Archive for the 'Maintenance' Category

Posting links using the Delicious Blog Rescue Tool

Monday, August 11th, 2008

As per the earlier discussion (elsewhere, too), with the Delicious upgrade came the breaking of the post-to-blog feature. Inputting the required info on the site didn’t help, I’m afraid. However, Jacob‘s comment came to the rescue and pointed me to the Delicious Blog Rescue Tool, which fortunately does work. Of course, since it’s not automated, it’s not clear how often I’ll be posting links here. As always, it’s probably best to follow EBlog content using its RSS feed.

To add some color to this post, here’s an image of the tags used on my Delicious links thanks to World:

My delicious tags

Gender differences in sharing creative content online

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

This ArsTechnica write-up of some recent research of mine has received numerous votes on the recommendation site Digg in the last few hours. I wonder if it will make the front page of Digg, although as a Twitter contact of mine noted, since it’s not a top-10 list (nor, if I might add, does it cover Google or Apple), that may be unlikely.

The post reports on a study in which we found that male college students are more likely than their female counterparts to share creative content online even though both men and women in the sample are equally likely to create such content. However, when controlling for online skill, the gender differences in posting go away.

Gina Walejko and I published the paper “The Participation Divide: Content Creation and Sharing in the Digital Age” this Spring in the journal Information, Communication and Society. We examine the extent to which college students share creative content online and whether we can identify any systematic differences by user background. In particular, we looked at whether students create and share the following types of material: poetry/fiction, artistic photography, music, and video (both completely own and remixed in the case of the latter two), including both private and public sharing.

Administering a paper-pencil survey on a diverse group of over a thousand first-year college students at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 2007, we found that men are significantly more likely to share their creative output online than women. This was especially true for video (with 40% of men sharing such content compared to 15% of women), but holds for the other types of material as well.

Curious to see what explains these differences in sharing, we looked at whether various measures of Internet experience account for the divergences. We controlled for years of use, frequency of Internet use, number of Internet access locations, and online skill. Of these four, skill was a significant predictor of sharing activity. In fact, once skill is in the model, gender is no longer a significant predictor of posting one’s material.

There may be additional issues going on for which, I’m afraid, we have no data. For example, women may be more concerned about privacy issues or the critiques their content may receive. I’m working with another student on doing some qualitative follow-up work on this aspect of the question.

There are some more details in a press release Northwestern put out about the study or feel free to send me a note for a copy of the full paper.

Another technical glitch: Flickr & Firefox

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

UPDATE: I really didn’t want to have to do this, but after reading some related threads over on Flickr Help it looked like it may be hard to avoid clearing the cache so I did. Things are now back to normal.

Original post:

I apologize, this is yet another post about a technical problem I am experiencing. And believe me, I am not finding these amusing nor do I think they are a particularly good use of blog space, but there’s always the hope that a reader may have an idea for a solution. So far E-BLOG readers have been very helpful so that keeps me motivated. (Which is not to say that if you’re sick of these posts you should stop helping me out with the hopes that then I’ll stop posting about them.:)

The problem: Flickr looks like a mess when I pull it up in Firefox. Here is a screen shot of the welcome page:

Flickr problems in Firefox

It looks like the css file is not being considered when rendering the page. Curiously, some pages do come up okay. For example, when I click on “all sizes” for an image, I get what I’m supposed to get.

But I get the above mess not only on the welcome page, but on each individual photo page and also on others such as my Favorites or “Recent comments you have made”, etc. And yes, it’s the same when viewing other people’s accounts as well.

This all started yesterday around the same time that Flickr was experiencing upload problems. For a few hours I just figured it had to do with that. I didn’t see why they should be related, but I figured there were just all sorts of general site problems. However, eventually I realized that no one out there was commenting on this and it had been a while so I pulled up Flickr in IE. It rendered just fine.

So what in the world is going on here? I cleared my Flickr cookies to see if that could help, but no change. I checked and I’m running the latest version of Firefox so no upgrading to do there.
I disabled all extensions in case something there might be a problem, but nothing changed.

I’m really hoping to avoid having to clear cache altogether as I have all sorts of things set that I don’t want to have to retype again on other sites. It is possible to just clear cache for one site? And yes, I’ve done lots of forced reloads.

Any thoughts on how I can get Flickr to show up correctly again in Firefox? I really don’t want to have to run IE parallel to Firefox.. but viewing the site this way is very annoying. Thanks!

Problems with IE

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

UPDATE: I’ve figured this out (see the end of the post for details).

As Biliana noted in the comments, there seems to be a problem with displaying E-BLOG in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out the source of this problem. It seems to have come out of nowhere from one day to the next. I don’t recall adding any code that would have suddenly led to this problem. I welcome suggestions for fixing it. In the meantime, I recommend using Firefox. I am not suggesting anyone would bother downloading a separate application just to view this blog, I am suggesting that it’s worth using Firefox regardless of this blog. (See download instructions here.)

FYI, it is possible to view each post individually in IE. The evidence seems to suggest that the problem is with some code in the sidebar. I just can’t figure out what exactly.

