Alan (big_bad_al) wrote,
Alan
big_bad_al

Goodbye, Cruel LiveJournal

I figured I should break my silence to give a quick update of what's going on with this blog. I'm fed up with the crap that LiveJournal has been pulling recently, so I'm leaving and moving to my own website. The reasons to switch away from LJ have been mounting:
  • The ads are intrusive and sucky. When I joined LiveJournal in the summer of 2004, they had what was called their Social Contract. Among other things, it said, "It may be because it's one of our biggest pet peeves, or it may be because they don't garner a lot of money, but nonetheless, we promise to never offer advertising space in our service or on our pages." This is one of the reasons why I picked LJ over other blogging sites. When they were bought by Six Apart, the Social Contract disappeared. When they in turn were then bought by SUP, ads started showing up on the site. At first they were small text and image ads around the edges, and it wasn't great but I could understand that they were trying to run a business and make money. The ads grew more and more intrusive, and now they periodically have these horrible flash-based click-through monstrosities that take over the whole page until you click through them. They use Javascript to reposition themselves to the center of the screen, which means that if I look at my blog from my phone, I can't close the ad, because the "skip this ad" link is off the screen, and when I scroll to it, the ad repositions itself to be onscreen again, which pushes the "skip this ad" link off screen again. LJ has completely broken compatibility with smartphones, which I think is a huge problem.
  • LiveJournal rewrites my content to make money. Other people have explained this better than I will, but the short version is that every time you mouse over a link here, LiveJournal surreptitiously sends it off to another website that rewrites the link to embed promo codes in it. Their main example seems to be that if I put a link to amazon.com in my blog post, it will rewrite the link so that if you buy anything after clicking the link, LJ gets a cut from your purchase. In the meantime, any personal links I've embedded in friends-only posts get sent off to a stranger to be inspected and rewritten. I personally have opted out of this bullshit (so you won't see it on this particular blog), but I don't like LiveJournal opting everyone in by default. Think of all the privacy problems Facebook has gotten recently by opting people in to sharing their stuff with advertisers; this is just another facet of that.
  • Search sucks on LiveJournal. You can't search your journal, and Google has trouble picking up all your archives, so it's nontrivial to search through them. To work around this, I've been preemptively tagging my posts with all possible words I might search for, so that I can just try typing in a tag, and I usually get what I was looking for. but there's an artificial limit of 1000 tags per journal, and I've been bumping up against that for a long time (I periodically go through and delete the rare tags that I would never actually search for). By moving my blog elsewhere, I can finally get decent search capabilities.
  • LiveJournal has a reputation of being full of whiny emo wusses. That's not what my blog is about, and I'm tired of people looking at the URL and assuming I do nothing but complain about how horrible my parents because they won't let me watch TV until after I've finished my homework. It's time to get rid of these connotations.
From now on, my blog can be found at blog.coolthingoftheday.com. I'm hosting coolthingoftheday.com with DreamHost, and so far they offer everything I want and more. I've imported all entries from here to a WordPress setup I installed, though the import process isn't perfect and needs some clean-up. In particular, most embedded videos need re-embedding, most posts need to be categorized, most cuts need to be redone, and some other whitespace formatting needs to be changed. but for the most part, all posts and all comments will survive.

I'm also still toying around with the CSS on the site. It currently has some known issues about putting the navigation sidebar at the very bottom of the page if your browser window is very narrow; I hope to fix this soon. If you see other issues with the formatting, please tell me.

I own all of coolthingoftheday.com, and I would like to eventually put something up on the main domain that does what its name implies. However, I don't currently find one cool thing per day to put up, and I'm wary about starting it up without a decent backlog of cool things and a steady stream of new stuff. If you know of a cool thing, send it to suggestions@coolthingoftheday.com.
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