msiegel Star

Tags  →  categorian

I added a Firefox add-on for Categorian

If you use Firefox web browser, a new add-on is available on the setup page!

If you use the add-on, you don't need to use the Cat bookmarks :)
I added a font size setting

If you need text to be larger, change font size on the setup page!

This will make all of Cat's own text larger :)

It might make text on other people's blogs larger too (depending on how they coded their fonts).
I'm going to try to program a forwarding system for messages, so messages sent to members will (optionally) be forwarded to their email address.

That way people's messages can be received by email, while keeping the email address private.
Correction to RSS Feeds

RSS feeds weren't being encoded quite right. This should be fixed now :)
Queue upgraded

Hi! I upgraded the code for the Queue, to make it faster.

We have some speed back :D Just let me know if you run into any trouble.
About the Heartbleed Bug

The "Heartbleed" internet-wide security issue affects websites that use specific versions of SSL software.

Categorian doesn't use SSL, so it was not affected. There was no problem here :)
Storage system upgraded

Amazon started offering a new, faster storage service for only a little more money per month... so I switched us to it.

Considering the small increase in cost, the performance improvement is great! :D
Window Title updated

The number of messages waiting in your Queue is now displayed in the title of the browser window or tab. That should be handy :)
Friends page updated

It works a bit better now :)
I'm sorry about that outage the other day. Large parts of Amazon infrastructure were having trouble, and it affected Netflix and Amazon Streaming Video as well as Categorian. Everything seems back to normal now though :)

I'll be around much more this year, and have several Categorian upgrades in mind.

I've cut back on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and news, so I can allocate more time for Categorian programming.

I think it will be a fun year, and I wish you health and happiness!

Visitor Ratings Added

Ratings for your visitors are now displayed in the "recent visitors" strip of your main blog page.

The strip can be turned on and off in the Setup page :)
("show Visitors on blog page" option)

G - General
M - Mature/NSFW
X - Adult
P - Private (author's friends only)
? - Not yet rated

If you need to hide the ratings so your visitors list looks the way it used to, just let me know and I'll turn it off for you :)
Directory Updated

Check out the User Directory

Improvements to the rating system are now in progress :)

It will be some days before I check and re-rate everything in the "X" section. A lot of blogs currently rated "X" will end up rated "M" for Mature.
Added jQuery 1.10.3

I don't expect this to affect anyone (except Leinnea :)... blog pages now include a Google-hosted version of jQuery, which I'll be using to improve blogs' user interface functions.
New account creation temporarily suspended

I'll be making improvements to the account signup process, and then cleaning up some spam :)
Suspending new account creation soon

I see too much spam in the Library, so I'll be making improvements to the account signup process, then cleaning up some of the unwanted posts/sites.

During the work I'll temporarily turn off new account signups, to keep the flow of incoming users under control :)
If I just visited you... :)

I've been working on the User Directory, so you're probably in the Ratings now!
Private Blog option removed

Blogs that are currently private will stay private, but no *new* blogs can be made private.

I intended private blogs to be a rare exception, not commonplace occurrence. I'll sort this all out a little later...

EDIT: Just let me know if you need to make your blog public; I'll switch it for you :)
I've noticed a small amount of spam by watching the Library...

It will be deleted retroactively, but first I'll be taking steps to prevent spam from happening :)
User Directory update

The User Directory can now sort by Region or by the date users Joined :)
Automatic Image Resizing added

Thanks to code by thatJamesongirl and a suggestion by Metal-Tiger, images are now automatically resized to fit the width of your blog, using this code:
.review img { max-width: 100%; }

This should make blogs neater and images easier to see.

Please let me know if you run into any trouble :)
Online Status added to User Directory

It's a handy new feature to see who was active in the last few minutes: try it in the User Directory
Ratings added to User Directory

The Directory now has a way to sort users by Rating. Many blogs haven't been rated yet; but we're making good progress :)
User Directory Updated

The Directory separates sections by first letter for easier browsing.

