A Start Over

As with Chris this weblog could go dark around the 4th of November if I can’t get everything moved and set up at a new host quickly enough. I still don’t have a new host yet and a few I have chatted with aren’t necessarily comfortable hosting a “cheap” site that has been slashdotted (i.e. mega-hits within a very short time period). Will I be slashdotted again? I’m writing a sequel to “Parable of the Languages”, but it, like many other sequels, could die an ignoble death. Quick answer: hard to say.

I’m also merging several individual web sites into one (yasd.com, p2psmoke.org, dynamicearth.com, and burningbird.net are being merged), though the weblog will stay at weblog.burningbird.net. The result of this effort means I’ll have some pretty ugly pages and a bit of a mess for a while, but can’t be helped. Can’t spend too much time on this as have to concentrate on paying tasks. Must get money. Money good. Need money.

I wasn’t sure about what to do with the Movable Type move because I have gaps in the weblog page numbers. When re-importing the exported entries, the numbers won’t match and links will get broken. However, I read Jonathon’s plan of copying the individual archives over as is into the previous archives directory, editing the exported data to remove ones I don’t want to keep, and then, after re-importing the modified list of posts, directing archiving to a new location.

That is a plain, good, excellent, outstanding idea! Who says eye candy people can’t think like metal to the core programmers?

With Jonathon’s approach, I can change my individual archives to an .html extension, getting rid of the PHP overhead, and still keep PHP for the main page (index.php). For those archived pages that are being retained in the new weblog, I’ll delete the pages in the old archives, and use an error handler program to map the old pages to the new. (Accessing the old pages will trigger a 404 error, which, in turn, triggers my error handler.)

As much as I like Jonathon’s plan for handling synchronization problems with a Movable Type weblog move, what’s even more intriguing with his approach is his using this time to re-focus his weblog, and literally removing entries that don’t match this focus. The old archives will be there so links won’t break, but someone new will only see those entries that reflect Jonathon’s new focus.

The idea of a weblog start over is outside the “way we do things”, which is probably why I like it so much. And it’s really no different than the opportunities that face us when we move to a new community.

When we move to a new town or city, especially one where we don’t know people, we can re-define what we are. For instance, want to party less? Then re-define yourself as a quieter person in your new home. Want to be more outgoing? Again, re-define yourself and act more outgoing with new people. Since people will only see this behavior, and act accordingly, we’re re-inforced and the behavior becomes more natural.

(As an example, years ago when I lived in Seattle the first time, I couldn’t speak in front of people to save my life. It was terririble — if I was faced with more than four people, I literally couldn’t speak. When I moved to Yakima to attend college, I was determined to overcome this, so the first thing I did was take a speech class. The second thing I did was run for student body President (I lost, in case you’re curious). I forced myself into positions of public speaking, and since people only saw this aspect of me (not my former shyness), my new behavior was reinforced. Now, I love public speaking and regret that I couldn’t get to any conferences this year to indulge.)

The thought of applying this re-definition to our weblogs is unique, and interesting, and opens up a host of new possibilities beyond just cosmetic changes, or changes in technology. Weblog start overs — a new trend perhaps?

(I just wish I could erase incidents from the past as easily as I could drop old postings. There was the time with the water cooler full of margaritas…)

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