September 2009


A Meta-Post

So I’ve sort of hinted at it now and then, and after a great deal of work, usually involving cut-and-pasting, I’ve created the archives section of this website and fixed up a number of things with the main site.

The new TQE | Archives section of the site includes stuff that used to be available on my website prior to May 13, 2004—the day I converted my website from some kind of odd beast into a blog. There are three main components of older material:

  • Newspaper Columns: When I first started college back in 1992, I wanted to be a journalist. As happens, my career goals shifted and I never actually became a journalist—but because I like writing, I kept writing newspaper columns for both the University of Wyoming Branding Iron and then, when in Indiana, for the Indiana Daily Student. All of my Indiana work is available in the archives, and all the work that I could find from the Branding Iron’s original websites at UW are also included.
  • Trip Reports: After I started serious travelling, I started writing “trip reports”—some of which were emailed to friends, others of which were posted on my old website. I’ve posted all the old trip reports I could find, including my infamous email report about going to see Amsterdam’s live gay sex show.
  • Wagon Wheel: This is basic information about a nuclear stimulation project proposed for the state of Wyoming. I will discuss this more in coming weeks.
Number of Tweets by Month

Number of Tweets by Month

For the observant amongst you, you’ve probably also noticed that the new archives section has my Twitter Archive, a live “backup” for my Twitter account. Since joining Twitter in August 2007, I’ve made over 2,000 Tweets. It suddenly occurred to me that I could really only easily see my most recent Tweets. After using some free tools, I downloaded all my old Tweets and subsequently put them into my new archives section. Using other tools, I now mirror Tweets onto my archives, usually within an hour of them appearing on the actual Twitter site.

As for the main site, you might notice that there is a new selection of rotating headers at the top. I took down all the old ones and created several new ones.

Finally, I finally finished some long term projects on this site, my main blog. In the process of upgrading from MovableType to WordPress, all tags were lost. Fixing this problem required brute force and lots of patience—there were over 1,300 entries that needed tagging—and the process of opening, tagging, and saving all the posts resolved a minor search problem that had cropped up as a consequence of the software shifting. After tagging all the posts, I went through 1,200 tags, cleaning up misspelling, consolidating like terms, and eliminating infrequent terms. This left me with fewer than 800 tags. That said, I wouldn’t rely upon the tags for everything: The search engine still works best.

Now for a brief rant: I don’t know what on earth I was thinking when I started the blog with MovableType. It is (was) one of the most difficult pieces of software I’ve ever tried to work with. Its interface was obtuse. It was slow. If you weren’t an expert, configuring it was a nightmare. My advice for anybody starting a blog is that if you’re not using a hosted site like WordPress.com, is to use WordPress.org software. It’s easy and it works.

Finally, I need to thank both PapaScott and the Regensbloggers for technical assistance. As much as I like WordPress, I ran into a few technical challenges with some of the more complicated and obscure things. Both provided valuable assistance with the process.

Both deserve cases of beer.

4 comments to A Meta-Post

  • My advice for anybody starting a blog is that if you’re not using a hosted site like WordPress.com, is to use WordPress.org software. It’s easy and it works.

    And, it’s not all that difficult to bend to your will. As opposed to MovableType, which I also tried and and discarded back in 2005 or so. But MovableType is ancient, in terms of blogging platforms. Maybe that’s the sole reason why it’s stuck around so long.

    Beerwise: can you get your hands on this round your parts? Just curious.

    • Danke…

      I don’t that beer is in Weimar, but I know somebody who is in Cottbus quite often. Maybe I can get her to bring me a bottle or two.

  • That archives section is very extensive! Did you have all the articles already in digital format? I’d like to do the same, but it would involve lots of scanning of yellowing newspaper…

    • With respect to the Indiana Daily Student and Student Discourse, these are all the columns I wrote. The IDS has a great website and archives, and I saved electronic copies of the published articles after they came out.

      As for the Branding Iron, shortly after I moved to Indiana, I did deep searches of the Branding Iron website and of the UW website and got everything off that I’d written… unfortunately there was only about two years worth of materials posted, the site was merely a baby. And then they took the site down and so I was very happy that I’d saved what I could. In theory I think I have folders with most of what I wrote my freshman year, and maybe from my other undergraduate years — but as you note, it would require lots of scanning of yellowing newspaper. I’m afraid I’m not that interested. 🙁