Knowledge Base: Posting Videos Anybody Can View

Square peg, round holeIf you’ve recorded a video and wish to include it in a post or comment on the site, if you proceed in the most straightforward way, it’s essentially certain only some people will be able to view it.  This is due to the Balkanisation of video formats, which  more than two decades after video on the Web became commonplace, remain a swamp of proprietary formats, patent lock-ins and -outs, royalty claims, and attempts by browser vendors to lock in users to their associated mobile devices.

It is possible to navigate this minefield and post videos (almost) everybody can view, but it’s neither easy nor straightforward.  This note is written as much as anything as a memo to file so I don’t have to summon the information every time I need to fix a posted video, but if you’re willing to install the required tools and carefully follow the instructions, you can make it work.... [Read More]


for the moon watchers…

A few days ago or was it weeks, 10 Cents did some moon images with, I presume, his new camera. Finally I had a clear night and attempted to do the same. But not really ever getting into my camera to understand settings, I just let it fly. So here you are 10 Cents;

The first is no zoom…... [Read More]


some help to get you through the day…

Just a few little funnies…

Continue reading “some help to get you through the day…”


Feature: Improved Handling of “Mark all notifications read”

Mark all notifications readAt 21:36 UTC on 2020-04-29 I put a new feature into production which changes the handling of the “Mark all notifications read” item in the drop-down menu from the notifications bubble at the top right of the screen.  Previously, this would clear unread notifications and display the Unread Notifications page, which was pretty silly since you’d just asked to mark them all read.  Today’s change uses the mechanism implemented to support the “catch-up” feature introduced on 2020-04-12 to mark the notifications read via a lightweight query request which doesn’t replace the page you’re currently viewing with the (useless) Unread Notifications page.  After marking the notifications read, the number and drop-down list of notifications are immediately updated.

Before, there was a potential race condition where notifications that had arrived since the last automatic update to the page would be marked read even though you’d never seen them in the drop-down list.  This has been corrected: no notification will be marked read unless it has been presented to you in the drop-down list.  This means that when you click “Mark all notifications read” you may immediately see new notifications which have just arrived: this is not a bug—it’s avoiding one which was present in the old code.... [Read More]



SCANALYZERThere’s a new group here at Ratburger, SCANALYZER, and it’s nothing like you’ve seen before (unless you frequent the sidebar and have noticed its appearance and popped in).

Stock cue SOUND: “Presenting SCANALYZER, Engrelay Satelserv’s unique thrice-per-day study of the big big scene, the INdepth INdependent INmediate INterface between you and your world!”... [Read More]


Catching Up with Notifications for Posts, Comments, and Groups

Catch-up featureWhen engaging in an active discussion on the site, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of notifications you may receive for new comments on discussions in which you’re participating, likes on your posts and comments, and participation in group discussions.  Frequently, you’ll go to a discussion, read all of the new comments and look at the “likes” of the comments you’ve posted, and then find you still have a long list of notifications pending because you haven’t followed each individually, causing them to be dismissed.

On 2020-04-12, I implemented a new feature at, called “catch-up”, which allows you to dismiss all notifications relating to a post or group you’ve just visited.  For example, if you log on to the site and discover there are a dozen or more notifications queued for comments in a discussion in which you’re participating, just click the first (the oldest), and then read from there to the end, catching up to the most recent.  Reading these comments does not dismiss their notifications, so you’d usually still have a long list of notifications remaining for comments you’ve just read.... [Read More]


I Write the Code

Yesterday, a friend of mine texted me a link to a podcast, the subject of which was Bill Gates and how he (with not inconsiderable help from his family) built the Microsoft empire. At the end of the podcast was this wonderful parody by David Pogue of Barry Manilow’s hit (and piano bar staple) from 1975, “I Write the Songs”:

... [Read More]


Replacement for his royal highness….

Ya’ know, this has gone too far. Now he wants us to call him; “Your royal highness”! Impeachment is too good for him and if we let the democrats in this forum in charge of it, well you know how that goes, it will take forever.

I propose we just look for a replacement, and I have just the puppets in mind that will fill the bill nicely. They once stared on a segment of MTV and now they say they are ready to come out of retirement! Isn’t that great?... [Read More]


Half a Million Spammers

Pumpkin spice SPAMEarlier today, on the last day of 2019, blocked the 500,000th attempt to pollute the site with spam comments or to register new user accounts in order to make spam postings.  As of this post, the total spam blocked has already climbed to 500,254.

The site opened to the public on December 10th, 2017, and thus has been in operation for 752 days.  There have, then, been an average of 665 attempts to spam the site per day over that period.  The vast majority of these have been caught by a plug-in we run, Stop Spammers, which checks the IP address and E-mail address of users attempting to register an account against a number of blacklists of known spammers, and also enforces correct use of the HTTP protocol which some high-volume spam robots violate in order to hit more targets per second.  In addition, thousands of other suspicious attempts to access the site have been flagged and rejected manually—these do not appear in the totals above.... [Read More]