Hey, folks, if you’re in New York City this weekend, be sure to swing by the Burger Bash that Six Apart is helping to sponsor. It’s got good beer, great burgers, and later on in the evening Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Grandmaster Flash is going to be spinning.
Though our company is based in San Francisco, we’ve always had a lot of Six Apart staff and community members from New York City. So this summer we wanted to join in with two of our favorite New York blogging communities to help show our appreciation for New Yorkers who use LiveJournal, Vox, Movable Type or TypePad.
In conjunction with Gothamist and Serious Eats, come join us this Saturday July 28th at 5pm for the Burger Bash at Water Taxi Beach. Tickets are only $13.50, and there are going to be some amazing (and unique!) burgers at the Bash, so we thought it’d only be appropriate to sponsor the first keg of the day. (Only for those of legal drinking age, of course.)
Both Gothamist and Serious Eats are the kind of fantastic Movable Type-powered sites that show off how passionate communities make all of our blogging platforms really sing. And if you’re a member of any of our Six Apart-powered communities, then let us treat you to a beer to go with your burgers. Read up on the Bash, including directions to the venue, at A Hamburger Today. And grab your tickets now at Ticketweb.
(Thanks to Jason Perlow for the photo from last year’s bash.)
Blogs hosted on our TypePad, LiveJournal, and Vox services have experienced some downtime today due to a power outage in San Francisco, and we wanted to provide you with the basic information we have so far, as well as where to look for additional updates as we have them.
Here’s what we know:
- The outage began around 1:50PM PDT for all affected services.
- In addition to the TypePad, LiveJournal, and Vox blogging services, the outage affected this site (sixapart.com) and the Movable Type sites (movabletype.com and movabletype.org)
- No data has been lost from blogs, and all of our services should be coming back online over the next few hours as we finish verifying that all of the data is secure. (TypePad blogs are already back online.)
- TypePad and Vox members should have received an email with information about the outage this afternoon. LiveJournal users’ email addresses are never shared with any third parties, so the system used to send mail to TypePad and Vox users couldn’t be used to notify LJ members.
- status.sixapart.com is where we’ll be posting updates as the recovery progresses; LiveJournal users can go to status.livejournal.com as well.
- Once the sites are back up and running, we will communicate details to each community via the usual news outlets: Everything TypePad, the Team Vox blog and LiveJournal News.
We are truly sorry for the frustration and inconvenience that you’ve experienced, and will provide as much additional information as possible as soon as we have it. We also appreciate the commiseration from the teams at many of the other sites that were affected, such as Craigslist, Technorati, Yelp, hi5 and several others.
Yep, Six Apart merges with Facebook. The truth is, we merge in improvements to our source code from lots of companies and contributors that make fixes and patches to our open source platforms, not just the Facebook team. Oh yeah: We meant that we merge code.
Okay, the headline’s a little sensationalist, but we figured it was okay to draw some attention to something that’s pretty special and unique. In honor of our presence at O’Reilly’s Open Source Conference (OSCON) this week, we wanted to highlight the amazingly productive and generous communities that contribute to a lot of the open source technologies we base our work on.
Take, for example, memcached. Memcached is a clever memory caching system invented by our LiveJournal team that makes it easier to scale up dynamic web pages using inexpensive database servers. In just a few years, memcached has been adopted by almost every major social media or Web 2.0 site, a pattern that’s only accelerated since LiveJournal became part of Six Apart. (You can find all our open source projects at code.sixapart.com.)
The list of memcached users is astounding: In addition to our own LiveJournal, Vox and TypePad (and support for memached is coming in Movable Type 4.0), sites that use the system include Digg, Twitter, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Bloglines and Slashdot. Both David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, and Adrian Holovaty, the creator of Django, recommend using memcached to scale their platforms. Maybe it’s because, like those frameworks, memcached was created in the context of solving the problems in creating real, working web applications.
But perhaps the most impressive example of the power of memcached’s open source community is the work that Facebook has done, providing extensive improvements and fixes to the system while also supporting the community with events like the recent memcached hackathon. The truth is, a lot of companies or sites were happy to just use the system and contribute by participating on the mailing list or reporting bugs that they’d found, and that’s the nature of contributions in most open source communities. Memcached’s GPL2 license didn’t require Facebook to share their contributions back with the community, but to their credit, Facebook became partners and peers to the existing LiveJournal/Six Apart team that had done the core development on memcached. As they outlined on their blog last year, the team at Facebook did the right thing for the community and shared their work for others (including us!) to benefit from.
And that gets to the core of why we at Six Apart support open platforms, open APIs, and open formats so extensively: We’re a company that makes communications tools. We think that it’s only appropriate that the tools should be as open as the conversations they enable. We don’t just want to grow our own company, we want to grow the entire community of people using the web to connect and communicate.
We’ll be sharing more about the open source technologies that Six Apart teams have created, but here’s some quick starting points if you want to brush up:
- LiveJournal: It’s not only the original open source blogging community, it’s also the most popular open source blogging platform by far, inspiring a number of clone sites as well.
- memcached: The memory caching system that powers the dynamic sites of Web 2.0
- Djabberd: A high-performance Jabber (XMPP) server for integrating IM with your applications
- MogileFS: A reliable, distributed scalable filesystem
- Perlbal: A reverse-proxy load balancer and web server that lets you distribute load over a number of servers
- OpenID: It’s a protocol, not just code, but it’s a completely decentralized authentication system that’s all about openness. Today, there are over 100 million OpenID identities created, less than two years since the initiative began.
