Full Circle

Full Circle

After a somewhat epic journey around the internet over the last few months, I’m back where I started, and somehow enthused about writing something worth reading for a change. I’m not quite sure how that happens – where the words come from.

A huge vote of thanks goes to the WordPress “Happiness Engineer” that took my call this afternoon, and performed various magic tricks behind the scenes to resurrect a long dead account, and a cancelled domain name. I discovered that long held impossibilities were in fact possibilities.

The posts arrived back over lunchtime, after writing some programming to empty the temporary Tumblr rowing boat that had carried them for the last month, and re-publish them to WordPress. I’m still undecided about adding photos to the posts going forwards. So many people now use stock photos that they almost seem like a cliche when you see them.

Anyway. I’m back. Back where I started. Back where it all began.

Here’s to the future.

Recreating a Year

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 wordpress.com 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.

Retracing my Steps

Retracing my Steps

After a long and rambling journey around the internet over the last few months, I think I might have found a home for my blog. Tumblr. Yes, Tumblr – the very same platform I left some months ago, swearing never to return. Except I did return, but didn’t tell anybody. A couple of weeks ago I quietly re-appeared, and began migrating old blog posts in – mostly because I had just figured out that I could. Today I returned with a little more purpose, renamed the account, and connected my old domain name.

In a strange sort of way returning to Tumblr feels like returning home. For the last several months I’ve posted my writing to my own little blogging island via Evernote. Where you might think of WordPress as a battleship, my little blog at postach.io was more a collection of rubber bands, beer mats, sticky tape, and scraps of paper. It worked though. Somewhat miraculously.

Anyway. Enough about blogging.

I should really go and get some sleep. Our eldest daughter has an early start in the morning – which really means that I have an early start in the morning to wake her up. I really don’t mind that much because it’s a good excuse to get up early and reclaim some of the morning for myself – an hour before the rest of the family arrive downstairs and start hunting for socks, ties, and shoes in the furious manner they typically seem to.

“Where’s my PE kit?”

“Where you left it?”

(lots of cursing and crashing and banging around ensues)

“Thanks for NOT helping!”

“You’re welcome – do you want a cup of tea?”

“NO, because I CAN’T FIND MY PE KIT!”