Ed Bilodeau

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This weblog had moved: http://www.coolweblog.com/bilodeau/

# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)

Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.

Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Blo.gs ghost updates : Michael posted recently about seeing "ghost updates" on blo.gs, that is, blog.us indicating that a site has updated when in fact it hasn't. I've noticed the same thing, and decided to poke around a bit.

I decided to take kottke.org as an example, since Jason wrote that he was taking a few days off publishing anything new on this site. When I saw his site show up today on blo.gs as having been updated, I went, "Hmmm..."

According to blo.gs, kottke.org was updated today (September 3) at 12:32pm. However, visiting the site, I see that the last post was actually September 1 at 8:55am. So what gives?

Blo.gs runs off the RSS feed, so lets look there. Hmmm, this snippit looks interesting:
<lastBuildDate>Thu, 01 Sep 2005 08:55:16 -0500</lastBuildDate>
<pubDate>Sat, 03 Sep 2005 11:54:47 -0500</pubDate>
That part is referring to the RSS feed. The last post does indeed have the correct timestamp:
<pubDate>Thu, 01 Sep 2005 08:55:16 -0500</pubDate>
It appears that blo.gs is assuming that the date/time the RSS feed was last published is the date/time something new was added to the site. I think that assumption is flawed. If the RSS hasn't been rebuilt (i.e. modified) since date/time X, who cares when it has been published? Blog.us should be looking at lastBuildDate. (Especially since, according to the RSS 2.0 spec, lastBuildDate refers to "The last time the content of the channel changed.")

My other question: why is the RSS feed being republished if it hasn't been rebuilt?