Spring Clean Design

I’ve been pretty busy over the past few weeks for one reason or another. Exam marking and other administration has been very intense, and Mr. Bsag had to go in for planned surgery on his foot, which generated a bit of domestic upheaval. Things have calmed down a bit more now, and I’ve had time to finish my spring clean of this site. If it has worked, things should look a bit different around here.

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Feed issues now sorted out

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I had one or two problems with the Atom feed that happened just after I moved from Feedburner recently, but which were actually my own fault and nothing to do with that transition. During a previous update of Octopress, I think I must have forgotten to update the source for the Atom feed. I therefore didn’t have the latest version in which the contents of the feed are surrounded by CDATA blocks.

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Moving from Tumblr

Since I moved my stuff to Linode, I’ve been on a bit of a digital self-sufficiency drive. I’ve tried as much as possible to move all my stuff (at least the stuff that I put some effort into creating) to my own VPS, and keep it in a format that I can easily move somewhere else or use again. Where that isn’t possible or too much trouble1, I’ve tried to move to services that do the old-fashioned thing of charging money for services or products, rather than providing something ‘free’, while exploiting the ‘customer’ for advertisement revenue or whatever.

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Pseudonymity and the Internet

Over the past few months there has been a resurgence of arguments about anonymity and pseudonymity1 on the internet, sparked off by Google Plus’ faintly ridiculous policy of requiring ‘Real Names’, where their idea of a Real Name is somewhat narrow and excludes many names real people have on their birth certificates. As someone who has participated and interacted online under a pseudonym for nearly 9 years, I obviously have a keen interest in this debate.

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Octopress Tweaks

After getting some feedback about the new design (the consensus seemed to be that the fonts were TOO BIG), I’ve tweaked the design and structure slightly. I’ve added back the link under each post’s title that shows how many comments there are, and which links to the comment thread itself on the individual article page. Previously it wasn’t as clear as it might have been that there was any way to comment, unless you visited the individual article page.

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Octopress

Yes, it’s not just you — things do look a bit different around here. I’ve been tinkering again1. A week or so ago I noticed Octopress. It’s not a full-blown static blog generator, but a framework around Jekyll designed by Brandon Mathis. I looked briefly at Jekyll when I converted to nanoc recently, and thought that it wasn’t flexible enough for my needs. It turns out that I didn’t really understand how to adapt it for my needs, because it’s working really well for me now.

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Nanoc

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve switched to using nanoc to generate this blog, so I thought I would write a little bit about why I chose it and how I switched. There are many static site generators out there, but when I looked into them in a bit more depth, nanoc stood out because of its flexibility. I also really like that fact that it was written in Ruby and that you could choose which templating system to use.

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All Change Again

You’ll have noticed that the site looks a bit different again, and that there are a few structural changes too. I’ve been tinkering again, I’m afraid! I’ve been writing this blog for just over eight years now, which I wouldn’t believe myself if the evidence wasn’t in front of me. In that time, the blog has been powered by a variety of different bits of software. I started with Tinderbox, exporting text notes to HTML and then uploading them to form a static site.

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ExpressionEngine 2.0

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I've just upgraded to ExpressionEngine 2.0, a process which was not without it its glitches. I think I've got them sorted out now, though I seem to be having trouble with the feed still. Let me know if you notice that anything is broken. I've still got to sort out the Twitter Timeline in the sidebar, but apart from that, things should be OK.

Off for a week

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I'm sorry for the silence around here recently: things have been hectic to say the least. I'm just about to fly to the Netherlands for a conference and other work business for a week, so things are likely to remain quiet for a bit longer. I may get a chance to post something if I get some wireless access, but time will probably be more limiting. Once I've got over the hassle of travelling, I'm quite looking forward the trip, as I've never been to Holland before.

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