Blogging

A Decade of Meanderings

A Decade of Meanderings

Ten years ago today I started my public-facing blog with the following wide-eyed post:

Wow, am I loving this blog software or what? It’s truly amazing what a great program this is, and what a tremendous amount of effort it has been to put together a killer blogging app. More to come as I tweak this damn thing.

That software was Blogsphere by Mr. Declan Lynch. It’s how I first got to meet Dec and become friends. That software also gave me a way to join a community of writers, friends and other technologists.  In 2006, it helped me get paid for my writing with a gig that would last three years at Intranet Journal.  It got me press credentials, blogger credentials, and it blazed a trail to do things I may never have otherwise.

My first daughter was nearly two back then and my second daughter was almost here.  There was no iPhone or iPad or Android, and Blackberry was the only game in town.  Mozilla was at version 1.5, and Chrome didn’t exist.   I was planning a Domino 5.0.12 migration to Domino 6.5. I ended up migrating to Exchange.  Ephedrine was still legal over the counter, Napster was a big deal, and HDTV didn’t really exist.  I was a programmer, then an admin, and now I don the pointy hair.  Things really have come a long way.

I’ve written over 1000 posts and interacted with over 2000 comments in those ten years.  And even though my output has diminished over the years, I still love this medium.  And despite the continual “Notes is Dead” proclamations and “Blogging is Dead” idiocy that we’ve had to endure over the years, I’m still working with IBM Notes and still blogging away.

This blog really has been a springboard for so many things.  I’m grateful for that and grateful for every reader who has ever interacted here on Greyhawk’s Meanderings.  This has been a big part of my online world, my online brand, and such an outlet for my writing.  I would have done it if no one was reading, but I’m thankful that you did.

Ten years is a long time to do anything in this world, so I’m happy to have kept it going for so long.  Here’s to doing it another ten.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Back in the Saddle

In order to get back into the rhythm of blogging, you have to actually sit down and write.  That’s true of any writer, you just have to sometimes force yourself to put words to the page. I used to have the urge to write all the time, and that’s largely been satiated with various social media outlets, but I miss blogging.

So I refreshed the blog template with a new Parallax theme from Themify.me that I like quite a bit.  It’s got some great ways to share photos, so that’s rekindled the desire to get out and focus on my photography a bit more too.  Both of these are good for my creative outlets, and I need to be more creative.  Lately the pointy hair of the day job has focused on long term goals and politics more than the joy I get from technology.  It’s not all a bad thing, just an evolution.  I just need to make sure that I don’t lose that joy, whether it be technology, writing or photography.

Out in the Man Cave tonight I put some old memories up on the wall.  My old baseball jersey from the town I grew up in, the T-shirt I designed for our college radio station, and some awesome shirts from the LDC including the Lotus “Back in Blue” shirt.  It’s really rekindled a lot of memories and stirred the muse.  Some punk music on the Sonos and a cigar at my side and things feel right.

So as I’ve done on several occasions over the last decade, I’m declaring that I’m back folks.  Let’s see if these are hollow words or if I follow through :-)

IBM Connect 2013 Recap – The People

IBM Connect 2013 Recap – The People

In my last post, I spoke of the IBM Connect show itself, and what it meant from a show and technology perspective for me.  That’s only part of the story.  The real value in Lotusphere for me has always been the people.  The business networking is invaluable, but the enduring friendships are what truly stand out.  These folks have become family over the years and this conference has always been our family reunion.

That’s what I would really miss most if I decided not to come.  Not seeing these friends and colleagues in person would cast a definite sadness over my January.  It’s obvious that other friends feel the same way.  There were at least a half a dozen friends who no longer come to the conference who still traveled to Orlando to be able to hang out and see everyone.  For some, like my good friend Tom Duff, it was a very sad experience to call it his final Lotusphere.

But like Tom referenced in his blog post, Volker nailed it:

“Let me tell you something: life is about people, not about technology. Your friends will be your friends. And you will see them again. And again, and again. Technology changes, friendship lasts. In change, there lies opportunity.”

And I know these friendships will endure.  I can go all over Europe, or Australia, or pretty much anywhere in the US and I know someone I want to visit with, have a beer and a good meal with.  You people are special, no matter what color you are wearing or what code compiler you are using, or how pointy my hair gets.  I’m very happy to call you my friends.

