Planet Freo not offline

I thought I’d better phrase the title of this post in the negative, seeing as the blasted thing has been more often offline over the last couple of months than it has been online. Even when it’s been online it’s not been working properly. Hurrumph.

Anyway, perhaps now at last we’re on the road to correct operation. The main page and the RSS feed are now back up and working. I’ve switched to a new script (details of which to come soon).

Please let me know if Planet Freo is working okay now for you. Thanks!

Ghost for blogging?

As much as I don’t really know why people can’t just host their own blogs, I think this sort of service is pretty great:

Ghost has initially launched to a small group of investors who donated money through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website.

The minimal structure and design reflects the ethos of other pared-down blogging platforms such as the US rival Medium, but the British pair have incorporated Ghost as a not-for-profit and are using income to fund development of the site.

Ghost: the UK blogging platform that won’t and can’t sell out to Facebook, Alex Hern, 23 September 2013.

Jeffersonian Yeoman bloggers

Great post yesterday from The Blasphemous Bicycler about people not controlling their own data:

The reasons for this are fairly easy to deduce. We were all swept away by “social media.” To send a tweet, update your Facebook status, or post a picture of your victuals on Intagram is a trivial task. Composing a blog entry requires a modicum of thought, and at least several minutes of your attention. So, in abject laziness, we abandoned our duties as Jeffersonian Yeoman bloggers, and became digital sharecroppers, churning out content for Mark Zuckerberg and his Hamiltonian ilk.

I’ve recently been twittering a bit, just to see what the Guardian’s on about in their four daily articles about how brilliant Twitter is, and I think I’ve firgured it out: it’s actually complete rubbish. It’s a cross between an IM system and a never-ending “quote of the day” competition, and the former of those is the one we need — and it’s perfectly well fulfilled by Jabber etc.

The big advantage, of course, of the big social media sites is that everyone’s there. But there is another funky-groovy technology that is massively widespread, easy to use, and also permits you to own your own data: it’s called the internet.

How to kill WordPress

(Other than mis-capitalising its ‘P’, that is.)

I have had a wordpress site (see, I’m failing even to give it a capital ‘W’ now) for many years, since about… umm… November 3rd 2003 at 16:01:23 or thereabouts. I’m finally sick of it. It’s grown and grown and is trying so hard to be everything to every blogger out there, that I don’t know where I stand with it. It used to be fun, y’know?! A codebase I could fiddle with, and make do whatever I wanted. Now, I just find it very good for doing things that I don’t need to do.

So, I’m dumping it. No more WordPress.

Now the question is: how to migrate away from it? The important thing (although, really, I’m not actually that fussed about it; it’s more a pride thing — a web geek hardly wants to go against Tim BL’s advice, does he?) is to preserve URIs, at least the important ones.

So I started by making a final backup — all files, WP core included, and the database dump — and moving that tarball out of my usual backup rotation. So I’ve got a snapshot of the site, that will never fall off the far end of my backups. You never know (to quote Duane Dibbley).

Then, I inserted all of the WP posts into my new system’s database::

INSERT INTO journal_entries (id, title, date_and_time, entry_text)
  SELECT id+1000, post_title, post_date, post_content
    FROM wp_posts
    WHERE post_type = 'post' AND post_status = 'publish'
    ORDER BY post_date ASC

The +1000 on the ID was to ensure that I could refer to the new IDs of the imported posts in the next section, the redirections (there were fewer than 1000 records already in the journal_entries table)::

    'Redirect permanent /',
    post_name,' ',
  ) AS redirection
  FROM wp_posts
    WHERE post_type = 'post' AND post_status = 'publish'
    ORDER BY post_date ASC

And I dumped all that into .htaccess.

Marco Arment on why you should own your online identity

Own your identity by Marco Arment:

If you care about your online presence, you must own it. I do, and that’s why my email address has always been at my own domain, not the domain of any employer or webmail service.

Sadly, most people don’t care about giving control of their online identity to current or future advertising companies.

But there will always be the open web for the geeks, the misfits, the eccentrics, the control freaks, and any other term we can think of to proudly express our healthy skepticism of giving up too much control over what really should be ours.

I am reminded of that old thing: “if you do not pay for a service on the web then you are not a customer, but rather your content is a product that is sold to advertisers”.