!

I want to see!

Sure! You can find today's updates to the code here on my git hosting!

I don't want to look at code! Show me what changed for webring members!

Oh! Fair enough. None of today's updates affect how the webring looks or works at this time. It's more like setting up support infrastructure around the way the webring works now to make sure that nothing breaks unintentionally during future updates.

Does that mean changes are coming?

Most likely! But all good stuff, I think. At the top of my list are:

  • Automating the "gardener" that checks whether active member sites have lost (or inactive members have regained!) their webring links.
  • The directory page sure is getting unwieldy with so many profiles on there. It could use some improvements.
  • General design and navigation cleanups.
  • I've seen some interest in having the webring be a "true ring" - with deterministic next / previous links. I'm open to this but I want to keep it simple. (And I'll probably want to shake things up every once in a while!)
  • I've seen some interest in using the active member sites on the webring as a "Who to Follow" for folks who are setting up their feed readers. I don't have it in me to maintain a "planet" feed that contains posts from everybody, but I could probably add some feed discovery so you can see which sites have clearly labeled feeds and maybe let you export an OPML list.
  • Oh! And I keep wonderi-

Okay! Okay.

Right, haha. That's it, for now. As always, feel free to reply to this post on your own site, or feel free to drop me a line in the #indieweb chat (I’m schmarty there).

Fri May 24
πŸ” Reposted https://werd.io/2024/the-ai-data-goldmine
post from The AI data goldmine
If I was a nefarious software company, here’s how I might be thinking:AI functionality tends to require that data is sent to a centralized service for processing.This is often data that is not being shared online in any other way that is easily available for analysis: existential …
Fri May 10

Don't get me started on Squarespace

I guess it was in early 2019 when Google announced they would be breaking thousands of development and test environments by making the ".dev" domain a thing (archive link to announcement).

Four years later they sold their entire Google Domains operation to Squarespace (archived).

And, yeah, I have two of these ".dev" domains registered and so this has now become my problem. And remains my problem! Here's the timeline so far.

  • April 1, 2024 - I receive my first "<domain> is now available in your Squarespace Domains account" email. I grudgingly sign in and confirm that this is real. I decide to wait until all (2) of my domains are in their system to do anything about it.
  • April 23, 2024 - 22 days later I received the second and final "is now available in your Squarespace Domains account" email.
  • May 9, 2024, I'm guessing 7pm-ish EDT - I start the process of migrating both domains to another registrar. The new registrar helps walk me through the process of unlocking the domain at Squarespace and requesting the required transfer code. To my annoyance, Squarespace informs me that they may take up to 24 hours to send the transfer code.
  • May 9, 2024, 11:15pm EDT - Squarespace sends the transfer codes.
  • May 10, 2024, 12pm-ish EDT - I enter the codes at the new registrar and pay for the transfer. About 15 minutes later, the new registrar lists the transfer as "Awaiting release from previous registrar." According to discussions I found in searching, this usually means there is a button to push on the old registrar's dashboard to approve the transfer. I check my Squarespace Domains account and cannot find any such button or indication that the transfer is happening.
  • May 10, 2024, 2:34pm EDT - Squarespace sends emails informing me of the pending transfer, including a "Review Request" button. Clicking on "Review Request" takes me to a page where I can cancel the transfer, but no feature for me to approve the transfer.
    • I visit the Squarespace Domains dashboard for these domains and again there is no indication that the transfer is happening, much less a way to quickly approve it.
    • Upon closer reading of the notification emails, I find the text: "If we do not hear from you by May 15, 2024, the transfer will proceed."Β 
Screenshot of a portion of an email. Text reads: Squarespace Domains II LLC received notification on May 10, 2024 that you have requested a transfer to another domain name registrar. If you want to proceed with this transfer, you do not need to respond to this message. If you wish to cancel the transfer, please contact us by May 15, 2024, or click the button below. A large button reads Review Request. Further text reads: If we do not hear from you by May 15, 2024, the transfer will proceed.
Screenshot of transfer review request. Text reads: Domain Transfer Request. A request has been made to transfer your domain from Squarespace to another provider. If you did not make this request, you can cancel it and your domain will remain on Squarespace. A large button reads Cancel Request.

I guess Squarespace intends to sit on my domains for another 5 days, hoping I will fall for their deceptive pattern and cancel the transfer?

Update 2024-05-10 3:15pm EDT: lol I tried their chat bot

Screenshot of discussion with Squarespace Assistant. I have written: I would like to approve two outgoing domain transfers and complete their transfer away from Squarespace. The assistant replied: Domain transfers can take up to seven business days. This timing is out of Squarespace's control.

Update 2024-05-13 11:10am EDT: still waiting

Namecheap alerts. 'Domain is with another registrar. Awaiting release from previous registrar.'

