Housekeeping: Still Not Down With The Clown (But There’s A Cost)

Has this website been playing hard to get for you? The answer is simple, albeit annoying: This site isn’t hosted on The Clown. I use a real “bare metal” physical server, hosted off the backbone in one of those rooms filled with endless server racks. My provider decided to close one of their locations and move the server image from the East Coast to Texas. I was told that this would be a short process, and it was. They even promised I could keep the same IP address. I suspected this would be a hassle, and it was. Twenty years ago, when your humble author first put computers on the public Internet, the routing tables were much simpler than they are now, and they were much better-known by the various bits of hardware between Points A and B. Nowadays, getting a single IP moved across the country had some serious FUBAR potential. Much of that was realized. In my case, I could browse my website via T-Mobile’s network before Verizon’s, and Verizon’s before my own fiber connection at home.

As long as we are Housekeeping… a few notes. I was in Asia for two of the past three weeks, and I have plenty of stories to tell. I’m riding, and enjoying, a great new dirt-jumper bike, about which I’ve previously written. The above photo doesn’t look like much but for a mildly crippled and way-past-mildly-overweight 47-year-old it’s quite difficult, which speaks to the excellence of my Ordnance frame and the various USA-made parts in its construction, particularly the Velocity USA rims.

Last but not least, I’d like to congratulate my son for being named the Powerade Rider Of The Week at Camp Woodward. He destroyed a $400 titanium-spoked wheel on Day Two of his experience, courtesy of a risky pass in a practice race, but he borrowed a bike and managed to demonstrate both first-rate skills and exceptional dedication to task. Not bad for a ten-year-old who had never spent a night away from his family before. The great people at Powers Bike Shop had him back on a proper hoop within 48 hours.

Now that the site is up and running again, we will be putting up some great work from our usual suspects. Thank you for your patience, and for your readership.

Housekeeping: Paging Mr. Farago To The Hagerty Courtesy Phone

He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Robert Farago makes Hagerty debut today with “Straight Outta Tribeca”, his recurring gonzo take on the automotive business. Get ready to read about cars, guns, Mexican excursions, and Shelby F-150s. It is my immense pleasure to bring Robert back to autowriting — and to revitalize a professional relationship that has lasted eleven long years now.

And don’t worry — I’m not done getting the band back together. Not quite yet. Hope you have some vellum antidote handy…

The new article is right here. Enjoy,

Housekeeping: Certified (Non-)Pre-Owned

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about our HTTPS certificate expiring today. Renewing it was on my “to-do” list but I didn’t do it.

For those of you who don’t know how this stuff works: nothing bad happened, I just forgot to renew the thing that keeps all the browsers showing that little green lock next to the address.

Also, apropos of nothing, I just got some analytics done on the site. We are averaging about 9,200 unique “real people” on the site per month. So we are about one-tenth as big as TTAC right now. Our growth is slow but steady; TTAC’s implosion is proceeding a little faster. When the lines cross we’ll have a party.

Housekeeping: Once, Twice, Three Times A Million

Thirty-four months to the first million reads, twenty months to the second, under thirteen months to the third. Not bad for a site that doesn’t offer much beyond a few “get off my lawn” rants and, of course, the tireless excellence of our classic curbside chronicler, Tom Klockau. As I did at the two million mark and the one million milestone, I will answer a few Infrequently Asked Questions after the jump.

Continue Reading →

Housekeeping: Joe’s Reviews, Counting Cash, Popularity Contest

Here at Riverside Green, we’re always looking for ways to

0. Bring you exciting new “content”
1. Milk you for cash

Starting tomorrow, we will be liberally stealing syndicating short book reviews from venerable multi-topic blogger Joe Sherlock. Each review will feature an Amazon affiliate link. If you click it and buy the book, we could make anywhere from two cents to 500,000 dollars, assuming Joe is going to review a solid platinum book at some point.

Which reminds me: I think I promised some sort of vague accounting regarding our advertising program, as well as a general State Of The Site Address regarding traffic. Let’s get right to that!

Continue Reading →

Housekeeping: When They Go Low, We Go High Edition

As of today, I’m enforcing HTTPS redirection to this site both on mobile and desktop. The purpose of this is to both to secure the login information of our contributors and to put a very mild brake on the DoS attacks. Since we outsource some of the image hosting to non-secure sources, you may see “orange” instead of “green” on the site information bar.

If this change affects your browsing experience in a negative way, please let me know. Thank you!

Housekeeping: Ain’t Gotta Lie To Kick It

This website has been compared to many other things — the forum at Rome, a collaborative replication of Hunter S. Thompson at his worst, the proverbial dumpster fire — but it’s really more like the Dutch city of Drachten. That’s where traffic engineer Hans Monderman pioneered the idea of “shared space”. In Drachten, there are no traffic lights, no traffic signs, and no road markings. The intersections are completely empty of any instructions for drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists. You might think that this would result in utter chaos and possibly a nontrivial quantity of blood in the streets, but you would be wrong. It turns out that most aggressive drivers actually believe that they have the law on their side. With no law to follow and no rules to obey, drivers begin operating in a cooperative and productive manner. Traffic accidents in Drachten went down after the signs went down — and travel times through the city actually decreased.

The Drachten experiment, successful though it may be, is highly dependent on some external factors. Northern European countries have core qualities of high social trust, high education level, low aggression, and homogenous ethnic makeup. Would you get the same results from this policy in, say, East Los Angeles? Probably not. It’s a small-town strategy, for small-town people. Incidentally, it’s also had some success in the UK, and there’s a nice video in the preceding link to show what happens when you remove traffic signs there.

When I took over as TTAC’s final Editor-In-Chief (for reasons of internal politics and prestige, my three successors were Managing Editors, with the E-I-C title assigned to a person behind the curtain) I adopted a Drachten-esque policy about censorship and moderation. I figured that TTAC’s relatively intelligent user community could be trusted to obey themselves as long as I did not set specific rules under which they would chafe. If you were around at the time, you will remember that my policy worked; the only users we banned were previous TTAC staffers commenting under aliases.

Here at Riverside Green, I continue to pursue the policy of “open spaces”. You can criticize me or Bark, you can express your politics without reservation. This site is big enough for commenters who have studied the Torah their whole lives and for commenters who non-ironically use the phrase “the Jew York Times”. We’ve had a couple of African-American contributors and we have people who are to the right of Richard Spencer. In general, everybody gets along — and I believe that’s because we have no explicit moderation which appears to favor any particular group or person over another.

Unnnnn-fortunately, I’m going to have to make a very specific exception to this policy.

Continue Reading →

Housekeeping: The Horde Advances

Thanks for your patience while the site was down. It might happen again; we are currently being intermittently targeted by a lightweight denial-of-service attack. If it continues, I’ll have to put the site behind Cloudflare or something similar. It’s not uncommon for us to receive 150,000 fraudulent login attempts in the space of ten minutes, all launched simultaneously from sites across China and Eastern Europe.

In other words, somebody is paying good money for a botnet to knock the site down as often as possible. This is the sincerest form of flattery but it’s also sincerely annoying. Look at it this way: At least we’re managing to serve the current version of the site to non-logged-in users, something with which the poor fellows at TTAC are currently struggling!