I’ve always thought of us as a very welcoming group too.  You can see it in the yearly Blogger photos growing in size year after year.  We love to welcome new people in, and this year I was more encouraged by seeing some younger talent coming around.

It’s not a lot, and maybe not nearly enough, but I spoke with several people who were new to the IBM technologies in the last few years.  That’s a great thing, and we need to encourage more to do the same.  The only way our species can survive is if we breed more of us. :-)

In addition, I was really touched by a post by a new blogger named Monica Mora   who had always wanted to go to the conference, and this year she made it a reality. It’s a great post on the real power of “social” in our community.  I’d love to hear more of these voices in the future.

Speaking of hearing voices, one of the best things to humanize Lotusphere are the Nerd Girl Spark Ideas talks.  If you want to really get to know the kind, caring, artistic folks of our community, this is a wonderful place to start, and it’s not about our technology choices at all.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the week started with a tragedy to our Lotus family.  A Danish gentlemen named Kenneth Kjærbye passed away after a freak accident during the annual motorcycle ride that many of my friends and a co-worker partake in.  By all accounts, everyone from the police, to the motorcycle shop, to IBM were very supportive and responded warmly and wonderfully given the situation.  I could only offer my condolences, hugs and support to all of my friends who were deeply affected. They carried on with brave faces, but I know how much they were hurting.  Once again, this community came together to help however they could, and I’ve heard from the folks affected how much is was appreciated.  My thoughts are with all of you, and especially Kenneth’s family.

These are the extremes of this family.  We grieve together, and we enjoy life to the fullest together, and celebrate everything in between.  These people, you people reading this, are what makes this conference and our community special. Big virtual hugs to you all until we meet again.

Nine Years of Meanderings

Nine years ago today I officially started my public-facing blog.  I had done some personal blogging just for me before that (starting about a year prior) but it was Sept. 24th 2003 when I first said hello to the Lotus Notes and Domino blogosphere.

Blogging has been very good to me over the years.  It’s been a creative outlet, a stress reliever, a matter of record, a gateway to paid writing gigs and a conduit to meet some people I’m very happy to call close friends. Starting to write and put it all out there is really one of the best decisions I’ve every made.

This year has probably seen my least productive output ever here on the blog.  Obviously Facebook and Twitter have really kind of taken over the majority of my output, but this site won’t go away any time soon.  I still need a place to go on my longer rants, I just need to find the time to write them.

For all of you that still subscribe to my RSS feed, find your way here via PlanetLotus.org, or just keep coming back to see if I’ve posted anything, thank you. I really appreciate it, and thanks for being a part of this for nearly a decade.  I’ve always done this for me but it’s nice to have you along for the ride.

 

So how did I get here?

I’ve gotten some questions on how I went about migrating from Blogsphere to WordPress, so I wanted to share here in case someone else was in the same boat.

Basically I stood on the shoulders of others.  I followed the directions laid out by Mitch Cohen in these blog posts here and here.  He used some code from our mutual friend Matt White to export the posts and comments into a format that WordPress can use.  Another friend of his had some code that cleaned things up, and then I simply imported everything.

For me, categories didn’t quite come over correctly, so I deleted them all and started over.  I decided to manually go through and clean everything up after the fact.  It’s still something I need to finish up.

As for comments, they did come over, but I wanted to use Disqus instead.  Disqus is a good service for comments that allow people to login with various accounts like Facebook or Twitter.  Pulls in the avatars and everything.  So, I installed the Disqus WordPress plugin and now suddenly all of my comments were gone on the blog and replaced with blank Disqus areas.  Well no fear, you can simply export your comments from WordPress into Disqus using the Disqus tools and then they all show up.

The URL’s to the emoticons got converted to text only, so you’ll have to go back and edit those if you need to as well.  Otherwise it just looks a little messy.

Next, I always used FeedBurner for my RSS feeds, so I just pointed it to the new feed here and I was done.

I’ve added some plug-ins like Jetpack and WordPress Mobile, but I’m still looking for other good additions.  Also, I need to find a nice theme I like as the default one (while easily readable) needs some style…

One last cool thing I did was import some REALLY old Blogger based blog posts.  You see, I had written a private blog for awhile before going public and using Blogsphere.  I still had them in Blogger and it was easy to export to a format for bringing into WordPress.  It was kind of nice to see the old diary entries and incorporate them into the overall blog here.

Anyway, I hope that helps you out if you are in the same boat.  It was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be, so don’t be scared of diving in!

 

Hello World… again

Hello all. If you are seeing this, then I actually did quite a bit correctly in my blog move. I decided to move to WordPress and host it through my own webhost. It was just time to move on from Blogsphere and investigate different technologies.

I do want to thank Declan and all the contributors over the years to Blogsphere. It facilitated my blogging addiction for nearly 8 years. That’s no small feat and I’ve always liked the software.

That said, I needed a change. Something to kickstart the blogging habit again, and I think this is it. I’ll be keeping the old blog up for awhile, but all of the posts and comments are now here too. I plan on setting up some re-directs so the google juice on my posts will follow me here at blog.roling.com.

Right now, the site is very raw. I need to settle on a theme and get all the info in place that I want to utilize. So over the next couple months you’ll hopefully see some nice re-designs on the site. If you are a reader via RSS, nothing much will change on your end :-)

Thanks for sticking with me so long folks. I plan on being around (now on WordPress) for a long time to come.

Where to go from here?

Well folks, I’ve come to a crossroads of sorts. For nearly eight years, I’ve had my blog on Blogsphere running on the Domino platform. I’ve loved it, but as blogging and social networks have grown, there are so many other options out there that I could maintain and keep up-to-date with a little less work on my end. It’s obvious that due to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Google+ that I have less time to spend on blogging in general and blogging maintenance in particular. In addition, as the pointy hair grows, I think it’s good to look at all the options available to me.

So with that said, I really think it’s time for me to switch platforms.

So, the million dollar question is, which one? I have a good hosting company, and I could install WordPress, Drupal or Joomla rather easily. I also already have Tumblr and Posterous accounts that could easily be converted. I want whichever platform I choose to have the following:

  • Good mobile apps for iOS
  • Ability to utilize good commenting systems (like Disqus)
  • Easy to maintain themes
  • Ability to customize and add plug-ins
  • Ability to hook into all the major social networks

Next, the billion dollar question is, Do I attempt to migrate all of my old data, or do I just start fresh?

This is the harder one. Many of my technical Domino posts still get hits every single day. So as a resource, it’s a good one. In addition, I’ve always looked at it as a diary of my past. Something I can look back on and see where I was in my life when I posted. So migrating makes some sense, but then the new blog would have all new URL’s. So do you move and hope Google figures it out? Or do you leave the old site up and start a new one? It’s a hard decision, and I’m not sure which way I’ll go.

So, my loyal readers, what do you think? Do I abandon this house and leave all my belongings behind with a note where to find me now? Or do I attempt the migration? And lastly, which platform would YOU choose? Thanks for any help you may be able to offer!

It's not you, it's me!

Hey baby. Yeah, I know it’s been quite awhile, and I’m sorry for leaving you hanging for so long. It’s just that I’ve been so busy lately… I know, I know, that’s never an excuse, it’s just the way it is. Work has been insane, I’ve been travelling a lot, and I haven’t had time to devote to us, and for that I’m sorry.

What’s that? Facebook and Twitter? C’mon honey, you know that you and I were never exclusive. Those two don’t have nearly as in-depth of a relationship and you and I do. Our love goes way back. It’s just that they are there mostly to have fun. They just want a quickie once in awhile, and I can actually fit them in. They don’t demand so much of a commitment. And it’s not that I don’t value OUR commitment, I do, I really do. It’s just that I truly haven’t had time. And quite frankly, I can slide in 140 characters once in awhile much easier than I can with you.

That’s not a knock on you at all. It’s me. I’m the one with the diminished time. You’ve always been there waiting.

I’ll come back around, trust me, I will. I hope you’ll wait for me. I think we may have to look for a new house to spruce things up too. Been hearing good things about Woodpress Woods, Joomla Junction, Posterous Prairies and the Townhouses at Tumblr. Maybe we just need a change to get that spark back. I dunno. But hang in there babe, we’ll work this out in the end. I know we will.

Love always,
Grey

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