Category Archives: The ChangeLog

Switched to Serendipity!

Well, finally! I’ve switched to Serendipity!

The best part: comment spam blocking that works. So to those of you that had trouble commenting on this site… try again. It should just work! (And I’m sorry you had to put up with the hassle so long.)

Serendipity is a very nice system. I’m glad I chose it. And the support from Garvin and the others has been great too.

I’m running 1.0beta2 and have found a few bugs, but nothing serious.

As I mentioned before, I wrote a tool in Haskell to convert posts, comments, and categories from Drupal to Serendipity. If you use darcs, you can fetch it with:

darcs get --partial

The darcs-impaired may download a tarball.

I’ve chosen Serendipity

I wrote the other day that I was considering Serendipity, and had a few concerns about it.

Those concerns have now been pretty well resolved.

I also looked at WordPress. It looked like it had more features, but the whole lack of a central plugin store bothered me. I’d have to scour all over the net to find plugins, and half of them are just on a random person’s blog. Very few mentioned support for WordPress 2.0; most were for 1.5.

Then I looked at anti-spam options in both. The major anti-spam plugin for WordPress had two big strikes against it, in my mind: it’s not Free software, and it doesn’t work with PostgreSQL.

I am really ticked off by webapps that only support MySQL. There is no reason not to support PostgreSQL (especially when WordPress itself does).

So I am going with Serendipity.

Now, I have to write a Drupal to Serendipity conversion tool.

Something other than Drupal

I’ve been using Drupal for this blog for most of its life. However, I’m starting to be quite annoyed by several things:

  • The Captcha module is seriously broken and opens up the door for various security problems
  • The Spam module is there, and works mostly, but is not effective enough to keep spam down
  • The badbehavior module is over-aggressive and doesn’t work well anyway
  • Spam becomes a serious drag on load of the server

So I’m planning to switch to something else. Something where blogging will be fun again, without all the hassle of tracking down spam. It looks like either WordPress or Serendipity, and I’m leaning towards Serendipity for now.

Temporary: Need to register to comment

The comment spam problem has become so bad that I’ve had to temporarily require you to register before you can post. To comment, just hit the “register to post comment” link. You just have to pick a username and your e-mail address, and you will be e-mailed a password. It’s simple, painless, and stops spammers dead.

I have been deleting hundreds of spams a day, but the Drupal spam module folks are looking into the problem. I’ll remove this requirement ASAP.

Incidentally, if you do log in and hit “history” at the top of the screen, you can see which stories have new comments. Also, you can sign up to get an e-mail when new comments or stories are posted.

If you have an account with another Drupal blog, you can log in with that as well.

The good news: Trackbacks are being caught by Drupal now.

Good Timing?

I have no idea how this managed to happen…. I’m very rarely ranked high on Google for semi-common stuff like that. I suppose it’s because a site that talks about Haskell doesn’t get a lot of inbound links :-)

I noticed this because of a sudden spike in Drupal’s referrer report. (Which is slick, BTW).

Switching Back to Drupal

I had been using WordPress for this blog since I switched from Drupal last June.

However, I’ve been growing dissatisfied with several things about it:

  • There are great comment spam blocking features, but I recently started being victimized by trackback spam, and there isn’t much to combat that.
  • There’s not much to help with importing RSS feeds.
  • There’s not all that much flexibility in the configuration.

Since June, Drupal has released version 4.5.0, which has made a lot of progress towards being useful for a blog site. It has better support for trackbacks, including spam prevention for them, and can be configured to act pretty much like one would expect a blog to act, complete with anonymous comments. It also supports file attachments to nodes, one feature I’d been missing.

So, I’m back to Drupal, and am running the nice Pushbutton theme. It even looks nice in lynx.

My one gripe is that the archive module stinks, but the tracker is reasonable at least. I’d rather let people see a whole month of history at once. Perhaps that will come yet.

An AdSense Experiment

Dan was telling me a month or two ago that he’s using Google AdSense on his blog. Now that I’m actually doing this regularly, I figured I’d try it out, and while I’m at it, on a few parts of my other sites.

I’m highly curious what sort of ads it will dish up. There isn’t exactly a massive market for products related to developing Russian languages patches for FreeCiv, for instance. Initial results are not all that positive, but we’ll see. It may be a very short-lived experiment :-)

This is presently deployed here on The ChangeLog, on the directory indices on the HTML-to-Gopher gateway on, and the message pages of the list archives on

On the monetary side, running all this costs me about $600 per year. While I would be quite surprised if AdSense brings in that much, maybe it would at least bring in enough to pay for some more disk space for the Gopher server…

I’ll keep you updated.

About The ChangeLog

Welcome to The ChangeLog. Here is some basic information about using this site.

There is no overriding theme. Basically, what gets on here is what I find interesting. I am, incidentally, John Goerzen, and you can reach me at

This site, compilation, and unattributed content is Copyright (c) 2003, 2004 John Goerzen. Comments, stories, submissions, or entries submitted by others are owned by the respective author, who agrees to grant permission to publish their comments, with attribution, on this site. No warranty or guarantee of any kind is given regarding the operation of this site, and all implied warranties are revoked to the maximum extent possible. Part or all of this site may be discontinued at any time with no notice. While I do not generally exercise editorial control except over the front page, I reserve the right to do so at my sole discretion.