First, a digression. For some reason or another, my Twitter feed and email inbox contains quite many messages from people celebrating “happy holidays” or the “season”. This phenomena is both amusing and sad, because it is a particular holiday with a name that people are celebrating.
I am reminded of one particular etymological anecdote. The ancient Indo-European languages (and some others) forgot their the real name of bear (Ursus artos), because saying it aloud was a taboo. Speaking the name would awaken the beast. Taboo was so strong that the original word was not used, maybe only whispered, and the other phrases meant to describe the scary animal (“brown one”) became the word for bear: “bear”.
Or so the theory goes: I don’t know how etymological hypotheses are tested?.
Then, to the main business matter of this blog post: I will commence major reorganization of this old blog at the first available opportunity.
Wait, another digression. I don’t track my readers and never arranged an easy-to-use comment form (because I have wanted to insist on static website instead of complicated WordPress nightmare, I probably could not do much better than a still too complicated server-side email arrangement or MAILTO-links). Consequently, I have never received a single comment, and thus as far as I know, I don’t have audience. Anyway, let me imagine for a moment I have one.
Current Jekyll-powered arrangement has served quite okay-ish (except the numerous times when my spaghetti-Python tagging system has been broken), but time has come for its retirement.
I shall first list the current system’s benefits:
It is static, it is lightweight to use from user perspective.
I made the spaghetti-tag-arrangement myself, so I am partial to like it more than it deserves.
Then the issues with the current framework.
Now that I am a researcher (and officially a PhD candidate) and not a lowly ‘regular’ student (that is, nobody), I have realized a more clear separation between “official academic research interests” (e.g. links to interesting statistics papers) and “hobbies” (e.g. websites devoted to atomic rockets or comic book reviews) is required if I plan to continue with blogging. Tag-category monstrosity that almost works well is not a sufficient solution. I would prefer a separate academic research blog, then I could share link / QR codes pointing to it at conference posters and similar contexts.
I am growing frustrated concerning the lack of easy interaction with static blogs. If a condense an opinion to a Tweet, sometimes I get a response, and most importantly, sending a response is sleek experience.
And finally: the fundamental design choice of the spaghetti-Python tag system, that all tags belong to some category, and then I can list tags by categories … now that there is some amount of posts (approximately 100, welp, that is two years of blogging for you), it does not work as well as I anticipated. The number of tags and categories has grown to impractically large size, and most importantly, I am getting tired of it (“so what was the proper category for this kind of metapost again”). Also, Jekyll is becoming quite slow and sloggish at processing those approx 100 posts to HTML.
The old content will remain as it is. URLs will not be broken.
The new research themed blog will launch hopefully in January. Either it will be a more traditional blog on the UTU WordPress platform (and then most of the WordPress maintenance issues will be not my nightmares), or maybe I will build a separate static site.
Either this old blog will continue but more clearly repurposed as “hobby interests”, or archived and new blog/service will launched in its place. I am currently looking at Pelican, Middleman, Hugo, Hyde and Nikola as potential Jekyll replacements, but I also am half-seriously entertaining new, exciting ideas that I would not have dreamed of two years ago: embrace the the commercialized privacy-nightmare walled-garden future of the internet.