Make America Kittens Again – v1.2

It’s been about four months since Make America Kittens Again went viral. In that time I’ve released a few minor updates to better target specific news websites, but this weekend sees the first major update in a while, and with it some significant changes.

Custom Blocking

I’ve received dozens of requests to add additional names to the list of blocking targets – to the extent that, if I’d added them all, the UI would have become completely out of hand. However, I can absolutely see why people want to block other politicians (and just other people) from the web.

Version 1.2.0 (finally) introduces a Custom Block option. This text field allows you to input a comma-separated list of names (try “May, Gove”, or “Reagan, Bush”, for example), and each will be added to the target list for our patented* kittenization process.

Servers, Images and Donations

The first version of MAKA used kitten images stored on one of my web servers. When it took off, this quickly became very expensive, so I did two things: I moved the images to Amazon S3, and added a donation button to the interface.

Moving the images to S3 kept the costs manageable through months of extremely high traffic (particularly January), and generous donations from dozens of users have covered the bills – if you donated you should have already received a thank-you email, but just in case: THANK YOU. Without your support I would have had to pull the plugin from the store and spend a month eating only instant noodles.

With this latest version, though, things are changing again. I’m moving the image files inside the plugin itself – this makes the initial install bigger, but should make it quicker in use (effectively zero load time for the images) and will reduce the server bills significantly – in theory, if everyone updates, to nothing.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the Custom Block option is likely to significantly increase bandwidth usage, so I want to mitigate against that before the cost becomes a problem again. Secondly, I’ve been struggling to keep up with managing the donations, tracking the accounts, sending the thank-you emails and so on over the last few weeks due to work and family commitments.

I’m currently holding a surplus of donations, which I hope will cover the bills over the next few months as users slowly upgrade to the new version – if I can, I will keep the S3 files live for six months or so. But the donation button is now gone from the interface, and I will cancel all recurring donations that have been set up so no further money is taken. On the offchance that you’d like to support the other junk that I do, there’s a coffee button below.

So that’s it – in short, v1.2.0 brings more blocking options, and removes the donation button. Once again, many thanks to all who have supported MAKA since December. You’ve helped make the web a more kitten-y place.

* Not patented.


All © 2020 Tom Royal