What Does 08 Hold For This Site?

This blog is at a turning point on a crossroads. For one thing, it really needs a change of design. I said I would change it back in (when?) after I met the person whose design I had originally nicked, so as not to be creepy. Plus I want to clean it up a bit, and make it more simple, in line with the principles of K.I.S.S.*

I also really need to catch up with some old entries which need writing up, although the term “writing up” implies an experiment or research project for which the notes now need to be massaged into a publishable journal entry. In fact they are the usual scrappy spikes of sudden output. But the fact that they are sitting in my email inbox waiting for me, taunting me, means I am less likely to actually do anything about them. I’m sure I’ll action them when I should be doing something else – always a giveaway. If you suddenly see a flurry of activity here, email me and tell me off for skipping the more important stuff. The fact that stuff waiting to be done prevents me from doing it due to guilt is a nasty little life hacking issue, which I won’t bore you any further with.

One reason I am loathe to dive into the backlog (Can you dive into a log? Only if you don’t look before you leap) is the awkward blogging tool I use. Blosxom is elegant, compact, simple and very sweet in the way it uses plain text files to store entries and the file system to represent categories. But this means it is rather awkward to create new entries, using a bolted-on entry box method, or accessing the files directly using FTP. I’m beginning to think that the ability to create and edit entries via a web interface with buttons for inserting link etc may be preferable now. It wasn’t when I started this, because I wanted it to be lean and efficient. But it’s now too much bother, and I just want it to work. Perhaps this is old age.

I have friends who use other blog engines. One uses a remote-hosted WordPress installation, another uses a self-hosted Movable Type install, others use Blogger, etc etc. I’m not keen on all my stuff being held on another site, and I rent this space, so why not use it? The self-hosted solutions often use MySQL, which is great and all, but it just seems like overkill for what I hope is just to be a load of text with links and images thrown in. I don’t have comments, although Blosxom is (kind of) capable or supporting them. Maybe I should. The other problem with Blosxom is the fact that support is now courtesy of a collection of users who often have different not-yet-officially-released versions and who write clever plug-ins to make it do what they want. I’ve used many of these plug-ins, and they work well, but I’m no longer inclined to give it the time and effort it requires to work smoothly.

I have PMWiki installed on my site. This is a nice flat-file (i.e. not MySQL-based) wiki (def link) system, which I have used amongst other things to collaborate on writing scripts, document my theatrical “career” and generally be a parietal disgorgement aid. There is a nice support network, based on an install of the wiki at the author’s site, and the software is current and supported by the author. There are plug-ins available to make the wiki act more like a blog, and there is also a lot of argument about whether this is desirable. I like the wiki advantages this offers, like easy creation of new pages (or blog entries?) simple syntax, and so on. But should I transfer all my old entries into it? Hmm.

I guess the biggest reason for the question mark hanging over the site is the fact that the same ‘?’ is hanging over me and my future as well. With a planned move to the US hopefully due in the next few months, a lot of things are due to change. For one thing, should I keep this domain name? I think I will, it’s a nice summing up of who I am. I, me, am a Petty, and I was bo-o-o-o-orn in the U-K, I was bo-o-o-o-orn in the U-K etc, innit, y’all.

*Knights In Satan’s Service. Wait, what?