Change is good

If change is good, then I’m heading into truly grand times.

Effective now, the domains, and (and several others) have been merged into the primary domain of I’ll be using Movable Type to manage the content for all, but instead of creating a ‘weblog’ for each domain, I’m creating one for each sub-directory: Articles, Distributed Bits, Interactive, Tutorials, Expressions, OpEds, and so on. Then I’ll use categories to mark each item as “YASD”, “Dynamic Earth”, “P2P Smoke”, and use the MT category tag to load related logos and style sheets.

A small application will then poll new items from each sub-directory’s RSS file, as well as this weblog, and roll them into one main Burningbird RSS file — burningbird.rdf. That’s the file I’ll ask people to subscribe to. A little PHP application embedded into the main page will display the contents of this file.

All the older tutorials, articles, etc. will be converted into the Movable Type content management system, and I’ll use my PostCon post-content management system to re-direct the pages to the new locations. Since I don’t have Tomcat/JSP with this move, I’ll be using the PHP-based PostCon system.

Old weblog postings archives will remain, but I’ll be removing the comment form from the pages because when I remove any entry, the comments will be effectively orphaned.

Another major change I’ll be making is moving the technology-related weblog postings into appropriate locations within the entire system (such as Distributed Bits or Tutorials). Since all the Burningbird weblogs use the same numbering system, this is as easy as modifying the blog identifiers in a couple of tables. I’ll also be moving all political postings to the OpEd sub-directory.

During all of this, I’m going to be using Movable Type and RSS, but I’m not going to be writing about either (except a post-mortem document after all the changes are implemented, complete with links to source code). I need to re-focus my technology energies back into applications that I can demonstrate to potential employers, such as my PostCon system.

I found out the hard way in the last few weeks that many employers have never heard of weblogging, and could care less about weblogging. Talking about technology in relation to weblogging won’t get me a job.

As for the weblog, I’m going to be focusing on my mix of writing combined with photography, as was demonstrated in Wrapped in the Warmth of Glory or Parable of the Languages. Marc’s Voice, who linked to the Wrapped posting calls this type of writing, Multimedia Conversations. This is type of writing I love, and this is the type of writing I want to do in this weblog.

As for writings about the neighborhood — one whole new sub-directory is called Neighborhood, and is specifically for metablogging and my virtual neighborhood.

Watch me now as I light a match to this weblog.


Dueling nameservers

The nameserver change has finally propagated throughout the universe of the Internet and you should all have access to this page on the new server. Additionally, you should be seeing HTML pages rather than PHP pages for the individual entries and category archive pages.

In the next few weeks, Burningbird, and all my other web sites will be going through a mergence as well as a re-birth. I’ll be using this opportunity to introduce Movable Type as a content management system for all of my web sites, and do some drastic clean up and re-organization (not to mention seeing what I can do to make sure my pages are accessible and utilize CSS as much as possible). Fun, but a lot of work.

In the meantime, the old PHP archive pages are found in the archives sub-directory so that any links won’t break; but the new archived entries will be in the fires sub-directory.

The folks at Hosting Matters have been nothing less than phenomenal with this move. It’s not easy moving from your own server to a shared environment where you don’t have root access, and I had a lot of questions and concerns. However, the HM support people have been more than patient with me. I have also become quite attached to the Control Panel that Hosting Matters uses — it really is extraordinary.

One problem we ran into is that my old hosting company and the new weren’t exactly in synch with nameserver entries and my old host literally hijacked my domain name back to the old server this morning. I talked to them today to make sure this wouldn’t happen again and Annette from HM also reloaded the nameserver zone files to make sure that the nameserver changes are propagated correctly, once again. At this time several of my domains point to the new server, and several still to the old — including Chris’ domain and weblog, EmptyBottle. However, the doman names should resolve to the correct IP by tomorrow — knock on wood.

As we were fighting the nameserver problem this morning, it reminded me of one of my all time favorite songs, which I thought I would share (2.1M MP3, or 270k Real Audio file).

Come to think of it — this song is a perfect theme song to go with Mike Golby’s skateboarding adventures.