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Current Topic: MemeStreams

MemeStreams Update
Topic: MemeStreams 11:37 pm EDT, Oct 14, 2007

The "Forward to a Friend" page has been removed from the site. This is an attempt to make MemeStreams a bit easier for new users to understand, by making the user interface more similar to email. You can now choose who you are forwarding a post to on the same page on which you compose it.

This change simplifies a few aspects of the site. In particular, there are now buttons throughout the site that give you one click access to the interface needed to send a MemeStreams user a private message.

As always, let us know if you have any feedback or if you run into any bugs.

Search engine problem fixed
Topic: MemeStreams 12:08 am EDT, Aug 11, 2007

The search engine problem has been fixed. To continue to gloat about our conviction to the MemeStreams cause I want to point out that some of this was fixed using the ssh client on my Sidekick while driving from Atlanta to Nashville.

Search engine problem fixed

The search engine
Topic: MemeStreams 1:38 pm EDT, Aug  9, 2007

Some of you have noticed problems with the search engine. I've actually written the fix, but its in a parrallels image on the hard drive of the mac I wrote about. That image is currently being uploaded out of my cable modem connection to a computer on the internet. With such poor upstream connections on cable modems I equate this to escaping a gravity well. It will take 48 hours to upload this image into the open net and maybe 4 to download it back onto someone's home PC. There are about 12 hours left in the transfer as of this writing. Hopefully the search engine will be back to normal by next week.

MemeStreams is OK again
Topic: MemeStreams 2:09 am EDT, Jul 30, 2007

If you attempted to use the system most of today, you saw a message from me explaining that the system was broke...

Immediately after my earlier post explaining the situation with the OIDs Rattle and I leapt into action with a major overhaul of the database schema and software. Oh how this brought back memories of being an admin. Totally unexpected computer work when you're supposed to have the day off and you have to get it done before you can do anything else. Waiting on development systems to reload while sitting on a speaker phone.... that disconnected manner of teleconferences that span hours while work is getting done.... Random breaks to grab coffee, or dinner, without hanging up the phone... Your eyes getting heavy as you strain your ears to make out the details of the television news which the party on the other end of the line is using for background noise...

We got it done. About 200 lines of new code written and 650 modified. Rattle even managed to work a fix in for the redirection on login and some problems with creating a new account, and I cleaned up some annoyances with the circle interface.

MemeStreams is back. Thank you for your patience, and please let us know if you notice anything strange about the way the site works (or doesn't work) over the next few days.

Things should be back to working normally, and in some places a little better than normal.

Everyone will need to log into the system again. If there are any problems with login, let us know. Since we were trying to push this fix out as soon as possible, it's entirely possible bugs have been missed.

(Soon we'll fix the problem where you can't reply to your own posts. I hope to have that gone within a month.)

MemeStreams is OK again

The OID Problem
Topic: MemeStreams 3:16 pm EDT, Jul 29, 2007

This morning a few links popped up on MemeStreams that don't work if you click on them. You get an error message which says "I could not find the proper URL based on the OID. You may have reached this page due to an error."

We realize that this is a serious problem. Unfortunately, it is not a simple to fix and it is going to take time.

When we first started working on this project back in 2001 we were completely green at relational database design, and we made a poor decision, which was to use a feature of Postgresql called "OID" which at the time was defined as globally unique for an entire database. Unfortunately, the Postgres team later decided that this was impossible, and change the definition of OID. In newer versions of the database, which we are running due to numerous performance enhancements, OIDs aren't globally unique, or even unique to a table.

At this point, unfortunately, we had a hell of a lot of code invested in OIDs. We figured it would be a long, long time before OIDs would end up repeating in our database, and so we could wait to change all of that code. Unfortunately, today, OIDs appear to have started repeating in the blog table far in advance of when we thought this was likely, as this table only has 44,000 entries. There are about 500 references to OIDs in our code, and in order to fix this problem, we'll likely have to change them all.

This is going to require time from us, and hopefully patience from you.

The War on MemeStreams Spam
Topic: MemeStreams 2:13 am EDT, Jul 17, 2007

The resolve of our great website is being tested. But make no mistake, we will show the world that we will pass the test.

Rattle and I are deleting a lot of spam from MemeStreams. A lot. Sometimes, as you may have seen, there are accounts that get created that we have trouble deciding whether or not to delete. We're doing too much of this, and the spammers are cutting the line too closely. Its time to raise the bar.

As you may know, links that get posted to MemeStreams by people with low reputations have nofollow tags that tell search engines not to add any value to those links. I discovered this evening that there was a location where links would not receive a nofollow tag. I patched it. I've also created a new script that will add all low reputation users to robots.txt.
Search engines should not index them at all.

Hopefully this will reduce the attractiveness of this site as a place to post spam.

A Best of MemeStreams collection from Noteworthy
Topic: MemeStreams 10:24 am EDT, Jun 10, 2007

Now, after three billion years, the Darwinian interlude is over [*].

