Abandon All Fear

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Archive for the ‘Metablog’ Category

Just In Case You Were Interested…

Posted by Lex Fear on September 27, 2007

It’s that time again when I divulge a little on what’s happening offline and how that affects my blogging. I usually start with some vague updates of the crap I’m having to deal with or good things come my way, this time will be a mixture of both. I then usually give a rundown of the subjects I want to tackle on the blog next, and usually this is way off mark. Finally I end by saying how all this stuff I’m dealing with is going to prevent me from blogging/reading for a while, and usually it doesn’t.

So let’s begin with where it’s at…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Metablog | 4 Comments »

The Blogroll is Back

Posted by Lex Fear on September 14, 2007

I have resurrected the blogroll on the sidebar with all reciprocal links. If I have accidentally forgotten your blog, please let me know asap and don’t be shy.

The blogroll is going to exist for reciprocal links, lesser known or obscure bloggers who deserve recognition and other worthwhile blogs, so don’t expect to see many VIP or celebrity bloggers on this sidebar unless they linked me (blogroll or post).

Posted in Metablog | 3 Comments »

Declaration of Beliefs: Creation

Posted by Lex Fear on September 12, 2007

I’m quite inspired by Ken Browns new blog C.Orthodoxy where he has posted a declaration of sorts on his personal belief regarding Creation and Evolution. I thought I’d do something similar since I’ve explored this topic quite a bit on the blog but never set officially set out my own beliefs. I’ve taken Ken’s declaration as my template and modified it accordingly. You will notice my declaration is a bit more exaggerated than Ken’s, something I tried but couldn’t avoid.

I believe:

  • The existence of the universe is entirely contingent upon the will of God; it had a beginning and is not self-existent.
  • The universe is probably more than 10,000 years old.
  • That life on earth is irreducibly complex and no blind processes alone can explain its origin.
  • All human and animal life on earth was designed and created using a common ancestor (due to the presence of DNA and carbon) but not common descent, subject to natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow.
  • That while natural selection, adaption and genetic mutation explains many odd features of life, their powers are grossly exaggerated.
  • It is an open question whether and how God has actively guided and propelled the continuing evolution of life.
  • That humanity is in a fallen state (prone to sin i.e. error, selfishness, wrongdoing, evil etc.), that humanity has a free will to choose and act contrary to fallen nature and that it can ultimately be redeemed by believing upon and outworking faith in Christ.
  • However they came about, the essential features of humanity ? including morality, reason, society, invention, etc. ? ultimately reflect God’s image – a part of our design.

I therefore believe:

  • Morality is properly grounded in God?s own character, not created by humanity or inferred from evolution.
  • That while atheism itself implies a meaningless and amoral universe, acceptance of evolution does not require acceptance of atheism or its implications.
  • The Bible:
    • Is intended to reveal the character of God and the person of Jesus, and exists as a testament to this.
    • Is inspired by the Spirit of God upon men, hence it is the fallible word of God which must be interpreted in context.
    • Is a mash-up of historical data, census data, poetry, parables, songs, sayings, prophecies and eye-witness testimonies, written by 40 acknowledged authors (but possibly hundreds of contributors), which must be interpreted in context.
  • That, ideally, public school science classes should teach students to:
    • Be skeptical of popular opinion and consensus.
    • Question and analyze all evidence and all data
    • Avoid bias and representing their own beliefs or conclusions as fact, where the results are inconclusive.
  • Practically, parents and local schools districts should have the right to decide for themselves what their students need to learn.
  • That the relationship between Christianity and mainstream science is, and will remain, a complex one, but there is no unbridgeable chasm between them.

Interestingly, whilst doing a bit of wikisearch (Wikipedia research), I noted that whilst young earth creationists are usually derided, traditional Hindus who believe the earth is 77.76 trillion years old rarely get a mention. I wonder why that is?

