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Null-String 2019 | Null-String

Null-String 2019


I started “this” blog almost ten years ago, on December 31st, 2009, at an entirely different URL. I was a teenager in high school at the time, and I believe the occasion was that I’d finally collected the things I needed in order to have a website that I felt like I could be proud of (i.e. one not covered in ads on a shady free host): a debit card and parental permission. So I signed up on NearlyFreeSpeech.NET, installed Textpattern, and was off to the races with the following post:

Hi. You’ve reached the brand-new, just unwrapped, still with the new-website smell site of Jonathan Page. I’ll almost certainly put something more useful here in the near future. I’ll also take the time to give it a decent theme; turns out, I’m not satisfied with the one I made in anticipation of this site a couple months ago.

I posted on and off over the next five years, sometimes about concrete things that interested me at the time, but more often about whatever was running through my head. I occasionally played around with different approaches to hosting (I think at one point I tried Tumblr, and at another point I tried Github Pages), though I kept returning to the NFSN/Textpattern setup. When I transitioned to the domain, the blog took on the name “Null-String” for a while, before becoming “Sleeping Cyborg”. Then, at the end of 2014, I stopped posting. I kept telling myself that I was going to re-theme the whole site, and then I’d start posting again; then I told myself I was going to set up a static site generator, and then I’d start posting again; and finally, I told myself I’d write a script to publish posts from org-mode in Emacs, and then I’d start posting again.

Procrastination is a helluva drug, and I really liked the idea of using a system that was just right for me. People on the orange site like to talk about how easy it is to write your own static site generator, but that’s only true if you’re happy with some Markdown files which have been converted to HTML. If you want nice, automatically maintained navigation, you need to start thinking about a real datamodel, and that is Actual Work. I may still do this at some point, if some bolt of inspiration strikes me. But I don’t really love messing around with HTML and CSS any more. The browser is an increasingly unpleasant environment to work in, and I’m qualified for jobs where I don’t have to work in it. I’d rather just have a space to write again.

So I tar’d up my public directory, wiped it, created a fresh new database, and installed Textpattern. It’s been good to me so far, and I know how to make it work the way I like, and more importantly, it’s working code that I can copy onto my server and do things with. At time of writing, I have no particular plans to restore any of my old posts; I find the vast majority of them pointless and sophomoric. Of course, the Wayback Machine has all of my old content, if you still want it. If there was particular content that you liked, I’m probably happy to restore it. I also don’t have any particular plans to create a comments section. Most of the people who will read this have some way to contact me, and I’m happy to copy-paste or link to noteworthy responses.

Given that all of the posts are gone, all of the software has been replaced, and the URL isn’t even the same one as I started with back in 2009, and after ten years almost all of the cells in the author have been replaced, thinking of this as the same blog is probably pushing it. I don’t care, all aboard the Ship of Theseus, categories aren’t real, let’s go for a cruise.

In the meantime, you’ve reached the once-again brand-new, just-unwrapped, still-with-the-new-website-smell site of Jonathan Page. I probably won’t put anything remotely useful on here in the near future, and I may or may not take the time to give it a decent theme.