Categorian Version 2's server now compresses pages before sending them, so Version 2 pages (like the User Directory) should load faster.
NEW FEATURE - Categorian User Directory

This new User Directory is great; I can easily browse through the list of all users... I'm seeing blogs I've never seen before! :D

This version of the Directory is still primitive, but it's already good enough to be really useful.
Hi guys : )

I'm setting aside "" to hold the sections of Version 2, as I build each section.

This shouldn't affect the main website, so just let me know if I break anything : )
Blog Ratings & Criteria

Hi everyone :)
I'm gradually making progress on the new blog rating system. Here's a draft of the ratings and their criteria:

Rating: X
A blog rated X has porn or explicit sex; gore or graphic violence; or other material not suited for sensitive viewers.
Under these criteria, a small number of blogs will be rated X.

Rating: NSFW ("not safe for work")
A blog rated NSFW has nudity, profanity, crude humor, drug references, or other material not suited for conservative viewers.
Many blogs will be rated NSFW; possibly my own blog as well due to an occasional unusual post :)

Rating: For Everyone
Blogs that don't fall under NSFW or X are deemed suitable for everyone to view.
Many blogs will be rated For Everyone.

Not Yet Rated
If a blog has too few posts and doesn't fall under NSFW or X, it won't have any rating yet.

Casual visitors will see a notice before viewing NSFW or X blogs. You'll be able to turn these notices off in the Settings so everything works the same way it does now :)
I managed to rate 45 blogs myself, by hand. I'll definitely be asking for help sooner rather than later, haha :D

Something like a User Directory will be needed to rate blogs on a larger scale. I'll keep you guys posted when new features related to rating become available for everyone's use :)
Started work on a User-Rating System

This is the last upgrade I expect to do to the current (version 1) Categorian website, before concentrating on version 2.

The rating system is a way to advise casual or first-time visitors to certain blogs that the blogs contain nudity, porn, or are otherwise not safe for viewing at work (or other conservative environments).

This feature should help prevent unpleasant surprises, especially for new users :)

The rating system WON'T affect your ability to see blogs or find them, or to search using tags. There will be a setting to turn on or off any notifications, so your visits to other blogs can continue to work exactly as they do now.

And unlike SU, the system will not affect who can communicate with or see whom. We learned that lesson years ago.

I'll be recruiting help to do the ratings, and self-ratings will also be welcome, once I get to that point.

The rating system won't be perfect, but it's designed to not interfere with the way we do things now, and at the same time provide a little protection for people who need it :)
Removed references to

Apparently, which hosts a few of the images in our blogs, ran into trouble with malware. Categorian users were starting to see warning messages about this when visiting some of our pages.

I've removed references to from all blog posts, so our pages stay safe, and you won't run into warnings :)
Queue a mess, all of a sudden?

If your Queue just lost its style and looks like a mess, please let me know. My recent database cleanup may have affected it, and I'll fix it for you :)
Even More inactive accounts deleted

Another 309 inactive accounts have been deleted. We now have 2050 accounts.

The conditions for deletion are getting stricter...

Your account is perfectly safe if any one or more of:
- you posted more than 1 item in your blog, or
- have a banner or style, or
- logged in 90 days ago or sooner, or
- have more than a few friends, or
- donated, or
- sent or received several messages

You can see it's hard to get automatically deleted :)
More unused accounts deleted

Another 204 unused, abandoned accounts have been deleted. We now have 2359 accounts.

The cleanup continues... :)
Queue: updated Message Delete feature

Hi everyone. I've improved the speed of the message-delete function. if you have a lot of messages to delete, this should help.

The new function may be a little buggy, but it's about the best I can do in Categorian version 1. Do let me know if you run into any trouble.

This feature update was sponsored by gatorindo, HussPuppe, chelle-is-swell, and Metal-Tiger. Thank you for your support! :)
{{Benni}} has volunteered to greet new users.

