Five days til I leave Facebook — important site news

Originally published at Benfell Blog. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been fighting with my server some more today, now fully implementing the advice I’d partly implemented before.

I’ve been misled before, but I’m hoping my system performance issues are now resolved. Among other things, I’m blocking all search engine bots. My stuff gets automatically cross-posted to my old blog anyway, so I’ll let that site take the hits.

I could still use a bigger Linode. In the meantime, I think I’ve got things to the point where I can safely do what I’ve already done: add more features. More on that, further down.

As of now, I’m still planning on leaving Facebook on the 18th, although it’s starting to look like Facebook is paying a price and may well reconsider its privacy policy. UPDATE: Facebook’s reconsideration appears to amount to certain security enhancements which, in and of themselves, are good, but do not touch the concerns which so many have expressed.

Towards that end, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve brought in some of the functionality that Facebook offers to this site with an XMPP instant messaging service that is (or should be) linked with this Drupal installation.

If you’re a user on my site, you should be set up automatically with an account and the password you have on this site. CORRECTION: You can configure the instant message service to use with the site by editing your profile (look for XMPP on your frontnot the instant message–page and enter your JID and password); contact me to set this up. It’s on my server, it runs over SSL, so I’m thinking there should be no privacy issues beyond those you already incur being on this site (barring, of course, someone cracking the SSL connection and decrypting your communications, in which case you have serious problems I can’t address).

If you’re having problems, contact me.

You can (or at least, should be able to) hook up with pidgin or any instant messaging client that supports XMPP. I recommend pidgin; it’s what I use, it supports multiple accounts, and there are lots of add-on features to make it even better. If it doesn’t work, let me know (and don’t be surprised when I’m irritated, but honestly, I haven’t had the opportunity to test this).

UPDATE: The chat experiment failed miserably. I’m getting damned annoyed for only about the millionth time with crap that does not work as documented, documentation that doesn’t explain what to do when something fails, and user support forums that yield no answers when questions are asked. The people who come up with this bullshit–and it is bullshit–use it to pad their resumés without actually following through on what it takes to make a contribution to the community that people can actually use. I hope they’re getting really great orgasms stroking themselves this way. Speaking of which….

The bad news is that forums are down. And it will probably be a while before they’re fixed. I hit a booby trap and haven’t seen an adequate answer on how to fix them. This may be a while.

That might interfere with multiple user chats. I’m hoping not.

I’ve installed mailman and the relevant Drupal modules so when the forums come back up, you subscribe to associated mailing lists and post to the Drupal forum in your email.

This is still a work in progress. And it looks like I’ve got the summer off with nothing else to do, so there might be yet more to come.