About JayceLand's New Look

Well times change and so do I. In the last few years, I've transitioned further from going out to live music all the time to seeing mostly movies and only a handful of shows a month. So I decided to further pare down the number of events I list on the site.

My standing rule is that this site should be as easy for me as possible. I had toyed with a user-generated site and all kinds of fancy databases (which may still come) but that is most certainly not easy. And then there's the whole fragile way I generate the site each week — pretty much unchanged since 2001 — using FileMaker Pro 5 databases on a Macintosh Classic, exporting the data, and using some Unix scripts to make a HTML file. The workflow is quick (i.e. easy) although it's fairly convoluted.

So I decided the new site would be a weekly blog post with highlights of things-to-do — things I will very likely do (rather than "have a passing interest in doing" as it stands now). If you're only interested in the events lists, you can link straight to the events category and skip all my regular blog posts. The JayceLand home page will now redirect to the normal blog. To keep my sanity, I'm going to stop numbering them — the last numbered update was #705 on July 12, 2012. (And even then: 705 weeks of posting events … enough is enough!)

In addition, I'm dropping most of the internal links. You can Google a band just as well as I can. And I don't think I need to remind everyone the address of the Bug Jar (along with a link to Google Maps.) So it'll all look a lot more vanilla. And be much easier for me which, well, is the whole point.

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Un Digging a Few Things

I didn't like the performance of Digg so I went ahead and took out the Digg badges from the JayceLand home page blog entries although I left the customized ones in the sidebar. You can still find the badges present on the blog pages, though since they integrated better into WordPress.

I also removed all but a text-link for the Amazon.com advertising. So in all, things should be just a little faster.

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Yes, Robert Lamm, you can digg it.

As you may have already noticed, I took one more step to modernizing this site: I added buttons to go to digg. It's a way to share site rankings between people so someone else can find something they want. I set it up to have links off the JayceLand home page and associated archives as well as to individual blog entries with the deliciously vanilla digg IT.

For now I'm not sure of the ramifications of digg aside from bragging rights when that "1 digg" I entered becomes 2 — meaning that at least one other person clicked the button. If this works out, I don't think it should be too hard to additionally include things like del.icio.us.

Of course, a major rebuild of the whole site is in order — that's why the digg links are positioned so poorly on the JayceLand home page. Although I like the idea of maintaining compatibility to the dark ages of Netscape 3 and such, I also have a rule that the site maintenance should be easy: this ancient compatibility is starting to get in the way. And besides, even I can't get my Mac SE to successfully access anything on the Internet anyway: neither MacWeb 2.0 nor NCSA Mosaic beta work anymore.

In related news, I added a more harsh Amazon.com advertisement to the right sidebar of the home page. I personally have the scripting for that feature blocked (using NoScript), but it seems pretty neat to be able to see the most recent "hot" deals. Then again, it's not like I really make any money that way so I wonder if it annoys people too much.

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Changing to WordPress

I figured I'd try doing some regular blogging instead of the essays I was used to. The idea is to make it easier for me — what usually happens is I get to Wednesday night and start hammering away at trying to write something coherent. I think it might be easier to dump my thoughts into a blog and let the chronology sort it out.

So, at the advice of my friend Mike, I'm trying to use WordPress. Right now I have it set up to just insert blog entries into the old JayceLand page in place of an introductory essay, but I think I'll soon be changing the site over to more of a WordPress-centric design.

The other thing I did was to quit the titles. Now it's just the start-date of the events calendar. When I first started, I was using movie sequel numbers to match the update number, but they petered out around 9 or so. Then there were various common things like 39 being the width of a twin bed in inches. But that soon ran dry as well. Most of the recent titles have been in reference to events that happened that many years ago. But searching for an event, birth, or death that definitively occurred in a particular year before 1550 or so is getting to be a royal pain. So, I figured I'd give up on it.

Basically, this should all be easier for me. For you reading the site, well, I think there may be more blog entries (with categories) and I suppose there's feeds, permalinks, and comments and other such technology. Of course, the titles go the way of the dodo and there will no longer be a proper essay — so no longer neatly joining the events of the past week together.

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