Mar 212011

After an inadvertent nearly year-long blogging hiatus, I’m back. Or, rather, my blog is back.

It began by accident: at some point last year what had been a perfectly stable Movable Type 4 installation suddenly stopped working. (“Stopped working” means scripts stopped executing, which degraded the user experience and made it impossible to maintain.) Initial troubleshooting got me nowhere; it was clearly going to take more time — and patience — than I could muster right then.

Or in the months that ensued. My time (and especially patience) mustering skills are clearly lacking when it comes to frustrating technical troubleshooting. But thanks to Twitter, that was ok; my communicating-to-the-world itch got satisfied that way. (It also probably caused the further atrophying of my time-patience-mustering skills… hmm.) But Twitter is limited; it can’t replace everything that the long-form style of a blog enables, and eventually I came to miss that faculty so much I had no choice to bite the bullet and try to troubleshoot it again.

Which is what I finally did this weekend. I’m still — for the moment, at least — on Movable Type, even though it is the most cryptic blog platform to maintain, maybe, ever. Now that its contents are stored in a database it’s actually a teensy bit easier to install than it was when I first started using it way back at version 2, but the way layout is controlled has become extremely opaque. After staring at it long enough it starts to make some sense, but the whole enterprise really taxes dusty HTML and UNIX skills that usually lie dormant.

Nonetheless, success! My blog is now live, and upgraded to the latest version, with only minimal loss of content and styling. Note: I have only resurrected my more recent “Statements of Interest” blog. I am not sure I will ever revive my old “Great Change” one. I remember a time when I would have thought killing my blog a horrible prospect, but after nearly a year of it being essentially lost to the world I find myself a lot less panicked by the idea of it staying broken. In some ways I’m finding myself feeling grateful that the Great Blog Breakdown is forcing some simplicity — it’s something of a relief not to have to keep it alive too. My current thinking is to clean up and repost some of my favorite posts from it here and then let the rest fade away. I’m finding myself feeling surprisingly at peace with that idea.

In the meantime I do expect more tweaking will need to occur, and I will do my best not to have it destroy the blog that’s left in the process. The biggest project will be to try to get a grip on the comment situation. One of the reasons I stuck with MT, instead of fleeing for the greener pastures promised by WordPress, is that the world’s best anti-spam plugin exists only for MT. However, that may only be MT 4.x, and I’m on 5.x, so until I figure out if I can port it over, or find another solution, comments are off until I can deal with spam attacks. I do welcome feedback, though, so please feel free to email me and I can post updates to my posts if necessary. And if MT doesn’t break again…

 Posted by at 10:36 am

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