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Jeremy Cherfas

Troubleshooting blues

1 min read

It can be so hard to debug IndieWeb problems when they arise in Known. For now, this should be a webmention of the linked post, because Chris Aldrich reported a problem. But even if this works, I may need to go outside this installation to test properly. Or, perhaps, try webmention.rocks.

Jeremy Cherfas

@fourierfiend The simplest syndication tool in many respects is Brid.gy which you can hook up to your site. There are also plugins for some CMS like WP and Drupal and the one I’m using, Known.

Jeremy Cherfas

An ad-hoc meeting of the WithKnown Open Collective

5 min read

The past 24 hours saw perhaps more activity in the IRC channel (yesterday and today) and than I have ever seen before. Near the end of it all, jgmac1106, having previously voluntold me to be the first rotating organiser, voluntold me to “call all of today a meeting of the Open Collective”. Obviously you can’t have a meeting without minutes,[1] so here they are.

It all started with jgmac1106’s heartfelt plea that he just wanted to publish his site, “not learn backend engineering” and contemplating starting afresh. LewisCowles raised the question of how to reward Open Source software developers and maintainers, and that started a discussion of what it would take to put Known on a commercial footing.

Jgmac1106 was of the opinion that easier install with auto-update was needed. Lewiscowles and jeremycherfas thought that better direction of the project was needed, with a model that offered installation, domain management and updates, for a fee.

“Make it Known would be such a great tagline if we could get Sir Patrick Stewart on board.” Lewiscowles

There followed further discussion of operational models, including micro.blog; pay for hosting, including updates, and some backfeed, with a free offering open to IndieWeb if you have a capable site elsewhere.

On funding, jeremycherfas related his early experience hosting through IndieHosters and jgmac1106 talked about applying for grants to fund specific pieces of Known development. We played around with numbers, concluding that nobody knew enough to build even an outline business plan. There did seem to be agreement that venture capital should be rejected from the outset, while collectives and cooperatives could provide a more desirable structure, and that any kind of structure needs direction.

After a gap, some other people joined the channel and mapkyca explained that right now, a bigger block than money was time as he is working flat out. He also said that the maths does not work out for SaaS.

Benatwork then rejoined the meeting and explained in some depth the history of Known, including funding decisions and his original vision.

The original intention was to build a community platform that could be hosted securely, with discussion not monitored by the likes of a Facebook. … [I]t was never built to be an indieweb platform or an individual blogging engine from the start. The core idea was: flexible, social feeds that one or more people could contribute to, with per-item access control and integrations both in and out. I still believe that it has most value as a multi-user platform.

Major problem: we gave our entire platform away as open source, and it turns out there was a strong correlation between people who wanted to use it and people who didn’t want to pay. Although they were happy to pay for an account on a shared host, which of course didn’t go to us. So it didn’t really work as a scalable business.

Benatwork then filled us in on recent developments and why his direct involvement has dwindled, all of which is very understandable, closing with his belief that SaaS is not the way forward.

Jgmac1106 then voluntold jeremycherfas to take the lead on setting up monthly meetings for the next three months, as the first rotating organiser.[2] He also shared his idea of having something like Known to offer local media as something they can sell to subscribers as a built in social platform.

In response to a question from Aaron_Klemm, Benatwork shared the Known roadmap on github. He also explained some of the past technical decisions and that maybe some of those should be revisited to improve the product as a whole.

People shared their different ideas of what Known could become for them, with the question of the current admin tax prominent. Cleverdevil said he would be happy to pay mapkyca to update his site, raising again the potential demand for SaaS.

Benatwork’s vision is Known not as a blog CMS exclusively, but rather:

What Known can do is create a stream of many different kinds of content, and present it differently based on context. Filtering is a similarly powerful idea. “Show me all posts that are sensor readings and photos tagged with bats, from January 1st.”

There was some discussion of other aspects of Known that need attention, including the templating engine, which mapkyca said he hopes to separate completely from the back end.

Chrisaldrich raised the possibility of working with Reclaim Hosting to devise a package similar to what Reclaim offers universities, i.e. Reclaim does the heavy lifting for turnkey Known installs while allowing a small group of others to support people who signed up. Aaron_Klemm supported this idea strongly.

There was a lot more discussion of various ways in which Known could contribute to community internet literacy and how it might be used alongside other web publishing tools.

This summary is an entirely personal capture of the discussion; corrections and comments welcome. (You know how to do that, right?) I’ll suggest some times for an online meeting through the channel.


  1. Though apparently you can have one without an agenda.  ↩

  2. Which I will do, bearing in mind that, with exceptions, I am really only available Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 19:00 CEST.  ↩

Jeremy Cherfas

Rye (or spelt) ???

1 min read

Thanks to an unfollowable stream on Twitter, I came upon the website of Joshua Nudell, an historian with an interest in ancient Greek breads. A post of his, translating from Athenaeus’s Deipnosophistae, refers in passing to "the loaf from rye (or spelt)". That's strange. So I left a comment on the post, as follows:

I don't know Ancient Greek, but I do know some ancient and modern cereals, so I am hoping you can elaborate on this. Does the list mean two different loaves, one of rye and one of spelt? Or does it mean that rye is sometimes known as spelt, which would be a very interesting reading indeed.

Thanks.

This could be interesting.

Jeremy Cherfas

I have not exactly solved the problem, but I can say that posting a bookmark from Omnibear, using the Firefox extension, does work. That is, the description is received and used by Known.

Jeremy Cherfas

This post opened a whole can of worms relating to Grav's public comments plugin. Despite being authored by "Team Grav" it hasn't been touched for going on two years and just doesn't work. It sends the notification email correctly, but does not acknowledge the comment and does not save the data.

I've taken a first look at the code, and it seems like I might just be able to wrap my head around it, but I will need hours free to do that. Hours that I do not currently have.

I could disable public comments again, and just accept Webmentions (which this post is intended to test). But although Comments are rare, some are worthwhile beyond mere affirmation, so I am loathe to do that.

P.s. It also raises again the need to fix Known's HTML-escaping problem, and makes me wonder why the comment is truncated when it gets to jeremycherfas.net -- which means looking at the templates there in more detail.

Jeremy Cherfas

2018-12-11

1 min read

Spammers say the sweetest things:

Jeremy cherfas is the well known writer of this century. He is famous for the suppleness that are still like by many of the people. We should also read the blogs about him to gain knowledge for our own self.

Jeremy Cherfas

Jeremy Cherfas

A little problem with Known's Micropub endpoint

3 min read

One of the developers of Sunlit, a photo-sharing app that is part of the Micro.blog ecosystem, contacted me to say that “the images on your site have a MIME type of application/data”. I’d like to say I understood immediately what the problem was and what it meant, but I had to do some learning first. It wasn’t as simple as the extension, the bit after the filename that indicates whether it is a JPEG or PNG kind of image. Rather, it was about what my server tells your browser about the image.

To backtrack, Known stores all files as blobs that contain the actual file data, the 1s and 0s. Your browser, when it receives a post from my server, can often sniff out what kind of thing (image, audio, text etc) that blob of data represents and do a good job of showing it to you. Normally, you wouldn’t even notice. One clue is that if you right-click on an image, and ask to open it in a new tab, it actually gets downloaded instead, I suppose because the new tab doesn’t know what else to do with it.

Anyway, I confirmed that the source file for most images did not have an extension (which would have told the browser directly how to deal with it). Most, but not all. Files I had uploaded to my site directly did have an extension and the correct MIME type. The “bad” files had come from OwnYourGram or Quill, both of which are part of the joyful . They use a standard called Micropub to send things to a suitably equipped website.

It seemed unlikely that both Quill and OYG would fail to send the requisite information to identify a photo, so I went digging into the code that Known uses to decide what to do with a post sent by Micropub. I made a bit of progress but although I could see more or less what was happening, I couldn’t see how to make it right.

Fortunately Aaron Parecki, who built Quill and OwnYourGram (and so much else), was around and gave me the clue I needed to investigate: curl -I example.com/file.

One beautiful feature of Quill is that if it is sending a photo and if the receiving site has a media endpoint for receiving files (which Known does) it uploads the file, shows you a preview and tells you the location of the file. With that, the curl command shows that the temporary file has the correct description of Content-Type: image/jpeg. Once Known has processed the whole post from Quill, though, the file that contains the image shows as Content-Type: application/data.

Somewhere between receiving the temporary file from Quill and storing it permanently, Known fails to give it the proper MIME type.

I wish I knew enough to discover where the problem lies. Most likely Marcus Povey – who keeps the wheels spinning at Known – will be able to do the needful, now that I have submitted an issue. And Sunlit will be able to share my photos far and wide.

Jeremy Cherfas

I feed @WithKnown into micro.blog and POSSE to Twitter just fine. Known also makes it easy to feed micro.blog only certain kinds of post because the RSS is easy to adapt.