 

Posted in Metablog, Religion & Science | 10 Comments »

My Laptop For Sale

Posted by Lex Fear on September 5, 2007

Dell Inspiron 8000 with Kubuntu Linux Pre-installed Wi-Fi Ready

 

Posted in Metablog | Leave a Comment »

More On WordPress

Posted by Lex Fear on August 31, 2007

I admit it, it’s taken me longer to get used to WordPress than I first thought. I still haven’t got round to replicating my blogroll or doing the resource stuff! But don’t delink me yet, it will come!

I went with Lyc0s’s installation of WordPress, which should automatically update you when a new version is ready but I’m stuck with 2.1.x and the latest version is 2.2.x. I discovered this because I have been struggling with widgets since transferring and only just realised I could download the ‘Widgets’ extension itself for backwards compatibility with blogs older than 2.2.x.

This makes it a lot easier than doing the hard coding (you will have noticed the effects of my manual widgetizing if you came by at the wrong time). Fortunately I have also discovered this slick admin extension that allows me to put up a maintenance page for the site- no more splattered code for you guys.

In other Meta, it looks like my controversial subject matter has finally paid off and my ship has come in. I recieved an email from someone at DIMACC with a proposal to buy advertising space on the blog. Before anyone starts, I’ve never been against blog advertising, after all I pay to host this website and I’ve been wanting to find some way to subsidize it for a while.

Neither do I feel like I’ve sold out, I used Adsense when I first started, but it just didn’t pay.
I’ve been asked to place 5 individual advertisements for some older posts, hopefully, if they do well then perhaps I’ll get more. The great thing is they are textual, there’s no links that would cause me to feel pharisaic and, most importantly I have been offered a decent upfront fee!

Posted in How I Did It, Metablog, Morals & Ethics, Pharisees, Profiteering | 15 Comments »

Welcome to the new Blog

Posted by Lex Fear on August 18, 2007

I’m using one of the standard templates from the library at the moment, and I’m just a novice when it comes to PHP so it will take me a while to update it and add my own style and images.

Please bare with me as things change round. If you click on a link and it doesn’t work let me know, but I probably am aware already and just trying to figure out how to get it working.

Anyone out there got a WordPress blog and knows how to replace header information please get in touch!

Posted in Metablog | Leave a Comment »

Ghost Master

Posted by Lex Fear on August 14, 2007

So I bought this game on Saturday for 97p from Tesco and I haven’t been able to stop playing it, which is why I haven’t blogged. I tend to only buy old games, (1) because they’re cheap, (2) because they’re guaranteed to be compatible with my newer system and (3) I like retro.

So I’ve begun testing wordpress for this blog, for compatibility with the existing content I have on the server. I’ve just had to purchase another database for the testing itself which is a bit annoying, but my plan is to have this temporary setup before I start surfing for a new web-host.

So far I found a real good sounding web-host which is compatible with the values of this site (and paranoia that one time something I publish will cause me to be shut down): nearlyfreespeech.net

You pay only for your server and bandwidth usage, they give you a private mailbox (so your own address is not revealed), a special phone and fax and a custom email address.

Here’s a statement on their FAQ (my bold emphasis):

“If you wish to host a controversial site in the US, it behooves you to know the law, particularly this one, and how to use it to your advantage in the event of a dispute. You should also be prepared for a downtime of some or all “allegedly infringing” material for a couple of weeks if the copyright owner wants to fight.

We adhere to the entire law very closely. We do not generally pull the plug on an entire site if, for example, someone claims that a single graphic is infringing. We do our best to remove only the content that the copyright owner specifically identifies as allegedly infringing. We allow and encourage the use of the “putback notification” process when material is incorrectly identified as infringing. But we do not automatically terminate a member’s service merely for receiving a complaint alleging infringement. (However, actually infringing someone’s copyright does violate our TACOS and will generally result in immediate termination.)

Keep in mind that while we aren’t lawyers, neither are we idiots. We can tell the difference between people harassing our members via the DMCA and cases where our service is genuinely being misused, and we can adjust our attitude accordingly. Fortunately, both of these cases are very rare.

Of course, not all complaints are DMCA complaints. We very much enjoy “I hate that site. I demand you take it down!” messages, of which we receive a very large number (from, ironically, a relatively small number of people). Other than pointing and laughing, however, we tend not to respond to such demands.”

Pretty awesome huh? Unfortunately they take payment in US$ so I need to contact them to discuss that, not sure what the risks are in terms of the exchange rate or how I’d go about paying.

If anyone knows of a UK equivalent, I would love to know. Lyc0s offer a pretty good service in terms of support and installation but something I read in .NET magazine recently by a Lyc0s executive caused me concern in how they would handle a copyright or libel complaint. As you can see I mention no names and have taken precaution to hide keywords!

See you on the new blog…

Posted in Metablog, Morals & Ethics, Takeback, The Love of Libel | Leave a Comment »

HIDI: Blogger Vs WordPress (Round 2)

Posted by Lex Fear on August 4, 2007

Blogger V WordPress 2

Soon, I’ll be transferring this blog over to a wordpress account, and giving it a slightly different name, since I need Alex Fear to be a feature of Abandon All Fear rather than a predominant fixture.

As promised, here’s the HIDI (How I Did It) for transferring my other blog Dark Side of the Light from a Blogger ftp server to WordPress ftp server. Please be advised this is a general overview and assumes you already have MySQL installed on your server and are experienced in blogger and Wordpress configuration. If not, take some time going over the WordPress management interface to familiarise yourself, it only took me a couple of hours to explore how it works.

Before I Began

I backed up everything off the server locally just in case anything went wrong. I then edited my .htaccess file to include the line:

Redirect 301 /darksidelight/index.html /errors/301.html

This needs to be on a seperate line (blank line above/below) in the file to work. My 301.html file basically had a short message to say that the blog had been temporarily taken down for maintenance.

1. Switch to blogspot address

The second thing I did (but first for the purpose of this HIDI) was to go into my blog settings and switch to darksidelight.blogspot.com. The name you choose doesn’t really matter but anyone navigating to that domain will be redirected back to your ftp blog later, so it may be worthwhile putting some thought into it. Don’t just using a generic name (which will probably be taken anyway).

Although your blogger account now points at the blogspot address, the static content up to you last post will still remain on the server. Some important points:

  • Do not upgrade your blog template, I have no idea if WordPress will be able to import if you do this.

If you are transferring to a new address on your server or a new server

  • You may want to write a final post with some info and a link to the new blog address
  • There is no need to manually delete the old content on your server, in fact it’s useful if others have linked to previous posts

If you are transferring to the same address on your server

  • You should now delete or rename the directory manually on your server (I have no idea how WordPress reacts if there is already content in the directory but it’s best to assume that it may cause problems)

2. Install your WordPress ftp blog

My actual first move (second for the purpose of this HIDI) was to install wordpress on my server for a new blog at www.abandonallfear.co.uk/dark. Since I was using a different address from my old blog (www.abandonallfear.co.uk/darksidelight) I was able to do this step before I made any changes to my Blogger account (step 1).

After installing I was able to configure my user, template, plug-ins and add pages. The plug-ins were not all easy to configure, some require an API key (obtainable from your WordPress profile) and some require you to actually cut and paste the php code.

When you are happy with the configuration of your wordpress blog, it’s time to import the old blog, but you may find, as I did, that the import feature doesn’t work for blogger. I got this message:

“Howdy! This importer allows you to import posts and comments from your Old Blogger account into your WordPress blog.

Please note that this importer does not work with new Blogger (using your Google account).

Your web server is not properly configured to use this importer. Please enable the CURL extension for PHP and then reload this page.”

Well I googled for information on the CURL extension for PHP and although there is support there, I have to admit that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning how it works or following instructions without knowing what to do… but then, I found a dirty way of doing it…

3. The ‘dirty’ import

Even if you’re importing to a WordPress hosted blog, it won’t allow you to import from a blogger ftp account, so what you need to do is register a new account with WordPress.com and create a new blog on their hosted server. You do not need to configure this in anyway, but it’s probably worthwhile using the same login details for your ftp WordPress blog (which may come in useful if you require an API key).

Now you have your blog hosted on a blogspot domain,

  1. Import the blog into your WordPress hosted blog and set the author to your own profile.
  2. Export to a WordPress WXR file then
  3. Log in to your WordPress ftp blog and import the WXR file and viola!

4. Cleaning up

You may want to check links, rss and archives work. I discovered that all my embedded YouTube videos were gone, after a quick google there seemed to be a number of solutions offered. The first was to use a widget called Viper’s Video Quicktags, but this didn’t work for me. Then I discovered if I went and edited the original posts in the code editor (as opposed to the visual editor), recreated the embedded video link and hit ‘publish’ then the video gets published correctly. This is similar to blogger before they improved it, which would strip videos of their “<embed>” tags.

  • You should now delete your WordPress hosted blog (with all the posts you just imported to the ftp hosted blog).
  • If you used the same address as your blogger account

You obviously shouldn’t change the blogspot domain back to ftp, you may however want to keep the blogspot domain or delete it. It’s probably not worthwhile keeping since it’s a different address from the original but you may have your own reasons.

  • If you used a different address or different server

You have the option of keeping the blogspot domain, but that wouldn’t make sense for the same reasons above so you have the following options:

  • Transfer the blogspot domain back to an ftp account and keep (perhaps you might change your mind and go back to blogger)
  • Delete the blogspot domain but keep all the old static content on your server (useful for links from others)
  • Delete the blogspot and static content from your server (not advised unless you are confident and want to make a clean break)

5. Redirect (skip if you are using the same address)

Now is the time to edit your redirect and point anyone navigating to the old domain/address to the new one. For DSotL I edited as follows:

Redirect 301 /darksidelight/index.html http://www.abandonallfear.co.uk/dark/

This will ensure that all the credentials from your old blog are kept and search engine spiders will follow the redirect to your new blog address. Here is a useful redirect checker from webconfs.com:

Search Engine Friendly Redirect Check

Enter the URL whose Redirect you want to check

If you opted to keep your old blogger account either live or static, then I recommend:

  • Editing the template and replacing the title link “<$BlogURL$>” with the address of your new blog then
  • Edit the description with a line like “Click on the title to be transferred to the new blog”.

This will catch any readers that enter your site via a post rather than the main index. Of course when they click on the title they should automatically be redirected by the 301, but I discovered PHP problems reported in red, so this is another dirty fix. It’s probably down to something missing or wrong in my .htaccess file, which I should look to rectify later.

Fin

That’s it. The whole process took about 5 hours but as mentioned, 2 of those hours were spent familiarising myself with and configuring WordPress, and about 2 hours were spent researching 301 redirect and importing to WordPress.

On the whole I have to say, despite losing my blogger template, I’m happy with the new WordPress CMS and it’s features, I’m looking forward to doing this blog now.

Posted in Duh!, How I Did It, Metablog | Leave a Comment »

HIDI: Blogger Vs WordPress (Round 1)

Posted by Lex Fear on August 2, 2007

Blogger V WordPress 

EDIT: Table has been reduced for smaller screen resolution. Thanks for the tip, Cecilieux!

I have just finished transferring my other blog Dark Side of the Light from Blogger to WordPress. I’ve also created a 301 redirect so that anyone navigating to the old address will be automatically redirected to the new. The transition was smooth enough but there are a number of modifications needed before Wordpress takes. So typically I’ve decided to offer a HIDI (how I did it) to my loyal readers.

Old Blogger uses a combination of CSS and HTML, new Blogger functions on an XHTML template and WordPress utilises PHP on a MySQL db back-end. Fortunately, WordPress did the translation work for me, but I did lose DSotL template, which needs to be re-written in PHP if I want to restore it.

There are a number of differences between running a Blogspot, WordPress or hosted domain (like Abandon All Fear). I’ve compiled a list of pro’s and con’s I have observed below:

Blogspot (new Blogger)

FTP/Hosted (old Blogger)

Pros

  • Free
  • Customizable widgets
  • Customizable template
  • Layout editor
  • Upload and save templates
  • Multiple blog hosting (no limit?)
  • Image upload (no limit?)
  • Video embedding
  • Easy switch between blogspot and host
  • Multiple contributors

Pros

  • Customizable template
  • Easy to customise HTML and CSS (copy and paste template)
  • Blog is still stored on Blogger server (posts and template) effectively acting as a backup (if lost on host)
  • Own domain name
  • Easy switch between blogspot and host
  • Multiple contributors

Cons

  • blogspot.com domain
  • Knowledge of strict XHTML a must to add any complex mods outside of layout editor
  • Single user login linked to Google account
  • Limited set of options for contributors

Cons

  • No widgets
  • Knowledge of HTML and CSS needed to change layout
  • Single user login linked to Google account
  • Images, video and blogs unlimited but confined to host server limits
  • Limited set of options for contributors

 

WordPress

FTP/Hosted (WordPress)

Pros

  • Free
  • Many customizable widgets
  • Control and edit comments
  • Add pages
  • Detailed management interface, similar to CMS
  • Multiple blogs possible
  • Set multiple security levels for subscribers/contributors
  • Import variety of blog types (including new Blogger)
  • Export blog to a file (for backup/import)
  • Multiple user login for non-linked blogs
  • Layout editor

Pros

  • Many customizable widgets
  • Control and edit comments
  • Add pages
  • Detailed management interface, similar to CMS
  • Multiple blogs possible
  • Set multiple security levels for subscribers/contributors
  • Import from variety of blog types
  • Export blog to a file (for backup/import)
  • Multiple user login for non-linked blogs
  • Customizable template
  • Own domain name
  • Unlimited image/video upload (but confined to host limits)
  • Large selection of standard templates

Cons

  • Cannot freely customise template (small charge)
  • wordpress.com domain
  • Limited 50mb image and video upload
  • Small selection of standard templates provided
  • Will not import Blogger hosted
  • Bug causes problems displaying embedded video

Cons

  • Knowledge of PHP needed for template modification
  • Will not import blogger hosted
  • Knowledge of MySQL db needed for non-standard blog management/imports
  • Copy of posts/comments are not stored on WordPress server
  • Bug causes problems displaying embedded video
  • Widgets may need to be coded in manually

Looking at the comparison tables WordPress seems to come out on top, however I would still choose a Blogspot or ftp Blogger over the free WordPress blog any day. It’s all about the functionality you want. When you consider a free WordPress blog does not let you customise the template, limits on uploads and bugs it’s just not worth it. Blogspot may not have all the content management functionality of WordPress, but it does allow you to change the template as you wish with a bit of knowledge of XHTML. It’s simple and easy to manage and without limits to the content you want to create.

I like ftp Blogger for the fact that I can delete the blog from Blogger’s servers but it will keep all the content on your ftp sever accessible (for example if you want to end a blog but keep it available for reference). Having a good knowledge of CSS and HTML I can control the look of the blog and add/remove structure and ‘widget’s as I wish by going into the template editor. It’s also easy to switch from your own ftp domain to a blogspot domain and back again. I’ve also noticed that after doing this, your blogspot domain name automatically redirects to your own ftp hosted blog, eg. darksidelight.blogspot.com redirects to www.abandonallfear.co.uk/darksidelight.

A hosted WordPress blog however does manage to kick ass against Blogger hosted. Sure you don’t get a backdoor backup from WordPress (you can still manually export the blog), you don’t get to easily switch from your own domain to a hosted blog and the widgets are not easily added but the functionality on offer along with content management simply can’t be beaten.

