Horsing around with Ghost blogging platform

I had some fun checking out the brand new Ghost blogging platform. Its claims to fame are:

  • It’s a blogging platform that is easy to install and setup
  • It can be customized to look the way you want
  • It uses Markdown for text formatting, with a very sexy real-time Markdown->HTML converter built in. You type Markdown text in the left pane, and the right pane shows a live preview of the posting.
  • It’s free/open source, so you can try it too.

Installation was pretty straightforward. Two comments:

  1. I was confused when I made my first post: after finish entering the text, there’s a “Save Draft” button that has a popup menu that allows you to “Publish Now”. Cool! But it doesn’t actually publish until you click the button a second time.
  2. I also had a problem with running it on my test server. It has dramatically limited RAM (128 MBytes) and it’s also running WordPress, Apache, and a bunch of other stuff. Ghost gave an “weird error 137” message in the console, but I’m fairly convinced that’s just because it’s running out of memory. I wrote it up in  the ghost forums so others can learn from my research. (https://en.ghost.org/forum/installation/1129-npm-err-weird-error-137)

Ghost seems to be a solid initial release, with a dedicated team that’ll drive it forward.

“Hang on a minute…”

I just ended a call from a telemarketer who was pitching some vacation deal. I just don’t do these things over the phone, so when she paused to take another breath, I said in a kind way, “Thanks for calling, but I’m not interested.”

Of course, they’re (well) trained to answer objections, but I broke in and said, “No, I’m really not interested.” This, of course, led to another question to find out my objection.

So I interrupted and said, “Hang on a minute…” and set the phone down in the other room. About four minutes later, I heard the off-hook tone indicating she had finally hung up.

I’m a nice guy, so I don’t like to swear or slam down the phone. I realize that these callers have a tough job, and I respect that they’re working hard to make a living. But saying, “Hang on a minute…” is actually the worst thing you can do to telemarketers – simply wasting their time when they could be making the next call. If they don’t respect a polite “no”, then I have no qualms about wasting their time.

Post another thought from Fargo

I’ve been playing with the Fargo blogging software from Dave Winer at Scripting.com It puts your blog info into an S3 bucket, then has links to WordPress, so that you can use Fargo’s outliner to edit your post, then publish it directly to WordPress.

I just found something else that’s really cool. I moved my “Posts” page to a sub-page (after creating a static home page on my WordPress blog) and the postings automatically followed my “Posts” page. Nice job, Dave!


Another thought on Fargo…

It’s a bit odd/disconcerting to see that the postings in Fargo _(the outliner)_ are in oldest-to-newest order (top-to-bottom), while the home page shows newest on top. This is as it should be – there’s just a need to make that mental conversion.

Ahah. Just create the new item in Fargo above the older ones and it all comes out OK.

Back to IPv6…

I purchased this VPS from HostFolks for testing IPv6. The VPS came with a handful of IPv6 addresses in addition to the single IPv4 address they normally provide. (Be sure you ask for a server in Germany, or verify that the VPS does have IPv6 capability – not all their sites do.)

IPv6 really “just works out of the box”, unless you need to do something tricky on your system. The web server, ssh connection, etc. all acted as expected. I did have to add special configuration (udp6) for the SNMP agent, but that’s a pretty specialized configuration.

Building a small server

This is a VPS with only 128Mbyte RAM and a 500 MHz processor (!) It’s tricky to configure it.

I may get around to documenting how I installed Ubuntu 10.04 (32-bit, to save RAM), installed the WordPress, then tweaked the system to remove as much cruft as possible. I also minimized the number of Apache processes, since I never expect more than a couple people to use the blog at the same time.

Yeah. And I also installed webmin to make it easier to administer.

Of course, the real reason I set up this server was so that I could play with IPv6. The name of the server is, after all, ipv6-richb.com. I’ll probably write about that later.