Continue to watch this space? I guess??

Anyway, you asked.

Sat May 4

Are you peeking out during eternal Caturday?

Fri May 3
πŸ” Reposted https://mastodon.social/@alienmelon/112375826473131901
post from
aaaah πŸŽ‰πŸ₯Ή the Palestinian Relief Bundle just made
Thu May 2
πŸ” Reposted https://www.citationneeded.news/we-can-have-a-different-web/
Fri Apr 5
Map tiles © Stadia Maps © Stamen Design © OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors.
πŸ“ Checked in at IFC Center, New York, NY.

The People’s Joker time

πŸ” Reposted https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/at00sbh3yv/executive
Mon Apr 1
Two handheld game consoles rest on display stands 3D printed from black filament. Each stand consists of a rounded rectangular base with two arms to hold up the console. On the left is a GameBoy Advance with a clear plastic shell, appearing in profile. On the right is a GameBoy Color in a translucent purple shell with hot pink buttons.

Sliced a little extra off the bottom in FlashPrint. Nice and quick and the result feels sturdy with both a GameBoy Advance and a GameBoy Color!

Sat Mar 30
πŸ“— Want to read Rumo &amp; His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers ISBN: 9781585679362
Sun Mar 24
πŸ“• Finished reading Never Say You Can&#039;t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders ISBN: 9781250800015
Fri Mar 15

πŸ—“οΈ The Level Up with XP

Magnet Theater 254 West 29th St (btwn 7th and 8th Ave.) New York NY 10001
πŸ“† Add to Calendar: iCal | Google Calendar

Enjoy some improv delights at this indie showcase!

I’ll be playing in with Philip and his new group of Level Uppers (which is, I believe, not the actual name of the team).

Looking forward to it! And to seeing you there!!

Magnet Theater
254 West 29th St (btwn 7th and 8th Ave.)
New York City, NY 10001
Tickets $10: https://magnettheater.com/show/58197/

Fri Mar 8

NYTimes trying to prove that we cannot have nice things on the open web. 🀬

https://www.404media.co/nytimes-files-copyright-takedowns-against-hundreds-of-wordle-clones/

Per the Times’ complaint:

The Times’s Wordle copyright includes the unique elements of its immensely popular game, such as the 5x6 grid, green tiles to indicate correct guesses, yellow tiles to indicate the correct letter but the wrong place within the word, and the keyboard directly beneath the grid. Times’s Wordle copyright includes the unique elements of its immensely popular game, such as the 5x6 grid, green tiles to indicate correct guesses, yellow tiles to indicate the correct letter but the wrong place within the word, and the keyboard directly beneath the grid.

Wow, folks. Careful about how you place keyboards relative to grids.

πŸ“• Finished reading There Is No Antimemetics Division by qntm ISBN: 9798721503788
Thu Mar 7
πŸ“• Finished reading Translation State by Ann Leckie ISBN: 9780316289719
Thu Feb 29

Thanks to capjamesg and Jeremy Cherfas in the IndieWeb chat for the nudge to post something on Leap Day because - have I ever made a Leap Day post?

Fri Feb 23
πŸ“— Want to read Friend by Diana Henstell ISBN: 9780553253153
πŸ“— Want to read The World Wasn't Ready for You: Stories by Justin C. Key ISBN: 9780063290426
Sat Feb 17

Are your legs a bit restless during eternal Caturday?

Sun Feb 11
πŸ“— Want to read How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis ISBN: 9781668002841
Fri Feb 9
Map tiles © Stadia Maps © Stamen Design © OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors.
πŸ“ Checked in at The Biergarten at The Standard, New York, NY.

Outside seating getting harder to find. 🧣🧀

Thu Feb 8
πŸ“• Finished reading Blood in the Machine: The Origins of the Rebellion Against Big Tech by Brian Merchant ISBN: 9780316487740
Fri Feb 2
Map tiles © Stadia Maps © Stamen Design © OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors.
πŸ“ Checked in at IFC Center, New York, NY.

Let’s Argento! πŸ§™β€β™€οΈπŸ”ͺ

Thu Jan 25
Map tiles © Stadia Maps © Stamen Design © OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors.
πŸ“ Checked in at Bronx Brewery, New York, NY.
Tue Jan 23

Are you trying to reel it in during eternal Caturday?

Fri Jan 12
πŸ“— Want to read Rest Easy: Discover Calm and Abundance Through the Radical Power of Rest by Ximena Vengoechea ISBN: 9781797219479
Wed Jan 10
πŸ“• Finished reading Practical SVG by Chris Coyier ISBN: 9781952616365
Thu Jan 4
Map tiles © Stadia Maps © Stamen Design © OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors.
πŸ“ Checked in at New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY.