Category Archives: Website

Blogging the Hugos

So my last attempt to start posting here again—over two years ago—lasted all of two posts. After that I started to think that perhaps my blogging days were over for good. I kept paying the hosting bills, but mainly because I had come to think of this site as a sort of personal history, particularly of my grad school years. It was nice to know that it was out there for me to read if I wanted. But even in the larger internet it seemed that the age of blogging was over, supplanted by platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

And yet once again I find myself with opinions that I’m dying to express. Twitter is no good for long-form writing, and Facebook is too closed—I don’t want to limit my audience just to those of my friends and family who are on the site. So I find myself dusting off the WordPress controls again. (And trying to remember my password–got it on the sixth try.)

This time, though, I have a project. In August I’ll be attending the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, and as an attendee I’ll be voting on the Hugo Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in science fiction/fantasy. And in order to do that, I’m planning to read all the nominees—and review them here. Some of them I’m expecting to be great; many of them I’m expecting to be terrible. (More on that, and why I’m doing this, in the next post.) Either way, you’ll be able to hear about them here. Should be fun! And it should keep me blogging for a couple of months at least.

Yes, this is the default WordPress theme

Because sometimes, you want to write something about The Great Gatsby, but it’s too long to fit into a Facebook post. But your abandoned blog is using some archaic version of Movable Type that’s probably vulnerable to all sorts of exploits, and your account is literally over hard drive quota because the error log is too large. And your web host has a link to install a recent-ish version of WordPress with one click…

Sure, it annihilates the old layout, but it was mainly a lot of broken links to shit you were into ten years ago. And, ok, the formatting didn’t import perfectly, but the old posts and comments are still there. Maybe you can even take the opportunity to delete that post about how Mitt Romney was going to beat Obama in 2012. (In my defense, that was before Nate Silver had run his model.)

Anyway, I’ll customize the layout later, but right now I had this thing I wanted to write about Gatsby.

Financial Crisis Guest Blogging

Many have complained about the lack of posts on this blog of late, but one reader has stepped up to do something about it. Watch this space for guest posts from novelist, finance veteran, and regular commenter JSpur, who has volunteered to share his thoughts on the current state of the markets and economic policy. Meanwhile, I will continue to post on my somewhat erratic schedule.
Content disclaimer: I’ve given JSpur keys to the blog so that he can post at will; therefore his posts are not edited by me, and my approval or endorsement is not required to post here.
Technical disclaimer: I moved the byline up to the top of the posts to avoid confusion. Please let me know if this isn’t working somewhere. Also, I apologize if this causes old posts to reappear on the RSS feed.

Site Upgrade

(Second try at this post…)
Portions of my Movable Type install (which is the software behind the blog) mysteriously broke during the recent inactivity, and rather than just reinstall I took the opportunity to upgrade to the newest version, MT 4.1. This is pretty much guaranteed to break more stuff (in fact, this has already happened), so here’s a thread for posting comments if you notice something not working.
Once I get this sorted out I might get around to blogging about how the move to New York went…
UPDATE: The search box is still broken, but for a different reason.

Automated links posts

Earlier this week I mentioned that I’ve revived my del.icio.us account. The links here are items that I found interesting but didn’t have enough extended commentary on to warrant a full blog post. They get a sentence or two of commentary plus tags. There’s about a week’s worth of recent links up now, plus some from a while back when I’d been using the account before.
There’s good reason to cross-post these links here: it adds more content for discussion (del.icio.us doesn’t have comments), and allows readers to get everything on one page rather than having to check my del.icio.us page separately. I used to collect items like these into periodic links posts; del.icio.us can do this automatically, which is the approach I’m thinking of using. Several blogs I read use this feature, for example Uncertain Principles. (Scroll down to see recent links posts.)
I’ll turn this on soon but I wanted to check first in case people secretly hate this sort of thing. If there are objections I’ll put it in the sidebar instead, possibly with periodically-renewed comment threads like I did for Project 365.

Ick

I never realized how terrible this page looks if there aren’t actually any recent posts. I’m deep into the thesis-writing right now so posting will be very sporadic at best for a while longer, but check back in about a month.

Blogroll pruning

I recently cut down on the number of blogs I subscribe to in order since I wasn’t able to keep up with all of them. This required me to remove a number of very good blogs that I simply didn’t have time to read. In some cases I am relying on the fact that good posts from certain prolific bloggers will be linked by other blogs that I do read. Anyway, I’ve updated my blogroll to reflect what I’m actually reading now.
One addition to the blogroll is Zifnab’s new blog Labyrinth.
I also removed the media links on the sidebar since I haven’t been updating them.

4th Blog Anniversary

While posting frequency is at a historical low, as of today this blog has reached the four-year mark. Some of you will recall from previous posts that this blog shares a start date with Dinosaur Comics, which you should all be reading. (The recent strip about the standard kilogram was brilliant.)
Also, happy birthday to commenter JSpur!
Despite not posting here, I continue to post one photo per day over at my Flickr page; the Project 365 set now contains a month’s worth of photos, and I’ve geotagged them all so you can look at a map of where they were taken. (Right now the map is fairly uninteresting except perhaps zoomed in on Berkeley.)

365 Photos

I’m intrigued by this idea (via Lifehacker) of taking a photo every day for a year to compile a year-long photographic record. I’m thinking of doing this (starting either on 22 November or 1 January); the challenges would be remembering to take a photo every day, and finding sufficiently interesting subjects for the photos. (Similar to the challenges of blogging regularly, which I don’t quite achieve as often as daily.)
Naturally I would post the photos on my Flickr page; I could also post them here, but it might get annoying for those who come for the text (one photo post per day would become more than 50% of the content). So it might be better to put them on a separate page, and only post highlights here.