Recreating a Year

I’m still waiting for Tumblr to sort out HTTPS on the account I setup yesterday. I’ve back-filled all the blog posts as far as July last year – tomorrow I will fill in to the beginning of 2018. I’m also back-filling photos from Instagram.

If you’re wondering how long it’s taking to migrate the posts – not as long as you might think. I wrote some Python scripts to do it for me. Of course it helps that I’m a software developer and can hack just about anything if I have to – but Tumblr has most of this stuff pre-written and ready to use – it’s just a case of bolting things together with a little code glue here and there. It helps tremendously that I’ve always written blog posts as text files in markdown format (read: plain text).

I suppose the Instagram story is a little more interesting. It turns out there is a free app called “4KStogram” that will let you download any Instagram account to your computer. Along with the photos, it also grabs all of the captions – which it stores in a database. Thankfully the database is in a common format, so again you can write code with Python to make sense of it, and then push the photos up to Tumblr with intact captions and tags.

Please don’t ask if you can have a copy of the Python scripts – they are a hell-stew of “to be used once” undocumented, hard-coded programming 🙂

As soon as the posts started appearing at Tumblr, I began thinking “they would look a lot better if they had photos to go with them” – so guess who spent an hour this evening editing each post by hand, and adding stock photos that vaguely go with each post. Yeah. Not one of my more productive ideas, but it does make the blog look a bit more presentable.

It’s odd being back at Tumblr. I’ve followed a huge collection of writers, publishers, bookshops, and literary blogs, and a few of the people I used to know. I imagine most of those that used to know me will see my name re-appear and roll their eyes – wondering how long I will last this time. I can’t blame them.

There is a sense – now that everything is calming down – that the Tumblr ship is slowly righting itself. After being sold twice in recent years – first to Yahoo, and then to Oath – the platform seems to be more solid than ever before. The development team finally seem to be cleaning house, shoring things up, and implementing a number of long-requested features. Stemming the tide of users leaving may prove more difficult, but if the majority of those leaving were rebloggers and porn spammers, it’s no bad thing.

I have such fond memories of the various platforms around the internet. In a strange sort of way it’s a shame that MySpace didn’t survive – or at least not in it’s original form. LiveJournal is still soldiering on after being acquired by a Russian company some years ago – although the western version of it is now a ghost town. It has always amused me that Vox, the direct descendent of LiveJournal, died many years before it’s ancestor. Who remembers Yahoo 360? Of course it’s also easy to forget that for many years WordPress had to be self hosted – the monster Automattic are building at is becoming every bit as insidious as Facebook – they are just fronted by a more personable human.

Anyway. Enough about blogging. I should really be writing about life, because life is supposedly interesting. You know – “got up, made lunches, went to work, came home, washed up, went grocery shopping, washed up some more, wrote a blog post, went to bed”. Exciting, isn’t it.

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