Don't be surprised if you receive a visit! :)
User Signup Enabled

New users can once again sign up from the front page :)
hmm, now that facebook is using #hashtags, maybe i should consider #hashtags in addition to separate tags
Deleted subscribers... deleted :)

Your Subscribers list should now be free of _deletedusers.
the new messaging system will prevent html messages that have errors from causing problems with the rest of the inbox...

i'm talking to you, the person who made my entire inbox italic ;)

all this code is just now in development, but it will be a major improvement when it's ready
Programming of the new Categorian software is coming along well, so we *will* eventually get back to fast speeds :)

I was more-or-less forced to start development of the new version... my queue has close to 2,100 unread messages in it, and the current system just can't handle my trying to go through them.
If you're having trouble reaching the site by typing, please use the older instead.

There's some temporary routing trouble at our service provider; hopefully they will resolve it soon :)
Tip: to find out who was recently online, go to your Friends page and click Recently Active :)
2nd Round of Account Cleanup

An additional 402 unused accounts have been automatically deleted.
1st Round of Account Cleanup

1232 old, unused accounts have been automatically deleted :)
Improved Speed of "Unsafe" Stagger

The "Unsafe" Stagger function - the one that might show Adult sites - is much, much faster now :)
Enabled PHP Accelerator

Apparently the old PHP accelerator wasn't working right! I've installed a fresh one. Some parts of the site should be faster now :)
Removed user list from front page

While investigating the Queue slowdown I noticed that displaying a complete user list on the front page is creating quite a lot of work for the database. I've turned that off for now, to improve database performance.
Slow Speed

Hi everyone :) I've been alerted to a slowdown in the Queue. I'll be investigating that over the next few days.

One known problem is that I wrote the software that runs Categorian over 3 years ago, and it's thoroughly obsolete; no longer easy to maintain. I'm working on that matter separately :)
Hi all,
I'm digging through my Queue as quick as I can. I should be reaching your messages soon :)
Account Creation Temporarily Suspended

Hi guys :)

I'm suspending creation of new accounts until I create a few tools to help me manage them - account deletion and so on.
Thanks, everyone, for your support! :)
Hi all,

Enough people love Categorian that I'm going to keep running it.

I was having second thoughts last night. I had failed to resolve a fight that broke out between two members who shall remain anonymous. I had to apologize to both of them for becoming angry myself.

To keep things civil I'm adding a rule: Be excellent to each other.

I've already said it nicely, but now it also means: if you harass someone, I may terminate your account. Harassment specifically includes accusatory or defamatory posts about other members.

I don't have a lot of time on my hands anymore, so I'm more likely to remove people who disturb the peace, instead of trying to negotiate with them. If you run into a problem with someone, tell me about it. If they're breaking the rule, they'll have to take the consequences.

Thanks for listening.

i'm getting reports that this technique also works for the categorian bookmarks :)
Switched servers after outage

Hi guys :)

It looks like the server we were running on had some kind of hardware failure... maybe with the networking equipment. I moved the drives to a new machine, which seems to be running fine.

Categorian servers are in the same Amazon datacenter that was recently hit by that big outage. Any lingering anomalies may be a sign that they're still picking up the pieces.

Sorry for the inconvenience!
Security Improvement

It's now impossible to accidentally reply to a message that was sent to someone else.

Thanks to {{June}} for the tip! :)
sorry for the messaging outage. it was a little *too* secure ;)
Security Improvement

The messaging system has been improved to prevent curiosity seekers from overhearing conversations.

Many thanks to {{Zalmoxsis}} for bringing the eavesdroppers to my attention!
accounts cleanup

i'm suspending new account creation for a little while.

i'll be cleaning up leftover unused accounts, and a bit of frivolous new junk as well
server restart

sorry for the hiccup; we were offline for about 10 minutes
mutual friends

on your friends page, mutual friends are now shown with a heart

happy valentine's day :)

i'm everybody's friend here, even if you don't see a heart :)
while everyone is busy exploring pinterest, i'll be here working under the hood :)
image and youtube thumbnails

in the library, at the bottoms of some category pages, is an experimental section with clickable thumbnails :)

you'll only see them if you have UNSAFE Stagger enabled on your Setup page
image thumbnail generator part 3 of 4 is working

i should be getting to the library tomorrow :)
image thumbnail generator part 1 of 4 is looking good :)

it may seem odd to do this as part of the porn filtering project, but to me it's an important part of keeping the whole system in balance
the site status checker completed. about 7% of sites gave an error; not bad :)

now i'm working on image thumbnail generator
i wrote a site status checker program this afternoon.

