Running both the new blog and WordPress on the same domain is not so much problematic but ... ugly. I can't set blog.php (the new one) as the default DirectoryIndex as it then breaks theme loading for the rest of the WordPress site that I actually want to use. I'll, therefore, just have to use PHP redirects from the Daily & Today pages. Not ideal but at least it works without impacting anything else.

When I move things over I will use the same filenames for the RSS feeds so that nothing changes from a reader's perspective.

This feels like such a big move. I have been using WordPress since 2008 (after I switched from my customised SharePoint solution, yes SharePoint if you didn't already know) so it's like a step into the unknown.

06/01/2021, 12:03

I'm inching ever closer to the point where I could flip to the non-WordPress blog. If you want to check it out you can do so here and read the new colophon page for a brief explainer. There's not much there at the moment, just a load of stuff for testing, but it works.

I've added a couple of things like the ability to delete posts inline should I need to and the content filters I had created for the digital garden which also kick in for the RSS feeds.

# Oh hello!


# A fledgling comment system is now in place but may require some tweaks. I'm not sure I'm going to leave the email address field in place, just Name, Website and Comment. It uses a couple of honeypot tricks to try to catch spam bots so I'll have to see how it goes and whether they work.

The actual system is very simple as I'm not worrying about replies to existing comments. I could go for multiple layers but don't think it's really necessary for a version 1.0 offering.

# I'm now using PHPMailer to send myself an email when a comment is submitted. I now just need to customise the mail to include post details etc.

# In addition to Matthew, it's good to see others also working on their own blogging engines.

05/01/2021, 16:43

I'm three weeks in to my journalling streak and it feels good to have kept it going, not that there's really been anything earth-shattering written there. It definitely helps having a little reminder at the top of the blog page that is also a direct link to the journal page.

# Non-WordPress blog status update:

  • RSS feeds (live & daily) - done
  • inline editing - done
  • image uploads - done

Everything I wanted to achieve for a version 1.0 has been completed. It's been relatively easy as it's all based on the custom layer that I created on top of WordPress. I have just had to transpose the code over and replace WordPress specific function with normal PHP and JavaScript. The only thing that hasn't translated has been treating each day as a single post. For now.

I've been thinking about how I could implement a comment system but that's not a priority right now. I also looked at sending/receiving webmentions but that's still a bit beyond me at present, maybe I'll work out how to do it in future but, again, it's not a priority.

The real question is do I make the switch to this system? There's no way I'm going to (be able to) migrate existing content over so the WordPress blog would still have to exist as an archive. I also wouldn't migrate the Garden as that would be too much work. The Journal could be fair game, however.

In the meantime, I'll run the non-wp blog in the background to give it a thorough test before making any decisions as I'm sure there are bugs that will need to be ironed out. Irrespective of any issues I'm really happy with what I've been able to create thus far.

# I appear to have broken the RSS feed generator on the WordPress blog so the decision may be getting made for me.

# Look like I've managed to fix it so an enforced change isn't on the cards just yet.

# And there we have it, Lockdown 3 in England until further notice due to continued increases in Covid cases. The easing of restrictions is tied to the vaccination program so we could be in to March before anything changes.

04/01/2021, 09:05

I know I said I wasn't going to work on the non-WordPress version of the blog but I went to bed, couldn't sleep and had some ideas. Is it sad that my brain defaults to code when I can't sleep?

I can now post inline and am using Emanuil Rusev's Parsedown & ParsedownExtra libraries for PHP so that posts can be written in Markdown Extra. I mainly use Extra for footnotes and applying classes to images (width and alignment) so it is good to be able to retain that functionality.

I was reading Matthew Lang's post about moving back from to his own domain using his own custom CMS and it inspired me to do some more work on mine. I know, I know!

Next up will be redoing the file uploads for images, both live & daily RSS feeds, and inline editing.

# I've improved posting and how posts are referenced. The mechanism to create the live RSS feed is also working so I now need to hook it in when a new post is created.

I'm using Font Awesome in place of WordPress' dashicons but the script to load them only runs when I'm logged in so as not to impede page performance for a normal visitor.

Almost there for what I would consider a minimum viable product.

