Around the end of December, I started noticing issues with the server that this blog runs on. I quickly realized that the hard drive was failing, and although I tried to swiftly preserve the data, I was unsuccessful at backing the blog’s content up.
The most recent backup I had was from March 15, 2020. 😬 Back up your stuff, y’all!
Luckily, I’ve been able to manually copy much, though not all, of the old content from the snapshots saved by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which is just an absolute saving grace. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be attempting to recreate these posts. I expect things will be a little broken for a while as I try to put things back together.
In the longer term, I’ve realized that it might be time to close down this WordPress blog and switch to a different kind of online presence—perhaps one that’s not burdened by over a decade of backlog, or by a stack of technologies like PHP and MySQL that I barely understand. I’m strongly considering switching to a static site made using Hugo, which would reduce the technical complexity significantly while also allowing me to craft a more bespoke site, one that feels more personal. In the process, I’ll probably remove a good chunk of my blog posts so that only the content I deem relevant and meaningful remains.
But seriously, back up your stuff!
Bandage emoji in header image is from Twemoji (CC BY 4.0).
Now that I’ve fixed some URL rewriting settings, I think it’s safe to announce that this blog has now officially moved! I’m no longer at spencerdub.me/blog; instead, this blog now lives at blog.spencerdub.me. Also, I’ve changed the URL permalink writing rules, dropping the year and month from the URLs in favor of simply including the title of the post.
I’m announcing this mostly to keep a record. If I did it right, you shouldn’t have to do nearly anything; I’ve been wrestling with redirect rules in the hopes that most old links to my content will seamlessly lead to the new locations. I have found one strange side effect, though: spencerdub.me/blog/ now redirects to Blogathon Post #1.
Not sure what’s up there, but it’s kinda amusing. I’ll try to fix it later if I can figure it out.
Anyway, update your bookmarks!
[editor’s note, Jan. 28, 2022: This might be even more borked than it was at the time of writing, due to the recent website disaster.]
If you’re subscribed to Brainthoughts via email, you probably received about 10 different emails tonight about new posts that looked very adolescent and angsty.
I am not, in fact, dissolving into a 15-year-old angst monster. I’ve been transferring the last of my old posts from one of my high school blogs today, and I initially forgot to set most of them to “Private”, so they showed up on the subscription feed. They should be properly hidden now, where no one but me can witness their cringeworthiness.
Sorry ’bout that, folks.
In other minor site news:
Instagram and Twitter sidebar widgets have been replaced with widgets that actually work
Disclaimers added to footer, because I’m a professional now and stuff
Category and tag pages now display descriptions for the category or tag, if it exists (see the Inkblots category or the Humanist Year tag)
A few new default category headers added
Cross-posted Writing for Joy, which I meant to do about 9 months ago but forgot
Two new pages are almost ready to launch: About Brainthoughts and Support Me
Unless you’re reading this in an RSS reader, you’re likely thinking that the site looks different. You are correct! Brainthoughts now has a brand new theme, a logo, and not just a favicon, but a whole suite of device-specific favicons!1Try adding a shortcut to the blog to your smartphone’s home screen, and you should see what I mean.
As I mentioned recently to Rachel, playing with my blog is my version of going out into the garage and tinkering with a car for hours on end. I’m always tweaking things to bring it more in line with my (ever-developing) sense of what I want it to be. This change, for instance, came about in part because I’d been yearning for a theme with great, eye-catching typography, clean lines, and striking imagery–something not dissimilar to Medium. The theme is Anders Norén’sLovecraft, with some modifications of my own. Continue reading →
I just went through my old archives and hid about 70 blog posts that I felt were either embarrassing or just not worth keeping up anymore. Most of them were posts from middle school and high school, so for a lot of my friends, from before they even knew me. This is part of an effort this summer to change the scope and audience of my blog, which is something I’d rather just do than talk much about.
Along the way, I also made a few changes to previous posts:
For accessibility purposes, almost all images have been given alternative text.
Some typos were corrected.
A post from February 11, previously entitled “Astronomers got gypped,” has been renamed, “Astronomers got screwed,“ with an accompanying editor’s note at the bottom. While I generally don’t care to modify old content, I don’t feel comfortable using “gypped,” a racist term, in the title of a post.
The posts that are left are those that I would feel comfortable with anyone reading, although hopefully with the understanding that the earlier ones were written in the early days of both my own blogging and blogging as a medium in general, and thus I was still figuring out what I wanted to say. It should go without saying, but although they present a glimpse of who I was, they certainly don’t necessarily represent who I am now. Feel free to read and enjoy them (or cringe at them), but keep it in mind that a long time has passed between their publishing date and today.
Hopefully, this will pave the way for a more interesting blog in the future.
This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.
For a while, I’ve tried to keep my blog relatively family-friendly. I’ve hidden more vulgar or objectionable things behind “Read More” links, and I avoid swearing. I’ve also, in the past, decided not to post about some things I find really interesting because they deal with culturally taboo subjects, like sexuality.
While I appreciate not trying to offend others, I feel like my blog is my space, and if I feel hampered in what I can post because I’m afraid I’ll tick some people off or disturb their sensibilities, I think I’m ultimately dealing myself a disservice. A blog exists to be written in, and though there are many excuses as to why I haven’t posted much lately, one of them–the question of content–is easily dealt with.
I’ve upgraded the blog’s version of WordPress yet again, and given it yet another snazzy new theme. This theme is still getting some wrinkles ironed out of it; hopefully, within a few days, it will have a cooler, more personalized header image, and maybe a different color scheme.
Also of note are some new sidebar gadgets! You can read my latest Twitter posts, browse the blog through tags, or view some quotes I particularly enjoy[ref]To reload a new, random quote, click the quote box.[/ref], all along the right side of the page.
I’ve also spent some time trying to clean up redundancies within categories and tags. I’ve pared down the list of categories (you can see them in the top right of the page), and resorted to tags to define other categorical things. For instance, all political posts are tagged with “politics,” rather than put in a “Politics” category. Of course, this makes no difference to anyone but me.
Permalinks now work again, so you can make pretty bookmarks that look more like this:
Finally, the blog has been moving around a bit lately, but this should be its new home for good (or, at least, for a considerable time). You’ll notice that the URL has nothing to do with the title of the blog. That’s because I may change the blog’s title in the future, but I really don’t want to mess up everyone’s[ref]I say “everyone,” but I mean “the three people who read this blog.”[/ref] links again.