The three ages of blog

18 Feb 2017

I guess this is my third attempt at blogging. I never really had a geocities type site back in the day. Probably not a bad thing, as didn’t they all look like this?

a first stab

When I was working in the Maths and Physics departments at Imperial college, we ran two separate home directory services - a Windows service, and an NFS service for Linux users. The NFS service also provided the option to host a personal webpage, as anything in a public_html directory in your NFS home would be shared with the world via the Unix web farm.

I’ve gone looking, but it would appear that is long gone.

These personal pages were ace - as anything goes (or went?). There were very basic retro pages, there were examples of people using site generators, and lots of other things in between.

I decided to use Apple’s now abandoned iWeb tool - which made it easy to make something fairly professional looking, even if the tool was tightly integrated with Apple’s .Mac service (which eventually turned into iCloud) - and you could tell it didn’t like me generating pages to go somewhere else.

But, when I left Imperial, unsurprisingly my Personal Page disappeared with my user account. And I can find no evidence of it on the WayBackMachine - probably for the best, as it made way for…

When the 2011 Mac Mini launched, Apple also dropped the price (and the feature set) of OSX Server. This was enough to tempt me to buy a machine to use as a home lab.

I requested a static IP from my ISP, bought a domain, and started tinkering with running my own DHCP and DNS services at home.

And it was fun. And I learned loads. Probably loads of things I was already supposed to know… but it was fun to have complete control over a home network and test lab.

It also meant I could use the blogging platform built into OSX Server. And I did. For a while…

But - lots of the experience was annoying.

  • There wasn’t really any customisation (so it was pretty obvious where and how your blog was hosted)
  • I hated the way that when you edited a post (when you spotted a glaring typo) that post then became your newest post. Grrrrr.
  • And now as I play around with Markdown and hosting in the cloud, I’m a little sad as to how hard it is to manually export information out of a Mac server. So I suspect I probably won’t…

Which brings us to where we are today…

Having finally decided on Jekyll - a Jekyll theme, and getting content hosted on Amazon Web Services.

I’m still learning about this stuff, and if I’m feeling really brave I may try some further customisation of this theme, or may even move to another one.

I’d like to think I can manage at least a post a week… but will be depressed if I can’t at least manage one post a month. I have a lot of stuff to blog about in 2017…

Published on 18 Feb 2017 Find me on Twitter and Mastodon.