03/01/2021, 13:40

I thought I'd take a quick video of "the fence on fire as the frost evaporates (click to watch)

Click to watch

# I noticed yesterday that wearing a watch, or more specifically a smartwatch, has become strictly a habit. Yesterday I put my watch on but forgot to both unlock it and turn off Do Not Disturb and Theatre Mode. In these modes it doesn't wake up when I turn my wrist or vibrate for any notifications and I didn't reference it once, not even to check the time. It was just a familiar presence on my wrist that has become so familiar that I forget it is even there - the vibrations are what remind me. Without those it is as though I'm not wearing it all.

02/01/2021, 11:22

Happy New Year! Here's to a better 2021.

# New Year on the moors.

New Year on the moors

# Since posting my (currently meager) setup yesterday I have added the USB audio interface. A USB mixer and audio interface may seem superfluous but it allows me to separate the TD-3 and Volca Drum, recording them simultaneously to individual audio channels in Reason.

The TD-3 can initially be processed by the onboard effects on the mixer and the Drum can be processed using software.

# I noticed a glitch in my blogging overlay and live RSS feed creation: I was accidentally using months without leading zeroes. It's been fine since I created it as the months have all been double digit but flipping over into January made it apparent. Hopefully that's now fixed.

01/01/2021, 00:00

Well, my friends, we finally made it to the end of 2020 - an annus horribilis if ever there was one. But so many didn't and I can't help but wonder how many of those needlessly passed thanks to governments not giving the right advice or people simply not following the guidelines that were there.

Each day I see the UK figures for infections and deaths my heart sinks, I think of those left behind who have to face the senselessness of all of this. And I think of how lucky I have been to have worked from home through all of this (with the exception of three days earlier this month) and have been able to keep reasonably isolated even when guidelines have been relaxed.

2021 will be better but it's going to take time, the clock doesn't strike midnight and suddenly all our problems are solved. We still have to live with this for months to come but at least we can start looking to a new horizon.

As we go into the new year we must be a little nicer, hug those we love (and are able) just a little bit tighter, and be thankful for what we have rather than mourn what we have lost.

Thanks for stopping by and reading during 2020, for continuing to journey with this lost soul, meandering through the year with no real sense of direction. May you continue to stay safe, stay well, and have a happy new year.

# It snowed again overnight and has just started again this morning.

I love snow, there's just something so calming about it, especially watching it fall when there is no wind. How the flakes gently drift down to settle into that great white blanket. Snow is such a great leveller, it covers everything. It doesn't care what's under it, it just makes everything look the same and I really like that about it.

# I've decided to put work on the 'non-WordPress' version of the blog on hold. I need to focus and be more efficient with my time.

I need to study for work to improve my chances of getting a new role. I have also recently been neglecting the writing project which is frustrating. I need to overcome Resistance (as coined by Steven Pressfield) and get back in the swing of things.

Creating my own blogging engine (when I have a perfectly functional system in place that I have spent ages customising) is a luxury that I can't afford right now. Maybe I'll take some time here and there when I have some to spare and need a break but it just isn't a priority.

# And that is work done for 2020!

# With work finished for a few days the desk has turned into a makeshift studio.


31/12/2020, 06:49

In addition to the great tit, regular visitors to the garden now include a pair of blackbirds (a male and a female), two magpies, and two robins which I presume are a pair as they are notoriously territorial.

I think I saw a wren on the fence yesterday, if not it was something with a very similar shape.

# Liked: nobody cares –

"And while they are here, they can choose to linger for as long as they want to or move on, but what they will never feel is the pressure to engage. No need to like, comment, or share. Because here, nobody cares about those things."

30/12/2020, 09:56

It may not have been a white Christmas but it snowed overnight and there are still some flurries this morning so that'll do for me. There was a little bit the other day when we went for a drive on the moors but this is more substantial.

# When I used to use software instruments I just went by what sounded okay. If I had a baseline that, for example, started on C and included, say, an F# I would ensure that any synth patterns at least partially matched but now that I have proper hardware I think it deserves at least a modicum of musical theory knowledge.

I'm not saying that I'll actually learn how to play an instrument but I think I should at least learn some basic chords and progressions to make things sound better.

29/12/2020, 08:46

We took a drive to Blackpool to see the illuminations and the Golden Mile was completely packed with what can only be described as irresponsible idiots who had turned up for a car rally/burn out.

Dozens and dozens of cars with several hundred people all crammed together without a mask (or Police officer) in sight. And they wonder why Covid cases are rising again. It makes me so angry.

28/12/2020, 22:10