it's now going through the database and checking each of the 225461 sites to see if they're accessible, or if they're 404 (not found) etc.

this program, and a half-dozen more parts, are all along the way to the next version of porn filtering. the parts have other important roles to play as well :)

edit: cool... 30713 down, 194748 to go :D
fix for photoblog

if Photoblog stopped working when you upgraded Firefox, please get a new Photoblog bookmark from your Setup page :)

i have added an optional banner for Jan 18th protest of the "PROTECT IP Act".

if you want to use it on your blog, paste this line at the end of your Style:

#cateventbanner { display: block; }

please add your voice to help defeat SOPA and PIPA -- laws that could lead to unlimited government censorship of any website!

even non-U.S. citizens can help
feature request

Stagger through a selected topic

former SU'ers remember how this worked :D
bug (bumped)

Photoblog doesn't work when the page's title has an apostrophe

is this still true? i think the latest Photoblog bookmark might have fixed it :)
back to porn filtering

now that photoblog seems stable, next i'll be resuming work on filtering out porn (for those who need to :)
firefox 9 breaks old photoblog bookmark

the latest photoblog bookmark works! please see above :)
SUCats Forums

Fresh new new Forums are now online for fans of Blogspot, Categorian, Posterous, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Wordpress, and more.

SUCats is made and run by some of our very own members :)

Check it out: SUCats
first queue upgrade completed

on the Queue page, you'll now see:
- a link to a new "diverted messages" page
- a "divert" link under each message

these allow you to block all messages from specific people, but still be able to go see what they wrote you :)

you can later decide to "allow all" messages from a person, and their messages will go back into your Queue page
contacts removed

the Friends page no longer has a Contacts section

it has been replaced by the new Diverted Messages page :)
changes to visitors list

"Anonymous" visitors are no longer listed. they are ignored, just like random visitors from the internet :)

you are no longer listed as a visitor to your own blog. this often happened when visitors sent you messages
lowering posts per page

i plan to lower the maximum number of posts per page... to about 150.

so the blog with 30000 posts will have at least 200 pages :)
incoming rss feeds are now turned off

the rss checkbox is also removed from the Setup page

this does not affect the importer, or any imported posts :)
quickReply added

after checking your Queue, there's a new option to reply to the message using this smaller, quicker method
tiny icons

if you spot tiny icons in the library, it's an experiment :)

i want to see if i can tolerate icons in the listings, or if they give me a headache like su v3

it's definitely better when each item fits entirely on one line :)
feature request

Send to groups

ability to save groups, and send something to an entire group
QuickSend improved

the checkboxes should be working now :)
additional Blog it bookmark

a new, optional "Blog it" bookmark opens your blog in a new window/tab for convenience

go to the Setup page to pick it up :)
bump improved

"bump" bumps to the top
↑ bumps up one
↓ bumps down one
phasing out su rss

i'm planning on removing the su rss feeds

they're confusing people, and su will probably remove them soon anyway

this does not affect the importer, or any imported posts :)
feature request

custom favicons

it would be nice be able to add custom site icons, at least per blog
server configuration tweaked

this should help prevent "502" errors :)
usernames a-z reserved

i'm reserving the one-letter usernames a-z in for internal use (infrastructure services that live on subdomains :)
extra posts below page number!

do you have unwanted stuff under your blog's page number / arrows? have trouble seeing the arrows because of those extra posts?

go to your Setup page and UN-check the "show extra RSS Feed" checkbox.

that ought to help :)
session timeout increased

your account should stay logged in much longer while you're not active.

you can still log out at any time, of course :)
experimental SSL support added

the certificate is for only.

this feature is *not* ready for general use :)

also, hi to WeAreGeek :D
privacy policy added

it's on the front page, and it reads:

"I hate spam. I don't share your private information with 3rd parties."

