I don’t have the best track record establishing new blogs, but I just made another one. Yes, I know I have been completely neglecting Limelog for about an eternity and a half. I just ran out of shitty movies to review, plus I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything cool with that site. I really didn’t have any distinguishing quality or gimmick other than the “reaction shots”. Also I ran out of movies because… Well, I don’t watch that many movies. The ones I do watch tend to be Terminally Incoherent material, rather than Limelog material. That said, I would like to revisit that site and do something worthwhile with the idea. I think shittier movies, and less formulaic, more rambling and angrier reviews could be a good way to go.
In the meantime however, I created another little blog out there. It is called I Teach 109 and as you can imagine it is school related. I more or less outlined my goals here, but I can summarize them here for those of you who are lazy. The basic premise is that it is a hyperlocal blog with the target audience being my students, my peers and other members of the MSU community. I envisioned it as a resource containing three types of blog posts:
- Teaching aid type posts in which I expand upon, or provide background for some of the topics I mention in class.
- Posts in which I share resources, techniques and ideas for teaching my class that can be used by other faculty.
- Technical posts in which I talk about tools/services available to students and faculty, and MSU related lifehacks.
That said, the first two items can be easily used by anyone.
I’m hosting it on the university provided space, so I’m keeping it clean and professional (unlike here, where I try to maintain my average quota of swear words per page). For that reason I kinda chickened out on comments. From my experience, everything with text area boxes will be abused when exposed to students. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that I don’t fucking trust them.
This is my first “bigger” Jekyll blog, and so far I find working with it very enjoyable. Part of it is that I’m writing my blog posts in Markdown, which makes them very, very clean. Terminally Incoherent posts tend to be typed in raw HTML (sans p tags, which WordPress adds itself) because as you know, I can’t deal with WYSIWYG editors. HTML has been working for me for years, but whenever I start adding inline links, lists or images the text becomes a tad difficult to scan and skim. Whenever I write Markdown I use the “footnote” notation for links, which means long URL’s are contained into a single enumerated list, at the end of my post without introducing visual clutter.
The other part is that the work-flow for that blog is very unixy. I create the posts in Vim, and use the command line to test and deploy my changes. For some reason this seems more elegant and sophisticated than the pedestrian web forms of WordPress or Tumblr. Of course in a true unix fashion, this work-flow also has tendency to punish you for your mistakes. For example, few days ago, I typed my command wrong, and Jekyll happily clobbered the wrong directory. I ran this:
jekyll --no-auto /mnt/webdav/
What I wanted to run was this:
jekyll --no-auto /mnt/webdav/blog/
The end result was deletion of all the files I had in the entire web-accessible directory. It, gets better though – I never bothered to back any of those files up because they were living on a remote server and therefore in the “cloud” and thus supposedly safe from my machinations. Lesson learned – if you spent more than 15 minutes creating it, it ought to be under source control, period. Have you done anything this stupid recently? Share your command line mishaps in the comments.
Also, let me know what you think about the blog. It was a rather fun little side project and I figured it would be nice to share it here.