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

"I need to be managing a sexier project [*] to boost my career."

"As a friend of mine said, it takes half a second for a baby to throw up all over your sweater. It takes hours to get it clean."

Terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists terrorists.

"You can't talk sense to them," Bush said, referring to terrorists. "Nooooo!" the audience roared.

The reality is that, despite fears that our children are "pumped full of chemicals" everything is made of chemicals, down to the proteins, hormones and genetic materials in our cells.

Every time Bruce Schneier smiles, an amateur cryptographer dies.

"It looks like politicians are poised to dominate the political discourse of the country for years to come," said analyst Maria Lawson of the Free Enterprise Institute.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!

Your mind is for having ideas--not holding them.

"I think the mistake now is holding back when you've got a good idea."

Watch all of this video. It's astounding.

A Best of MemeStreams collection from Noteworthy

Should MemeStreams become invite only?
Topic: MemeStreams 10:36 pm EDT, May 29, 2007

Every morning I get up and delete between 1 and 3 new users who have joined from South East Asia. I delete them because they have posted spam to the site. Its hard to understand why these people do this. The site doesn't increase the search engine page rank of pages that are linked by new users, and most of this content gets deleted immediately.

Some of it doesn't, because it is so borderline between what is clearly spam and what someone might think of as informational content that I don't feel that I can reasonably pull the trigger... Perhaps these people are just throwing ads at me hoping they'll post something I won't delete, and that the page's link on MemeStreams will have more traffic than their page does, and people will come into their site via MemeStreams via some search engine, and finally click on an ad, and those clicks will be worth the time of creating accounts and posting things here every morning.

Given that I'm not making enough off my web ads to even come close to covering colocation costs for this machine, I can't imagine people make much money this way, but then again, maybe the few dollars that roll their way are worth a lot more where they live than they are worth here.

In any event, I find deleting these accounts to be annoying, I find the ones I don't feel I have a clear right to delete even more annoying, and I'm sure that most of you find all of this annoying too.

Furthermore, its really rare that a new user pops up here, starts making great contributions, and sticks around. We've been running this site for a long time now. Its not growing. Almost all of the new participation has been from spammers. The people who do sign up and do make good contributions are usually connected with someone else on the site through a first or second degree association. Thats not true of all of you. There are a couple regular posters who I cannot trace to any direct relationship with anyone else on the site, but for the most part, MemeStreams was a social network offline because it was a social network online, and it hasn't succeeded in it's mission of pushing things the other direction.

So, I'm thinking of making MemeStreams invite only. Everyone who is currently a member would be able to generate invite emails out to people that they wanted to invite. If someone wanted in, they'd have to talk to someone else who was already in. There would be no way to generate an account without an invite and the invites would only work once. In a way the site would become more exclusive.

Positively some spammers would be on the inside when the wall came up, but the invites would be tracked to the person who made them, and both accounts could be deleted.

In a way, I think this could turn the heady environment here into an asset rather than a liability. If this site did become insanely popular it would cease to be what it is. We'd loose something as we gained it. By making this a private club, we have a way of maintaining it's integrity. Anyone would still be able to watch/read from the outside, but to get in, you'd have to put in some effort, and hopefully that would mean that you'd put some effort into participating.

But certainly before we made such a radical change we'd like to know what the rest of the community thinks. If most of the people on this site strongly reject this idea, I'll keep deleting spam. What are your thoughts?

The reason...
Topic: MemeStreams 1:28 am EDT, May 20, 2007

MemeStreams isn't successful as a business is because all you fucking nerds intimidate people. We've heard this from multiple sources. So, if you're out there, and you're intimidated, fuck you. Post. Post what you know. Post what matters to you. Post what makes your life interesting. Post things that have nothing to do with computers or law or any of the shit that we talk about. Post what you do for a living. Post what you do for fun. Post what burns your soul. If you were as dumb as you think you are you wouldn't be here. Don't let these fucking nerds intimidate you. I'll bet you could kick their asses anyway.

Just do it. Post. Post now. Don't be a wimp. Do it.

MemeStreams banned by Web Filters
Topic: MemeStreams 2:03 pm EDT, May 18, 2007

I learned today that SonicWall filters MemeStreams under the category "Hacking/Proxy Avoidance." While these are certainly topics that have been discussed here, Slashdot is not banned under this category, nor is Security Focus, from which live exploits can be downloaded for most disclosed vulnerabilities.

BlueCoat also filters MemeStreams as "unavailable;Hacking;Forum/Bulletin Boards." I have no idea what "unavailable" means. I agree with the "Forum/Bulletin Board" categorization, but again the "Hacking" category raises questions. It only makes sense if its applied consistently. I don't have access to a BlueCoat proxy to check.

Have you seen MemeStreams banned by a web filter? Do you know the vendor and category?

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