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by Brian Schrader

Patreon

Posted on Tue, 31 Mar 2015

This week I took to signing up for a Patreon account and finally supporting my favorite video producers. Its exciting to see them getting due payment for what they create, and Patreon makes it really easy to be a patron, and the benefits are awesome.

One of my favorite series Extra Credits, a normally video games oriented series, create a mini-series a year ago called Extra History, where they told the story of the Punic Wars in their typical educational fashion. That mini-series is easily in my top 5 of the videos they've ever made, but they couldn't justify continuing the mini-series because their main sponsor was a gaming magazine. With Patreon, that has changed. Direct funding from their viewers means there's enough interest in Extra History to justify more and more videos, and its great.

With direct support supplementing ad sales, creators can make judgements based on interest instead of solely on popularity. This means they can make more of the kinds videos that they want to make, instead of what will just be popular. If you haven't already, take a look at Patreon. The amounts you can sign up for are trivial, but they make a difference.

Microblog Crawler Diary: Signals Follow Up

Posted on Tue, 31 Mar 2015

Well, saner heads have prevailed. Microblogger will not rely on sending OS signals to alert the crawler of new messages (it was a terrible idea anyway). Instead, the crawler will ping the web server on a private URL periodically to get new messages. The implementation details have not been solidified, but I do like this solution a lot more than the terrible option of sending signals. Plus, this method is scalable to additional servers.

Thanks to Micha for the suggestion.

Priming the Pump

Posted on Tue, 31 Mar 2015

C.G.P. Grey recently announced that he will be posting his videos to iTunes and RSS in addition to putting them on YouTube. His move is part of a growing trend as more and more creators move away from relying solely on proprietary platforms like YouTube. Having videos on YouTube is great; having YouTube be the only place the videos live is scary, and it puts a lot of power in YouTube's hands.

More and more I'm hearing bloggers, video producers, and musicians talk about going back to more open, agnostic systems like RSS and blogs. There's been a lot talk of reinventing blogging (*cough* Dave Winer *cough*) and of creators owning their own content. Microblogger for one, hopes to be an active participant in the push to open up the internet.

Together, we seem to be priming the pump for a resurgence of a more open internet, and that's exciting. With Facebook pushing harder then ever to trap other people's content inside its walled garden, and Twitter closing the doors on what developers can do with its API, a resurgence of the open internet is exactly what we need. We need to push for companies to use open standards, and open access to data, and we need to use them ourselves. Its time for the pendulum to swing back this way.

Roderick on the Line: Space Exploration is Human Nature

Posted on Tue, 10 Mar 2015

In the absence of an answer to the question, "Why?" all you can do is explore.

Magnificent episode. Really worth a listen.

  • 00.00 - Why?
  • 01.50 - One-way trip to Mars
  • 05.15 - Why? Exactly!
  • 07.39 - Reasons against space travel
  • 08.45 - Privatization of Space Exploration

Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality

Posted on Sun, 08 Mar 2015

An interesting take on why the new FCC regulations may be here to stay.

Looking to the future, there's one last thing that everyone might be wrong about. The general assumption is that the new rules will be met with fierce and protracted litigation (perhaps decades of it, warn the greatest doomsdayers). I've said myself that there will be litigation, and it is true that, in our times, most serious regulation is immediately challenged in court, almost as a kind of corporate reflex. Verizon and A.T. & T. have both already threatened to sue. But maybe this prediction is wrong, too.

Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality →

Microblog Crawler v1.3 Released

Posted on Sun, 08 Mar 2015

I'm pleased to announce that version 1.3 of the Microblog Crawler is now available on GitHub and PyPi!

To install use:

pip install MicroblogCrawler.

Release Notes

The big news: Version 1.3 is now multiprocessed!

Among other things, version 1.3 also includes a number of fixes and improvements.

  • on_item callback now includes the feed information as the second parameter. This is a breaking change in the API.
  • on_info callback now receives a dictionary response of all of the info fields in a given feed. Previous versions received a name, value tuple.
  • Multiprocessing now allows the crawler to process 4 feeds (or more if you override the value) at once.
  • Fixed a number of bugs that allowed duplicates.
  • Fixed an issue where feed crawl times may be inaccurately reported.
  • Fixed the timezone problem. Feeds without timezones are parsed according to their HTTP response timezone.

Added a bunch of 'Good Citizen' features like:

  • Added crawler user agent and proper subscriber count reporting to remote servers.
  • Crawler is now HTTP status code aware and static files will not be parsed if they have not been modified (HTTP 304).
  • Added automatic 301 redirection behavior and MAX_REDIRECTS
  • Added support for returning specific error codes from other HTTP headers.

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