simple is best :)
importer upgraded

the latest version has better filtering of invalid characters.

it should be much less likely to give "illegal character code" errors now :)
"within five minutes" removed

the Recently Active page no longer has a section for members active within the last 5 minutes.

that section didn't work well as a "Online" indicator. it needlessly invaded privacy without providing options or controls. i'm rethinking the design.

you can still check who was online within the last hour :)
this note was just sent in:

Quite a few bloggers use ImageShack as a host for their images and backgrounds. ImageShack has since February this year blocked many countries as you can read some here:

Due to this many blogs look like this:


for the benefit of our international users (which is essentially everybody :), it might be a good idea to move background images to another image hosting site.
return from editing

after editing a post, you now return to the page the post came from

many happy returns! :)
feature request

option for Stagger to show content from friends more often
UNSAFE Stagger option

Stagger now filters out NSFW material (such as porn) by default.

this first version is very strict!

it will become less conservative, over the coming months :)

so, there's a new option on the Setup page called "more-exciting, UNSAFE Stagger". notice the warning! :)

how does it work, and why is it so conservative?

this first version refers to a relatively short "whitelist" of domains, ones which are practically guaranteed not to present anything too racy or objectionable. any sites not on the list are ignored from Staggering.

the "whitelisted" domains are some of the most popular in the database, so there are thousands of pages of safe material to Stagger through.

on the positive side, clicking Stagger should now be completely safe by default. on the negative side, it can be somewhat boring, and there aren't many visuals!

more heuristics (rules of thumb) and the use of tags will be added as time goes on, and these will provide more subtle control over what's included in your Staggering :)
"local" tags

if you want to have your own "local" tags that DON'T go into the Library.... then just write them with a * at the beginning

for example, if you're posting things about a marathon you're running, you could tag them with:


easy! and those tags won't go into the Library :)
installed the latest version of redis server :D

the plan is to mirror all the user records from mysql to redis so i can add to the schema without adding to the schema, so to speak.

need this for more easily adding a nsfw preference, but it has a number of other uses as well :)
feature requests are just people's requests for new features

i consider them all, and whether/how they fit into the design :)
feature request

jump to page number, or jump by sets of (10 or so) pages
feature request

Recently Active link on Friends page looks too much like a heading
feature anti-request

don't add competitive features: anything that can have numbers on it, like how many followers or page views, which disrupt harmony and impose pressures
categorizing is cool

if you tag something Flowers instead of just Photography, then people looking for Flowers can find it! :D
feature request

be able to add code to the html head section, that applies to every page
feature anti-request

don't add a 'like' function! it clutters things up
feature request

improve conversation display (message threading) in Queue

note to self: order by date, but then pull up by thread; similar to Recently Active page
feature request

questions and answers forum
feature request

when using stagger, see who added the page or has it in their blog
feature request

option for commenting on a post (something like a comments thread or giving the post a "like" in the thread)
feature request

option for private blogs that are shared only with selected members
feature request

don't stagger accidentally into porn

edit: mission accomplished! to a first approximation :)
feature request

remove the flag when you visit a subscriber, rather than after 15 days
feature request

(on tags page) tag text is proportionally sized to represent the approximate number of entries in it, or other method such as a numeral beside tag to show approximate number of entries in that tag
friends page online

sorry about that minor outage! :)

the little green flags show people who subscribed within the last 15 days
added "my url" link

what url do you send people, to bring them to your blog?

copy the link that says my url -- it's across from your username, on your main blog page :)
if the way i run this place seems unorthodox... it's true! :)

my time is scarce, so the design and operation are based on simplicity of implementation and minimizing the need for maintenance.
categorian facebook group

haha, that didn't take long! :)

orfie started a categorian facebook group that's open to all :D
importer upload fixed

if you've been getting a "connection reset" error while uploading your WXR file to the importer, try again -- it should be fixed now :)

thanks to jerzee55sst for the report! :D
importer online

i would have liked to test it more, but due to popular demand... :)

there's a link to the importer on the bottom of your Setup page
database server upgraded

all site functions are now running from one moderately fast server :)
Nudes, Porn, Violence, etc

As a courtesy to your fellow users, please tag posts you think might be objectionable (e.g., porn, guns, nude art, etc).

