Blog Post A Day Midterm

I’m about half way through my new challenge of a blog post a day for a year. As I stated when I began, I’ll be going slightly beyond a year, thus making this somewhat close to the halfway point. So far I’ve managed to average 1 post a day. I’ve done some experimentation in style, timing, length. Some variations were unintentional just due to what I felt like doing.

Generally speaking blog posts prepared a day is a better workflow for me, but I find it hard to keep up the habit. Perhaps that should be my first focus.

Overall I’m pretty satisfied, but I do think I’m going to try and mix things up a bit more. Onward!

My Next 365 Project

My blog is my single greatest investment on the Internet. I’ve been at this now for about 9 years. It’s how many people in the industry know me, and it’s one of the most prominent pieces of my online identity.

With Project 365 coming to a close, I’ve decided to take on a new 365 project. I’m going to try and write one blog post a day for 365 days. Well, more actually. It will start January 1, 2012 and end March 31, 2013 exactly 10 years from the day I started this blog back in 2003 when I was in college.

I’ll sometimes be too busy and need to make up a post, and sometimes I might just do more than one. I’ll be flexible with the timing/rules. It will sometimes be highly technical, it will sometimes be just goofing around. It will sometimes be an essay, it will sometimes be barely anything but a photo or a YouTube link. I’m sure I’ll evolve as time goes on.

365 days is a long time to do the same thing. It’s also a great length to push yourself to do something better. I learned a lot by forcing myself to publish 365 photos. Besides for a few photography tricks, I’ve also learned to notice the more curious things I encounter on a daily basis. I’ve also learned that it’s not just about the medium but the subject. Some of the worst photos from a photography standpoint end up being the most commented on because of the subject. While I won’t be taking photos as much, I suspect I’ll continue to do so more often as a result of the past year’s challenge.

Some have said for years the age of blogging is dead. I strongly disagree. It’s just evolved. You can only do so much in 140 characters. A blog is the only self publishing medium which is truly without constraints other than technical abilities. Only when restraints are removed can you truly be free.

I’ve been ramping up for a few weeks now to prepare for this. This blog has received an overhaul to ensure it’s ready for this project. I’ve improved readability with larger easier to read typography. You can now authenticate your comments via Twitter or Facebook. Lots of cosmetic changes and other little toys that will become more visible as time goes on. There are still some pretty glaring bugs. I’ll be getting to those as soon as I can.

New posts will be shared by Twitter and an experimental Facebook Page (we’ll see how that goes). There’s always the RSS feed.

Game on!

DNS Strangeness Followup

A few days ago I mentioned I was having some DNS issues. I’m pretty sure they are resolved as the last few days I haven’t seen anything odd.

It seems the primary nameserver did not bump the SOA when it updated. As a result one of the other DNS servers was out of sync. Why only one? I doubt I’ll ever discover why.

Anyway, it seems to be fixed. If anyone notices an issue, let me know.

Fun With Wordage v4

I haven’t redesigned this blog since 2005. As I mentioned recently, it was long overdue. It’s finally here. Some of the more notable changes:

  • Much wider content area – The old design was optimized for 800×600 displays. It didn’t allow for anything much wider than 400px, meaning images often had to be cropped or scaled in ways that I really didn’t like. Now optimized for 1024×768 there’s over 600px of useful layout. That’s much better!
  • Movin’ on up! – The old design has a huge header that pushed real content way to low. This design pushes content much higher meaning less scrolling.
  • Related Posts – Simply because it’s convenient. It’s rather accurate and brings up stuff that even I forgot about.
  • Now in a blog directory – This blog is now located at: robert.accettura.com/blog – This url hierarchy makes more sense. Don’t worry, old posts all redirect to the new location. The front page is pretty plain right now, but that will change slowly over time.
  • Components rewritten – Several parts of the blog’s templates and various widgetry have been totally rewritten including my AJAX comments. Lighter, faster, and (hopefully) less bugs.
  • Not done yet – It’s not even done yet. I’ve got more in the works, but those things will see the light in weeks to come.

Check it out (yes you in your feed reader) and let me know if you see any issues. I’m sure there’s still some bugs that need to be ironed out.

5 Years

Despite this year actually knowing it was coming, it still sounds strange that I’ve had this site up and running for 5 years now. That’s a half decade. In all honesty when I started I didn’t expect it to last too long. I’ve had the domain for nearly 10 years.

From Then To Now

This started out as a few static pages over 5 years ago, and eventually turned into a blog in March 2003 as a college Freshman. Generally I’ve kept the format pretty much the same, the most notable change was switching from more “random” posts to mostly tech related posts in recent years. This wasn’t intentional, it’s just how it worked out. The reception to that change has been overwhelmingly positive. Though I’ve been asked from time to time, to bring some humor back.

Just since graduating college in 2006, I’ve been mentioned on numerous blogs, made the Digg homepage, quoted on Ars Technica (more than once), linked on Gruber’s Darling Fireball. Most of that is pretty recent too. Daily traffic has been increasing pretty steadily during this period.

Now 1,323 posts and 3,481 comments later, I’ve been contemplating what I want to do next…

Where it’s going

I’ve given a fair amount of though as to what I want to do here at the 5 year mark. I’ve decided to make the following changes slowly over upcoming months as I think it’s a better approach:

  • New Design – The current design has been live since about 2005, with only minor tweaks. It’s to narrow for many images I’ve wanted to use, and there’s a lot of wasted space. The new design, already in the works is optimized for 1024×768. Also pushing content up further by removing that stale image from the header. I initially though I’d change that more often, but it’s not happening. I had hoped to have this done for today, but that didn’t happen. Instead “it’s done when it’s done”.
  • Features vs. Regular Posts – The biggest change from a content perspective is I want to make is to distinguish what will be more notable posts from the daily posts. These posts tend to be a dozen a year. Both in terms of development, giving them more time and thought, to how I present them. I’ve yet to decide exactly how to accomplish this.
  • Post Regularly – I’ve always posted in bursts, it’s become a dirty habit. I’m going to give it yet another try to be more consistent. I think being regular makes things flow better and results in a better thought process. Will my mind work like this? I don’t know. But if it can, that would be awesome.
  • Going Off Topic – This is clearly a more technical blog (where else do you find holiday SQL and other code jokes), but it’s time to bring some off topic stuff back. Not sure when this will start, but it’s a goal of mine.
  • More On Topic – I spend a fair amount of time lately on current news. I’m thinking of slowly downplay this a little more and focus on real development stuff.

There are other changes planned, some large, some small, but there are the ones that I think are worth mentioning right now.

The focus on technology, in particular web development, and business will remain, I have no intent on changing that. I just want to improve how I do it, and what surrounds it.

Before someone asks, I’ll still cover all Firefox and Thunderbird related news both big and small as I always have. Nearly half the posts on this blog fall into that category. They are among the most popular ones, and some of my personal favorites.

Like anything else in the world a website falls into three categories: it grows and matures, it dies, or it sits like a rock. I like the idea of growing and maturing.

So here’s to the next 5 years.

The Sound… Of Silence

I’m semi-quiet lately. A cold last week kicked my butt for pretty much the entire week. That’s always fun.

I’m also working on some changes to this blog. It’s been a long time since that’s happened. Hopefully I’ll have it out of dev and running by the end of the month.

As a result I won’t be posting to much during this time.