The Astonishing Train-Wreck of How JayceLand Gets Made

This year I decided I'd begin the process of replacing the Macintosh PowerBook G3 Firewire that just turned 10 years old yesterday. I had upgraded it to the maximum 2GB RAM and it's still a fine machine. It's just showing its age with sheer speed, particularly with browsing websites to find information about events and bands. So last month I ordered a Mac Mini (mid-2010) — that's apparently the clumsy official name, by the way — and started working with it. Well, having started from OS 8.1 on the PowerBook and as far back as System 7 on the LC III I had out of college, a huge portion of the software I have runs, as they say now, "in the Classic environment." OS X 10.3.9 suported Classic, largely because it ran on PowerPC hardware.

Well the Mac Mini has Intel chips and would never boot up any of the Classic systems. As such, support for it was dropped a few OS X releases ago. I figured I'd give the emulator SheepShaver a go — it professes to run nearly all software in Classic with the caveat that it apparently crashes a lot. I succeeded in getting it to boot up a Classic session (and ran comparable to the Powerbook) but it would not run FileMaker Pro. That's the software package that I use a lot. So big bummer there. I really don't want to buy the latest version because it's rather expensive and I'd prefer to go with something open-source and with a little more staying power (such as MySQL which seems to have a big enough head of steam that it'll be around for a while.)

The dilemma was how to continue to do work; the solution is a mess. I keep the PowerBook running most of the time specifically to have access to FileMaker Pro 5 and Quicken Deluxe '98 (only the name is not Y2K compliant). I wrote an AppleScript that does two things. First, when one of several scripts I wrote for FileMaker Pro request opening a website, it sends the request to the Mac Mini and opens it there. Second, and more terrifying, is that it synchronizes the clipboard between the two machines, so if I copy the name of a book in FileMaker Pro, it's available on the Mac Mini clipboard so I can search Amazon, and if I copy a Google Maps link, it's available on the PowerBook and in FileMaker Pro.

I decided that I'd start migrating to something new, and it looks like that time is now. I don't intend on making JayceLand look or work any different (just as when I integrated the WordPress blog), but I might shoot for bring it up-to-date in terms of, say, 2005 or so. I have long considered making the whole website web-only rather than the hodge-podge I have had for the last 10 years or so. And up until now, it would have violated the one rule I have about JayceLand: it should be the least amount of work for me. But man, this whole AppleScripted FileMaker Pro'd PowerPC-Classic-OS X-Intel thing is quite a hassle.

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Upgrading WordPress (… finally)

So I went ahead and upgraded WordPress to the [at present] most-recent version of 2.6.3. It actually went pretty painlessly and I'm excited that there's a new widget for tag clouds (I had been running 2.3.1 that I installed almost exactly a year ago). If you're on the main JayceLand page, then you'll have to go to the blog home page to see them. Even the plugins still work, and the theme I tweaked seems to function okay too (although I'm now using the built-in sidebar instead of a custom one).

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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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