WPtouch plugin installed

Bit of administrivia – I’ve installed the WPtouch plugin here, which ensures the site looks fancy and iPhone-app like on your “iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini mobile, Palm Pre [or] BlackBerry Storm” device – now while I suspect it’ll be a while before I have any significant audience on that, it certainly does tidy up nicely, and if you’ve got one of the aforementioned devices, it’s worth checking out & probably installing on your site.

In some respects this now makes the site look much like any WordPress site on the iPhone, especially since WordPress.com has this plugin installed & enabled by default, but the benefit of the design and additional functionality is well worth the trade-off of appearance.

Add New Post

I remember once upon a time I’d discover a new blog and spend hours going backwards through time to try to reach the first post. It felt practically necessary – the only way context could be sufficiently established, that you could follow along with new developments. In the days before RSS – that is, only 5 years ago – you’d click through your list of links daily, just to discover if they’d posted something new.

It was all the better for the site to be one of the hand-crafted ones, where you knew that someone had to spend time creating the latest “entry” page by hand, updating the archives page. Those based on a dynamic updating platform had a curiously flat appearance to them, all “posts” the same in some respect or another… and yet there was an undeniable appeal, the simplicity of not having to upload, the ease of automatic archiving – and the brilliance of RSS, all for (practically) free.

All you had to do was learn the template.

And then people (ok, at least I) got lazy. There were better designers out there, and they were giving away templates as they played with new layouts – CSS had arrived, and there was experimentation to be had. And then it got accessible – anyone could do it, technical skills or no.

For a time, it was good. People were experimenting, the format was evolving, and there was a whole net out there to be explored.

After that time, it got staid. Everyone had a blog, a flickr account, a myspace page, and a facebook profile. And along came tumblr, tempting with its short-form updates. Youtube provided a diversion into video blogging, and the multifarious podcasting tools for those who preferred audio. And then came the prodigal son, twitter, life in bite-size chunks of 140 characters.

Now, they’re all hungry, as the newly social internet runs on the back of that ubiquitous term, user-generated content. They ask you to Add a New Post, or What Are You Doing? or the latest prompt, What is On Your Mind?, as though the answers were being sought for anything other than page-views and the corresponding ad dollars.

Whatever happened to us?

Continue reading Add New Post

“Homepage”

When did this place become a ‘blog’ instead of a ‘homepage’?

Or was it ever a ‘homepage’?

I remember back in the day (10 whole years ago!), people didn’t have ‘blogs’, they had ‘home pages’. It was different for one reason: a blog you’re expected to update, and is supposed to be for people to look in. A home page, on the other hand, didn’t need to update for months on end (but that didn’t stop you from checking back every day if it was a really good home page).

But then… but then, the online diary, the web log came along, and the mishmash ended, and everyone transitioned to the blog. The extra bits of the home page – the carefully crafted, hand built HTML of pages past all gone, replaced by the march of time-stamps and updates to show you were still alive.

The borg of blogs hastened assimilation with the combined might of the blogging software and RSS essentially redefining and replacing the need for refreshing a home page, the need to revisit sites to see if something’s changed – you don’t go to the content, the content comes to you.

Let’s be honest – any blog might be a place to visit, but it’s by no means a ‘home’ you can wander in whenever you wish. ‘House page’ also doesn’t have the same ring to it. So somewhere along the way, I think we lost the homepage, the collection of random that constituted the online existence. I lost my list of links for a blogroll, and I’ve even lost that since in an effort at simplification.

It’s something I’m working to restore. I’m going to go back to the home page, the home over the blog alone. This will necessitate moving away from having WordPress do everything for me – for me to actually crank out an angle bracket or two again. It’ll probably break the ‘permalinks’ too, but it’s got to be done. It’s no longer a home, and I didn’t set out to do that.

WordPress w/Tags

Updated to WordPress 2.3 without too much difficulty; seems like things are running pretty cruisy around here, without too many headline changes beyond the tags.

I’ve always been a little skeptical of tags, as it seems a little bit of categorical overkill, so for the moment I’m holding back, tagging posts but not showing the tags until I convince myself that they’ve got a point. Maybe I’m missing the point; tags are pretty useful over on flickr, and I’ve even embraced them somewhat on del.icio.us, but for some reason the blog seems like a last-bastion.

What else has been happening? Not too much. Spent half of today working, unfortunately – Reuters decided nigh on 4000 of their identification codes for stocks had to be changed this weekend, and so more than a few IT teams around the world would have been scrambling to change. To make things worse, some codes were reused. For example, on Friday, BAY.DE meant one thing (a bank of some sort) and on Monday, i’tll mean British Airways stock on the German exchange. Reuters, truly you are messed up.

Other than that, I’ve been using my tumblelog a little like Twitter, and that’s got me thinking if this twitter nonsense has any point; again, it comes back to the “overkill” theory, not to mention the sheer inanity. A blog might be a diary, but a twitter is akin to a running commentary – and who wants that? (Clearly a whole lot of people, though I would suggest the web geeks for the most part yet. Twitter will not get you laid. At this point.

I have a month to reenew pushingthesky. Should I?

retrospective

Going on the point I made just before, I went back and looked at what I had written oh so long ago, back when this used to be the dke project, all the way back on friendlygrocer :)

The first thing I picked up on was that my designs overall have probably been slipping :) Back then, each page, each post was carefully crafted by hand, for without script-enabled hosting, what other method is there? And the other thing was that it wasn’t just a blog, it was a whole personal site, and that’s something that going down the blogging platform path takes away from you, I think. It does make a lot of other things a helluva lot easier (no need to FTP in every update, for one).

Continue reading retrospective