Sick Blog: Cured

I just spent the last several hours recovering from the fact that for the last 2+ weeks, everything on this blog except for the homepage was returning a “500 Server Error”.

As best I can tell, on or around February 25th, something changed on the blog that did not play well with the .htaccess file on the server, which broke all the permalinks on the site. I’m not certain what — possibly the last WP patch, possibly something on our web host’s side. Possibly both.

A small edit to the main .htaccess eventually fixed it, but only after I had reinstalled a clean plugin-free version of WP, set up a new database & re-imported all the archived entries, scoured the web in search of solutions (none of which worked), and opened a trouble ticket with our web host.

Ultimately all I lost was some time, my Statpress archives of website traffic, and my old set of sidebar widgets. It wasn’t how I wanted to be spending this lovely Saturday but all’s well now.

Are Blogrolls Still Relevant?

I’ve been seriously thinking about ditching my blogroll link. It’s partially a technical issue, partially a personal one, and partially because I’m no longer sure that a blogroll is adding any value to the page.

Technical, because at one time I was using Bloglines as my primary feed reader, so my blogroll was also an up-to-date reflection of the feeds I was reading. I’ve since switched to Google Reader, but the way they implement feed sharing is different and makes sharing my current feed list a lot more annoying. Bloglines let me drop one snippet in and boom, my whole feed list was displayed, folders and all. Google does feed sharing differently — each folder is its own feed and needs its own snippet. That gives you more flexibility in how you share your feeds but it’s also extra work. Frankly it’s not all that much work (and I’d only have to set it up once), but I just can’t be bothered to do it.

In short, what you see in my blogroll is not fully in sync with what I’m currently reading. And silly as it may sound, that bugs me. I know every blogger has different ideas about what their blogroll should be, but for me it was always about sharing my own personal info stream. There’s any number of lists of the “top” blogs in any given category out there. My blogroll was meant to be more personal. Now that it’s not, I don’t like having it there as much.

Finally, I’m also not sure that anyone is actually finding value in a blogroll. When I look at web analytics reports (both for this blog and others), more and more of the referral traffic I see is coming in from Twitter and Facebook. Very little comes from other blogrolls. So there’s a part of me that’s thinking, “if nobody is using this, why not ditch it for stuff that people will find more useful or interesting?”

What do you think?
Kill it or keep it?
Is a blogroll still relevant anymore?
Am I overthinking the issue and need to go do something fun with my weekend?

Dear World

We, the United States of America, your top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4.

Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20, 2009. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage.

We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Five Years Ago Today

Fiat Lux came into being on September 1st 2003.

How the blog got started is a pretty prosaic story: I was feeling a little homesick and nostalgic, it was a slow weekend, and a friend who’d recently taken to blogging was urging me to give it a try. So I grabbed a copy of Moveable Type, got some web hosting, and did so.

The past 5 years have seen me through a move to the ‘burbs, grad school, three jobs, comedy, tragedy, and plenty of just plain living. My blogging frequency (and focus) has been all over the place. One thing hasn’t changed, though. I ended my first post by saying:

What next? Who knows. But I think that I’d like to blog the journey.

I still don’t know what’s coming next, but I still want to blog the journey. So here’s to the next five years! Let’s see where they lead.

And thank you for being with me as I do it.

Maker Faire

Heading out with Scott to check out the show. Should be fun! I’ll post pix if I get any good ones.

UPDATED: We’re back. Had a great time, here’s a few highlights:

Adam Savage from Mythbusters

Adam Savage from Mythbusters, taking about his life of making things. I like the show but hearing Adam speak in person and show some of the many non-Mythbusters things he’s done increased my respect for him significantly.

What a cool guy! A true creative geek in the best possible sense of the word.

EepyBird Mentos & Diet Coke Show

Those guys from YouTube did a live … performance(?) …. of their demented yet oh so cool pairings of Mentos & Diet Coke.