Nondescript

Blog 800: Don’t Be Fooled By the Blogs That I Got

Eight hundred blog entries! My target is always about 1000 words per entry, so I’ve come even close to that average, that’s… a whole lotta words. I could have written a whole fantasy epic novel sequence instead! But writing novels takes a hell of a lot more effort than… organising your thoughts on a subject into a coherent and structured narrative… … Uh… shhhhhhhh!

Don’t Be Fooled By the Blogs That I Got

You would be right in noting that the blog counter on this site actually starts around 350. Before I built this site on WordPress, I blogged on MySpace (remember MySpace?) — and if you think the quality of writing of the earlier posts on here isn’t great, then what came before really doesn’t bear thinking about.

Of course I have to ask myself all too frequently: why do I blog at all?

Ultimately, the stats show that I have very few regular readers (but ❤ to the few of you, I’m sure you know who you are); definitely not enough to make this a particularly meaningful exercise. I’m not selling anything or making money out of it, so it’s not a survival need either.

Honestly? It’s mostly for self-satisfaction. I like to write about things I care about. I don’t use “this is all the conversations I never had in real life” as a tag-line lightly, either: most of this stuff spends a long time swirling around my head and condensing it into a blog post is simply a good way to get it out so I can stop worrying about it. I don’t have a lot of opportunity to talk about these things in my day-to-day existence, but talking to yourself is much more frowned upon that writing into the void… and maybe, just maybe, somebody out there might enjoy reading it.

Hey, just be glad I haven’t started streaming! (Or a podca– oh.)

The Blocks That I Got

Anyway, the main point is that I’ve been doing this long enough that I should probably take advantage of some of the new features WordPress has introduced over the last… unthinkable number of years.

I had been steadfastly resisting the new Block Editor ever since they first started touting it as the new way to edit posts and pages. The old one was a straightforward text box, like WordPad but mashed into your browser; unpretentious and unfussy but perfectly functional. Alas, the Block Editor is now the only option available so I have been forced to upgrade… and rather than the instinctive revulsion I felt when it first appeared, in all its flat UI crapulence, it’s actually not that bad.

Or rather — as seems to be par for the course for WordPress — it’s nice but clearly not designed for longform writing of the sort I do (of the sort that, y’know, makes up a blog). The most consistent irritation is that each paragraph is now a “block”, meaning that it’s very awkward to select text across two or more paragraphs. Considering how I much cut and shut paragraphs all over the place while formulating a post, this flaw is the most irritating thing in the world… But whatever, I’m only paying them for the domain name management, it’s unlikely that I’m covering any of their costs so I don’t really have much right to complain.

The flip side is that I can use this technology to spruce up my project pages in ways I could never have considered before. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the #content on offer here is blog entries, the vast majority of visitors go straight to the When the Freedom Slips Away and This Wreckage project pages — so I guess in practical terms, the fact that the Block Editor favours those static showcase pages fits the usage patterns I get rather than the usage patterns my vanity would prefer. (WordPress still won’t let me host ZIP or W3X files though, so you’re still stuck having to go via Dropbox’s irritating “preview not available” preview pages. Some of their paid tiers suggest they might offer general file hosting to go along with pictures, but I’m hestitant to fork over cash without clear guarantees.)

It is at least a testament to their engineering that although I’m using a theme built in 2012 (ten years ago!), all of this magic Block nonsense works pretty much seamlessly. I have been flirting with refreshing my blog’s theme as a whole but, as usual, if you’re mostly a text-based site your options are limited to “twee”. Judging by the themes they offer, the average WordPress user is a photographer or a small business rather than a blog writer.

Anyway, have a wee look round my refreshed project pages and see what you think. I’ve been able to add all sorts of niceties, such as screenshot slideshows, embedded listings of related blogs and minimap previews. Gosh, those pages almost look like a real website now!

Otherwise… Well, thanks for reading, I guess! Here’s to another 800 entries!

And you tell me...

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