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Category: Site news (page 1 of 9)

News regarding 40Tech.com

10 Years of 40Tech

I must not be big on anniversaries, because I completely missed the 10 year anniversary of this site. A “Coming Soon” post went live on May 28, 2009, with the first substantive post going up on June 4, 2009. I remember sitting at the table at my sister’s beach house that May with my laptop and finding the domain name after deciding I wanted to do this. I never thought I’d still be writing, albeit sporadically, 10 years later.

I probably should have some deep thoughts about the anniversary, from years of crazy traffic (by my standards) and coverage on big sites, to the more cozy, personal place this is today, but all I have to say is yay, and thanks for reading. And a special shout out to Bobby Travis, who wrote with me in those early years. This site has opened some doors for me, and has been loads of fun.

My Micro.blog Setup With WordPress

I’ve tweaked how I’ve used this site with micro.blog a few times. During the last change, I inadvertently broke my ability to create most types of new posts on micro.blog.

The short explanation is that I installed a plugin that detected when I added the “microblog” category to a post, and kept those posts on their own section of the site. This kept microblog-categorized posts off the front page and out of the 40Tech RSS feed. The problem was that the RSS feed is how micro.blog gets content from WordPress sites, so all posts tagged with microblog didn’t make it through to the micro.blog service. I had the micro.blog apps configured to add that category to any new posts, so those posts were falling into a black hole.

I’ve now fixed the problem. This involved making a few changes:

  1. I added some code to my functions.php file (located in a child theme) to keep any posts that are in my microblog category out of my main feed. That category still shows up in all other feeds, such as category-specific feeds. I found this code snippet in a blog post by Simon Wheatley.
  2. I added more code to my functions.php file to keep any posts in my microblog category off my home page. The web is replete with blog posts on how to exclude categories from your home page.
  3. I plugged only a category-specific feed into my settings at micro.blog. In my case it was this feed: https://www.40tech.com/category/microblog/. This means that only posts I categorize as “microblog” will show up for other users at micro.blog. When I post with the micro.blog apps, the posts are automatically assigned this category. This won’t send new articles to micro.blog, but that’s OK. I usually want to type a few comments about an article, and the main feed would only send a tittle and link to micro.blog. Now I can control how my content appears at micro.blog.

There are other ways I’ve configured the site for micro.blog, such as using a plugin for webmentions, but that’s a story for another day.

Micro.blog Posts Moved Out of Your 40Tech RSS Feed (and into Their Own Feed)

My foray into micro.blog is a work in progress. Micro.blog is a service that allows you to publish Twitter-like updates to your own site, but also have them appear in a familiar timeline interface at micro.blog. The idea is that you can own your content.

Since first going live with micro.blog, all my micro.blog posts have resided on the front page of 40Tech and in the main RSS feed, as well as at micro.blog. To help those who didn’t want to see those posts in their feed, I set up a feed to let you exclude those posts.

It’s time for some more tweaking. I realized I was refraining from posting to micro.blog because I didn’t want more trivial items to show up on the main page at 40Tech and in the main RSS feed. To remove that friction, I’ve removed the micro.blog posts from the home page at 40Tech, and from the RSS feed. You can still see all the micro.blog costs in their own section of the site. They also have their own RSS feed. Those who want to get all the content from 40Tech should subscribe to both the main feed and the micro.blog feed. If you’re on micro.blog, you can also follow me there. Of course, you can still follow me on Twitter.

Slim Down 40Tech’s RSS Feed

[February 24, 2018 update: I’ve further tweaked how I’m handling micro.blog posts. They’re no longer on the main page, but in their own section of the site and in their own RSS feed.]

Original post:

A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to use micro.blog to keep all my Twitter-like posts here at 40Tech.com. That post explained my reasoning behind it. The side effect for RSS subscribers is your feed got a bit busier with short “micro” posts, and you may have some posts in your feed that are “Untitled.”

If you want to exclude these microblog-style posts from your feed, you can do so by using this feed link:

40Tech RSS Feed Exluding Microblog Posts

You can continue to get all posts at the normal RSS feed link.

Untitled Posts at 40Tech

Some of you reading 40Tech in an RSS reader might see some posts with “Untitled” or something similar as the title of some posts. This isn’t a case of me forgetting to add a title to some posts, but is what happens when I post a microblog item, which by definition doesn’t have a title. Some RSS readers handle this well. Others don’t.

I initially worked on some RSS hacks to try to replace “Untitled” with something else, such as placeholder text or a snippet of the body of the post. But I’ve been persuaded by a couple of posts I’ve seen elsewhere online.

Dave Winer, from Scripting News:

An idea, they could do what Frank asked me to do, show the first few words from the post in the list view. And nothing in the right view. These items have no titles for artistic reasons. The author did not put them there. You, as a software developer, are not entitled to add them (haha that’s a pun).

And Manton Reece, the creator of micro.blog:

I agree with Dave on this. Titles are clearly optional in the RSS 2.0 spec. The fix for the “Untitled” text that some feed readers use isn’t for authors to add titles where they aren’t needed, it’s for the UI in feed readers to improve so that they gracefully handle title-less posts.

So if you are seeing “Untitled” in your feed reader, it is in part due to how your feed reader handles titleless posts. For now I’m going to see how this develops.