In the next post, I’ll go into the HIDI walkthrough…

Posted in Blogidarity, How I Did It, Metablog | 1 Comment »

The Water In North London

Posted by Lex Fear on July 19, 2007

C

Controversial
Putting myself up for a Northsquad hit again.

It’s been hard to ignore the volume of pageviews I’ve had from “Felicity Jane Lowde” searches. I blogged on the Rachel North stalking saga back in May, and it generated the most comments I’ve ever had for a post. I’ve had links from other bloggers who, like me, took a step back and tried to see the issues from a rational viewpoint.

Sure Lowde may have been locked up and she may be in need of psychiatric care, but the fact that she is the ‘loser’ in this scenario, doesn’t actually improve my opinion of Rachel North or her supporters one bit. In fact, I’ve been surprised by how judgmental and vitriolic these self-labeled ‘liberal’ bloggers really have been towards the mentally ill. In response to one attack blog, they ganged up and created multiple attack blogs. In response to nasty comments, they made nasty comments. I don’t see the difference except that Lowde is behind bars and they are not.

I put comment moderation on this blog, when I started to get into a circular argument with a troll and it was successful in silencing the troll without silencing those that chose to voice reasonable disagreement. Which means I did not need to report anyone to the police for harassment.

Since there is still so much interest about this, I thought I’d take the initiative to try and compose a list of those blogs that have offered thoughtful analysis. If I link you below and it generates you unwanted attention, please let me know and I’ll remove the link immediately (of course if you want me to add yours, likewise get in touch). Here is a list, in no particular order, of blogs that have not been drawn into mob-mentality:

Drowning and Other Fragments

Tim Worstall
Isadub
Living With The Conspiracy 24-7
Famous For 15 Megapixels
Vandaweb
Duff & Nonsense
Libel Lawyers London (links to a good article by Craig H)
Ronpanasonic
The Policemans Blog
Mike Powers Not A Blog
Southpawpunch

It’s a sad fact that with the onset of web 2.0 making it easier for idiots to publish online, that a growing number now see it as a publicity extension, rather than the great technical and informational revolution that it is.

Take for example, Brian Retkin, who I’d never heard of before (but now his recent actions have allowed me to form an opinion of him), who is suing Google for… wait for it… linking to websites that have defamed him!

“Lawyers for Dotworlds, which registers distinctive domain names, have sent Google what lawyers call a “letter before action”.

Mr Renton, 48, the company’s managing director, of Wembley, north London, said he would sue if Google did not take down the links about his company posted anonymously. “Based on what I know today, I am determined to go ahead with this,” he added.” – The Telegraph

And guess where Mr Renton is from? … North London! Something in the water, perhaps?

It’s time to seriously consider the nature and the future of the internet, because free information is under threat. Perhaps a change in the law is required, but if the world continues to allow bloggers and web-publishers to be taken to court for publishing their own opinions or thoughts then we can kiss the internet as we know it goodbye.

We’re one step away from a law companies setting up “No Win No Fee” sites for anyone who feels they have been libeled, defamed or had their feelings hurt.

Long live FJL’s blog! Not because it’s right or wrong, but because it’s an opinion, a record, and it exists.

We should not modify the past in order to fit the present.

EDIT (After a quick thought): I wonder how much revenue/incoming links Google generates for Mr Retkins site, dotworlds.net? If he is successful in his idiotic lawsuit, couldn’t Google just remove all links to any material mentioning dotworlds.net and therefore render his site ignored and obsolete?

That would be awesome… c’mon Google, your motto is “don’t be evil” now teach an evildoer a lesson!

UPDATE: Southpawpunch emails…

Alex
I see that you have listed some blogs that mention  the Lowde/North affair
You may like to consider my post –
[added above]

(towards the end)
This post generated complaint emails from North.

Posted in Blogidarity, Justice & Mercy, Londonland, Metablog, Opinion, Pharisees, Propaganda, Realpolitik, The Love of Libel, V for Vendetta | 19 Comments »