UPDATE: I took out the sidebar to see what would happen and nothing changed, so clearly that’s not the issue. Jim uses a similar layout on his blog (in fact, he got the code – although possibly an earlier incarnation – from here) and his site renders just fine in IE.

UPDATE 2: It turns out my edited version of the sociable plugin was causing the problem. I have disabled it and all should be fine now.

Blog tune-up

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Finally the title graphic on the top of this blog links to the main blog page. Thanks to my good friend David for helping me figure this out!

Dreamhost NOT recommended

Monday, September 19th, 2005

In the past I have recommended Dreamhost as a hosting service, but after numerous problems with them in the past months, I would like to point out that I no longer recommend Dreamhost. In fact, I am in search for another hosting service that has much more reliable service and offers better and faster customer support. Two of my important sites – and – are down this morning for no apparent reason. Moreover, the error message that comes up makes it seem as though the fault was mine yet I have done nothing to the sites in days so it’s not possible that any action on my part would have led to this outage.

Crooked Timber is also hosted at Dreamhost and that site was down for several hours late last week. (I should note that neither of these have to do with the electricity problems in LA that I know affected numerous other sites as well.)

A few days ago, my Web Use News blog (down now) went completely crazy and although the top page worked, all of the underlying links – including the ones to simple entry archives – were inaccessible. Then suddenly an hour later all was okay again.

This is unbelievably unreliable service and is not an option for sites that have a professional purpose. I welcome suggestions for alternatives.

New spam guard

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

You will notice a new requirement when you want to post a comment to this blog: you are asked to type in my first name. It is not a trick question, not to you, the reader that is. It is supposed to trick automated spammers though. (Be sure to enter my name exactly as shown next to the field.) Thanks to Jeff Barr for posting the relevant bit of code on his blog.

Comment spam continues to be a problem. You may not always see this as some of the messages are caught to the extent that they are sent to my mailbox for approval. I used to deal with these by creating a filter in my mailbox so that any such email was sent directly to my Trash folder. Unfortunately, as I described earlier, this still left me with a serious problem since my provider decided that I was using too many resources and was going to either shut down my account or start charging me $100 for it. That’s extreme for a relatively small site.

I experimented with a CAPTCHA solution (completely automated public Turing test), but ran into some problems. So I went looking for alternatives and this solution seemed like it might work and I was able to implement it. So we’ll see. From what I can tell, even if you don’t get it right the first time around, the system should keep your comments in the comment field so hopefully by pressing the back button – after you receive the error message – you can retrieve what you wrote.

Let me reiterate, the requirement is exactly as simple as it sounds. (Although given the number of times people misspell my name perhaps it’s not quite as simple as I think. But hopefully by having it right there next to the field you’ll be able to do it.:)

Feel free to leave a comment here to try it out.

WordPress/Firefox problem

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

I cannot log into my WordPress panel for using Firefox. It works fine for IE. However, I know it’s not a general WordPress/Firefox incompatibility, because Crooked Timber – the group blog of which I am a member – uses WordPress and I can log into that account just fine using Firefox. So what may be going on? Any ideas?

Blog upgrade/Blog update/Blog questions

Friday, August 5th, 2005

Finally, I got around to upgrading the software running this blog, WordPress. It’s a much better version in many ways and it’s allowed me to fix some things and preempt certain problems.

I’m happy to say that comments are functioning again. They have not been working for weeks if not months.. and the amount of spam I was getting nearly made my provider shut down my account! In an attempt to deal with those headaches I have installed a plugin that automatically shuts off comments after seven days.

Unfortunately, the default WordPress template has some annoying aspects. For example, the default layout comes with a lot of wasted space on top of the page. Unfortunately, I have not been able to figure out how to get rid of it. Moreover, the link to homepage feature on the header does not seem to be working either. If anyone has any ideas on these, please let me know. I would also like to set up the blog so the sidebar appears on all individual post/archive pages, but that’s not straight forward either.

So while the new WordPress offers much more functionality at some level, unfortunately it’s gotten much more complex and in some ways much more difficult to navigate. Bummer.

New homepage location

Monday, September 20th, 2004

My homepage has finally migrated over to Northwestern. I even managed a pretty funky URL thanks to some very kind, accomodating and savvy tech support folks (or one in particular to be precise:). Voila: . I’m still working on migrating some parts of the site so apologies if things remain a bit in disarray for a while. If you run into a broken link, please let me know (I’m aware of the ones off the gallery page).


Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

I’ve added a new category of links on the right: Photoblogs. I don’t visit photoblogs often, but whenever I find myself doing so I really enjoy it (so I should probably do it more often.. but that’s a slippery slope…). A friend of mine just started a photoblog so I thought I would put up a permanent link to it.

Link to old Eszter’s Blog posts

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

For now the original content from Eszter’s Blog is still residing on Princeton’s servers. I will be moving them at some point when some other things get fixed. I will keep the link on this post updated.

A new home for Eszter’s Blog

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

I have moved institutions and states, and although that doesn’t mean I’d necessarily have to move my online presence, I’m taking this transition as an opportunity to start using a new blogging software. Although Greymatter served me very well and am still happy with it, I have decided to migrate to WordPress. This is my new blog home. Welcome.