Tumblr, blogging, and all that jazz

Where Tumblr Came From – Anil Dash

many of us who were familiar with blogs already saw tumblelogs as “just a simple blogging template”, similar to what we were already doing on Movable Type or WordPress at the time, rather than a fundamentally different medium.

Despite that myopia, there was a lot of momentum around simplified, media-rich blogging at that moment in history.

Just read the whole thing. Blogging: it’s not as simple as it seems, and history is littered with the corpses not just of dead blogs, but of dead blogging systems.

(– via everyone)

The Distributed Me

High time I noted here: I’m also blogging (again) in a few other places, notably:

  • StoryCog, mostly work/video/scicomms/public engagement stuff, and

  • ScienceDemo.org, a revival of an old failed wiki site by a small group (yet to be fully revealed, and maaaaaybe taking applications) who really care about demonstrating science: the demos themselves, and the issues around them.

Meanwhile, I’ve cobbled together a hub of sorts at jjsanderson.com.

The Police > News > Revolver

Terrifc article reproduced from Revolver circa 2000, interviewing The Police:

Copeland: You are absolutely correct. I remember when we did our first album, I only wrote these punk songs so we’d have something to play, then I realised, ‘Ah… lyrics…’

Summers: Stewart and I were jumping on the bandwagon. Totally insincere! But I wrote all of ‘Omegaman’. Can we talk about ‘Behind My Camel’ some more?

Revolver: Oh shut up. One World is the most ‘old-school’ Police song on the album.

Copeland: And it was my favourite song at the time because it did have that early Police vibe, where we jammed on one chord for hours.

Summers: Unfortunately, I never did find out what that one chord was.

Hilarious, fiery, oddly moving — the interview both traces and mirrors the arc of the band’s career. Also:

Sting: No, no, I’m a simple man. A simple man in my huge Tuscan villa, so piss off.

See also the thread at MeFi trying to work out whether it’s an April Fool or not. Consensus: it’s good enough that everyone’s going to claim it’s real anyway.

Opening lines

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Opening lines matter, and I’d forgotten how good Neuromancer‘s is. More than 20 years since I read it, almost 30 since it was written. Sheesh.

Everything’s moved

One of the disadvantages of being an old-time blogger is that I signed up, long ago, to the idea that good URLs remain stable. See, it must have been a long time ago: we still called them ‘URLs’.

Turns out, pretty much everyone reneged on that pact. Looking back through my archives, I’m stunned by how many links are broken. Usually, the linked-to article still exists, but the address has changed and there’s no redirect in place (or the redirect is itself broken).

Given how hard I’ve worked to maintain stable URLs for my sites — including, at one point, manually coding 400+ rewrite special-cases from a particularly crazy CMS-from-hell — I’m disappointed. You hear me, internet? I’m disappointed in you. All of you.


Sleep and youth

I recently pulled an all-nighter, partly to see if I still could.

It was surprisingly OK. I did have a short nap in the small hours, and another the following afternoon, but I was mostly functional. Sure, I wouldn’t have driven a car, and in conversation I was pretty random, but the stuff I was working on turns out to be pretty good. So how was the recovery?

I slept for eleven hours straight, then the following afternoon for another three.

Drat. Not as young as I used to be.

On Falling Over…

In 2008 I moved to the US and within six months I’d paralysed my left arm doing something stupid in the office. For a while I didn’t know if it was ever going to recover. It was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life


Yikes. And wow. Read this.

Let’s hear it for Bundler

Turns out the solution to my broken Staticmatic install was as simple as:

bundle install

Yeah. That simple. Durr. But big respect for Bundler, a simple tool that solves a subtle problem – in this case downgrading the versions of a bunch of gems, rolling them back to whatever I built this system with in the first place, but doing all that only within this project.

Yeah, I know that’s what it does, but I didn’t really know that’s what it does. I should probably RTFM for some of this stuff.