New Digs

This change has been a couple months in the making and this morning in my pre-caffeinated stupor, I decided I was tired of fiddling with it and trying to make things perfect and just flipped the switch – welcome to the new! Why change? Well, I’ll tell you…

I’ve been blogging for over ten years now. This blog started out on Blogger, and then moved to Movable Type fairly early on, where we lived happily for almost ten years. Then, Movable Type 5.0 came out and I didn’t feel like re-doing everything on a platform that felt stagnant. So, I decided it was time to move to WordPress and save myself the trouble to maintaining templates that were starting to get creaky and stale. I’m not a designer, and I don’t have a lot of time for side projects anymore, so I wanted something that looked good and that would be easy to maintain. I chose Khoi Vinh’s awesome Basic Maths theme, made a quick child theme to throw my OpenID delegate and Typekit stuff in the header, moved some widgets around, and then flipped the domain name so it points to instead of the temporary domain name I set up.

There’s still a lot of data cleanup to do (the content column is a lot narrower than the old one and Jen likes putting up laaaarge photos), but it’s all in the old content and I can go back when I’ve got time later and clean them all up (there were some issues importing the textile posts too).

And since this post lines up nicely with The Ideas of March, I’ll try to post things more often. Our old install of Movable Type was so crusty it was actually painful to blog. I don’t see that being a problem anymore…

10 Years

I’ve been blogging, right here, for ten years. The first post on was on 07/20/2000 and didn’t say a whole lot. Since then, though, Jen and I have posted 2,631 entries. Jen didn’t start blogging here until about 2005, so out of that, almost 2,000 of them are mine.

I don’t think I’ve stuck with a hobby longer than this, except maybe collecting comic books when I was a kid (non-stop from age eleven until 22 and then off and on collections).

I’m pretty proud of this little blog. Yes, the design is old, and it’s slow at times. But, it’s a record of our lives over the last ten years that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Here’s to the next ten and whatever comes next.

Categorized as blogging

Bloggers are Real People

I just read Kathy Sierra’s post about the death threats she’s received and I’m shocked. I’ve been on the web a long time, and see some really horrible stuff, but what never ceases to amaze me is how cruel people can be.\
For some reason when our interaction with someone is online and we’re reading text they’ve written or looking at pictures they’ve taken, we somehow think of them as less than a real person. They become their work, not the person behind the work – which is dangerous. It opens the door to this kind of thing.\
I don’t even know that there’s a solution other than education and treating this stuff like the crime that it is. Threats are not protected speech. They are threats, and that’s against the law. Just because you think you’re anonymous doesn’t mean you are. Just because someone shares things online – words, photos, videos, etc – doesn’t mean they’re not a real person with real feelings.\
For me, I try (and often fail) to think of what I write, especially in comments and e-mail, as something I’m saying to that person face to face. If I wouldn’t say it someone standing in front of me, I probably won’t post it online. It’s saved me a lot of embarrassment and problems over the years.\
I’ve lived my life pretty much in public since I started this blog about seven years ago. I never quite understood why others didn’t until recently. After talking to several women over the past year, I think I’m starting to understand, and it makes me really sad. I don’t know what, if anything, I can do to fix things other than doing a better job of following my own rules.\
Kathy, I think you’re awesome. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites, and you’re an inspiration to me and to my work (and ask the people I work with – I send out links to your posts all the time). Here’s hoping the idiots responsible are caught quickly and this ugliness is resolved so you can get back to doing what you love (assuming you love blogging and presenting).

Categorized as blogging

Bring Me Your 48×48 Buddy Icons!

For our soon-to-be-a-launchin’ Ruby on Rails app, we’re looking for services that provide 48×48 buddy icons (you know, like AIM does). So far, it’s surprising how many different social networks and web apps have them, and it’s equally surprising how few of them have APIs to get at them. So far, I’ve got AIM Buddy Icons, Flickr buddy icons, and Twitter icons – because they’re really easy to get at (some easier than others). If you know of more services (or happen to run one) that has APIs for getting buddy icons (that are 48×48), please let me know! We’ll give you a link and make your users happy in the process, because they get to use their cool icon.\
One of my early goals with the project was to reinvent as little a wheel as possible:

  • I don’t want to store passwords, or make users remember another one, so we’re supporting AIM and OpenID logins
  • I don’t want to host, resize, handle uploading, a bunch of images, because that means users have to upload yet another one (hence the question above).
  • I don’t want to make people fill out a big long nasty profile, so we don’t have them (they’re short and funny).\
    We’ll be launching the new blog in the very near future, and the product hopefully before SxSW. I’m way too excited about it. I even posted a sneak peek of the logo because I couldn’t take it any more (oh, the design on this thing… it’s gorgeous – the best looking web app I’ve ever been associated with, and I’ve been involved in plenty).