Some people will want to find them, and other people will want to avoid them.

Tagging your posts will help in both cases :)
we've *got* to have *more* power!

i'll see what i can do with the database server later today :D

this will mean 20-30 minutes of downtime, several hours from now...
toolbar auto-login

i'm now allowing WeAreGeek's Categorian toolbar to log in automatically.

this should make it even easier to use, especially the Queue button :)
top-of-page links updated

the help link now goes directly to the help page

and the Categorian link now goes to my blog, showing all Categorian posts :)
importer in testing

new version of the importer is now being tested.

the first test was successful: a large blog with 20126 posts came in, in about 3 hours.

i may do another server upgrade tomorrow to speed up these large imports.
next up

once i have the importer back online and sufficiently error-resistant, the next things on my list are:

nsfw filter! :)
more speed!! :D
beware of porn

there is not yet a NSFW filter, so if you indiscriminately (randomly) click on things, you might run into porn.

actually that's a lot like the internet in general. but still, you have been warned :)
security upgraded

it's now impossible to put any of your sensitive categorian account bookmarks into a blog post, whether on purpose or accidentally :)

thanks to orfie and lisashaz39 for reporting the strange behavior that led to this upgrade :D
ok, i've got a strategy for filtering out illegal character codes in the importer... but seeing as i'm starting to hallucinate, i think i'll be taking the rest of the night to rest :D

maybe i can squeeze something in, before dawn tomorrow morning? well see :)
man, i hope everybody exported from SU in time

edit: there's a rumor going around that you can still use SU's exporter!
i'll tweak the importer tonight and put it back online :)
all right! we have *speed* again :D
the additional server is up... and so am i... way past my bedtime :D
if all goes well, we'll wake up to a stable, faster categorian in the morning :)
good night all...
making progress on the additional server. keep your fingers crossed! :D
i'm taking the importer offline for at least several hours, to make improvements.
this is to deal with errors that i'm finding *inside* the wxr files.

i'll update this notice later today with more information :)

edit: we seriously need more server power. i'll see what i can do.
edit 2: making progress on the additional server. keep your fingers crossed :)
edit 3: i think we're almost there... :D
edit 4: it worked

i'll tweak the importer tonight (monday night) and put it back online :)

note: there's *no* time limit on importing! :D
just make SURE you get your wxr file from SU's export process, and your blog will be safe :)

the importer ran out of memory overnight!
sorry guys, that's why you couldn't connect to it :)
i may have to modify it yet again tonight to better handle those really large blogs :D

go ahead and try it again :)
latest modifications to the importer are working great -- no more interrupted imports, *nor* UTF-8 errors! :D
some people's exported blogs seem to have invalid characters in them... leading to XML syntax errors when importing.

i'm now looking at possible workarounds for that on my end :)
ok, i'm off to dinner. hold all my calls! XD
last night's progress on the importer was great, but it still needs a little more work.
i'll be back for corrections in a while... :)
now making corrections to importer :)
SU Blog Importer BETA

Hi all! Our SU Blog Importer is now in Beta testing, and we're getting great results from it. Once the last kinks are worked out, it will be ready for you to use :)

To prepare, go ahead and export your SU blog, following steps 1-3 of SU's Blog Export Guide, and hold on to the WXR file that is produced.

NOTE: If you already exported your SU blog, *before October 5th*, please EXPORT IT AGAIN. Any WXR file you have may contain errors! SU fixed these errors after the 5th.

Looking forward to seeing your blogs! :D
whoops! looks like someone tried to use a wxr that was exported awhile back... before su fixed the ampersand encoding issue :-/

i'll have to warn people about that
:) had to restart the importer. somebody fed it a file that was *not* a wxr!
importer beta testing is going great! :D
did some additional alpha testing -- looks good! :)
phew, tired... i'll finish setting up the beta test tomorrow am.
the importer's first beta test will be today :)