I'm hijacking this week's carefully chosen word to talk about changes to the way I'm serving my blogs, but before I get there, have some random musings.
It's a funny old word, 'serve'. We use it to talk about another computer, a server, that does things for your computer, a client.
When we use "serve" of people, we almost always have a hierarchy in mind. The one who serves is lower than the one being served.
And yet, sometimes we grant people the title "servant" in order to do them honour. Thus the most powerful person in Britian is the "first servant", or Prime Minister. This is perhaps due to a Christian legacy.
Certainly with computers on the web, it's this way. Servers act only on the initiative of their client, and well run services put the needs of their clients well ahead of their own. It's far from a perfect metaphor, since well-behaved clients do exactly what they are told.
Curiously, the metaphor of the hierarchy is inverted. While a human servant is considered below a human master, a computer client invariably downloads from its server, or pushes up to its server, thus placing the server above the client.
Why the change?
More fun while writing
Blogger is nice for what it is, but it's actually a hassle to use for composition. It doesn't have rich styles for formatting, doesn't allow footnotes, and has very poor support for managing literal line breaks, which is critically important when you are writing about source code.
It has great, built-in support for analysing the traffic that comes to the site, but that's not something that's very useful to me. It turns out, gentle reader, that you are one of a very select group.
My hope is that by serving my blogs with fresher technologies that I actually enjoy using, and by lowering the barrier to publication, I'll have something that is more interesting to me and perhaps more interesting to others.
Clearer online presence
The life.mumak.net blog and related content would then move to my halfwise domains, which aren't anywhere near as established.
The hope is that this will let me do a better job with both.
Ramping up technical presence
The Alphabet Supremacy project has meant that almost all of my writing time has been devoted to non-technical things. It's fun, but my appetite for open source hacking and for technical writing has been whetted by stimulating conversations at work and (perversely but predictably) by being compelled to write about other things.
I've been using ThoughtStreams to help get some of that stuff drafted. The switch in technologies will make moving that to my own domains easier.
I tried ruhoh initially, but found it to be rather complicated, and struggled to find themes that I didn't hate. Some folk talked about liquidluck, which I would like because it's written in Python and thus more hackable by me, but after some initial struggles I decided to go with something a little more popular.
Thus, octopress was the next port of call and so far seems to have worked out OK. Perhaps I'll experiment with moving to Jekyll or try liquidluck again. Now that I'm off blogger and have all of my data in relatively parseable formats, it's much easier to experiment.
The new blog pages are being served by Heroku, in a manner which I do not yet understand. I picked it because it's free, because there were instructions in the octopress documentation, because I already have github pages and didn't want to bother figuring out have to have three different site, ad I really don't want to host things myself anymore.
What happened to the comments?
All of the existing comments are still on the site, but new comments are disabled for now, and possibly forever. If you think I should put them back on, please feel free to make your case on the social network of your choice.
Anyway, please let me know if your blog reading experience is disrupted in any way. I've tried hard to keep all of the old links still working, but it's really easy to make mistakes.