Bye, bye Google Analytics

I know being tracked by Google/Microsoft/Facebook wherever on the net is not something you really want, so I’ve made a couple of changes lately to mitigate that. I decided to get rid of my Facebook account, and it wasn’t easy. They have a creepy amount of data about you, and all this Facebook-enabled sites give information to Facebook. That, and the fact that it is a big time sucker, moved me to delete my account. If you want to know how to do it, read here.

My blog used to have Google Analytics, but now I’ve found a compelling, open-source, alternative: Piwik. It has a very nice interface, and there is a WordPress plugin to easily integrated it. So, if you are visiting this blog, you are no longer tracked by Google Analytics.

Now that I’m talking about privacy, I just want to add that I do use Google’s search engine, buzz, gmail, reader and picasa. Google search results are the best, so I don’t think I will be switching to something else anywhere soon; I’m alternating buzz and twitter as my “social” networks, I don’t like the alternatives to picasa or reader, so I’m sticking to them. And yes, I trust Google more than I trust Facebook.

org-mode + wordpress = org2blog awesomeness

I haven’t been blogging for a long time, and while most of the “reasons” for that have to do with my amount of free time, I also needed a small push to do it. My blog engine, as stated in another blog post, is WordPress. It’s full featured and very nice, but as a guy who lives inside Emacs as much as possible, the web interface is sub-optimal.

For those who doesn’t know it Org-mode is an Emacs mode for /keeping notes, maintaining ToDo lists, doing project planning, and authoring with a fast and effective plain-text system/. If you want to learn more about it take a look at its manual or to the Talks and screencast.

Well, I’m definitely not the only one blogging using orgmode, take a look at this post in the emacs-fu blog (which by the way is very good) which is a nice introduction to orgmode capabilities and markup.

So, let’s assume you wrote your post in orgmode, and you have your wordpress blog, and you want to publish… you have the awesome tool org2blog. Very simple to use, you just do a checkout of the git repository

git clone http://github.com/punchagan/org2blog.git

then copy the the corresponding files to a directory in your load-path. My .emacs looks like this:

(require 'org2blog)
(setq org2blog-server-url "http://www.rlazo.org/xmlrpc.php"
     org2blog-server-user "admin"
     org2blog-use-tags-as-categories t
     org2blog-confirm-post t
     org2blog-server-weblog-id "")

It’s pretty much self-explanatory.

My configuration is a single file where each post is a subtree, using the same idea that Sacha Chua explains in this post (BTW, that is also a nice blog to follow). If you read that post you will find that you need to patch the code from org2blog to add the command to create a blog post from the current subtree (which is org2blog-post-subtree ). But, since then, those changes have been integrated into org2blog repository, so no more patching required :). Happy blogging!