Welcome Back, WordPress

I plan on making this blog much more active, now that I’ve switched to WordPress.  Writing gigantic pieces like the Core Elixir pieces is informative and fun for me, but there’s a lot more I want to bring up.  I have ideas for other essays as well as shorter posts, sort of in the vain of the currently trendy microblogs.  This new blog engine will make doing that both possible and easy.

This blog began life as an Octopress static blog.  As much as I love the idea of a website that’s just flat static pages, the restrictions that places on creating for it just proved too much.  It slowed me down and often stopped me.  I want to be able to post from my phone, or a computer other than the one at home that hosts all the files and blog engine.

I want better themes.  I want more plug-ins to make the back-end stuff easier.  I want a desktop app to put things together.  I want to do less of the mechanical and technical stuff, and more of the writing.  I don’t want to open a terminal window anymore and change directories and tell rvm what version of Ruby I need to use to get the blog engine rolling. I want to write in a WYSIWYG word processor or text editor.

Now that WordPress has all of that fun stuff on the back-end — including statistics and analytics and social media posting — I’m excited to get back to blogging again.  The old, slow installation of WordPress is ancient memory now.  The modern WordPress is a big leap forward.

This does mean the end of the Github mirroring of posts.  I’ll keep what’s up there available.  As always, if you find an error in one of those older posts, send a pull request.  But, now, you can also just leave a comment. (…until the spammers drive me away…)

I’m excited to write more and have some fun drafts already lined up and ready to edit.  So let’s get going….

Twitter and Blogging and Ad Blocking

(The following is something I wrote a couple of weeks ago. It’s already slightly dated, but it’s one of the pieces I wrote and never got around to publishing because I kept forgetting to do so when I got home and could deal with the static blog engine…)

Manton Reese is onto something here, where he writes about the biggest trouble with Twitter going to 10,000 characters is that it won’t send any traffic out to other sites. I barely blog these days (so happy this is changing..), but I still do follow a lot of links from Twitter to larger sites to read longer articles.

I’m fine with that, except a lot of sites take incredibly long to read, especially on my iPhone; I give up on them. Or, I’ll click the “Load in Safari” button and use that as my “Read Later” option. Eventually, I figure, I’ll open up Safari and read the articles that have stockpiled there. Usually, I don’t. I just move on.

We are once again back to the problem of the web being the sum of all the ads and Javascript crap that pollute it. Pages take way too long to long and that’s why people install ad blockers.

Twitter, then, is the ultimate ad blocker. Yes, Twitter has its own ads, but it doesn’t slow me down when I want to read something.

I don’t click on links to TheVerge.com anymore, for example. It’s not worth the pain of that over-designed eyesore. Technically, it’s impressive website construction. Realistically, it gets in its own way and creates a horrible user experience in an attempt to create a glossy, flash web magazine type thing.

But if that content or that newsbit was included in a longer tweet, I would be more likely to read it.

Manton concludes:

Anyone with a blog should be concerned about what could happen with Twitter’s 10,000-character push. We won’t feel the effects right away, but years from now it will matter. We should do more not just to promote blogs and writing on the open web, but to also make it easier for Twitter alternatives to exist through independent microblogging.

I agree, but it’s also important for those independent bloggers to create usable experiences that let the writing be the hero of the page and not all the crap that usually surrounds it on websites these days.

(Manton’s blog post is also the first I’ve heard of The AMP Project, which sounds promising. Fingers crossed on that one.)

Moved to WordPress

You might have noticed a new look around these parts. I’ve moved this blog over to WordPress, for reasons I’ll enumerate in a future post. In the meantime, please let me know if you see anything weird going on, or if any links or images are broken.

Right now, I know the categories are missing, and I’ll be adding those in over the course of time again.

Update: Oh, yeah, the code samples. Those are messed up. That might take longer to fix. I’ve already started working on the categories, at least. Nobody ever said this was easy or completely automated…