The Big 2k

This is the 2000th post on this blog. I wish I could write this to coincide with some big redesign, a switch to a cool new blogging platform or have some cool techno-geeky thing to show off. But, I don’t. I just have this measly little entry. This entry is mostly here so I get over the fact that there are two thousand entries, most of them by me, but a bunch by Jen now too.\
The first entry was way back in July of 2000 and it says nothing at all important, just like the vast majority of other posts here where I rambled about nothing and posted anyway.\
Two thousand posts in, what have I learned and what has it done for me? Here you go:

  1. Blogging changes everything. If you get into the habit of doing it, it opens up a new world of people, experiences and possibilities. Maybe it’s because I started blogging before there were millions of people doing it, but I’ve made connections with so many different people through my blog and reading others. Blogging is a great way to get a glimpse into other peoples’ worlds, to walk a little bit in their shoes and get a perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise had into someone else’s experience.
  2. Blogging has changed how I communicate with everyone. My family reads my blog. A lot of people at work read my blog. A lot of my friends read my blog. When there’s a topic I’m not comfortable talking about in person (like religion, politics, etc). Writing about it here makes it easier to talk about it in person, and has led to some very interesting conversations I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Giving myself an “opening” here creates an opportunity for discussion in the “real” world.
  3. Blogging has made work better. I used to religiously not talk about work here, because I didn’t want to get dooced (I read her blog before she became a verb and loved it – still love it). I still have a hard time talking about work (habits die hard), but it’s made my work easier. I used this space to experiment with web standards, and that bled into work. Being one of the first bloggers at AOL (at least one of the first who would admit it), I got to help with the initial thinking behind AOL Journals and go on a couple trips to talk about it.
  4. Blogging is more fun with a partner. Jen jumping in and blogging here has been a lot of fun, especially the unspoken game of keeping up with her. Sharing the front page has removed some of the pressure of posting all the time, and I can’t tell you how many times people have caught me at work and told me how much they enjoy her posts.\
    It took five and a half years to get to two thousand. Hopefully, it won’t take another five and a half to get to ten.

On Modules and Widgets

I got a couple comments on yesterday’s post about ModuleT and widgets. I don’t post often (another vote against splitting my personal blog, I guess), but all the details about AIM Pages, our microformat or other thoughts on widgets will be over on the Alpha Blog. That’s where Joe, Shawn and I talk about module stuff. We’ve been so busy lately that we haven’t posted as much as we should, but there’s a lot to talk about, so keep your eyes peeled for news.

To Fork or Not to Fork

I’ve been working on a new blog and I keep running into the same question, so I figure I’ll pose it to you, my loyal readers (umm, I think, I actually have no idea who reads my blog and I’m OK with that). Should I start a new blog for just technical nerdy web bits or keep everything together? I’ve been itching to write longer articles on topics and I feel limited by the current layout (which I love for entirely different reasons and don’t see changing in the near future). A long article about CSS doesn’t really fit in half a page.\
What do you think? Should I start a new blog or just tweak this one? Do you read this blog because you’re my friend and we know each other in “meatspace”, or for some other reason?

Categorized as blogging

6 Years and Still Blogging

This blog is six years old today. Now, I was planning a big retrospective, but the archives are all there and you can go browse through all 1845 entries. Six years of blogging and I’ve managed to spew out over 1800 entries (Jen’s posted too, which I’ll talk about in a little bit), and people have posted over 1600 comments, and I didn’t have comments for the first year of the blog when it was over on Blogger.\
The blog started out orange, and with spacemen, and went through quite a few different designs (some of which I don’t even remember). Thankfully, Jen decided to join the party and I came up with the design we’ve got now, based on a photo Jen took on our trip to Bethany Beach last summer.\
So here we are, six years of blogging about my life, my family, some about work and about other assorted nonsense. You know, I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon. I go through phases where I don’t post for a week or so, but I always come back. I always find some other reason to come back and write. It’s become a part of my life, and things may change around again (you never know), but will probably always be some sort of blog.\
Thanks, blog, for holding all the nonsense, and for keeping an archive of me over the past six years. Thank you Blogger and thank you Movable Type.

Categorized as blogging

Searching For The AOL Blogfather

For a while, I thought that I might have been the first AOL employee to have a blog. I know that can’t be true, but I’m curious as to who the AOL Blogfather is (term stolen gracelessly from Reid, who is one of my blogfathers).\
If you’re an AOL or Netscape current or former employee and you have a blog whose first post is older than 7/20/2000, please let me know (you know, post a comment). It would be nice if the blog was still active.\
Why do this today? Well, another great AOLer has started a blog, Jacob Rosenberg. Jacob’s a great guy and one of my favorite operations folks. His second post is a short history of the many web servers that have come out of AOL. I’ve used all of them at some point, and remember them (mostly) fondly.\
Only nine days until this blog’s sixth birthday. I still haven’t decided what to get it yet.

Weekend Update

Max had another soccer game on Saturday. He has so much fun there, I have to recommend it to all parents of young children. It is so much more interactive and physically demanding than tee-ball or little league. (It’s practically non-stop running for an hour, instead of standing around waiting to bat or for someone to hit the ball your way.) It’s kind of hard to watch though, because he tends to stop paying attention. Which is fine since he is only 6, except I want him to pay attention and get better. But I don’t want to be one of those overzealous parents you hear so much about. In practice all of the boys seem to be getting better at the basic skills, but come game time, they just kind of do a “Lord of the Dance” imitation when they get near the ball. If the teams kept score, you’d note that they are relatively high-scoring though because 1) we don’t use goalies and 2) once a kid makes a good kick, he can usually follow it through to the goal because there is almost no defense on the field.\
Yesterday was the first day in nearly a week that I didn’t have a horrible headache plaguing me all day. Also, Kevin only worked 11 hours. Coincidence? I think not.\
Tonight is the series finale of 7th Heaven. Sniff. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on this horribly written and horribly acted show. The fans will miss the many non-interesting story lines filled with hypocrisy, manipulation, backstabbing, and outright lying. I guess they’ll just have to pay more attention to the Bush Administration to get their fill from now on.\
In Brian news, he has been wearing only one sandal for almost 2 hours. I don’t know why.\
Kevin told me he gets teased by coworkers about my numerous Veronica Mars posts. Hmm, I guess this means I shouldn’t post my thoughts on under-wire bras.