- Movable Type: And oh yeah, our flagship professional publishing platform will be available in a completely open source edition pretty soon as well.
They’re all open, they’re all free, and they all work like crazy. And those are just some of the projects that we work on. If you’re at OSCON this week, be sure to check out the presentations by a bunch of folks from our team at Six Apart, where almost all of these technologies will be discussed.
The presentations start tomorrow with a Keynote by our own Brad Fitzpatrick, who is Chief Architect at Six Apart and the chief architect of a lot of the technologies mentioned here. There will also be a session on how we used these tools to help TypePad scale while improving our processes at the same time, and a presentation that marks the debut of TheSchwartz, an amusingly-named but exceptional new piece of open source infrastructure that lets you easily distribute tasks to a scalable job processing system.
(Thanks to Mary for the image.)
Once a year, the brains behind TED get together and create an unforgetable conference for the lucky few who can attend. Realizing they were keeping people from experiencing the thought-provoking talks, the team went to the internet to share the magic with anyone who has access to a web browser.
After completing a design overhaul of the site, TED turned to Apperceptive to implement the means for sharing all of the content that had made its way online — the TED Blog. On the blog you can find TedTalks videos from previous conferences and "ideas worth spreading". Apperceptive deployed the blogs on Movable Type installation, provided the HTML and CSS, and developed a custom plugin.
Apperceptive has already spent some time focusing on the state, so it made sense to tell you about our work for the church. We recently helped launch the brand new Episcopal Café. Their about page explains it best, "Together, we aspire to create a visually appealing, intellectually stimulating, spiritually enriching and at least occasionally amusing site..."
The site includes several blogs, including Daily Episcopalian, The Lead, Speaking to the Soul, Art Blog and the super brand new Video blog. Each of the blogs hope to add a piece to the puzzle as Episcopal Café works to provide a forum for Christians everywhere.
Apperceptive designed and coded the site, installed Movable Type and helped migrate all of the old content to the new system. Part of the streamlining included creating an easy way for the bloggers to upload video in their newest blog. The site is filled with interesting content and we're happy to see Episcopal Café spread its wings.
For me, Serious Eats is like a first-born child. When I joined Apperceptive, Serious Eats was my first project. Continuing the analogy, today is the site's Bar Mitzvah; today Serious Eats becomes a man.
Like all new sites, the Eaters spent some time figuring out what the site would be about. While they'll continue their great feature stories and videos, they've built up their Talk forums to include recipes and an eating out section. They also spent a lot of time making it easier to find the newest content on the homepage. To top it off, they unveiled an elegant new design that ties everything together.
Apperceptive was at their side helping to test and deploy the new site in addition to reconfiguring the site infrastructure to allow for future growth. Enough talk though, go read!
Talking Points Memo was one of the political blogs that brought the medium national attention during the 2004 election season. Most of the world was introduced to blogs with lively discussions of John Kerry, G.W. and the rest of the field from our last election. It's now nearly three years later and Josh Marshall, TPM's creator, wanted to provide a spark for the blog in the form of a new site design.
Josh asked Apperceptive to help migrate his content from Drupal to Movable Type, turn the new design into templates and design some new elements for the site. As you can tell from the existence of this post, we accepted. The new design looks beautiful and helps a lot of the previously hidden content shine. TPM has more in store for later in the year as they gear up for the next round of elections. No matter what your political affiliation, you can't argue that Josh has created a fantastic blog.
The Wall Street Journal recently helped celebrate ten years of blogging. It's been quite a ride and the blogosphere has written a boatload of posts during that time. While all of this content is worthy of celebration, trying to search through all of this content has become a chore. That's where the Sphinx comes in.
While Movable Type's search function has kept us going all these years, we knew it could be better. When we got a tip about a new search appliance for MySQL databases (created by MySQL developers, no less), it seemed like a good time to speed things up.
Before beginning development, the Sphinx blew us away. It was able to return 14k results from billions of records in .7 seconds (check it out at LJ Seek). We've since installed it on several clients' sites and the difference is night and day. Searches that would take half a minute now return results faster that the browser can render the HTML.
While the licensing has yet to be worked out, we will be offering the plugin in an appropriate flavor of free. In fact, you download the plugin now from our plugins page and look for help in our forums. Keep in mind that the plugin is still in its very early stages, so we can't guarantee performance or stability, but it has been deployed on some very high-profile, high-traffic sites.
Our friends over at FeedBurner, who
sold out to joined the team at Google recently have just announced that pro-level stats and custom domains are now free. Two of their best paid features, Stats PRO and MyBrand, which lets you use your own domain name in the address for your feeds, no longer require payment.
Of course, this is a perfect fit for combining with your existing blogs. If, like FeedBurner's own blog, your site is powered by Movable Type, then you can just grab the MT-FeedBurner plugin and it'll do all the heavy lifting.
If you're on TypePad, you're in luck, too -- TypePad's got some exclusive features for integrating your statistics and reporting between your TypePad blog and your FeedBurner account. TypePad's domain mapping feature is a great match for MyBrand -- you can make sure everything on your site is all under your own domain name.
A hearty congratulations goes out to NYMag.com for being recognized by the American Society of Magazine Editors's 2007 National Magazine Awards. The team won best Interactive Feature for their Grub Street blog and Show & Talk was a finalist for Interactive Service. Apperceptive set up these blogs for New York Magazine late last year and we're mighty proud of their accomplishments.